In the world of “Custom Songs” there seems to be a dangerous expectation for songwriters to automatically relinquish their publishing rights. Buyers seem conditioned to ask for copyright “free” material at every turn. Here’s the thing… You don’t need that.
One… Commercial “license” “usage” and “owning the master” has nothing to do with songwriter royalties. Owning the publishing won’t make you more or less able to use (or sell) a song. This isn’t a logo. This is a song.
Two… you didn’t write the material (unless you did and that’s an entirely different gig and not what I’m referring to). So calm it down Colonel Tom. If Elvis wants his name on the writer’s credits - let him come up with the “hook.”
(Note: that actually happened less than the stereotype suggests. According to Little Richard, the biggest money he ever made was having having Elvis record his material)
Three… You don’t really understand publishing rights, publishing firms or how to properly copyright material anyways. The instant a writer creates something- it’s legally theirs. Copyright is a protective method in case of legal dispute. Publishing firms collect royalties on behalf of the contributors.
Four… I want you to use and sell the song. Or a publishing firm has nothing to collect. This doesn’t interfere with your money. The same as my staff writing career: I’m on retainer, I have a deadline, I have a directive… I’m still the writer and it’s still my creation… but I sure hope the record company sells a lot of copies.
I know there are talented songwriters who participate in this practice on fiverr. Most of them are unaware of copyright law and have less concept of what is procedural in for hire songwriting than the consumer. You are being paid for your time and production time. You are delivering a master recording that you no longer own. It’s not yours to sell because you don’t own the recording. You are NOT selling your original creation. You are selling a recording and billing for the time. Learn your craft and study the legalities to better yourself and the art itself. It’s not your doormat. Writers and artists have struggled with being swindled since the beginning of pop recordings. Don’t begin your “career” by adding to that struggle.