Mission Statement

Founded in 1917, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) is the trade association representing all American music publishers and their songwriting partners. Its mission is to protect, promote, and advance the interests of music’s creators. The NMPA is the voice of both small and large music publishers, and is the leading advocate for publishers and their songwriter partners in the nation’s capital and in every area where publishers do business.

The goal of NMPA is to protect its members’ property rights on the legislative, litigation, and regulatory fronts. In this vein, the NMPA continues to represent its members in negotiations to shape the future of the music industry by fostering a business environment that furthers both creative and financial success. The NMPA has remained the most active and vocal proponent for the interests of music publishers in the U.S. and throughout the world, a continuing tradition of which the association is very proud.

The Board

Music Publishing 101

Music publishers are essentially songwriter promoters. They work to pair talented songwriters with artists which results in exposure to the public and income for the songwriter. Music publishers “pitch” songs to record labels, movie and television producers and others who use music, then license the right to use the song and collect fees for the usage. Those fees are then split with the songwriter.

Types of Licenses Issued by Music Publishers

  • Reproduction (Mechanical) Licenses: Music distributed in physical and digital form. The royalties are generally collected and paid by the Harry Fox Agency.
  • Public Performance Licenses: Music broadcast on radio (terrestrial and satellite), in live venues, and other public places. The royalties are collected and paid by public performance societies (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC). Each broadcaster receives a blanket license from each performing rights society, in exchange for a royalty fee.
  • Synchronization Licenses: Music used in film, television, commercials, music videos, etc. Publishers enter into direct licenses with users.
  • Folio Licenses: Music published in written form as lyrics and music notation either as bound music folios or online lyric and tablature websites. Publishers enter into direct licenses with users.


For more in-depth information on how this works, including the copyright laws governing songwriting, click here.


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