Setting up a publishing company is very easy. The first thing you need to do is send away for the forms. Call either BMI (212) 586-2000 or ASCAP (212) 621-6000 and request a "Publisher's Application." If the individual band members have not affiliated with one of these performing rights societies yet, request "Writer's Applications" as well. When you receive the forms, read them carefully. Each application requests five potential names for your publishing company. Be creative so there is more of a chance of acceptance. After selecting a name, the application will request background information on who owns the publishing company. If the band will own the publishing company, list each band member and check "partnership" unless the band is a corporation. The application will also ask for a tax identification number. Write "applied for" in this box. I will explain later why this is necessary. If only one person will own the publishing company, use your personal social security number. Send the Publisher's Application and $100 check and in a few weeks, you will be notified of the name of your new publishing company.

When you get the approval for the name, you must fill out IRS Form SS-4 which is a request for a tax identification number, also called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). Fill this form out using the name of your new publishing company and you will receive your FEIN number. Write to BMI or ASCAP and tell them of your new number. Remember, you must file taxes if you receive any money from your publishing company.

Finally, you need to apply for a business license also know as a d/b/a (doing business as) license. Contact your county Recorder of Deeds to find out the procedure. Normally, you pay a small application fee and then publish the notice in the newspaper. You will then receive your business license.

With your FEIN and business license, go open a bank account in the name of your publishing company. Remember that any checks you receive will be made out to your publishing company. How do you expect to cash them unless you have a bank account? That's it, you now have a fully operational publishing company. Did I say fully operational? Not quite, you still need to run your publishing company.

Now that I have explained how to do it, a word on whether and when to do it. As explained in another column, a band receives publishing monies when they have a song played on the radio or when a record company manufactures their tape or CD. It stands to reason, if you don't have a record contract or your music is not played on the radio, you don't need to have a publishing company. Why set up a publishing company if there is no money to collect? Concentrate your money on more important things like copyrights, protecting the band's name and advertising. Wait until you get a record contract or get radio airplay to set up a publishing company. When you hit these milestones, this article will prepare you.

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