Vince DeGiorgio: The Importance Of The Music Publisher

My lyrics have been recorded in 13 different languages in over 20 countries around the world, with sales of my creations exceeding 30 million units in many different countries. One of my biggest successes was writing the lyrics, creating the melodies, and doing voice-overs for the debut record of an artist named Caro Emerald. That album, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor, was number one in the Netherlands for eight months and broke the record set by Michael Jackson's Thriller. The follow-up debuted at number one in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Two weeks ago, I travelled to the Netherlands to co-write Caro's third album, which she will be releasing this year.

I have travelled around the world 16 times, stopping in various locations to write songs for anybody and with anybody. A typical writing day is rarely typical, starting by meeting someone who's been recommended by a music publisher or a network connection. After a five-minute chat, an idea is usually presented to me, or we begin to talk about a subject to write about. In my world, the artist, who we set out to impress, maybe so, because they are not involved in the writing session itself. My collaborators and I dive into the process with an individual or group to tailor a song, as it is written with them in mind. This is often referred to as a “lead”.

Once the song is written, we discuss the post-production process of getting the right vocalists, adding additional instruments, and doing final touches in order to have the best possible presentation of our work. The work does not end there, in any case. It simply begins. I take off my songwriter hat, put on my publisher hat, and start to pitch or exploit the creation and distribute it to our global network for consideration.

Some say a music publisher is a manager of songs. Others say a publisher is tasked with breathing new life into existing songs or finding different avenues for placement in international markets. Either way, the songs that my writers and I write are, in my mind as a publisher, timeless, and it is my personal mission to make sure they remain vital within our catalogue.

As a publisher, I now work with a roster of writers to share my experiences. They include multiple award winner Dennis Ellsworth, Nova Scotia's rising star Reeny Smith, and Alberta's Talltale and multiple Juno award winner Keshia Chanté. Vancouver's Davor Vulama has been writing songs and scoring films and TV shows for the past 18 years with CYMBA. In the months ahead, we will introduce a new wave of signings as we enter our 25th year.

My music publisher colleagues and I invest in thousands of Canadian songs and songwriters heard daily on the radio, on streaming services, in video games, and in film and television productions around the world. We pay for artist development through creativity on a number of levels and nurture our writers in order for them to learn that their market is the entire globe and not simply their own backyard at home. I've always referred to my fellow publishers as the spine of the music industry.

Vince Degiorgio, President of Cymba Music Publishing and Chair of the Canadian Music Publishers Association, speaking before the Canadian Heritage Committee inquiry into remuneration models for artists and creative industries in Ottawa on May 31.  

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