Production and distribution of notes
Up until a few decades ago, music publishing focused on printing (sheet music) and selling or renting sheet music. On the other hand, the main task today consists primarily in the perception and utilization of the reproduction and distribution rights attached to the musical works.
For so-called music-dramatic works such as opera , musical and ballet music, a performance contract is almost always concluded for each individual work between the individual performing stage and the responsible music publisher, which entitles the stage to perform the work in public; one also speaks of the so-called great right. The German Music Publishers' Association , the German Stage Association and the public broadcasters set out comprehensive regulations on this, but not necessarily binding, in so-called collections of rules.
Securing and exercising the distribution rights of music that is not performed on the stage, i.e. music that can in fact be distributed without limits on sound carriers , radio and television , is less comprehensive . One speaks here of the so-called small right. Almost all music publishers use the collecting societies for this purpose , which monitor and ensure payment for the use of music on behalf of them. The largest collecting society in Germany is GEMA , in Switzerland SUISA and in Austria AKM .