Music Publishing, Sync & Licensing Course
Learn from your expert tutor, live in the virtual classroom

Study Music Publishing, Sync & Licensing With An Industry Leader

Whether you’re a songwriter, publisher, sync agent or music supervisor, or you hope to become one in the future, our Music Publishing, Sync & Licensing course presents a unique opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of music publishing and to learn from one of the most respected professionals in the business. Our course will demystify how the important world of music publishing works and provide the skills you need to succeed.

During the course, you’ll be working closely alongside your tutor James Cooper. He began his career in advertising at MTV and Saatchi & Saatchi, before being appointed as Head of Sync at the biggest music publisher in the world - Sony/ATV – a position he held for over ten years. He represented songs from writers such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Taylor Swift and even The Beatles! He licensed music for major brands including John Lewis, Adidas, Audi, Barclaycard and BT. Today, James is a highly regarded publishing consultant and music supervisor. 

With his expertise and passion for the industry, James will guide you through every facet of music publishing including the commercial exploitation of works, copyright, mechanical licensing, public performance royalties, collection societies, synchronisation (the use of music in TV, film, advertising and games), writer development, contracts and much more. 

Students from this course have gone on to secure work at music publishers, sync agencies and as music supervisors, and songwriters have benefitted from the comprehensive understanding of the business we provide. We’re proud of their achievements and enjoy keeping in touch through our Alumni Community. You can read about their experiences of studying at SMB: The School of Music Business here.
We look forward to welcoming you to our Music Publishing, Sync & Licensing course and supporting you on your own music industry journey.


Available Course Dates


Online in our virtual classroom:

(Find out more about how our online courses work)

04 - 24 Nov 2021 | Thursdays | 18:00-20:30 *

* UK time



  • The passionate, engaging and personal tutorship we’re renowned for

  • An opportunity to learn from a respected music industry professional

  • The most up-to-date, relevant and immediately applicable skills available

  • A feature rich, immersive and interactive online learning platform

  • A certificate of successful course completion, posted to you

  • An invite to join an active and supportive online alumni community

We will provide:

 Speak with a course advisor 
+44 (0) 207 078 4022

Meet The Tutor | James Cooper

SMB: The School of Music Business. Online music business courses for all including Music Publishing, Music Supervision, Sync and Licensing.  Find our about our music industry expert tutor, James Cooper, Head of Sync at Sony ATV. Study the music industry, online in our virtual classrooms.

Hi, I’m James Cooper,  your tutor for the Music Publishing, Sync and Licensing course at SMB.

I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all. It will be an honour to support you on your journey into music publishing and to share my passion for this important sector of the industry. I am a music supervisor, consultant and former Head of Sync & Creative Licensing at Sony/ATV Music Publishing. The Sync & Creative Licensing team is an integral department specialising in all aspects of music licensing for ads, films, TV, video games, digital and new media.  
I worked at Sony/ATV for 10 years and in synch for over 15 years and have placed and licensed music for brands such as John Lewis, Sony, Nike, Adidas, Audi, BT, and Barclaycard to name a few. I worked closely with our roster of songwriters and artists, and my clients were advertising agencies, brands and music supervisors. 

Before working in the music industry, I worked in advertising and film production at Grand Central Studios, Saatchi & Saatchi, Revolution Films (for director Michael Winterbottom) and MTV Europe on ‘The Real World London’. Sony/ATV is the leading music publisher with a catalogue of more than 3 million copyrights, ranging from songs by iconic names including The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Michal Jackson, Carole King, Queen and The Rolling Stones to contemporary superstars such as Taylor Swift, Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Pink, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. Today I work as a leading music supervisor and publishing consultant. 


I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all. It will be an honour to support you on your journey into music publishing and to share my passion for this important sector of the industry.


James Cooper is a music supervisor, consultant and former Head of Synch & Creative Licensing at

SMB: The School of Music Business. Online music business courses for all including Music Publishing, Music Supervision, Sync and Licensing.  Find our about our music industry expert tutor, James Cooper, Head of Sync at Sony ATV. Study the music industry, online in our virtual classrooms.
Hear from one of our recent Music Publishing, Sync & Licensing students | Mark @ Palm Bay Music


We found the Music Publishing, Sync & Licensing Course invaluable in filling in the gaps in our knowledge, despite being involved in the industry for years! We have such a greater understanding of both the early history, current practices and the new digitally focused future of Music Publishing. It has really helped us feel more comfortable and confident in the decision making within our company and has assisted in sculpting our business model.


Read the full review here

Topics Covered | Syllabus


Module One

  • What is music publishing? 

  • What are the functions and roles of a music publisher?

  • A brief history of music publishing in the UK, USA and Europe

  • Market leaders in publishing music 

  • Music publishing business models (pop, classical, production, indie/major, international etc.)

  • Artist and writer contracts

    • Types of agreement

    • Terms, retention periods, infringements​, advances, recoupment and pipeline income 

  • Collection societies across the world - PROs

    • Rights, reciprocal agreements, international partnerships, reporting, collections and distributions

  • Membership of overseas collection societies

Module Three

  • Synchronisation and brands

  • Agents and music supervisors

  • Music supervision - licensing platforms, agents, roles, rights and remuneration 

  • Licensing in online and offline media - movies, tv, radio, games, advertising, branding and corporate productions and student films

  • Process of licensing - terms period and territory

    • Registration notification, licensing models etc.

    • Commercial, commissioned, library and public domain music

    • Blanket agreements 

    • Commissioning and production

    • Responsibilities and timeframes

  • Terms of licensing agreements 

Module Two

  • The creative process

  • The writer/composer relationship with the publisher

  • How a publisher develops an artist-writer

  • Development deals

  • Cowriters - global and local

  • Samples, mash-ups and covers

  • Co-publishing and sub-publishing

  • The signing decision

    • A&R signings​

    • Investment and ROI

  • A&R, marketing and promotion of the roster

  • Working with record labels

  • Working with artist/writer managers

  • Publisher owned masters

Module Four

  • Music publishing today

    • ​Major publishers​

    • Independent publishers

  • Direct membership to collection agencies - a new model​

  • The administration process in music publishing 

    • Registration, notification and duplication​

    • Royalty tracking and distribution technology 

    • Revenue and data flow for publishing music

    • Transparency and efficiency in music publishing

  • Revenue streams in the age of streaming​

  • International partnerships

  • The future of music publishing and how to find work in the business


FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the course suitable for?

This course is perfect for anyone interested in a career in music publishing, sync or music supervision, as well as those setting up their own music publishing company. It's hugely beneficial for those looking for a clearer understanding of the functions, processes and procedures involved in music publishing or those looking to commercially exploit their own work, or that of a client.​ You should be 18 years old or older. No previous experience is necessary.

Does the course take place online?

Yes. Until further notice, all of our courses will be taking place online, through our virtual classrooms. These online courses take place live, so you can interact with your tutor and other students in real-time! With high quality video and audio, live notes, quizzes and breakout group sessions - the virtual classroom provides an immersive learning experience, where ever you are in the world!

Will I get a course certificate?

Upon completion, students will receive a Certificate of Completion, signed by the tutor and the school directors, in the post.

Do I need to provide anything?

A pen and notepad is all you require! We also provide comprehensive notes throughout the course. You will need internet access and a web browser (Chrome/Firefox). Prior to the start date of your course you will receive a web link and a password to access the virtual classroom.

I have more questions...

No problem! You can call us on +44 (0) 207 078 4022, or email us at, and we'll be very happy to help.

Which topics are covered during the course?

  • An introduction to music publishing
  • The functions of a music publisher
  • Historical context of the sector
  • Revenues - mechanicals, public performance, sync, sheet music...
  • Artist-writer contracts
  • Types of agreement - single song assignments, exclusive song writer deals and more
  • Terms, retention periods, advances, recoupment...
  • Performing rights organisations
  • Membership of overseas collection societies
  • The creative process
  • The writer relationship with the publisher
  • Samples, mash-ups and covers
  • Co-publishing and sub-publishing
  • Signing decisions - A&R in publishing
  • Working with partners - labels, managers and more
  • Sync and brands
  • Music supervision
  • Licensing in online and offline media
  • The licensing process and agreements
  • The music publishing landscape today
  • Administration processes
  • Future of publishing and new technologies
  • and much more


Enrol | Secure Your Place Today

(Inc. VAT)

Enrol online via our secure booking system powered by Paypal.

Once you've enrolled we will send you a receipt and confirmation of your place. You'll also be sent a link and password to your virtual classroom prior to the course. Payment plan options are available - email us here to discuss. 

Full Fee: £449

SMB The School of Music Business - music business courses in London. Music industry short courses taught by music business professionals. Evening classes including artist management, music PR, music journalism, music marketing, starting a record label and more.

Or call +44 207 078 4022