Songwriter Turns to Royalty Exchange to Hold Out for a Better Publishing Deal

The ability to say no is a powerful position to be in. We caught up with Lee Anna McCollum in an L.A. studio working on a demo one evening to discuss how she got there.
September 28, 2018

The ability to say no is a powerful position to be in.

Publishing deals, in particular, can be big, time-consuming commitments. So entering into one too quickly out of desperation is never the best scenario. That’s why many songwriters come to us to put themselves in a secure financial position before negotiating for a new deal.

Lee Anna McCollum is one who did just that. After writing hit songs for the likes of New Kids On The Block and others, she recently got out of a long-term publishing deal and wanted some time and space before signing with anyone new. So she sold a piece of her public performance songwriter income to buy her the time needed to make the right decision.

We caught up with her in an L.A. studio working on a demo one evening to discuss why and how she did it.

I understand you are between publishing deals at the moment. Is that by choice?

Exactly. I’m just taking my time because I just got out of my old deal in April. I have like 11 singles, songs that are coming out, some already out, and have a whole entire movie soundtrack coming out in Christmas. I’m just kind of recalibrating and getting a bunch of equity back so that I can be a viable candidate for a new publishing deal. People are excited about getting a bigger, better deal.

Are you looking to work with the same publisher again?

No. It took me a year and a half to fight to get out of that deal. So I’m just going to start testing the waters. I probably won’t sign a deal until the first quarter of next year. I just want to make sure I’m with the right person. In my experience, you’re not signing with a company. You’re signing to an A&R person. And there’s been so many people that are just in and out, and you get signed thinking that they’re your person, but then they get fired or leave you. So I just want to make sure I’m taking my time with the decision this time around. Getting key man clauses (which tie a contract to a specific person) is hard to come by.

Was your A&R person the one who connected you with New Kids On The Block?

No. Everything I’ve done was usually on my own, cause I was stuck without any real A&R. I worked with Bone Thug N Harmony, NKOTB, Far East Movement, and a bunch of others that are in the catalog I sold with you.

How did you start cultivating those relationships?

There was just one thing after another. I’ve been in this town (L.A.) for eight years, and business in Nashville for two and a half. So you just know people and you get a good reputation. Then they come asking for you to work. They compete and they come to you. I don’t go to them. It’s been a long cool journey. Right now I’m doing really well, so I’m cool if I don’t take a new publishing deal. Just keep going. I mean, I feel like Royalty Exchange is a great way to keep money in your pocket, cause I have you guys… If I went back to you guys in a year from now and sell my writer’s share to all this that I have coming out now, I’ll accumulate from there. I could just keep doing a cycle every 10 years instead of having to sell my soul to the man.

How did you come across us?

I’m constantly chasing royalties so I just saw an email from you with “royalties” in the subject line and opened it. Then when I read into it, I was like “I’m interested in this.” It just made sense. It was this happy accident. I’ve been telling everybody about it. There are a couple of artists that I’ve already sent your way. And I have nothing bad to say about your company. I think it’s amazing.

What did you think of your experience?

It was awesome. It was smooth as hell and I love everybody that works there. It was quick and easy. Just sign and it’s like immediate. I can’t complain about anything. I got a fair price for the one portion I did, and I’m about to do another portion.

You’re interested in conducting another auction?

I can’t wait. I’m just waiting on the royalties from this big song I got a huge sync on. I’m excited to see what we get from that cause that’s going to be way more value than the last one.

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