The Incorporated Society of Musicians launches its vital pack for composers

The Incorporated Society of Musicians has launched its pack of resources for composers as part of the ongoing Make Music Work series. The Make Music Work series will comprise new resources to provide musicians from all areas of the profession with the tools to grow and maintain successful and sustainable careers.

The ISM’s Composers Pack, which covers template contracts and a checklist of what to look out for when signing a publishing contract, has been prepared with the help of the Composers’ Special Interest Group, ISM Composers’ Round Table meetings and colleagues from across the music industry – including Russells solicitors.

Ed Scolding, composer and ISM member said:

‘I’ve had the situation of making assumptions and plunging in without properly discussing and agreeing things, then discovering at the end of a project the other party had quite a different idea of what was going on! A reliable piece of writing is really useful to kick off and guide discussion, bringing everyone onto the same page.

The guides and contracts in this pack are designed to help with a range of different situations, from zero-budget or working with a friend to dealing with international corporations, for commissioning live music, composing for film, signing to a publisher, or whatever new shape of project you create.’

Kirsty Devaney, composer and ISM member, said:

‘Having graduated from my undergraduate studies in composition two years ago I have been questioning what it means to be a professional composer and musician.

Being ‘professional’ doesn’t have to mean being paid professional rates, but I think it is about having the mind-set to be informed, realistic and in control of your own work and finances.

The ISM composers pack is perfect for composers who are dealing with these issues; it helps you to consider all the relevant aspects of a contract, thus helping you make an informed decision before signing on the dotted line.’

David Abrahams, Head of Legal at the ISM said:

‘One of the issues our composers have repeatedly raised with us at the ISM is the need for guidance on contracts, including suitable template contracts.
This pack provides a wealth of crucial information for composers with all aspects of conducting their work - whether it be a commission to write a new work, signing up to a publishing agreement or licensing synchronisation rights.
We hope that this pack proves to be a vital guide for all composers.’

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive at the ISM said:

‘The ISM’s successful event Make Music Work and the crucial work of our legal team here at the ISM uncovered a need for a dedicated pack for composers when navigating the complex world of publishing contracts.

We are pleased to launch the ISM’s Composers’ Pack - with help from our Composers’ Special Interest Group, Composers’ Round Table and colleagues from the music industry - as another resource from the essential Make Music Work series which has been created to support musicians at all stages of their career. ‘

The ISM’s composer pack is available to view or download at

About the ISM

The ISM is the professional body for those working in the music profession. We promote music and look after the interests of professional musicians.

Our membership of approximately 7,000 covers both individual musicians and corporate bodies. Individual members include leading conductors, featured and non-featured artists, orchestral musicians working in all of the UK’s leading orchestras, composers, animateurs and arrangers.

Our corporate membership of over 160 music organisations includes Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Leeds College of Music, British Voice Association, Rhinegold Publishing, Avid, Yamaha UK, YCAT, the Composer’s Edition, NMC Recordings, Jazz Services Ltd, Association of Independent Music, Classic FM, the Royal Philharmonic Society, Help Musicians UK, Association of British Orchestras (ABO), Music Sales Ltd, the Music Industries Association (MIA), and more.