May Music was created to offer a writer-friendly music publishing service. All agreements are easy to understand, with a personalised service designed to meet the needs of the writer. May Music is committed to building and utilising the easiest and most efficient accounting tools in the business, with a roster that draws from a wide range of music, connecting a global and diverse network of writers to maximise their potential.
Laura’s #BEYOUROWN BOSS Story
I founded my own publishing company, May Music in 2017. I started in music publishing in 2004 and have moved around the industry in various roles but I really wanted to return to publishing. I wanted a more creative role but realistically my CV only has royalties and finance on it so I was going to struggle to get a role that I wanted so I started my own company.
I still work as a freelancer doing finance and royalty projects and that is funding my company and life whilst May Music grows. I started with no money or funding, I signed three writers in the first six months and then in the last six months I’ve had a bit of a signing frenzy so I’ll finish 2019 with 22 writers (some of them are in bands so it’s more like 11 signings).
I’ve reduced the number of freelance jobs that I have to focus on my company and I started to put a plan in place for next year. I’m aware that I need still be able to provide the service that I set out to do for each and every one of my writers to planning and organisation is crucial. I’m in the process of work to expand my global network and make the business a commercially viable entity.
I have a long way to go but I’ve definitely had a great start. When I was 30 I was diagnosed with an aggressive type of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. I was working at an accountant at the time doing royalty audit and accounting and I decided to resign and concentrate on staying alive. I underwent a pretty intense five months of Chemo including high dose therapy and a stem cell transplant. It took a year to recover from that. I took a part-time role at a festival whilst I was still working out what I wanted from life. In the past, I’ve hidden my health issues, but now I’m just upfront about them. I can still suffer from fatigue so I really need to think about not overdoing it or making sure that there is enough time to fit in a lie in if I need to. I’ve worked really hard to future proof my company in terms of any health issues that I might have in the future. I had to give up the career path that I was following but I started again and now I’m on a different journey. I worked so hard to recover and rebuild my life don’t want anything to get in the way of that.
In terms of highlights, there are so many. Each signing, each royalty statement received means I’m a step closer to realising what I set out to do. How my roster looks now is exactly how I wanted it to be. It contains a diverse set of songwriters and artists, each of them very different from the other. I’ve also managed to keep it pretty gender-balanced which is an achievement in itself. Honestly, when I set up my business I hadn’t really thought about anything else except my vision and how I could achieve it. I try to challenge the traditional way of doing things because I felt it was important to try something else rather than just moan about the inadequacies of companies that I have to work with as part of my business. I didn’t really think about how there aren’t many women that own publishing companies or the ratio of men to women in the music industry.
I attended a Women in Music panel at a conference and one of the panellists said something like if you’re a woman and your mixed race (which I am) then journey to the top was much harder. Whilst the panel was there to be positive and showcase successful women it was actually pretty discouraging. In the long run, the hope for the future is that women as business owners in the music industry are not unusual but for the immediate future I think it’s important for me to help other women realise their worth and pursue their dreams whether it’s a dream job or the running their own company. Building a successful business is hard work but I hope to be able to showcase that living your dreams is totally possible if you’re willing to work for it.