How to Publish Sheet Music — A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide

A revolution of sorts is happening in the sheet music industry.  Just like recorded music, anyone with access to a computer can become a publisher, creating and distributing sheet music with relative ease.  Many artists wish they could publish sheet music of their songs, and this article will walk you through the steps to make it happen!

The following comes from Breeze Tunes, a company DMN is partnered with.

Why Sell Sheet Music?

Sheet music is a valuable revenue stream for your song. It may not be big money (single-song sheet music typically sells for around $5.00), but at least we’re talking about dollars rather than the fractions of cents generated by streaming.

In addition to being a valuable merch item, sheet music opens the door to many creative promotional opportunities. Icelandic Jazz/Pop artist Lofey “leaked” her new album in sheet music form, which led to 24,000 fan pre-saves. Legendary rock band Metallica hosted a marching band competition, encouraging groups around the country to arrange and perform their music. Singer-songwriter Cody Fry has used creative score videos of sheet music to rack up millions of views.

Most importantly, sheet music is a powerful way to connect with your fans, giving them the tools to recreate and experience your music on their own terms.

Step One: Notate Your Song

The obvious first step is to write your music down. Depending on the genre, you may also need to arrange it to make it suitable for your target audience. This is most effectively done in notation software like Finale, Sibelius, or Dorico, which are all professional-level applications (comparable to DAWs like ProTools, Logic, or Cubase). Once you are finished, export the music as a PDF file, which you can distribute online or print hard copies.

If you’re not comfortable with music notation (or don’t want to invest the time in learning), you can outsource this step of the process to a professional copyist, engraver, or transcriber who will make your music look top-notch! Think of them as another member of your support staff, like a producer, mixer, or audio engineer.

Step Two: Make a Cover Image

Just as albums typically come with artwork, sheet music needs a cover page to help it stand out. This image will also serve as your product thumbnail in online stores. The easiest way to make one is by using Canva, which has an extensive collection of templates and stock images you can use.

It also makes it easy to resize an image (for use in social media) or export your cover page in formats like PDF, JPEG, or PNG files.

Step Three: Write a Product Description

You’ll also want to write a short description (usually two or three sentences) explaining the basics of the song, who it’s written for, etc. This will help potential customers, but it’s also what search engines will use to display your music in results.

Step Four: Provide an Audio Demo

Nowadays, no one will buy sheet music without hearing it first. Most publishers demo their music using an MP3 recording or a YouTube video. If a live recording or performance video is not available, a quality MIDI mockup is acceptable.

Step Five: Distribution

In addition to your artist website or merch table, you can use several third-party retailers to get your music in front of more people.

The first is, which Hal Leonard owns. Think of it like DistroKid for sheet music. You upload the music, set the price, provide the images and description, and within 24-48 hours, your music is available for sale on and Composers earn a 50% royalty on all sales and retain their copyrights. In addition, it is a non-exclusive agreement, meaning you can also sell your music on other sites without restriction.

ArrangeMe also has a database of more than four million songs for which it can provide copyright clearance, allowing you to legally sell arrangements or covers of popular songs. However, there are more restrictions for these arrangements, and arrangers only earn a 10% royalty on each copy sold.

Another option is MyScore, a program run by JW Pepper that allows you to sell original music on the JW Pepper website. It does not allow for sales of copyrighted arrangements; however, it offers customers the ability to order printed copies of music delivered through the mail—a big plus for school ensembles that frequently order from Pepper. is another digital publisher that works with many independent musicians (especially on YouTube) to clear copyrights and distribute sheet music of their cover songs. Artists can work with one of their editors or upload music through the Musicnotes Marketplace website.

Step Six: Marketing

Like recorded music, getting your songs online is the easy part. Next comes the hard work of getting your sheet music in front of the right people. In many ways, this is more difficult than promoting your music on streamers because your target audience is smaller—either trained musicians or students of a particular instrument.

For ideas on successfully marketing your sheet music, follow the Selling Sheet Music podcast!