A publishing administrator manages the music publisher’s copyright(s) and accounts for the income the copyright(s) earn. The administrator ensures the musical works are properly registered and collecting royalties wherever the works are being performed or sold, often by working with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO).
However, an administrator operates separately than a PRO. PROs exclusively collect performance royalties, while administrators collect additional revenue sources such as digital audio mechanical royalties, which currently generate a large portion of publishing income.
Publishing administration can be carried out by a third-party administrator or publisher, or by a self-administered songwriter, lyricist or composer themselves. If the administrator is a third-party, they do not have any ownership of the copyrighted musical work, but they earn a small commission on the revenue collected from them.