An administration deal is an agreement between a songwriter or music publisher and an administrative publishing company. In this agreement, the administrative publishing company is granted the rights to administer a composition or set of compositions.
In an administration deal, the songwriter or original publisher retains ownership of the copyright in their music, while the administrator is responsible for managing tasks such as licensing, negotiating agreements, registering the works with performance rights organizations, collecting royalties, and accounting to the songwriter or publisher.
The administrative publisher typically receives a percentage of income generated by the compositions as their fee, commonly between 10-25%. This fee is for their work in exploiting the compositions and ensuring that all owed royalties are collected. The term of an administration deal is usually limited, often between one and three years.
These types of deals are common for songwriters and publishers who want to retain ownership of their copyrights, but require professional assistance in managing and monetizing their catalog.
For more comprehensive information, you can visit the Music Publishing (publishing contracts) page on Wikipedia.