What is a Performing Rights Organization?
A Performing Rights Organization (or P.R.O.) helps songwriters and publishers get paid for the usage of their music by collecting one of the most important forms of publishing revenue: performance royalties.
As a songwriter, composer, or lyricist, you’re owed what is called a “performance royalty” any time your music is played on radio stations (terrestrial, satellite, and internet), used on TV shows or commercials, or performed in live venues.
Those performance royalties are paid by radio stations, venues, and TV networks to Performing Rights Organizations like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SOCAN (in Canada) who then distribute the money to their affiliated songwriters and publishers.
For a complete list of copyright collection societies worldwide, click HERE.
Performing Rights Organizations collect:
* performance royalties for publishers and songwriters
Performing Rights Organizations do NOT collect:
* mechanical royalties
* sync fees
* digital performance royalties associated with the creation of a master recording (paid by SoundExchange to labels, session players, etc.)
How can you make sure you’re getting paid ALL the publishing royalties you’re owed?
If you’re affiliated with ASCAP or BMI, they’ll pay you performance royalties, but you’d be leaving your mechanical royalties on the table — since it is not their mandate to collect mechanicals.
Should I copyright my song?
Many professional songwriters don’t copyright songs until they begin earning income. The reason is both cost and time involved. Non-professionals often copyright their songs due to fear of infringement (their songs being stolen). Again, this can be expensive, but if it makes you feel comfortable, you can always exercise that option by visiting www.copyright.gov.
How do I get my songs published?
Getting your songs published through a successful publishing company is a process; a series of steps that requires knowledge and preparation. Focus on writing the best songs you can, getting better at your craft, learn all you can about the music business, and plug yourself into the songwriting and music industry community. Due to legal issues, publishers cannot take unsolicited material, material from someone they don’t know or that they didn’t request. Publishers do have their own staff writers and the only other sources that they will take songs from are known or legitimate sources like. The first steps simplified would be to: 1) Join ISSA 2) Join one of the performing rights organizations (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/SOCAN) 3) Invest in music business books that deal with publishing to get acquainted with how it works. Publishers will require complete songs (words and music). Make certain that when you get an opportunity to play your song for a publisher, your song is complete and competitive in the marketplace.
Radio Stations want MP3s that are meta-tagged, what is that?
Metatagging is a process that takes your MP3 and applies the proper data detail, like the title, artwork and genre information. Please refer to our ISSA Facebook group announcements for Jon KT Lindley’s video on how to metatag your MP3 for radio.
Helpful Articles Links:
Helpful Articles in PDF format:
Do you have a new song that you just finished? You may want to have a checklist handy that includes the following, so that you are prepared when promoting, submitting to our radio stations, or need to reference song information at a glance.
SONG TITLE – COMPLETE TITLE OF YOUR SONG
SONGWRITER(S) – ANY AND ALL SONGWRITERS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE SONG
SPLIT SHEETS / CREDITS – CONFIRMATION OF ANY PERCENTAGES REQUIRED BY CONTRIBUTORS
PUBLISHER – THE PUBLISHER FOR THE SONG
COPYRIGHT – REGISTER THE SONG WITH COPYRIGHT.GOV
PRO – REGISTER THE SONG WITH A PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION (BMI, ASCAP, ETC.)
DISTRIBUTION – PURCHASE A DISTRIBUTION PACKAGE FROM A DISTRIBUTOR (CD BABY, DISTROKID, ETC.) WHICH PLACES YOUR SONG ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS FOR PURCHASE (ITUNES, SPOTIFY, PANDORA)
CREATE METADATA – THE GENRE OF THE SONG, ALONG WITH THE KEY, TEMPO AND LENGTH AND DESCRIPTIONS AND ARTWORK DESIGN
RADIO STATIONS – SUBMIT MP3S TO APPROVED RADIO STATIONS
SOCIAL SHARES: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, REVERBNATION, YOUTUBE
HAVE AVAILABLE ISRC, UPC, AND ISWC CODES
Have questions about anything on our checklist? Please don’t hesitate to ask and we will be more than happy to assist you!
Please let us know if you would like an excel spreadsheet version, and we will be glad to email you one, something like this: