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Performing Rights Organizations and Cue Sheets

Key Takeaways:

  1. Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) are entities that track the use of certain songs and pay performance based royalties to the song owners.
  1. It is industry-standard for song owners to register a song with a PRO. The backend royalty is paid by radio and television stations, and live performance venues, as examples.
  1. When you license content from FILMPAC Music for broadcast and film usage, it’s your responsibility to provide a Cue Sheet to the broadcast station with Song Info. This does not cost you anything, but gives the broadcaster information so they can pay the PRO royalty.

[Hot-Tip: Be sure to download the Song PRO Info and generate a Cue Sheet if you are using the song in broadcast or film placement.]

{Download Sample Song PRO Info, and Download BMI’s Sample Cue Sheet and Template}

Full Version:

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) exist to help song owners receive their performance royalties. Some prominent PROs are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC amongst others.

Performance royalties are backend payments made by entities like broadcast stations and venues. Here are some examples of when performance royalties are required:

  • Song played on terrestrial and satellite radio (Sirius, etc.)
  • Song used on network and cable TV shows, commercials, etc.
  • Song played on internet radio (including customized radio such as Pandora)
  • Song played on online music streaming services (Spotify, iTunes, etc.)
  • Song performed in a live venue (Music Festival, etc.)
  • Song played in a restaurant, club, or other public establishment

For the purposes of this article, let’s use cable television placement as an example and follow the workflow from licensing the song on FILMPAC Music through artists being paid by the PRO. 

  • When selecting cable television placement, a customer will be prompted to download Song Info and use that to generate a Cue Sheet.
  • When the customer delivers their project to their client, they provide the Cue Sheet with all Song Info entered.
  • When the client submits the video to the cable station, they provide the fully filled out Cue Sheet. Most Cable Stations will expect Cue Sheets to be delivered, and will proactively ask your client to provide one.
  • The Cable Station will monitor the air-time of the video and pay royalties to the PRO, referencing the information in the Cue Sheet. This royalty is paid by the Cable Station, and does not get charged to your client.
  • The PRO receives the performance royalty payment from the Cable Station, and pays the Song owners accordingly.

Want more information about Cue Sheets, including a template and sample? Check out this great article from BMI.

The bottom line:

FILMPAC cares about it’s artists, and wants to ensure they are compensated for performance royalties. Customers can help make this possible by downloading Song Info, and facilitating Cue Sheets when content is used in broadcast and film.

Have any further questions?