“Do You Belong To A P.R.O." (Performing Rights Organization)? Do You Understand What Role They Play In Your Music Career?
October 11, 2016
Do you know what a P.R.O. (Performing Rights Organization) is? A P.R.O. is an agency that ensures songwriters and publishers are paid for the use of their music by collecting royalties on behalf of the rights owner. P.R.O.'s collect public performance royalties. When it comes to the U.S. there are three different P.R.O.’s. The first one is called A.S.C.A.P. (Association For Composers, Authors, & Publishers.) This P.R.O. is the one that is run by creatives’ (artists). The second P.R.O. is called B.M.I. (Broadcast Music Inc.) Mostly when it comes to this organization they accept songwriters but I’ve noticed over the years that more producers decide to join B.M.I. I’m not sure of the exact reason why. The third P.R.O. is called S.E.S.A.C. This particular organization is an invite only collection agency. S.E.S.A.C. is the smallest of the three U.S. based P.R.O.’s. There are also P.R.O.’s in every country that collect on behalf of their members. The biggest international P.R.O. is known as P.R.S. P.R.S. licenses organizations to play, perform or make available copyright music on behalf of our members and overseas societies, and distribute the resulting royalties to them fairly and efficiently.
A P.R.O. can collect on a few different types of licenses (royalties) for artists, songwriters, producers, and publishers. The first type of license that a P.R.O. can collect on your behalf is called a “mechanical” license. A mechanical royalty is collected when an album that is bought in a retail store or if an album is bought digitally. So what this basically means is that the royalty is collected on behalf of the audio or (sound recording). The second type of license that is collected is called a “public performance” royalty. A public performance royalty is collected when a song is performed in a publically recognized location. These locations can vary from bars, clubs, grocery stores, etc. When it comes to artists performing their song live they must alert their P.R.O. so that they can collect a royalty from that venue since they obviously won’t know that you are performing there. The third type of license that a P.R.O. will collect on behalf of its members is a synchronization (sync) license. A sync license must be obtained when recorded audio is synced with video. Most independent artists have no idea that if they write their own songs they are then considered to be their own publisher and can sign up with their P.R.O. as a publisher. This is extremely important because when a song is licensed you then get to collect 100% of the royalty instead of having to split your royalty with a outside publishing company.
As you probably can imagine from reading the info presented above, P.R.O.’s play an extremely significant role in your career and business. If you desire to have a long career as an artist/songwriter/producer you must understand the very important role that your organization plays in making sure you can continue to get the residual income known in the industry as “mailbox” money and can afford you the lifestyle that you desire in an industry where it can be extremely difficult to do so.
Till Next Time
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