P.R.O. Chat

Please use this thread for general chat and advice about Performing Rights Organisations (PROs).
For more info, have a look at the PRO section of the amazing AJ Community Guide.


Original post:
Hi guys, I just wanted to share some business info. Today is the royalty distribution day for all PRS (UK’s main P.R.O.) members. I joined up a couple of years ago and the royalties I receive have been steadily growing ever since.

I don’t make a huge amount of sales here on AJ, but I do make a modest amount on other sites. It supplements my income as a sound/lighting tech. It’s literal holiday and family fun money for me, so I don’t take the current, seemingly universal, downturn in sales lightly!

Well, this quarter has been really interesting. It’s been an improvement in terms of income compared to last year, which is nice, but the surprising thing was that my income from PRS made up a third(!) of my total income from music so far this year. Not only that, but 90% of that income came from royalties paid by YouTube for music used in video streams. (This is in addition to income from Content ID). It seems to have shot up greatly since I uploaded all my music to Soundmouse, although this could be a coincidence.

Well, I just wanted to put this out there for any authors thinking of joining a performing rights organisation. For me it’s been a no-brainer, and I’m sure there are many - hugely more successful than I - musicians who aren’t claiming the royalties they’re owed.


I’d love to hear other people’s experiences with their PRO. Please do share in this thread.

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For me, my pro Sacem, has not poured up with my stock music investments, but I do not have a lot. I receive royalties of former titles placed in renowned music libraries.

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Great to hear that, good results!
It would be cool to see if indeed soundmouse is the driver but it remains a black box from the author’s side.

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One of my Audiojungle tracks was used in a TV commercial that ran at least 12,000 times on 50 US channels. I have written to PRS several times enclosing all the necessary information. It’s been about 5 years, since then the result is zero, royalty claim period has ended, so my fee probably went to somebody more smarter and cunning.

Now I don’t have much sales, but I’m sure it’s impossible for PRO to bring in 129 euros per year.

Joining PRS For Music was a huge mistake.

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That is very disappointing, sorry to hear it. I too am with PRS and have a track getting quite a few broadcasts on a TV ad at the moment. I’ve registered it with SoundMouse but I’m afraid it will slip through the cracks.

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Sorry you guys have been having bad experiences.
@CyrilNikitin what is €129 per year? Is the membership fee not a one-off payment for you?

It helps to be your own Publisher and register with a US pro.

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Hello everyone.
Interesting thread.
I will tell my experience.
I am associated with the “S.G.A.E” which is the PRO of Spain.
A few years ago I had the good fortune to be able to make music for a regional television network.
Various programs including news services that broadcast various editions daily for about six years.
In the end I got my royalties from the S.G.A.E to become real but it was a very hard road for years.
It was clear to me that it was my money that they had and there were several years of phone calls and trips to the headquarters of the S.G.A.E in Spain in different cities
to get something that was mine under the Copyright Law.
My advice is that if you are clear that someone has the money from your royalties, fight for it, with whoever with forcefulness.
That was the advice they gave me at the time and it went well for me.
Good luck to everyone.

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I’ve been considering this lately. Trying to work out whether the potential legal obligations are worth the income it could generate for me. What has been your experience with setting yourself up as a publisher, and what steps did you take to become one?

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It was very easy with ASCAP actually. I had some usage in commercials in the US last year and actually the first payment already came in March.
I also sent an email to my normal PRO to look out for the usage and mentioned I’m now a publisher. They’re reaching out manually to ASCAP so it works from different angles.
I also registered everything with Soundmouse by the way.

So so far it seems to work. Also thanks to help from @RedOctopus

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What are some potential legal obligations of being your own publisher?

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Interesting stuff, thanks for your post. I think I have a bit more research to do before taking the plunge on it. So are you registered as a writer with BUMA and as a publisher with ASCAP? In that case, do you register all your works through ASCAP only, and then receive both royalties from BUMA & ASCAP? How long do royalties typically take to come through to BUMA from ASCAP?

Soundmouse is growing in importance in the industry I think. My wife works as a creative for a TV network and she uses Soundmouse to report all the music she uses in TV promos directly.

Yes, for sure! His forum guides are solid gold. A really great source of information. He should sell his guides online or something. That knowledge and experience is so valuable.

The main one for me would be setting up a limited company and the tax and accounting requirements that come with that. My wife and I already run a company though, so I’m looking into the possibility of Criskcracker becoming a music publisher as well as its current classification as a film production company.

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I register everything with both. The thing is that the publishing share of your works are handled differently by some countries. So the only way to get a hold on your publisher’s share in the US is to actually have a publisher or act as your own.
That’s for example why distributors like CDBaby etc offer this as well.

Honestly, there is not really a lot of transparency in how money flows from one PRO to another. I think this has to do with the fact that a lot of them work according to different laws but also tag royalty streams differently. You might receive something in your local PRO labeled as “foreign use digital” but then there’s no other information.
I must say, slowly these things are improving and I’m happy with the way my PRO works because they are always ready to help.
Another tip is to get IRSC codes, ISWC as well, anything that can help and make sure all information matches in all systems.
We have to be on top of it because no one else will do it automatically although these websites and systems might give you the impression that everything works automatically.

Also, once a work is “in the system” since it has been used, it is far easier to receive future royalties because now there is a pathway.

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It still remains to know the use of your music. ENVATO provides the name of the buyer, which is not the case with all platforms, and then you still have to do your own research.

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In general is overseas collection for PRS (like in USA) reliable? There are some bad stories, as mentioned above, but hopefully most placements get paid eventually right? :sweat_smile:

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Thank you for all this info. I’m registered with PPL in the UK, so all of my releases have an ISRC. Interestingly, PRS has not assigned an ISWC to a lot of my classical arrangements, although they have for all my original music. I also registered my different “artist names” as pseudonyms on my PRS account and each has its own IPI number. Hopefully, this might help with detections when customers write ‘Criskcracker’ on their cue sheet. Not sure what happens when they just write ‘Audio Jungle’ though, which I’m sure that many customers do. Hopefully, the ‘PDF in the Zip’ will help in that regard!

I’m not too certain about this myself. It’s interesting that from all the YouTube streaming royalties that I spoke of in my first post, exactly zero are from “Alliance YouTube USA”. 50% are from the UK, 20% from Germany and the rest from most other European countries, some African countries, and India. I’m going to write to PRS to ask about this. I’ll post the reply back here if you like.


I recently joined MCPS since it seems that streaming royalties are split 50/50 between performance (PRS) and mechanical (MCPS) royalties. I suppose I’ll find out in July whether or not that was worth my while. It’s all a bit of a headfuck, since there doesn’t seem to be a single place that has all the straightforward information, it’s all scattered info, some of it conflicting, on who does what and collects what for whom. I recently read about songtrust.com. I don’t think I want to go down that route (They’re a so-called “publishing administrator”) but another organisation to throw into the mix!

Here’s the info that I’ve managed to collate so far. Please, if anyone knows better, do correct me, I’ve got much to learn about this.
So far I’ve learned that there are four types of PRO royalties for music: Performance royalties to the writer (PRS); Performance royalties to the publisher; mechanical royalties to the writer (MCPS) and royalties for the owner of the recording (PPL). We, as the owner of everything, are entitled to claim all four, but need to be registered to all the different organisations in order to do so, although quite what PPL does, I’m not entirely certain, since I haven’t seen a penny from them since I joined 2 years ago. I guess that they deal more with record companies who own the recordings. Perhaps, to really claim everything, you need to have your own label as well as your own publishing company! But I think I’m getting ahead of myself there. One step at a time, before Criskcracker can compete with Sony/EMI!

I found this diagram, which may, or may not be helpful, but my brain likes pretty pictures, especially ones with pastel colours:

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I am happy I could help.

Yep, if you have broadcasts in US, it is very likely that without a wirter/publisher account in US PRO, you will not receive royalties from US.

If you have a writer account in your local PRO, I recommend registering as a (self)publisher in USA + Soundmouse account.

Even though this system is extremly inefficient, from time to time I catch some good royalties. My favorite was a commercial in Germany which used my 11-seconds logo which gave more than 10.000$

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Are you sure? There are different kinds of “publishers”. The one we talk about is an international term from PROs. In short: it is only type of account.

In my country there is also this “publisher” term which means you are an official entity selling media etc.

IMHO you do not need to be an official “publisher” in your country to have a “publisher” account in a PRO. Especially if it is in US PRO.

They end in a limbo, until you find them and manually claim and… PRO has to contact with the media creator to confirm your authorship… Which is often impossible due to lack of files and licenses, contact info etc.

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It is complicated as &$#@.

E.g. my Polish ZAIKS manages: writer, publisher and MCPS but does not manage PPL. This is why I had to register in Polish STOART (PPL) which is way less efficient than ZAIKS.

But in USA there is no PPL at all. At least this is what I have read years ago.

I am not sure, but something is telling me that in US MCPS is automatically collected by a 3rd party and… redirected automatically to ASCAP/BMI/SESAC. Even if you do not have the account in MCPS… Though it has to be double checked.