PROs in the USA do not collect mechanical royalties (!)

I thought I should emphasize this: PROs in the USA do not collect mechanical royalties (!)

If you are registerd with BMI, ASCAP or SESAC, you should register with some institution collecting mechanicals. Mechanical royalties are smaller than performance but in some cases they can be surprisingly high. I have heard about 5 digit payments of cumulative mechanicals (yep, $$$$$ ! ).

By the way, this is how Songtrust finds extra cash for composers registered in the US.

However, if you are registered with e.g. European PROs, you should be ok, they collect mechanicals (or at least should do it)


A good one European PRO, please?

Hmmm… PRS?

Edit: it looks like PRS also does not collect mechanicals, which are collected by MCPS in UK.

So, basically you can have BMI as PRO and also register with MCPS in addition or it’s not allowed to do so?
Would be great to have more details.

Yep, you need to register both.

I wrote previously that PRS looks fine. However, it looks like PRS also does not collect mechanicals, which are collected by MCPS in UK.

BTW I have a feeling that registering in both: PRS and MCPS is quite easy because they co-operate.

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By the way, I just found out another piece of information:

We do NOT yet get paid from Facebook/Instagram for the ACTUAL usage of our tracks, like we now do from TikTok.

This means that the money is just handed out based on overall popularity, which means small independent songwriters only get a few bucks… Even if we get hundreds of millions of plays.

They are working on a solution, however, and hopefully it will be implemented within a year or two… We can only hope.

When they changed it on TikTok, my income rose thousands of times higher. :slight_smile:

I know I have even more views on Facebook/Instagram (in the hundreds of millions), so I really hope they get this sorted…

Independent composers currently are robbed of A LOT of money that goes to bigger artists that already have a lot of money. Life changing money. Really sad unfortunately, but all we can do is wait…


That’s interesting, what is the source of this info?

Does TikTok generate only mechanical royalties? Does your PRO collect them?

Distributor like Distrokid collects some cash from TikTok, right? But they are much lower than the PRO TikTok royalties, right?

I’ve also heard about spectacular TikTok payments.

My P.R.O.

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I don’t know if they count them as mechanical or performance, but my PRO definitely collects them. My PRO does collect mechanicals.

This is correct. In my case, MUCH lower (not even comparable).

That is because you get paid per VIDEO on DistroKid (kind of like a very cheap AJ license), but per VIEW from your PRO. Big difference.

You don’t get much per view (much lower than YouTube), but as I’m sure you know, many TikTok videos get an insane number of views.

My last TikTok payment was spectacular indeed. We’ll see what the next one (in a week or so) will bring… I’m nervous. :slight_smile:

Let us know :slight_smile:

OK, I just downloaded a CSV file with more details from my PRO, and I can see now that the TikTok money consisted of BOTH mechanical and performance royalties.

The payout per view is absolutely tiny, probably not even 1% of what YouTube pays… But, the CSV shows me I had 1+ billion uses. That’s BILLION with a B. That was for the entire year of 2021, so future payments will likely be lower, as they catch up to 2023-2024.

I have no idea how correct that is, nor how it’s calculated, but I’ll take it. In my distributor account, they show a smaller number of “impressions + views”, maybe calculated differently…

It’s not crystal clear, but at least we can get paid more now than before.

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Well, you’ll need to live with that somehow hahaha.

And this is why registering with PRO is so important!


Yes, the best thing you can do for yourself as a composer.

I forgot to mention that so far I have only gotten paid from Europe/Asia/Africa - not the Americas. I don’t know if that will happen, or what’s going on, but it will probably be calculated in a different way I suppose.

And one more thing. I was wondering who collects these royalties? Is a deal between TikTok and each PRO?

And also, I know that Youtube pays PRO royalties only for the views made in country of PRO. E.g. BMI receives Youtube payments for the views only from the US. If you are with BMI but your video has been watched e.g. in Poland, ZAIKS should transfer the royalties to BMI as an international payment. However, this rarely happen, because:

  • PROs (especially small) have problem with tracking and matching videos with composers
  • each video has to exceed the international payment threshold set to e.g. 1$ (you may have millions of videos which collected 0,90$ but they will not sum up and reach the threshold = you will get nothing!)
  • many countries does not have efficient PROs, so royalties from Asia or Africa are not efficiently collected

But if TikTok royalties are so high… maybe all royalties go to one composer’s PRO, instead of dividing them into countless numbers of local PRO?

Well, I don’t know everything, but I think this deal was actually made by ICE Services, which is a licensing hub used by some of the bigger PROs in Europe (PRS, GEMA, STIM, etc.).

I read it’s one of the first deals like this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if smaller PROs like ZAIKS don’t get those royalties yet. But I do not know. Maybe ASCAP and BMI don’t get those royalties yet either.

I got paid for YouTube use from countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. Mostly from European countries, but Asia and Africa show up in my list with a few bucks…

I don’t know how the money is sent out, but I can see the usage based on each country at least.

And I wouldn’t say TikTok royalties are high (again, only 1% of YouTube), it’s the VIEWS that CAN be incredibly high. If you only have a million views, you won’t get much.

Here’s a link to PRS where they mention the ICE deal:


Yep, it sounds like ICE and “multi territory” deal made that. This looks way more efficient than Youtube single-territory procedure.

Thanks for sharing the info.

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There are two mechanical rights collecting organisations in the USA:

Harry Fox Agency (HFA)
Mechanical Licencing Collective (MLC)

I joined MLC to collect my publishing share (although so far, with limited success)

Yes, you can join both at the same time on the PRS website.

I noticed you put your own name as composer on classical works, is that the right way to do it? Did PRS say that’s the way to do it? Just curious.