Seeking Advice on PRO Registration for International Authors

Hello fellow authors,

I hope you’re all doing well! I’ve been a member of the AudioJungle community for about 10 years now, and I’ve recently come across a dilemma regarding PRO registration for my music.

As a composer based in Lithuania (EU), I’m considering registering my music with a PRO to expand my reach and ensure proper royalty collection. However, I’m unsure about the best approach given my non-U.S. citizenship and the potential tax implications associated with registering with American PROs like BMI or ASCAP. There are also some European PROs which I know little about.

I’ve heard that some international authors choose to register with their local PROs (like LATGA in Lithuania), while others opt for larger organizations like BMI or ASCAP despite the tax considerations. I’d love to hear about your experiences and insights regarding this matter:

  1. Have any of you, as international authors, registered your music with a PRO? If so, which organization did you choose and why?
  2. For those who have registered with American PROs like BMI or ASCAP, how have you navigated the tax implications as non-U.S. citizens?
  3. Are there any alternative strategies or considerations I should keep in mind when deciding on PRO registration for international authors?

I greatly appreciate any advice or perspectives you can share on this topic. Thank you in advance for your help!

Best regards,


I checked both BMI and ASCAP and was surprised to see that BMI now has a $75 registration fee for writers and $150 for publishers, although it was widely advertised as free.
Anyway, I am at a loss also as to whether I should register as a writer only or as a publisher as well. I plan to release some of my music through distrokid or similar services, so I think I need to register as a publisher as well?
If so, it is expensive to register as both a publisher and a writer with BMI.
ASCAP, on the other hand, has a free registration option for writers and publishers.
What do you think? Should I consider ASCAP or rethink the possibility of joining my local PRO as I am not a US citizen?

Well, first you need to start a publishing company, unless you already have one. In many countries, that could be as easy as saying you now have one, connected to the business you already have for accepting payments and invoices, and in others, some paperwork would have to be filed. I don’t know about your country specifically.

What is your reasoning behind joining an American PRO? And what do you mean by “international author”? Non-American?

I don’t know much about LATGA, but I really think you should call them on the phone first and hear what they have to say. You can explain exactly how you are selling your music. If your music is played in other countries, those PROs should cooperate with other PROs and send the money there.

If LATGA isn’t what you want, maybe another one in the EU will be easier?

Anyway, you can join one PRO as a writer, and many others as a publisher. Publishers can join several PROs. That could be necessary to hunt down all the royalties anyway, unless you have a dedicated publishing administrator (then they would register where needed).

It can get a bit complicated, and just because you are a member of ASCAP or BMI it doesn’t mean that TV commercial royalties from US TV will go to you automatically. Unfortunately. You would probably still somehow have to find the commercials and make claims.

This is work that a publisher normally would do.

You don’t NEED to be a publisher. However, it works differently with different PROs. For example, many Europeran PROs assume you are self-published if there is no publisher information and you get all the royalties.

In the US, I have heard that it might not work like that. There is a also a difference in mechanical royalty collection - many European PROs collect them too, while it’s not like that in the US (although I have heard that might change).


Yes, by meaning international - I mean being non-american. My reasoning is very simple - I sell my music mainly to the US and have plans to release albums, also targeting the US as the main market. I think BMI or ASCAP has much more reach than LATGA, which has problems with abroad. Maybe I’m wrong - that’s why I started this discussion.

Aren’t we all publishers when we upload music to audiojungle or release it through distrokid or cd baby? They are distributors, not publishers.

Aren’t people here already doing this by identifyy or soundmouse? Hunting their tracks and then making claims?
Do everybody here uses third party publishing administrators?

Thank you, it’s new information for me. I will look more into this.

Well, we do the publishing work, but if you are going to register as a publisher with ASCAP, I believe you need to be an actual publisher. In the US (if you want to be an American publisher), you would have to register a company there which would be quite complicated.

In that case, it would probably be a lot easier to register as a publisher in your own country, and ALSO with ASCAP once you have an official publishing company.

I have a publishing company registered with my home country’s PRO, but I can also register with ASCAP or elsewhere as a publisher if I want to.

Identifyy only check YouTube and Facebook. They have absolutely nothing to do with TV or radio. Soundmouse only really scan the UK, Germany and Australia currently. They only get “random selections” from most other countries, and not much at all from adverts. Adverts/commercials and regular TV programs work in different ways regarding PRO royalties. They are treated as two separate things.

Unfortunately, collecting all TV royalties will not be that easy and automatic. I don’t know how many people use publishing administrators, (not talking about Songtrust here), I mean REAL publishing admins. I used the Pond5 publishing admin for a while (US only), and that resulted in a lot more royalties that were not found before.

Of course, you can be your own publishing administrator. That means scanning TuneSat/BMAT etc., finding ad codes from Numerator (US), or other countries, registering as a publisher with different PROs around the world and making sure the tracks are registered there too.

It can be a lot of work (and TuneSat is very expensive), which is why publishing admins exist (they take a cut of course).

If you are signed with an external publisher, of course they take care of the publishing admin work.

You don’t have to be a member of a PRO at all to release music (it’s good if you want money of course, but not necessary). What do you mean by reach exactly?

PROs in each country exist for their citizens, but of course I understand there are differences and not all are as effective.

But if you take a mega songwriter like Max Martin for example, he is a member of Swedish STIM (just like Avicii was(is), and the ABBA writers). Most of his money comes from American artists though, but that doesn’t matter. I’m sure his publishing is registered both with STIM and ASCAP. You can also have your PRO handle a certain territory as a songwriter I believe. Maybe he does that.

Just as an example, another Swede, Yngwie Malmsteen, is registered with BMI as a writer. That’s because he lives in the US, and has since the 80s.

Deadmau5 is registered as a writer with Canadian SOCAN, because he lives in Canada. The publishing of his Strobe track is registered with PRS and BMI (EMI Publishing).

So, it makes sense to register as a writer where you live, unless of course your PRO doesn’t function at all.

You can search here:

for famous tracks and you can see where the songwriters are mainly registered. For example, Pink’s So What track: Max Martin (STIM), Alecia Moore/Pink (BMI), Johan Schuster/Shellback (STIM).

David Guetta’s Titanium is written by four people:

Sia - APRA PRO - because she is Australian.
David Guetta - SACEM PRO - because he is French.
Georgio Tuinfort - BMI PRO.
Nick van de Wall (Afrojack) - BUMA PRO - because he is Dutch.

Quite the mix of PRO memberships for one song. The publishing is divided up even more.

Again, I think you should absolutely call LATGA because I don’t think you have a clear picture of what a PRO does. Maybe they can clear it up. It can get a bit messy.


By the way, you have some nice piano tracks!

Is the piano recorded by you (with microphones) or do you use sample libraries? If so, which ones do you use? It’s a nice sound.

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In my audiojungle profile you hear me playing either a Korg Krome or a Roland RD700SX - live.
Now I am learning to record a grand piano August Forster 215 in my studio and all my upcoming AJ tracks, hopefully will be played with it. You can hear it in my youtube and I would absolutely appreciate any insights for recording technique :slight_smile:

If I were you, I would register as a writer in PRS/MCPS.

American PROs are great but they do not collect mechanicals.

I mean, if my music is mostly played in American (or Latin American) market, I suppose that is better chance that american PRO collects these royalties, than my tiny country’s local PRO. For a long time they even didn’t had reciprocal agreements with american PROs and I heard that local authors had problems with them. Although my information may be old, but I suppose such problems could exist, because nobody likes to share money :wink:

So how do American authors collect mechanical royalties then?