The AJ Community Guide #2 - Performing Rights Organisation Royalties (PRO)

Thanks for this great article. I signed up for BMI a long time ago but havent seen one cent. What am i doing wrong?

I’ve signed with BMI about 1.5 year ago and haven’t seen anything too. My guess is that our customers or their clients just don’t send proper cue sheets, or any tracks that has been bought with Broadcast license did not ever been really broadcasted. I’ve tried Tunesat to track any broadcast uses, but it did not find anything either. It’s extremely hard to find out what happens with your tracks if anything you know about a customer is that it was John Smith from Alabama. I highly doubt that none of my tracks are never been broadcasted, but there is nothing I can do to find it out.

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i have found some of my tracks broadcasted but am to lazy to actually do anything about it. Mostly in foreign countries so it may take some time. I hope i entered all info correctly and stuff.

Thanks a lot for such a cool article!)

I’ve joined BMI, and since I’m new to this royalty free music business, I contacted them to clarify some things. This was my answer:

“If you are providing ‘Royalty Free’ music then this is usually a direct license between the provider and the user and is therefore exempt from broadcast royalties. The user pays no license fee to the performing rights organization so there are no royalties to collect.”

Is this a misguided clarification, or is the information correct? Is this not the reason buyers buy royalty free music in the first place, so they don’t need to pay royalties later? So how come some audiojunglers get paid PRO royalties? Am I missing something?

Definitely misguide clarification caused by lack of knowledge of the BMI employee and by vague naming convention of the royalty free stocks. AudioJungle isn’t “all royalties free” :slight_smile:

So, “royalty free music” means that only the synchronization royalties are cleared for the buyer (and he can use it as many times as wanted), but the performance rights’ royalties are not. This is the confusion, right?

In this case - Yes.

Though I can imagine RF stock which is totally royalty free. AJ isn’t that kind of stock.

UPDATE: some I’ve made few edits, some of them were made thanks to your comments on forum and in private discussion. Thanks!

Updates are marked in text as “EDIT”.

I’m trying to understand some things. How will P.R.O. (f.e. BMI) find roylties when the title of the track on AJ will be changed? Does it mean, that PRO registered authors can’t change track titles, because they will lost royalties ?

That’s a very good question! I suppose it depends on a local PRO. There are different procedures, for example when my PRO (ZAIKS) receives a cue sheet, it has to match exact name of a “writer” and “title” from a cue sheet with my track which was registered under exact “title” or “alternative title”, etc. They may find me even when a cue sheet had my registered “nickname” instead of my registered “name”. But when they receive correct “writer’s” name and incorrect/unregistered “title”, they will show me that I they received such cue sheet for a track which they don’t have in their database and ask me to register such track / solve this issue.

I suppose it works similar abroad but I wonder what happens when a foreign PRO receives a cue sheet with my track with incorrect/unregistered “title”. Foreign PRO will try to match exact “writer” with exact “title” from records in the global composer/title/artist database and if they match them, they will send money to my local PRO. But what happens if they only match “writer’s” name? My PRO says they will send to my PRO an inquiry to confirm (it’s real efficiency is very doubtful for me!). But what happens if there are few “Red Octopus” around the world and some PRO receives a cue sheet with incorrect/unregistered title? Who knows, probably royalties get stuck.

Yes, they can! Every PRO should allow you to add alternative titles. To add them in my PRO I have to ask them for this via mail. In fact “tag type” titles are way more repetitive and they are more problematic in terms of matching with records in the global PRO database.

Thanks for these posts, very informative!

I have a one question though. Does anyone have insight on if performing royalties are still collected on YouTube once the video uploader has provided a license bought from Audiojungle?

As I understand it, the video needs to be claimed by AdRev, Identifyy or similar in order for the video to generate royalties. Once the claim is cleared by the license, so ends also collecting of PRO royalties. Am I wrong?

If this is the case, isn’t that a problem as performing rights are not included with the licenses sold for PRO music on Audiojungle and broadcasting / performing of such music should generate PRO royalties regardless of the video’s claim status.

Does anyone know?

It has been explained in 3rd chapter. In short: performing rights are still collected by PROs even when monetization is not collected by CID. Those are two different things.

Thanks for your reply. Is that a fact, though?

I understand that video monetization and performing royalties are different types of income, but on YouTube, are they really unconnected?

On Songtrust’s article they say:

“Videos on YouTube do not generate royalties until an ad has been served on them. Royalties on YouTube are essentially a portion of ad revenue. Ads are only served on videos by a copyright owner (a label, publisher, etc.) placing a claim on a video and telling YouTube to monetize that video.


So what I’m still wondering about is that once the claim and monetization placed by AdRev/Identifyy/etc. has been released by the license bought from Audiojungle, would that also mean that the video doesn’t generate performing royalties? It’s a bit confusingly put in that Songtrust article, as obviously ads could still run on any monetized video, even if it us not claimed by AdRev or similar.

A link to any other, clearer article on this topic would be appreciated.

I have asked AdRev about this, but haven’t got an answer so far.

EDIT: I have removed text from this post because it occurred that it may be slightly misleading.

After a talk with both AdRev and my PRO it has turned out that PROs can only collect performance royalties from videos where there is an active claim. So once the claim is released by a license bought from Audiojungle, no performance royalties can be collected from that video anymore.

Very interesting! I will investigate it too and let you know. Thanks for your attention, I really appreciate it!


EDIT: And there is one more thing. CID partners like Identifyy or AdRev share royalties for “master recording” and “publishing”. But keep in mind that those “CID publishing royalties” are something different than “PRO publishing royalties”. In CID it’s a kind of video-music-ad-sync royalties divided for the owner of the recording (“master recording royalties”) and owner of the right to publish it (“publishing royalties") which are not the same as publisher share royalties from PRO.

This may be true so I have updated related fragment of third chapter: The AJ Community Guide #3: Content Identification (CID) But still it is not fully confirmed.

Thanks @AudioAgent !!!

Hi, do you, or anyone else, have any information about royalties on music that is used in an actual YouTube (pre-roll) ad? So, music in the ad shown before the video that would generate CID money.

Ideally, that should generate performance royalties to our PRO, but it still seems a bit unclear regarding YouTube and performance royalties.


I am not sure but I suppose they are normal Youtube videos which are used as ads so I suppose it should work same as other Youtube videos. Everything I know about internet royalties and Youtube monetization is in the #2 and #3 chapter of the Guide.