WHAT IS A PERFORMING RIGHTS ORGANIZATION?:
A ‘P.R.O’. collects money owed to songwriters for the public performance of their songs. Some examples would be radio airplay, placements in movies or TV shows, concerts, elevator music and even music on hold for phone systems.
These are all uses of the song that the writer(s) gets paid a ‘performance royalty’ for, and the P.R.O. collects that royalty and distributes it to the appropriate people. The three P.R.O.s in the United States are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.
WHEN DO I NEED TO JOIN A PERFORMING RIGHTS ORGANIZATION?:
You don’t technically need to be a member of a P.R.O. until your songs are being played on radio or TV, but the P.R.O.s can help further your career, if they like what you are doing. How can a Performing Rights Organization help my career? If they believe in what you are doing, they can help by introducing you to collaborators, publishers, A&R, and other industry types. They hold periodic showcases to feature new talent, and hold workshops and seminars designed to educate and connect their members.
1 Lincoln Plaza New York, N.Y. 10023 ASCAP is a membership association of more than 120,000 U.S. composers, songwriters and publishers of every kind of music and hundreds of thousands worldwide. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership.
320 W. 57th Street New York, N.Y. 10019-3790 BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents approximately 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music. The non-profit-making company, founded in 1940, collects license fees on behalf of those American creators it represents, as well as thousands of creators from around the world who chose BMI for representation in the United States. The license fees BMI collects for the “public performances” of its repertoire of approximately 4.5 million compositions – including radio airplay, broadcast and cable television carriage, Internet and live and recorded performances by all other users of music – are then distributed as royalties to the writers, composers and copyright holders it represents.
55 Music Square East Nashville, TN 37203 Unlike the other performing rights organizations, SESAC has a selective process by which to affiliate songwriters and publishers, resulting in affiliates who have personal relationships with the SESAC staff.
SESAC’s creative staff works with songwriters to develop and perfect their talents. SESAC was the first p.r.o. to employ state-of-the-art Broadcast Data Systems (BDS) performance detection. SESAC utilizes BDS in conjunction with cutting edge ConfirMedia Watermarking technology, providing SESAC’s writer and publisher affiliates with the fastest, most accurate royalty payment available anywhere