As a songwriter, one thing you absolutely need to do is make sure you’re registered with a Performing Rights Organization like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. These are the people that make sure you’re getting paid every time your song is played! In this post, we’ll explain how to do it. Here’s everything we know.
Everything You Need To Know About Registering with PROs
Before we dive in…
As mentioned in the intro, PROs are the ones who make sure you’re getting paid every time your song is played. In the USA, we have three main P.R.O.s to choose from (and you can only choose one). To make sure you receive the royalties you’re rightfully owed, your songs need to be properly registered with either ASCAP, SESAC or BMI.
These guys rely on the information you provide to determine who they need to pay and how much, so you have to be sure to provide everything you need the first time around.
Can Symphonic sign me up?
Sadly, no. Only you as the writer can affiliate with a PRO.
- However, we do have a guide here for US citizens and a guide for Non-US Citizens right here to help you out.
Are there fees?
Yes, PROs do charge a sign-up fee. Anywhere from $50 – 250, depending on who you choose as well as if you’re an independent artist, publisher, or corporation. Before you start stressing, the process is very simple and straightforward. As an independent artist, expect to pay a fee on the lower end of the range given above. And if you’re a Symphonic client, we can help you through our Publishing Admin service.
What does Symphonic collect in addition to what my PRO collects?
Symphonic’s Publishing Administration (in partnership with Songtrust) collects the following types of royalties:
- Streaming Mechanicals
- Download Mechanicals
BMI, ASCAP and SESAC and SOCAN collect the following:
- Performance (radio/TV)
- Digital Performance (streaming, satellite radio)
- Live Performance
🧠 Feed yo’ brain…
Is my PRO also my publisher?
No! — They are a performing rights organization which reports to songwriters, publishers, and publishing administrators. Joining ASCAP/BMI is helplful but not necessarily enough. It’s only a small part of the publishing story, and your PRO is not your publisher.
Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN and SESAC only collect one type of publishing royalty, called public performance royalties (hence why they are called Performance Rights Organizations).
Does working with you guys replace me working with a PRO?
No, we simply take over the responsibility of registering your songs with PROs and mechanical collection societies in the world if you join. You’ll still be receiving a royalty check from your PRO for the writer’s share of your material.
✨ NOTE: If you have already registered yourself as a songwriter with a PRO, please do not delete your account with that PRO. ✨
To wrap it all up…
Registering with a PRO is a crucial part of your career as a songwriter. It ensures you get paid properly for all your hard work. If you want to ensure the collection of your royalties, make sure you don’t skip this step!
If your music is being distributed, performed worldwide, and you don’t have a publishing deal, your royalties are sitting in collection societies around the world waiting to be claimed by you. If you don’t register in time to collect your royalties, the collection societies will retain the royalties and you will miss out on that additional revenue. — That’s why we created our publishing administration service to help you get through this process as easily as possible. If you’d like to learn more, check out this page.