Performing Rights Organizations

December 26, 2006

If you’re a songwriter and your songs are being played on the radio or internet, there may be income waiting for you.

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) collect royalty payments on behalf of publishers and songwriters for public performances of their songs. Here’s how PROs work.

If you’re a songwriter, you have the exclusive right to publicly perform your song under Section 106 of the Copyright Act. However, it’s virtually impossible to know when your songs are being played and by whom. PROs were set up to remedy this problem. Songwriters (and publishers) sign up with a PRO, giving the PRO authority to collect public performance royalties on behalf of the songwriter. It turn, the PROs have licenses all across the country (and even beyond) with radio stations, internet radio providers, shopping malls, restaurants and anyone else who plays music in their establishment. The PROs collect money on behalf of the songwriter, take a small fee, and distribute the money to the songwriter.

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October 3, 2006

To all you slack key (ki ho`alu), independent, fingerstyle, Hawaiian, singer-songwriter folks:

ASCAP and BMI have traditionally collected public performance royalties on behalf of publishing companies and songwriters. With the emergence of a relatively new copyright revenue stream from digital music service providers (e.g. Sirius and XM), an additional performing rights organization called SoundExchange was born. However, unlike ASCAP and BMI, SoundExchange still remains relatively unnoticed.

Here’s the short story, if you are a featured performer or sound recording owner of a recording that has been bouncing around the airwaves, there may be royalty money waiting for you at SoundExchange. Here’s a link to the list of artists who are owed royalties:

SoundExchange’s website: