PROs, or Performance Rights Organizations, are “societies responsible for collecting income on behalf of songwriters and music publishers when a song is publicly broadcast.” This means they collect money from anyone in the world using your music on your behalf. This includes things like Pandora streaming, internet radio, having your song licensed for a video, being featured in stores, or any publicly broadcasted event. PRO's literally track down companies for you to make sure you get paid for your hard work and creations! The 3 main organizations are listed with detail below.
ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
Official site: ASCAP.com
Notable affiliates: Justin Timberlake, Vampire Weekend, Duke Ellington, Dave Matthews, George Gershwin, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Marc Anthony, Henry Mancini
Fee: One-time fee of $50 as a writer (free when you sign up through Songtrust) and $50 as a publisher.
Pay Schedule: Click here for ASCAP’s writer and publisher pay schedules.
BMI, Broadcast Music, Inc.
Official site: BMI.com
Notable affiliates: Mariah Carey, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Rihanna, Maroon 5, Sam Cooke, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton
Fee: Free for songwriters, $150 as a publisher
Publishing Companies: You do not need a publishing company to collect your publisher’s share of royalties at BMI.
Pay Schedule: BMI pays royalties quarterly. Click here for more info.
SESAC, Society of European Stage Authors and Composers
Official site: SESAC.com
Notable affiliates: Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Cassandra Wilson, Rush, MGMT, Mumford and Sons (via PRS).
Fee: None (invitation only to join).
Pay Schedule: Click here for SESAC’s royalty distribution schedule.
Not a member yet? Start submitting your songs to major music industry connections for free with Push Power Promo.