Pros Vs. Cons - Performing Rights Organizations

No votes yet

Courtesy of Independent Artist Network.


One of the most often asked questions in the music business involves Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.


"What are performing rights organizations, why should I join one, and which is the best to join?"



What are PROs?


PROs collect the royalties due to artists for public performance of their copyrighted works. This includes radio and TV performance, use in other forms of media, and public performance (live or on a jukebox). The copyright owner is entitled to varying royalties from each performance of his music. The PROs track, license, collect fees, and distribute royalties. They collect royalties for and represent songwriters, lyricists, composers, and publishers.


What are PROs NOT?


PROs aren't record labels, publishers, or promoters. They are not unions. They do not license mechanical rights (rights to make CDs, tapes, or other copies). They are not booking agencies or personal managers.


Who Can Join PROs?


Writers and Publishing companies can both join a PRO. You can join as a songwriter, or if you have your own publishing company, you can join as a publisher. Membership requirements vary, but generally want to see proof that your music has been publicly performed or published. As you can see, most songwriters already qualify for membership.


Publishing Companies can be a bit more complicated (and expensive) to register, but are necessary when more than one person holds rights in the creation or ownership of a song.


You can only be a member of one performing rights organization at any given time. Anyone who meets the requirements can join ASCAP or BMI, while SESAC uses an approval method to grant membership . . . read more at

Artist Resource Center: 

PO BOX 66494
Houston, TX 77266-6494


Fresh Arts |  The Silos at Sawyer 1502 Sawyer St, Studio #103 Houston, TX 77007