Music Business and Management
Course 19: Performing Rights Organizations and Publishing

As you might imagine, with so many radio stations, tv shows, movies, and other forms of media, it can be difficult to know when your music is being used and if you should be getting paid for it. That’s why performing rights organizations (PRO) were formed: A PRO is a company responsible for protecting musical copyrights and keeping track of public performances of your music to disburse usage payments known as royalties.

Broadcast Music Inc.; The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) are the three main organizations that work with artists. You’ll see how they essentially all work in the same manner, but how the artists that work with each differ historically.

All artists should sign with a PRO before releasing their work. Although it can be done retroactively, it can be difficult to recoup any earnings because it’s nearly impossible to find where the music was used before bringing it to the PRO. You’ll learn how to register with a PRO, how to publish music, and more about copyright law.

Your assignment for this course is to research BMI and ASCAP and find out the differences between the two organizations. Write out a list of pros and cons and decide which PRO is right for your fictional artist. As always, you’ll review course material, do the required reading, take the quiz, and write a blog entry. And get ready for the Music Business Program final!