Overseas royalties and PRS UK

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    I was wondering if anyone here from the UK has had long delays or even non-payments from overseas performances of tracks registered with PRS?

    I can view performances of many of my tracks around the world on Tunesat and, cross referencing the dates with PRS overseas payment schedules, should have been paid to me ages ago. But they have never appeared on any statements from the PRS – only list performances from the UK. PRS haven’t responded to 3 attempts to contact them about this.

    Is this a common issue and should I just be patient, or should I be concerned that my tracks have been performed undetected?

    Any advice greatly received!

    Thanks so much


    Hi Ell,

    I’m a UK composer based in Devon and have been making library music for about 6 years.

    I am a PRS member and have had no end of problems getting TV royalty payments from the PRS. I’ve found many of my tracks on tunesat used on TV programs, mostly in the US and chased the PRS but they have been uninterested and it’s been hard to get the back end payments through them.

    In the end I decided to join BMI for the USA and Canada while remaining with the PRS for the rest of the world which they will allow if you write to them. It’s worked pretty well so far and I’m glad I made the switch. What sort placements are you finding and in which countries?




    Hi Orca,

    That is very interesting to hear about joining BMI for the USA and Canada only. So in the US do publishers have accounts at both BMI and ASCAP and then just register the tracks at the one the corresponding composer is also at?

    Art Munson

    So in the US do publishers have accounts at both BMI and ASCAP and then just register the tracks at the one the corresponding composer is also at?



    Thanks for all your responses!

    – Most performances have in Italy, Germany, France and a few in US. It’s actually the European performances that I’m most concerned about as Tunesat shows consistent repeat performances here over the last year, yet still there is nothing from PRS. Would be worth signing up to individual country publishers in this case do you think?


    @Tbone – It’s worked well for me so far and was easy enough to set up with the BMI London branch who have been very helpful. If you need any more information let me know.

    @ Ell – I guess you could join different societies with in Europe but I would think that could become quiet complicated. Have you tried notifying the PRS writer queries about the usages – writerquery@prsformusic.com? Do you know which library the tracks where bought from? I had a track used for an Ad from a sale on a well known non-exclusive library and decided to sign up to their new publishing deal. They did a good job getting me the back end TV royalties which I wouldn’t have got any other way I think.


    Hi Ell,

    Yes, I have exactly the same issue. Placements on US TV shows going back 2-3 yrs and all I have received is the UK royalties which are between a few pence to a few £’s

    A lot of them appeared as ” Unnotified Works ” and had the wrong publisher showing in my PRS account so I raised queries with PRS which took several months to hear back about – All they said was the writer still gets paid even if the Publisher is incorrect and basically ignored the part about the US royalties being missing.

    I have replied back to them about the missing US royalties weeks and weeks ago..still waiting to hear back. The Library is also trying to help and get the correct publishing info to PRS.

    My placements are for show like Keeping Up with The Kardashians and The Challenge , and whilst each one is not worth a fortune it’s still a significant amount and a fair chunk of my placements to date.



    Stumbled across this thread, I’m in a similar boat – definite placements in the US but no royalties through PRS yet. The tracks are definitely registered on BMI database. PRS told me I had to register the tracks with them myself and eventually they would communicate with BMI and link them up. Nothing so far though, been about a year. Is the only/best option then to register with BMI for US/Canada only? Why don’t PRS tell us this if that’s the case?!


    In the end I decided to join BMI for the USA and Canada while remaining with the PRS for the rest of the world which they will allow if you write to them. It’s worked pretty well so far and I’m glad I made the switch.

    Hi @Orca,
    I am also a UK based composer registered with the PRS and it would be great to hear more about how you set this up with BMI, as I have a lot of tracks in primarily USA based libraries. When you did the switch did it mean having to contact all your libraries to tell them you have switched to BMI and give them a new CAE/IPI number etc? Or do you use the same number?

    Thanks for the info you have given so far – bit of an eye opener!


    I think that a lot of UK based library musicians must have experienced this problem.

    What happened for me was that I was trying to track down some missing US TV placement royalties based on information from my tunesat account. I couldn’t get anywhere with the PRS support system so I contacted BMI in London (https://www.bmi.com/about/entry/contact_us) to see if they could help, as the library and publisher in the US that I was using were signed to BMI.

    BMI London were very helpful. I discussed with them whether I could join BMI as publisher in order to get my share of royalties directly from the US and they told me the easiest way would be for me to join them for USA and Canada as a writer while remaining with the PRS for the rest of the world.

    I had to write and post a letter to the PRS requesting that they release me for the USA and Canada which they agreed to do.

    Once I had signed all the BMI paperwork, contract, W8BEN tax forms etc BMI took care of re-registering all my relevant PRS catalogue to my new BMI catalogue. The music libraries didn’t need to get involved or be notified with my back catalogue but I did let them know for all new recordings once I had joined BMI.

    When BMI receive any royalties for me now they send it directly to me in the normal way with quarterly statements that have much more information than I was able to get from the PRS. I have a standard UK personal bank account and the payment is converted from USD to GBP by the UK bank at their normal conversion rate and transferred directly into my bank account from BMI.

    I still get quarterly statements and payments from PRS for my other works outside the USA and Canada as usual.

    @ PAMMusic I have the same CAE/IPI number for the PRS but have another CAE/IPI with BMI. Most of my BMI catalogue listings on their portal use my original PRS CAE/IPI though.

    It might sound quite complicated but BMI did all the work for me and my payments from them have mostly been much better than I expected.


    I’ve been wanting to do something like this but have a more complicated problem:

    One of my publishers in the US uses ASCAP
    Another one uses BMI
    And lastly – and here’s what makes it even more complicated, another uses SESAC

    So my catalog is split across those three US PROs.

    I asked a SESAC rep: if I join BMI only, will you send my SESAC royalties to BMI for me? Answer: “No”
    Ok, can I join both SESAC and BMI? Answer: “No”

    Ok, so what do I do?

    Well apparently SESAC might let me join them just for my catalog there, but I would have to tell PRS that I am joining SESAC only for my catalog in the US at SESAC, and that PRS will still collect for me from ASCAP and BMI.

    If I could actually do this it would be worth it, since SESAC is most of my royalties.

    But PRS told me I couldn’t do that. It had to be by territory, not by catalog / PRO.

    So I told the SESAC rep what PRS said. They said no, you can definitely do this.

    As you can see.. pretty difficult to get anywhere.


    Hey Orca,

    I actually have an update to my situation and it sounds like I might be able to do something like you, except in my case with SESAC instead of BMI.

    I can join SESAC for the USA only by asking for a release from PRS for the USA.

    I have a question about where you said you notified your music libraries going forward that you are now a member of BMI for the USA: Do you mean that you have to tell them something like this:

    – I am with BMI for the USA only, with CAE: XYZ
    – I am with PRS for the rest of the world with CAE: ABC

    How do they register the tracks then? Does the sub publisher in the USA register your tracks with BMI under your BMI CAE and details? And then for the rest of the world they register the tracks with PRS?

    Please do let me know when you can!

    Thank you.


    Hi Tbone,

    That sounds promising with SESAC, I hope that you can get it worked out with them.

    I had a quick check of my PRS and BMI catalogues and it seems that if a new song is registered with the PRS it automatically later appears in my BMI catalogue. I think that might be something that BMI London set up but I’m not exactly sure.

    I’m not sure if it works like that both ways but if I find that a new song that has been registered with BMI I will probably also register it in my PRS catalogue just in case.

    I think that around 95% of my back end royalties come from US placements so that’s been my main concern recently.

    With the US based libraries I give them my BMI CAE/IPI information, with the European ones I give them my PRS details. I haven’t noticed any issues with it yet but will try to deal with that if it comes up.

    Thanks, Orca


    Hi Orca,

    I had a really good conversation with my SESAC representative today and will go ahead with joining SESAC for the USA only.

    What he told me is that publishers will continue to register my tracks in the same way with my PRS CAE/IPI, and that it will automatically come up that I am with SESAC in the USA. He said I probably don’t even really need to tell my publishers about it. He said that I keep my same CAE/IPI that I currently use from PRS too. Basically it’s one of the few global systems /databases that actually works.

    Looks promising so I’m hoping it works out well.

    The only thing was that if I want to move my old, already released tracks which are at either ASCAP or BMI currently, over to SESAC, I would have to ask my publishers to do this for me. But if I choose not to, ASCAP or BMI will continue to send payments for these old tracks to PRS for me.


    Hi Tbone,

    That sound great, I hope that it all works out with PRS and SESAC! I’d be interested to hear how it turns out once you’ve got everything in place.

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