What buyers prefer non-PRO music

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    The dilemma “Pro vs non-Pro” has already been discussed a lot and I understand that for composers at High-end Libraries is more important to be in a PRO than composers in Royalty-Free Libraries but i would like to make a more specific question on the subject.
    the most relevant post I found in this question, is this:

    Is signing up with a PRO worth my time?

    First of all the benefits of being registered with a PRO are obvious, though not equally important for all. But I try to figure out – unsuccessfully till now, if there are really some positives in NOT being registered with a PRO (except for the time you save avoiding bureaucracy). And that always leads me to the following question:

    Which types of buyers prefer to buy non-PRO music? In other words, what types of usages, leads a buyer to avoid PRO music?

    I would greatly appreciate a help on this.

    Composer Of Notes

    Perhaps in Europe it might make sense. In the USA they get around PROs by not paying them. Having dealt with European PROs, my impression was they were very on top of making sure composers and publishers get paid. Not to talk badly of ASCAP, but just look at the whole Scrips fiasco. Play in EU, get paid. USA, no pay.
    So the buyer might be European or even Asia or AFrica. The PROs have more control there so composers are either in or out. The point is, the buyer is likely not in the USA because in the USA you can use music without paying a perpetual or full license and PRO doesn’t matter because the buyer is not responsible for any performance royalty.


    @Composer of Notes thank you very much for your answer.
    I have the misfortune to be in a country of Europe where the PRO is totally useless in this type of business. So I have not registered any of my tracks yet. ?n the last few months I have sold some “premium licenses” and had some Tunesat detections from networks in US/UK so i’m thinking either to use a service like Songtrust or to move to another PRO (possibly bmi or ascap)


    Hi mmuser,

    this might vary from country to country a bit, but generally the “broadcasters” pay the PROs, when music is performed publicly.

    So, many broadcasters (TV networks, radio, VoD,…, concert venues…) have deals in place with their countries PRO.

    So, e.g. an ad agency produces a TV spot/commercial for a client and buys a PRO registered music license from a library for that spot, it’s all good.

    But – if advertising agency produces spot/commercial for a client which will be shown at trade fares or PoS, and they license PRO music, the client (in this case he is the “broadcaster”) has to pay the PRO when he plays the spot publicly. In my limited experience the involved parties try to avoid this scenario. Not only because of the additional cost, but because of the uncertainty (“how much will it cost additionally”) and the hassle to deal with the PRO.
    Imagine the ad agency telling the client: “So this is how much the spot is going to cost you, but there will be additional costs for the music depending on how often/where/… you play it, we can’t really say how much it’s going to be though…” – might not sound very professional.

    Other examples (regarding GEMA/Germany) of buyers who might prefer Non PRO music: video gaming, amusement parks, music in phone hotline while you wait, hotels,…

    youtube used to be an uncertain situation in Germany, but now there is a deal in place with GEMA.

    Hope my info is correct, some of it is a few years old, feel free to correct.


    On more thing 🙂

    In my opinion, the PROs can be sort of seen as a “composers union”, fighting for their rights and making sure composers/songwriters are being paid.

    So I would highly recommend to support your local PRO (or move to ASCAP/BMI… in your case).


    @ro5er thank you so much for the very informative reply!
    I appreciate your help.

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