Royalty Payments – Monitoring and Collection


A few threads have developed regarding the PROs (Performing Rights Organizations), royalty payments, monitoring, cue sheets, etc. I am going to group them here for further discussion.

176 Replies to “Royalty Payments – Monitoring and Collection”

    1. The Supervisors you submit to only work on a select number of shows. At the end of the season you can ask the Music Supervisor/Coordinator for the “cue sheets” which are Excel spreadsheets detailing the cues that are used on a show in any given episode of a specific season.

      If you’re working with a “middleman” library, buy a subscription to Tunesat. If you’re working with a “PMA” library, they will probably have detailed records of each cue used, though it may be hard to get someone at the library to dig up that info…

  1. Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I was wondering if anyone here knows how good PRO royalties are for Discovery Channel and Animal Planet?

    1. On the grand scale they’re not big at all, however if you get a theme song or a cue/cues that is/are used in every single episode of a series, that can add up to some respectable dollar amounts.

      Discovery channel has a large international presence, but being able to collect those monies is very difficult.

      Hope that helps..

      1. Thanks, Oontz Oontz. I appreciate any info I can get. That does help.
        These aren’t theme placements. Are you talking pennies? I hope not… I’m just curious if anyone has an exact $ amount from say a regular :30 background placement.

        1. Hi Blind,

          I only had cue one show up on Discovery Health 4th Q 2009. 01:40 paid $2.15. I would hope the regular Discovery channel would pay more. Some Animal Planets showed up on my Tunesat account for this quarter but will not know those numbers for a couple of more statements.

        2. Hey Blind,

          I’m afraid to say yes, it will most likely be a matter of a couple of dollars. You can probably find more money by looking under your couch cushions ๐Ÿ™

          But thats ok, Discovery is actually a difficult network to get placed on, since they have their own library they regularly turn to..

          The big money ASCAP/BMI/SESAC payout networks are actually easier to get on, anything VIACOM related will get you some nice monies.

          If you’re going through middlemen libraries (Jinglepunks, Audiosocket etc..), let them know you’re interested in VIACOM placements and they’ll advise accordingly as to what kind of cues to write…

          Keep workin’ at it and you can have some full time income…

          1. When you say VIACOM, I presume you mean all their networks? They own a ton of cable channels:
            Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, BET, CMT, Spike, Comedy Central. Not to mention CBS!
            That’s a pretty wide swath of genres and styles, for example the cartoons on Nick use vastly different music to police chase videos on Spike, VH1 reality shows, or CBS shows.

          2. Exactly, the V probably pays somewhere between $70 – $80 million dollars a year in PRO license fees. Someone should look this up in the Viacom quarterly reports to get an exact number.

            A wide range of styles is good, that means composers of many genres can get placements at the same time without competing with each other.

            Some of my buddies do the following:

            They might work on a Viacom show like “Parental Control” on MTV which uses alot of urban/rock tension music. They go out and find a guy who does alot of cartoon work for the Nick shows, then they take a week to write in each-others genres. Then they submit 10 – 20 cues to eachother to put on their shows. That way, the urban/rock writer gets some Nick exposure, and the Nick writer gets some MTV exposure.

            There are TONS of ways to make money.

          3. hey that’s pretty clever !!
            I have a fair amount of tracks being broadcast on MTV ( Parental Control) uses my cues ALL the time and the back end is decent

            I obviously have other placements with Fox, Fox Sports, Speed Channel, ABC, BBC Itv etc but the Viacom channels do add up to decent money

            I wonder if MTV being sued a few years back ( they lost btw..) served as a lesson in cue sheet reporting and accounting for them

          1. I was hoping for at least a little better than that… Oh, well. Thanks a lot for the info. Much appreciated.
            Since you guys seem to know $/min, do you know some of the Viacom channel numbers? I know it varies widely, but still….

          2. Sure, a 45 second instrumental cue on one of the heavily played MTV shows will make you about $400 for your publishers share, and another $400 for your writers share. They might play the episode 7 times in primetime, 12 times in the afternoon etc…so all of those placements add up nicely..

  2. Gael
    Thanks for your help this is definitely clarifying things up a bit. But I must tell you that you are right I should get no more Royalty compensation for any of those other uses according to my contract (probably the worst in the world,negotiations? what negotiations?) HOWEVER, the foreign PROs WILL be collecting those royalties.
    So I guess my question is How do I make sure these royalties (from downloads) are registered and distributed to Ascap, then to Yours Truly?

    This just in: Ascap confirmed circulating the cue sheet to E.U territories. I am still waiting to hear back from PRS in the UK to get an answer on the downloads situation.

  3. I am 100% sure that they pay Royalty in the UK for ANY online usage – whether streaming or downloads.
    Downloads are considered Mechanical Royalties I believe, it’s like buying a virtual CD. In my specific case, they are selling the movie with my music on it online which should return some Mechanical Rights. Of course, none were included in the contract I had to sign, neither for the DVD rentals or sales.
    Am I screwed?
    ( I did email the PRS twice with all the Company’s info and my Ascap ID and am awaiting a response. You will be the first to know!)
    Check this out copied and pasted from the PRS website:

    “We will pay you for a track as long as we are sent the required information from the digital music supplier and we can automatically match it to information stored in our database. For download stores, approximately 90% of downloads are paid out. A high proportion of the 90% is achieved through automatic matching, the remaining downloads are manually matched when it is cost effective to do so.

    Royalties from the online and mobile music providers listed below are paid directly from the money that we collect from them. (Eg money collected from iTunes is paid out to members that have had their music downloaded from iTunes.)

    The companies on this list either generate more than ยฃ20,000 per annum or have musical content that is cost effective, for us to analyse. Money from those on this list accounts for 97% of online and mobile revenue.

    7 Digital Media
    Hutchison 3G
    Learning Brook Ltd
    Nokia (formerly OD2)
    Sony Connect
    The In Good Company
    Warp Records

    For companies that generate less money (through either our JOL or LOEL schemes) we pool all the revenue collected and pay it out according to the data that we have.

    This minimises costs and maximises the money that we pay to you.”
    thanks all for your feedback, truly appreciated.

    1. @ Lairr,

      Unless there is language to the contrary in your agreement, when someone downloads a copy of the film, TV episode, video game, etc. in which your music is embedded, you don’t get paid anything more for those uses.

      In your master use/synchronization license (or composer agreement) there should be language that indicates “licensed use” or “exhibition rights” or something of that nature. It will be a part of every contract where music is involved.

      The language is usually something like this:

      “PERFORMANCE and EXHIBITION RIGHTS: The non-exclusive, irrevocable right to use, distribute and perform the Composition and Master throughout the Term and Territory, as embodied in the Program and in-context advertisements thereof, in any manner in any and all media now known or hereafter devised (including without limitation all forms of theatrical and non-theatrical exhibition, DVDs, video cassettes, video discs, video tape and any other form of audiovisual device for home video or otherwise, and all forms of television including without limitation free, pay, and basic origination television, whether programming is transmitted by over-the-air broadcast, microwave, cable, closed circuit or direct broadcast satellite or by any other means now known or hereafter devised).”

      Note that it includes IN context trailer uses (meaning that if they use the scene in which your music is used in any trailer or ad, you don’t get any more money — but you can include an OUT of context trailer option — which should be around twice the amount paid to license your music used in the film, etc. Trailers are paid out of advertising budgets, not the music budgets, so there’s more money to toss around for those additional uses).

      To avoid any separate musical downloads (not embedded in the film, video game, etc.) you need to include language such as this:

      “No soundtrack album or separate audio digital download rights are granted or implied by this License.”

      This ensures that if they want to use your music in a soundtrack CD (or digital download site that makes the music available for separate audio-only downloads), a different agreement must be negotiated and signed (which usually provides for an advance to be paid, as well as a particular amount per unit sold [or download completed]) — all of which is completely spelled out in a soundtrack agreement.

      To make sure they do not use the music in any advertisements or trailers outside the scope of the in-context use (whether an ad for the video game or a movie trailer, etc.), you need to include language something like:

      “OUT-OF-CONTEXT TRAILERS/ADVERTISEMENTS OPTION: Should Licensee choose to exercise this Option, Licensee shall have the non-exclusive, irrevocable right to use, distribute and publicly perform the Master throughout the Term and Territory, in all forms of out-of-context trailers, advertisements, features/making-ofs, promotional programs and all other forms of publicity for or in connection with the Program (collectively, “Ads”) for exploitation in all media now known or hereafter devised, including without limitation, on-line websites.”

      … and then you indicate in another section of the contract what additional amount they’d need to pay in order to exercise the out-of-context trailer use.

      You can also opt to make ANY trailer use an option (in OR out of context), but your chances of securing a placement go down, since production companies have gotten pretty rabid about all-inclusive rights. Heck… some are even asking for the “Territory” to be the UNIVERSE (instead of the world)! I think that’s excessive and don’t give it to ’em. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      But remember…

      Because of the way downloads and streaming uses are currently being defined (and as are in practice in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world), a “download” means a download of the film (or whatever), which is included in the licensed use of the music in the “video buyout” clause. Only a separate digital download of the music itself, on its own, would be considered a download of the MUSIC — and therefore subject to any type of mechanical royalty payment.

      The use of the phrase “in any and all media, now known or hereafter devised” they are saying that no matter what the tech might be tomorrow, the use of your music is included for no extra money.

      So make sure you thoroughly vet ANY contract that comes your way, and that you hammer out the details BEFORE any of your music is used in any project.

      Just because someone wants to use your music doesn’t mean they automatically get to call ALL the shots. Arm yourself with knowledge and negotiate the terms. Know where you can and cannot receive additional monies — whether via performance royalties, trailer options, etc.

      About the only way that you can get any sort of cut from DVD sales is to be a part of the producer’s team on the project — or if you’re lucky enough to get it specifically included in your mast ues/synchronization license (which is highly unlikely). Even the Rolling Stones don’t get a piece of DVD sales for films in which their music appears.

      Of course, every country’s rules, regulations and copyright laws are different, so you need to check your contract against the respective copyright laws and contact your PRO directly for definitive answers. Going to their website won’t suffice. You need to contact a rep at your PRO to go over your specific circumstances.

      Hope that helps,

  4. This is crazy! I will have thousands of dollars lying around worldwide and no one to collect them for me here in the US????
    Any ideas? I can’t possibly sign up to 72 different PROs, now can I? (That’s how many countries are broadcasting the movie)

    What a joke! and let’s keep laughin -or crying- what about DVD sales/Rentals? I know the same EU PROs collect. But who does in the US? anyone?
    Am I gonna lose out on that too?

    1. My understanding is that “record” labels paid mechanicals driectly to recording artists, based upon the number of manufactured units.

      I do not believe that there is a third party, such as a PRO, that collects those royalties.

      This issue may be between you and your client. Perhaps digital downloads are different.

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