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Rights and Royalties: Choosing Your Performance Rights Organization

Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) stand as unsung heroes, ensuring that creators get their rightful share for the use of their compositions. Understanding the purpose and function of PROs is not just beneficial; it's a necessity for anyone looking to protect and monetize their musical works. In this article, we'll demystify the roles of these pivotal entities and highlight the PROs available in the U.S. and Canada, guiding you through the melody of music rights management.

The Purpose and Function of PROs

At their core, Performance Rights Organizations serve as intermediaries between copyright holders and those wishing to use musical works publicly. Whether it's a song being played on the radio, in a restaurant, or streamed online, PROs ensure that composers, songwriters, and publishers are compensated for their creations.

Why Are PROs Necessary? In a world without PROs, individual artists would face the daunting task of tracking every use of their music and collecting royalties, a feat nearly impossible in today's global digital marketplace. PROs streamline this process, offering peace of mind and financial security to creators, allowing them to focus on what they do best: making music.

How Do PROs Work? PROs license music on behalf of their members, collect royalties from businesses and organizations that use music, and distribute these royalties to copyright owners. They also advocate for copyright protection, ensuring that music creators are fairly compensated in legislative arenas.

Performance Rights Organizations in the U.S. and Canada

In the United States:

  1. ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) - [Insert hyperlink to ASCAP's website]

  2. BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) - [Insert hyperlink to BMI's website]

  3. SESAC (originally stood for Society of European Stage Authors & Composers) - [Insert hyperlink to SESAC's website]

  4. GMR (Global Music Rights) - [Insert hyperlink to GMR's website]

In Canada:

  1. SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) - [Insert hyperlink to SOCAN's website]

  2. Re:Sound - [Insert hyperlink to Re:Sound's website]

Each of these organizations has its unique approach to licensing and royalty distribution, with various membership benefits. Artists should consider their specific needs and the genres of music they create when choosing a PRO to join.

Choosing the Right PRO for You

Selecting a PRO is a critical decision for any music creator. Factors to consider include the organization's fee structure, distribution frequency, and the territories they cover. Networking with fellow musicians and consulting with industry professionals can also provide valuable insights into the best fit for your career.

The Impact of PROs on the Music Industry

Beyond individual benefits, PROs play a crucial role in sustaining the music industry's ecosystem. They ensure that copyright laws adapt to new technologies and platforms, protecting the value of music in the digital age. By advocating for fair compensation, PROs contribute to a vibrant cultural landscape where creators can thrive.


As guardians of the music industry, Performance Rights Organizations ensure that the harmony of creativity and compensation continues. Whether you're a seasoned composer or a budding songwriter, understanding and engaging with PROs is essential.

By ensuring your music is protected and monetized properly, you're not just safeguarding your work; you're contributing to the enduring legacy of music as a valuable art form.

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