If you’re reading this in the UK, then hopefully you’ll have heard of the PRS. The PRS is our PRO and each major territory has their own.
Germany has GEMA, France has SACEM, Australia has APRA and so on and so forth (there’s a nice post here which covers all the acronyms you’ll come across in the music industry which is worth bookmarking). America is a bit different than the rest as they actually have three who compete with one another; BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, and as a writer, you can choose which one of the three to go with depending on your individual needs.
Now, in theory, all these PROs have reciprocal deals in place with one another; so if you’re a PRS member and one of your copyrights generates money, say in Norway, then TONO (which is Norway’s PRO) should collect that money and give it to the PRS (after taking a cut) who then pass it onto you as a writer (after taking another cut). Now, this is the theory, but in reality, this can take a hell of a long time, if it happens at all. That’s why it’s strongly recommended that you work with a publisher who is a member of all these PROs directly and therefore can register your copyrights with every PRO instead of just one. This, in a nutshell, means you get your money significantly quicker.
So, for example, you play a European tour which lasts for twenty dates across seven countries. If you went for the DIY approach then you’d have to wait for seven different PROs to collect your performance income (more on that shortly), find out who you are and with what PRO that you yourself are registered with and then pass that to them to give to you. This creates a massive lag in getting your income, whereas if you work with a publisher (like Sentric, naturally) we will have registered your copyrights directly with the seven PROs already so, therefore, you’ll receive royalties from us at the next available distribution.
So what kind of money is available?
Well as an emerging artist there are three main ways you’ll generate income from your publishing copyrights; these are Performance Royalties, Mechanical Royalties and Synchronisation. There are more; sheet music, lyrics on merchandising etc., but they only kick in when you start making megabucks, so let’s just focus on these three to begin with.