Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Note About Performance Righrs

I was checking out a community forum at Pond5 recently and came across a thread discussing how some video producers are leery of licensing stock music that's registered with a performance rights organization, or PRO. Here's my understanding of what's going on with this, and my policy toward it.

First, I do belong to a PRO, specifically the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) here in the United States. PROs like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, among others, collect fees from broadcasters and others when members' music gets "performed," for example on a media broadcast or in a bar on a jukebox. I don't register all of my work, but I do register certain pieces that I've written that I think have a decent chance to earn royalties from a performance. This includes around 40 of my stock music tracks, as well as all the tracks from Circadia and the single Dream Catcher.

If you're a person who wants to license one of my tracks, but are worried about additional responsibilities because it's registered with a PRO, my understanding is you really only have to worry about it if you intend to use it in a broadcast, like on radio or TV. If that's the case, you need to fill out something called a cue sheet that tells the broadcaster that you're using one of my tracks so that they can pay me what I'm owed, depending on how it's used, etc. If you're using the music just for your own videos, either for yourself or to put on YouTube, Facebook, etc. you don't have to fill out a cue sheet.

My policy on YouTube is that I do not monetize my stock music tracks by registering them through their content ID system. Any stock music of mine that you license through Pond5, AudioJungle, or MotionElements you can use freely on YouTube. I upload YouTube videos of some of my stock music with watermarks so people can audition tracks before licensing. I do participate in content ID for Circadia tracks and Dream Catcher. That happens through CD Baby, with whom I released the album and single, respectively.

So long story short, if you're licensing one of my tracks for personal use or to put behind a video you're going to upload to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or whatever, there's no need to fill out a cue sheet or worry about copyright challenges on YouTube. I hope this is helpful, and that you won't hesitate to license my work even if it's registered with a PRO. (On the other hand, if you do want to use it in a commercial, then please do fill out a cue sheet - and thanks for your support.) I hope this is helpful.

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