PERFORMANCE RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) play a vital role in any songwriter's career – even if a songwriter doesn't realize it. 

BMI, Broadcast Music, Inc.

Launched: 1939

Membership Size: 800,000 members

Official site: BMI.com

Socials: @BMI

Location: USA

 

About: BMI is one of the biggest and well known Performing Rights Organizations in the United States. It operates as a non-profit and was founded by radio executives to "serve as an advocate for the value of music" and to "support its songwriters, composers and publishers by taking care of an important aspect of their careers – getting paid," according to the BMI website. They offer blanket music licenses to businesses and organizations that allow them to play nearly 13 million musical works.

 

ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers

Launched: 1914

Membership Size: 700,000 members

Official site: ASCAP.com

Socials: @ASCAP

Location: USA

 

About: The only American PRO created and controlled by composers, writers, and music publishers—its Board of Directors is elected by its members. Along with BMI, ASCAP is another one of the largest PROs in the United States. ASCAP collects performance royalties in the US and globally via reciprocal agreements with foreign PROs outside of the US. 

 

SESAC, Society of European Stage Authors and Composers

Launched: 1930

Membership Size: 30,000 members

Official Site: SESAC.com

Socials: @SESAC

Location: USA

 

About: SESAC is a relatively smaller PRO in the U.S. that is not open to all songwriters. In order to become a member of SESAC, you must receive an invitation. SESAC focuses a lot of attention on representing film and television composers (from shows such as Seinfeld, Dr. Phil, and Grey’s Anatomy) as well as traditional songwriters SESAC writers like David Crosby or Bob Dylan. SESAC also owns and works closely with the Harry Fox Agency, one of the leading mechanical rights organizations in the United States.

 

SOCAN, Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada 

Launched: 1997

Membership Size: around 160,000 members

Official site: SOCAN.ca

Socials: @SOCANmusic

Location: Canada

 

About: SOCAN is the largest and one of the most well-known PRO’s for songwriters and composers in Canada. They collect and distribute performance royalties worldwide as well as issue licenses to Canadian businesses for the use of their catalog.

 

GMR, Global Music Rights 

Launched: 2013

Membership Size: Invitation-only, 46,000+ songs licensed

Official site: globalmusicrights.com

Socials: @gmro_pro

Location: USA