Publishing Administration Terminology

Performing Rights Organization (PRO)

A PRO is a Performing Rights Organization, whose business for songwriters, composers and publishers includes collecting their performance royalties. By law, PROs must send 50 percent of the total performance royalties to the songwriter's and composer's designated home addresses. The other 50 percent is the “publisher’s share,” and different PROs treat the publisher’s share in different ways.

For example, ASCAP requires self-published songwriters to start their own publishing company in order to collect the publisher’s share, which includes paying the large publisher set-up fee, setting up your publishing company’s bank account, and a ton of administrative hassle. BMI, in contrast, allows self-published songwriters to simply collect both songwriter’s share and publisher’s share in one lump 100 percent share without creating a publishing company.

CAE Number

In musical rights management, a CAE number is used to identify rights holders within performing rights organizations. Having this information is crucial for Sync Licensing opportunities and more.

The acronym "CAE" was devised by the national society of Switzerland, SUISA, and consisted of the French words Compositeur, Auteur and Editeur, for Composer, Author and Publisher.

A CAE number is 9 digits long. It is not to be confused with your BMI account number or account numbers within a performing rights organization.

A CAE is also public record and you can find it online. To look for your CAE, you can look for it on the following databases below. Even if you are registered with an international society such as APRA or GEMA, very likely, you will be found in these fields. Be sure to enter your actual First and Last name or what you are registered under your society. You will ONLY have a CAE if you are with a performing rights organization. BMI is free to signup for artists, so we recommend you start there if you haven't registered with a PRO yet.

ASCAP - Click here
BMI - Click here
SESAC - Click Here


The International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) identifies a musical work as a unique intangible creation. It relates to the result of an intangible creation of one or more people, regardless of copyright status, distributions or agreements that cover this creation.

ISWC Code description

The International Standard Musical Work Code (ISWC) for a musical work is usually stored in a database on a computer system. It is divided into three elements, consisting of the letter T (the "prefix element"), followed by nine digits (the "work identifier"), and a numeric check digit.

When an ISWC is written or printed the letters ISWC shall precede it. For ease of reading only, hyphens and dots may be used as separators.

EXAMPLE: ISWC T-034.524.680-1

Note: In territories where the Latin alphabet is not used, an abbreviation in the local script may be used in addition to the Latin letters ISWC.

The ISWC cannot appear on the musical work (the intangible creation) itself. It should however be printed on all correspondence pertaining to the work to which it has been allocated. The ISWC should always be printed in type large enough to be easily legible. The ISWC should also be printed along with the copyright notice.

Symphonic Distribution doesn't hand out ISWC's as we don't have access to this information for every songwriter.

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