To understand what a PRO is, please click here for our Publishing Administration terminology.
Will you sign me up with a PRO?
No – only the writer him/herself can affiliate with a PRO.
We have a guide for US citizens and a guide for Non-US Citizens that will assist.
BMI charges no fees whatsoever, whereas most other PROs charge a sign-up fee. The process is very simple and straightforward – we make it easy on you.
Keep in mind that Symphonics’ core task is to register your compositions with collection societies worldwide. We are collecting the publisher’s share of your royalties. By law, your writer’s share cannot be touched by another entity and must be sent directly to your home address. Signing up with BMI (or another PRO) allows you to create an account with BMI so that you can directly collect the writer’s share of your performance royalties – something we cannot touch.
Our publishing admin service (in partnership with Songtrust) registers the works on behalf of the songwriter depending on where they are registered (BMI or ASCAP for the most part) and then, depending on who the administrator is, would register in other territories or, PRO’s in those territories.
What do you collect in addition to what my PRO collects?
Symphonic's Publishing Administration (in partnership with Songtrust) collects the following types of royalties:
- Streaming Mechanicals
- Download Mechanicals
- Master Use Fees (from Synchronization uses)
BMI, ASCAP and SESAC and SOCAN collect the following:
- Performance (radio/TV)
- Digital Performance (streaming, satellite radio)
- Live Performance
Symphonic (in partnership with Songtrust) registers your compositions with BMI, ASCAP, SESAC or SOCAN on your behalf.
The mechanical royalties due from streams, downloads (outside of the US & Latin America) and physical sales are not collected by performance societies like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or SOCAN. The partners that stream and sell downloads do not have your songwriter information, therefore the money goes unclaimed. The Symphonic Publishing Administration registers your information with distribution partners, song by song, so you get paid.
We also collect royalties for print, ringtones, synchronization fees (for film and TV licenses) and collect directly from some digital partners for streaming performances.
Being affiliated with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC or SOCAN is very important for any songwriter and we highly recommend it so you get paid your performance royalties.
I already have an account with a PRO in my country, what now?
You will still be receiving your songwriter’s share of performance royalties directly to your home address from your PRO. (International Copyright Law protects songwriters so that they must by law receive 50 percent of the total performance royalties. their songwriter’s share, mailed directly from the PRO to the songwriter’s home address.)
As your publishing administrator, we will be collecting the other 50 percent share (the publisher’s share of performance royalties), in addition to the full mechanical royalty share, and distributing it to you. Therefore, you should still keep your PRO login info on hand because you need to make sure you keep your PRO updated on your correct mailing address. But for now, you only need to register the songs with us on the Symphonic Management System (not directly with your PRO). We’ll register the songs you give to us with your PRO and all the other societies we collect from. You’ll get royalty checks from both your PRO and Symphonic, your publishing administrator.
Is my PRO my publisher?
No. They are a performing rights organization which reports to songwriters, publishers, and publishing administrators. Joining ASCAP/BMI is helplful but not enough. It’s only a small part of the publishing story, and your PRO is not your publisher. Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN and SESAC only collect one type of publishing royalty, called public performance royalties (hence why they are called Performance Rights Organizations).
1) If you’re a writer member of your PRO, you’re currently only collecting the writer’s share – 50% of the total performance royalties. We will collect for you the publisher’s share, the other 50% of the total performance royalties you’re not currently collecting.
2) Next, we will be collecting much more than performance royalties – we’ll also be collecting a central type of royalty called mechanical royalties, which you earn every time your music is streamed on Spotify worldwide and every time your music is downloaded in territories outside of the USA.
3) Not only that, we will be registering your songs not just with your home country PRO, but also in every single PRO in each of the 60 territories we collect from. Collecting money directly from each society allows us to collect the maximum amount, avoiding any extra splits taken from your royalties.
Does Publishing Administration replace me working with a PRO?
No, we simply take over the responsibility of registering your songs with PROs and mechanical collection societies in the world if you join. You’ll still be receiving a royalty check from your PRO for the writer's share of your material. If you have already registered yourself as a songwriter with a PRO, please do not delete your account with that PRO.
How do I report set lists to my PRO?
Heads Up: Each time you perform your music live at eligible venues, you are earning yourself performance royalties. If you are an actively performing DJ, and you play your own tracks AND the tracks of others, you’re earning performance royalties for both yourself AND for the songwriters of the tracks you play.
You can therefore see why it’s crucial to market your songs to other DJs – you want them to play your music in their sets at clubs, which will earn you even more performance royalties.
A great article on this was written by Ari Hernstand as well.
Thus: Whenever you perform live, you must report all your set lists to your PRO. Make it a regular post-concert habit. It is your responsibility as the songwriter and performer to turn in set lists to your PRO. Each PRO has their own system of turning in set lists which in turn helps the PRO to track the performance and allot your royalties from the venue.
For BMI, it’s BMI Live. If you’re a BMI affiliate, check out their FAQ page here to get more information on how to submit your set lists: BMI Live FAQ.