Are You a Singer Songwriter and Owner of You Own Sound Recordings?

Music Royalties – the unspoken voice of Sound Recordings

it is very useful to learn the differences between “songs” and “sound recordings” of songs. This difference is crucial to understanding how royalties are collected and distributed.

PRO’s (Performing Rights Organization) collect royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers for public performances of their “songs”. Phonographic Rights/Neighboring agencies collect royalties on behalf of performers/artists and record companies (or you if self release your recordings) for performing the “sound recording” – whether live or via CDs, radio/TV broadcasts, background music systems or other sources.

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Here’s a UK example of the difference:

“PPL and PRS for music are two separate collective management organisations (CMOs). PPL collects and distributes money on behalf of performers and record companies for the use of their recorded music. PRS for Music collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers, for the use of their musical compositions and lyrics”. Source:

So, when you sign up to a PRO you should also sign up to the affiliate association for your recorded works. In the USA it’s SoundExchange, in the UK it’s PPL, as mentioned above. The good news is that they each have reciprocal agreements to collect royalties on your behalf globally.

Below are some more country examples. To see a complete list (with active links) for all countries, go to and scroll to the bottom of it where you will see a large country table.


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Mind the Music Gap!

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