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Registering with a PRO, Publishing, Distributing... Which should I do first!?

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Registering with a PRO, Publishing, Distributing... Which should I do first!?

Postby kevinzou93 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:06 pm

Hello people on SOS,

I'm an independent musician located in LA right now and I just finished my first legit track for an ad on social media. I've tried to figure out the whole music business thing (my BA is in music so I have some fundamental knowledge about music business), but the more I look into it the more confused I get. For example, you need to register published works with your PRO when you sign up with a PRO, but when you publish through a publisher such as CD Baby, TuneCore or SongTrust you need to link your PRO with them... SO like what should I do!???? Also, I don't want to distribute a BGM for an ad to iTunes or Spotify cuz I see no points in doing that, is that ok? Why CD Baby doesn't let you do that? Can one person have different PRO Accounts? for example, I'm a composer for films also a singer-songwriter with a different stage name, do I need two Pro accounts or I only need one but can have two "roles"?

I know this must be such an easy question for most of you here but I just can't find any resources to solve my questions. If you could briefly explain the step by step process I'd really really appreciate that. Thank you so much!
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Re: Registering with a PRO, Publishing, Distributing... Which should I do first!?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:28 am

Hi Kevinzou93, welcome to the forum and good work on getting your music placed. :)
This is one of those questions where there are territorial differences, so what applies in the UK might not apply in the US. Which is probably why CD Baby aren't able to offer a consistent approach.
Are you a member of a musicians union in the US? They can frequently offer help with exactly this kind of query.
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Re: Registering with a PRO, Publishing, Distributing... Which should I do first!?

Postby manhattan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:28 pm

kevinzou93 wrote:Hello people on SOS,

I'm an independent musician located in LA right now and I just finished my first legit track for an ad on social media. I've tried to figure out the whole music business thing (my BA is in music so I have some fundamental knowledge about music business), but the more I look into it the more confused I get. For example, you need to register published works with your PRO when you sign up with a PRO, but when you publish through a publisher such as CD Baby, TuneCore or SongTrust you need to link your PRO with them... SO like what should I do!???? Also, I don't want to distribute a BGM for an ad to iTunes or Spotify cuz I see no points in doing that, is that ok? Why CD Baby doesn't let you do that? Can one person have different PRO Accounts? for example, I'm a composer for films also a singer-songwriter with a different stage name, do I need two Pro accounts or I only need one but can have two "roles"?

I know this must be such an easy question for most of you here but I just can't find any resources to solve my questions. If you could briefly explain the step by step process I'd really really appreciate that. Thank you so much!

Hi,

It certainly can be a rather confusing industry to figure out.

I'm not certain I'd consider Cd Baby, TuneCore & SongTrust Publishers, although they do offer some services that can be seen as Publishing such as Administration, which you likely don't need at least not off the start.

What you should do is sign up with a PRO, but take some time to figure out which PRO to sign up for. In the USA you have three options, BMG, ASCAP, SESAC. If you are doing a lot of live stuff perhaps ASCAP or SESAC is best, if you are doing a lot of TV/Film stuff perhaps BMG is the best. Ultimately they are all doing about the same thing.

If you are Releasing and Publishing songs Id suggest getting your own ISRC # or else finding one definitely for FREE. Aggragators such as DistroKid provide free ISRC's although Id still suggest getting your own if you can, in certain Countries its free, not sure about the USA right now though.

When you release a song or sync a song, you will need to provide the PRO information or as you say link your song to a PRO. You should really maintain the desire to always keep your backend/publishing or rather your songwriting and publishing royalties even in many work for hire instances. When you put a song in television or film they are supposed to file cue sheets, which is ultimately how your PRO knows when your work is used and thus when to pay you royalties. So you always want to put stuff in your PRO, even in the case of work for hires, unless the contract explicitly states otherwise and you are paid accordingly for it.

Then every song you make should be put into your PRO, even if its background music or just about anything! If you sign all your rights to a song away including your composing/songwriting royalties then I suppose you wouldn't, but that would be in few cases and your Publisher would ask/demand as such.

You do not need different PRO accounts unless you are acting as a Publisher, and even then you don't necessarily have to sign up for a Publishers account, although its smart to. You sign up with your real person name and then you can put any number of AKA or pseudonyms on songs. What they need to know is what songs you compose/write regardless who it is for and will always want it tied back to your real name.
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