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Performing Rights Organizations and Collecting Societies

Publishing royalties from streaming

For publishing royalties from streaming, both performing and mechanical royalties are generated, so you need to make sure that both sets of royalties are being collected.

  • Performing royalty: The royalty paid to the owner of a musical composition in exchange for the performance license.
  • Mechanical royalty: The royalty paid to the owner of a musical composition in exchange for the mechanical license.

Note: The percentage split between what is a performing or mechanical royalty in a stream varies from country to country.

Key terms

Performing Rights Organizations (PROs)

In the United States, Performing Rights Organizations represent publishers and songwriters for performance licenses and royalty payments.

Examples of PROs in the US include:

  • BMI
  • GMR

Collective Management Organizations (CMOs)

A Collective Management Organization is a collective agency that represents copyright owners (e.g. publishers and songwriters) and deals with both performing and mechanical royalties.

They’re used in most countries (excluding the US) to promote their members’ works, and administer, collect, and pay out royalties for performing and mechanical licenses for their members.

Examples include GEMA (Germany), SACEM (France), ABRAMUS (Brazil), and PRS for Music (UK).

Mechanical Rights Agencies

Mechanical Rights Agencies (also called Mechanical Rights Organizations) represent publishers and songwriters for mechanical licenses and royalty payments.

Note: If you're a songwriter, composer, or lyricist, and you’ve assigned your right to collect mechanical royalties in the US to a music publisher or administrator, you receive your mechanical royalties directly from them, rather than from a Mechanical Rights Agency.

Examples of Mechanical Rights Agencies in the US include the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) and Music Reports. Spotify worked with the Harry Fox Agency to administer our mechanical licenses and mechanical royalties in the US before the Mechanical Licensing Collective went into effect on January 1, 2021.

Mechanical Licensing Collective (USA)

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) is a nonprofit entity that administers the blanket licensing system established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) as of January 1, 2021.

The MLC receives notices and reports from digital music providers, identifies musical works and their owners for payment, and collects and distributes royalties to self-administered songwriters, composers, lyricists, music publishers, administrators, and CMOs.

Learn how to register your compositions

Collecting Societies

A catch-all term for Performing Rights Organizations, Collective Management Organizations, and Mechanical Rights Agencies.

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