What Are International Publishing Royalties?

Beyonce and Jay-z performing

Performance royalties are an important source of income for talented music artists. International publishing royalties permit artists to collect and forward royalties earned in a foreign country. Publishing royalties are derived from live performances of an artist’s music, including music played on the radio, television, and live performances by cover artists. 

How Do I Determine my International Publishing Royalties?

To determine the amount of international publishing royalties generated by a composition, you will need to gather information from various sources, including performance rights organizations (PROs) in the countries where the work has been performed. Here are the steps you can follow: (1) determine which PROs the work is affiliated with; (2) request royalty statements; and (3) add the total royalties. 

Different PROs cover different territories, so you will need to determine which PROs the composition is affiliated with in each country where it has been performed. PROs monitor and track artist performances and collect publishing royalties. Once you know which PROs the music composition is affiliated with, you can request royalty statements from each of them. The royalty statement will detail the performances of the work and the amount of royalties generated. Afterwards, add up the total amount of royalties generated from each PRO’s royalty statement to determine the total international publishing royalties generated by the composition.

Be mindful that the information contained in royalty statements is confidential and may only be available to the composer or copyright owner. Additionally, not all performances of a work may be reported to PROs, so the total amount of royalties generated may not be a complete representation of all international publishing royalties for the composition.

How are ASCAP and BMI Involved With International Publishing Royalties?

ASCAP and BMI are PROs that represent composers, songwriters, and music publishers in the United States. Both organizations collect international royalties for their members. They both have reciprocal agreements with PROs in other countries that allow them to collect royalties for the public performances of their members’ works outside of the United States. For example, if a song represented by ASCAP is performed in a foreign country, the local PRO will collect the performance royalties and distribute them to ASCAP. ASCAP will then redistribute the royalties to the appropriate copyright owners, including composers and songwriters. The ASCAP is associated with over eighty organizations worldwide. 

By working with international PROs, ASCAP and BMI are able to provide their members with a global network for collecting performance royalties from the public use of their music. This allows composers, songwriters, and music publishers to receive income from their works no matter where they are performed. Artists are not required to have a relationship with an ASCAP publishing company in order to receive publishing income. 

When are International Publishing Royalties Paid?

Distribution of international publishing royalties varies by PRO. BMI distributes international royalties quarterly and ASCAP distributes monthly. Artists should be aware that PROs often deduct administrative fees that lessen the royalties paid out. 

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Silvino Diaz

Silvino E. Diaz’s practice ranges from Civil and Commercial Litigation to Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. Silvino has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s foremost advocates for independent musicians and artists. As a result of his sustained commitment to creative industries, he was named Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Atlantic University College (Guaynabo, PR) – the Caribbean’s leading digital arts institution – where he spearheaded the “Introduction to IP” course for both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and was appointed by the Office of the President to develop an Intellectual Property graduate curriculum, where he served until moving to Miami in 2017. He is the founder of the service known as Starving Artists, where he offers innovative business and legal counsel for artists and creatives.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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