Collection Societies – Decoded

Collection societies are friend to all published artists. Whether you have self published or you have a publishing deal it is the collection societies job to gather all royalties accrued from the use of your music in a film, TV program, advert or even just being played in a commercial premises.

There are different systems in different countries, in the USA there are three separate collection societies, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. This creates competition to collect royalties, where as Spain, Germany and Argentina all have one main body collecting all royalties.

In the UK there are are three different societies all collecting different types of royalties. PRS collects the on behalf of the writer, PPL collects on behalf of the performer, and VPL licenses the use videos to any premises or venue that may want to show it, these royalties are owed to whoever owns the copyright of the video.


Some Collection Societies will charge a joining fee and others are free to join. All the money owed to you will be given to you by your society no matter which country its collected in, though each collection society takes responsibility for its own regions and then passes it on, this is a reciprocal agreement throughout the world. For example, if you happen to be big in Germany and you live in England then the German society GEMA would collect the royalties owed to you from Germany and send it to PRS to pay onto you.


When the time is right make sure you are registered with one of them. It’s your money remember!

If you are going to claim money to perform live, first . . . You will need to perform live. Things to think about when organising a tour.


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