Read on to find out everything you need to know about P.R.O music on Envato Elements and what it means for you.
What is P.R.O. music?
P.R.O. music is music that has been created and registered by composers who are members of a Performing Rights Organization (P.R.O.). Most mainstream artists, songwriters, and TV and film composers are members of a P.R.O. - everyone from Duke Ellington to Katy Perry, from Leonard Bernstein to Beyoncé, from Hans Zimmer to Jay-Z, as well as many other individual music creators and producers worldwide, including some Envato Elements authors.
For these composers and their registered tracks, the P.R.O. administers a special part of their music copyright known as Performing Rights. Performing Rights include the right to publicly broadcast the music on a TV or radio station, play it in a public place (e.g. a supermarket, restaurant, theatre or other venues), and in some cases stream it online.
Just about every country has its own official P.R.O., and composers typically register with the P.R.O. of the country in which they live. For example in the United States, the main P.R.Os are ASCAP and BMI, in Canada it’s SOCAN, in the United Kingdom it’s PRS, and in Germany it’s GEMA. Most of these P.R.O.s also have relationships with each other and work together to manage these performing rights worldwide. You can find a list and links to all the major P.R.O.s at the end of this article.
In order for someone to publicly perform P.R.O. music, they must have a special license from their country’s P.R.O. Typically, most broadcasters and venues already have blanket P.R.O. licenses that cover all the music they perform, so everything’s already taken care of here.
What does this mean for Envato Elements?
Allowing P.R.O. music on Envato Elements provides several key benefits to authors and subscribers on Envato Elements:
Many professional composers and songwriters tend to be P.R.O. members, so by opening up Envato Elements to P.R.O. music we are able to ensure that you have access to the highest quality talent and the most diverse range of music possible to meet your creative project needs.
Making our P.R.O. policy more open and upfront here helps us to provide subscribers like yourself with the clarity and confidence you deserve, ensuring that you have all the information and usage rights you need for your project and that we’re able to provide this important information in a more consistent and transparent way.
Allowing individual authors to register their music with a P.R.O. if they wish provides them with the opportunity to collect their fair share of the blanket earnings already being paid by broadcasters and venues around the world, ensuring the most sustainable and equitable ecosystem for our artists and composers and supporting the creation of new and independent music for everyone to use and enjoy.
For most Envato Elements subscribers, you’ll enjoy these benefits without needing to worry about any additional P.R.O. details or licenses. Typically any “public performance” use is covered by the broadcaster or venue handling the performance which most likely already has the blanket performing rights for your and everyone else’s content they play. In these cases, whether the music you use is P.R.O. or Non-P.R.O. is effectively the same.
However, there may be certain situations where your use does involve publicly performing the music yourself. If you choose to use P.R.O. music in your project, it’s a good idea to make sure either way. The examples and rules of thumb in the following sections should help point you in the right direction.
When do I need performing rights from a P.R.O.?
If you download Non-P.R.O. music, the performing rights are already included with your Envato Elements license.
If you download P.R.O. music, the performing rights are not included with your license, however generally you as the subscriber/producer still won’t have to worry about any additional P.R.O. licenses or fees. This is because:
- Most broadcasters such as TV networks, radio stations, etc. have already obtained a blanket P.R.O. license. So for example, if your project is going to be broadcast on national television, you should be okay.
- Most established venues and facilities such as convention centres and arenas have already obtained a blanket P.R.O. license. So for example, if your project is going to be performed at a trade show, concert, or sports event, you should be okay.
- YouTube as the online “broadcaster” has already obtained a blanket P.R.O. license for all content played from its website. So for example, if your video that uses P.R.O. music will be streamed online via YouTube, you should be okay.
- If your project does not involve publicly performing or broadcasting the music at all, for example making a DVD, a video game or an app, or playing it at a private meeting or event, you should be okay.
However, in the rare case that you plan to play a project in public or directly broadcast or stream the project yourself, and you or the broadcaster/venue don’t already have a blanket P.R.O. license that covers you, you may need to obtain additional performing rights from a P.R.O if you are using P.R.O. music.
Please be aware that different countries and P.R.O.s may have different rules and criteria, so if you are unsure whether your project and use are considered to be a public performance, or whether you may be obligated to pay additional performing rights fees, you should contact your local P.R.O. or a music rights specialist for more information.
How do I get the performing rights for P.R.O. music?
For P.R.O. music, the public performance rights are administered directly by the P.R.O.s themselves. If you yourself need the public performance rights for this music, you will need to license them directly from the P.R.O.
P.R.O. licenses are almost always provided as a blanket license, meaning they cover the performance rights for any and all P.R.O. music that you may perform or broadcast. So once you’ve obtained a public performance license from the P.R.O. you will also be able to easily use any other P.R.O. music from Envato Elements as well.
P.R.O.s also typically work together and share information internationally to track and manage performance rights worldwide, so it’s often the case that you’ll only need to work with the local P.R.O.(s) in your country. You can find a list and links to all the major P.R.O.s at the end of this article.
Some P.R.O.s (such as ASCAP and BMI in the United States) allow their composers to personally provide direct licenses for the performing rights of their music as well. If you only need to perform/broadcast a single specific P.R.O. track from a single author, you may wish to contact the author directly to inquire about obtaining the performing rights in this way instead.
Isn’t Envato Elements music royalty free?
Yes, generally the music you get on Envato Elements is royalty-free:
- All Non-P.R.O. music on Envato Elements is royalty and performance royalty-free.
- P.R.O. music is still royalty free on Envato Elements, meaning that your license download allows you to use the music in your end product for as long as you need, and you’ll never have to pay Envato any additional ongoing fees or royalties based on your usage.
- For P.R.O. music, if you are not publicly performing or broadcasting it at all, it’s effectively royalty-free.
- For P.R.O. music that is performed or broadcast, the performance royalties are typically already being paid out as blanket fees by the broadcasters and venues, and in the majority of cases, you as the customer won’t need to pay any additional performing rights fees. So for most subscribers even using P.R.O. music will not require anything more than your Envato Elements license download, and is still effectively royalty-free.
While it may seem unusual for Envato Elements music to be related to any such royalties at all, keep in mind that these blanket performing royalties are already being paid by broadcasters and venues no matter what type of music you use. For the most part, allowing P.R.O. music on Envato Elements results in no additional costs or fees to you as the customer, and simply ensures that authors are able to receive their fair share of the P.R.O. earnings that are already being collected around the world.
How do I find P.R.O. music?
While we offer both P.R.O. and Non-P.R.O. music on Envato Elements, if you’re specifically looking for P.R.O. music, there are several easy ways you can find and recognize it on Envato Elements:
- By default, all music is included when browsing or searching on Envato Elements. However, you can simply select the “Include P.R.O. Music” checkbox in the facet sidebar and your results will be filtered to include only P.R.O. music.
- Check for the P.R.O. affiliation information on the item page. This will tell you which P.R.O. the music is affiliated with if any.
In this example, the music track has no P.R.O. affiliation but does include content ID.
In this example, the music track includes a P.R.O. affiliation and content ID.
Cue sheets are one of the primary tools P.R.O.s use to track and attribute music usage and ensure that the P.R.O. earnings collected worldwide are distributed to the correct composer and publisher of the music that was publicly performed.
A cue sheet is a simple document containing information about the music tracks used in a broadcast or film production (such as title, duration, composer, etc). You should be able to find all the information you need for your cue sheets on the Envato Elements item page, and/or in the music download provided by the author.
Cue sheets are typically prepared and filed by the production company, and can usually be filed online or emailed directly to the P.R.O. It doesn’t cost anything to file a cue sheet and simply helps ensure Envato Elements authors get paid their fair share from the P.R.O.s for the music they created.
An example cue sheet can be downloaded here.
Tips for working with P.R.O. music
When using P.R.O. music in your project, here are a few important things to keep in mind.
Getting more details
If you need more information about the specific P.R.O., composer, publisher, or anything else relating to the music track, check the item description/attributes. If you’re unable to locate the information you need, contact our support team.
Confirm with the broadcaster/venue
While most broadcasters and venues already have blanket P.R.O. licenses that should cover your public performance needs, it’s always best to check and confirm this with them in advance.
Double-check if your use is considered a public performance
Different countries and P.R.O.s may have different rules and criteria here, so if your project will be publicly performed or broadcast in any way, it’s a good idea to confirm whether an additional performance rights license or fee is actually required. For instance, some countries may consider telephone “on-hold” music or online streaming to be a public performance, while others may not. When in doubt, contact your local P.R.O or a music rights specialist.
As mentioned earlier on, some P.R.O. affiliated authors may also be able to provide direct licenses for the performing rights of their music. Be sure to check the item description on Envato Elements as well as any information provided with the music download, as the author may already provide additional assistance on direct licensing if available. Direct licensing is more commonly allowed by the P.R.O.s in North America.
Don’t forget to file any applicable cue sheets. Helping authors collect their share from the P.R.O. earnings pool fairly and effectively ensures they are able to continue producing the best possible music for your projects!
P.R.O.s around the world
Here’s a list of most major P.R.O.s by country, along with links to their websites where you can find even more details about performing rights, cue sheets, and how to contact them for more information.
- Argentina SADAIC
- Australia APRA
- Austria AKM
- Belgium SABAM
- Brazil ABRAMUS
- Bulgaria Musicautor
- Canada SOCAN
- Chile SCD
- Colombia SAYCO
- Croatia HDS
- Czech Republic OSA
- Denmark KODA
- Estonia EAUTHORS
- Finland TEOSTO
- France SACEM
- Germany GEMA
- Greece AEPI
- Hong Kong CASH
- Hungary Artisjus
- Iceland STEF
- India IPRS
- Ireland IMRO
- Israel ACUM
- Italy SIAE
- Japan JASRAC
- Lithuania LATGA-A
- Malaysia MACP
- Mexico SACM
- Netherlands BUMA
- New Zealand APRA
- Norway TONO
- Poland ZAIKS
- Portugal SPA
- Republic of Macedonia ZAMP
- Russia RAO
- Singapore COMPASS
- South Africa SAMRO
- South Korea KOMCA, KOSCAP
- Spain SGAE
- Sweden STIM
- Switzerland SUISA
- Trinidad & Tobago COTT
- Turkey MESAM
- United Kingdom PRS
- Uruguay AGADU
- United States ASCAP, BMI, SESAC
While Non-P.R.O. music is not affiliated or registered with a P.R.O., in some countries you may still be obligated to pay additional performing rights fees for this music depending on the rules of your local P.R.O., your local laws, and your use of the music. It is ultimately your responsibility as a subscriber to be aware of these laws and pay any such fees that may apply in your country.