Do PROs Collect Mechanical Royalties?

do pros collect mechanical royalties - decibel peak
do pros collect mechanical royalties - decibel peak
do pros collect mechanical royalties - decibel peak

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The short answer… SOME PROs collect mechanical royalties.

However, most PROs DON’T collect mechanical royalties. That’s one of the most important realizations I made in regards to my income as a songwriter/publisher.

In other words, registering your music with your country’s PRO might not be enough.

SOCAN is one of the few PROs (that I know of) that actually administers mechanical royalties. Even then, you’ll still need to opt-in to the service.

That being said, there’s a better solution out there…

If you keep reading, you’ll learn more about mechanical royalties, international mechanical royalties and how Songtrust (the solution) can assist you in collecting them.

PROs are great, but you also need to understand the full-picture…

Which PROs Collect Mechanical Royalties?

Here’s a list of PROs that DO collect mechanical royalties (that I know of)…

  • GEMA

If your country’s PRO collects mechanical royalties and isn’t listed, please let us know in the comments so that I can add it to the list!

That being said, most countries have another organization/society that collects mechanical royalties. We’ll be talking more about them and collecting international mechanical royalties later!

For now, just keep in mind that registering with your PRO ISN’T enough…

SOCAN (Canada) is one of the only PROs that collects mechanical AND performance royalties. It only happened recently (in 2018) when SOCAN acquired ones of Canada’s previous mechanical rights organizations; the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SODRAC).

Alternatively, Canadian songwriters and publishers can also choose the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Association (CMRRA).

As it turns out, the SODRAC/CMRRA are also capable of collecting MOST international mechanical royalties (we’ll talk more about those later).

Which PROs DON’T Collect Mechanical Royalties

Here’s a list of PROs that DON’T collect mechanical royalties (that I know of)…

  • BMI

Once again, please let us know if your country’s PRO DOESN’T collect mechanical royalties in the comments so it can be added to this list.

However, it’s guaranteed that MOST PROs won’t collect mechanical royalties.

You’ll also need to register with your country’s mechanical rights organization OR an invaluable alternative that we’ll be discussing in another section (make sure to stay tuned for that).

That being said, most songwriters and publishers (even non-US) have decided to register their musical recordings with the US mechanical collections societies.

That’s what we’re talking about right now…

Mechanical Licensing Society (MLS) and Harry Fox Agency (HFA)

I recently learned that the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) partnered with the Mechanical Licensing Society (MLS) to administer mechanical royalties.

In other words, existing members of the HFA have transferred their accounts to the MLS.

The MLS has several advantages for US and non-US songwriters and publishers.

The only problem is that you’re not guaranteed to collect 100% of your mechanical royalties outside of North America. It’s less of an issue nowadays (because of digitization), but you might still be selling physical copies of your music.

Regardless, I personally recommend the alternative we’ll be discussing right now.

It’s one of the BEST ways to collect 98% of your mechanical royalties…

What about international mechanical royalties (outside the US)?

If you want to collect the MAXIMUM amount of mechanical royalties (international) from your musical recordings, you’ll definitely want to check out Songtrust.

In essence, Songtrust connects mechanical rights societies all over the globe.

It simplifies the process by centralizing the royalty administration. In other words, you won’t need to register with EVERY collection society in the world…

Here’s the OFFICIAL LIST of sources Songtrust collects royalties from.

The only downside is the Songtrust ISN’T FREE.

However, the good news is that it only costs 100$ and that’s a one-time upfront fee. After that, you’ll be keeping 85% of your royalties (Songtrust keeps 15%) as long as you decide to keep working with Songtrust.

It’s possible to cancel your membership with a 12-month notice, so you’re not “locked-in” for life.

Summary: Do PROs Collect Mechanical Royalties?

So, there you have it…

The only PRO that I can personally guarantee that collects mechanical royalties is SOCAN.

That’s because SOCAN acquired the Canadian mechanical rights society (CMRRA), so it’s the exception to the rule. Generally, PROs DON’T collect mechanical royalties.

If you want to collect ALL of your mechanical royalties (including internationally), you’ll need to register with your country’s mechanical rights society OR Songtrust.

I personally recommend Songtrust because it WORKS and makes your life SIMPLER.

However, keep in mind that mechanical royalties are becoming less and less prevalent due to digitization. In other words, music is mostly being distributed through streaming services.

That being said, it’s the music distribution services that do most of the collection in regards to mechanical royalties (more on that in THIS ARTICLE).

If you still distribute physical copies (and digital downloads) of your music though…

I’d definitely consider working with Songtrust.

If you have any questions about mechanical royalties or anything else we covered today, feel free to drop me a line in the comments. Don’t forget to join us on the dB_Network and to support Decibel Peak on Patreon if you enjoy the content.

Thanks for reading, now let’s start collecting our mechanical royalties!


Picture of Stefan Chamberland

Stefan Chamberland

Stefan is a highly proficient sound professional who specializes in sound for picture. His journey into sound production began at the young age of 16, where he initially produced music that went on to feature on local television. Today, Stefan utilizes his extensive expertise to record production sound and lead the audio post-production process for a variety of projects in the TV, Film, and New Media industry. Driven by his passion for sound for picture, Stefan founded Decibel Peak, a platform designed to empower and support emerging sound professionals while contributing to the growth of the industry.

4 thoughts on “Do PROs Collect Mechanical Royalties?”

  1. Hi. I’m new in Publishing stuff and it hard for me to understand all details. Could you tell me please if I’m a songwriter+artist and own my songs+masters, I’m from Europe and my music is streaming only (no live performances/no physical CDs sales) can I collect all types of royalties via SOCAN?

    When I asked publishing administration companies about this they told me they can collect only 50% of Performance royalties so I must sign to a PRO for collecting other 50%.

    But as I understand SOCAN is an universal royalties collector and they collect 100% of any type of music royalties (Performance/Mechanical/Micro-Sync/Neighbouring), right?

    • Hey Eugene,

      It seems like SOCAN now collects mechanical royalties as well as performance royalties. This wasn’t the case in the past.

      However, you’ll still need to register with SoundExchange if you want to collect neighbouring royalties.

      In some countries, the PRO doesn’t collect mechanicals.

      Hope that helps!

      – Stefan

  2. Are there viable alternatives to SongTrust, and STILL get all your Mechaniclas around the world, for example “DYI” by becoming a publisher, joining the MLC, SoundExchange and Musicreports directly, thus saving the 15%?

    • Hey Karl,

      You can in fact go DIY using the method you suggested (MLC is for the United States, so you’d simply replace that with your countrie’s mechanical rights society if you’re outside the US).

      However, you need to ask yourself one fundamental question… Is your time and energy worth more than that 15%?

      Let me know what you think. Thanks for your comment!

      – Stefan


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