Do PROs Collect Mechanical Royalties?

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)…

  • SOCAN
  • 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
  • ASCAP
  • SESAC

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!

Sources

http://www.socan.com/socan-reproduction-rights-services/

https://www.socanmagazine.ca/sound-advice/the-breakdown-mechanical-royalties/

https://sodrac.ca/en/socan-rr/

https://www.cmrra.ca/music-publishers/international-collections/

https://www.themlc.com/how-it-works

https://www.harryfox.com/#/hfa-and-the-mlc

https://www.songtrust.com/en/global-collection-list

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