If you are not already familiar with cue-sheets and public performance
rules, we recommend you take few minutes to read this page, because it's an
issue that's worth understanding for anybody involved in media production.
What is a cue-sheet?
A cue-sheet is basically a single-page document with information about music
tracks used in a TV or Film production. The purpose of the cue-sheet is to
ensure that a small part of the annual license fees paid to Performance Rights
Organizations are distributed to the correct composer and publisher of the
Please note that it does not cost you, or the broadcaster, any
additional money to file a cue-sheet. The payment that is made to the
composer and publisher is taken from annual blanket licenses paid by the broadcasting
companies to performance rights organizations. These annual license fees are
the same whether cue-sheets are filed or not. The cue-sheet only ensures correct
distribution of these annual fees to the actual composers and publishers who
created the music used in the broadcasts.
Music composers and publishers depend on these payments from performance
rights organizations, to be able to make a living on their music. It is important
to correctly file a cue-sheet whenever music is broadcast. Not only is it
the right thing to do, it is also a legal requirement.
Where can I find a sample cue-sheet?
A generic cue-sheet can be downloaded right here:
(Click on image to open cue-sheet in Excel)
You can also click here to download a .zip
file with the cue-sheet inside)
In the USA, cue-sheets with our our music are represented by ASCAP. A blank
ASCAP cue-sheet can be downloaded from this page: http://www.ascap.com/Home/Music-Career/articles-advice/cue-sheets.aspx
Where do I find the information needed to fill in the cue-sheet?
When you place an order on our site, an Invoice and Music License document
is automatically created for you. This document is available to download from
the same page from which you download the music. Just look underneath the
music download link(s), and you'll see a link to "click here to download
your official Invoice and Music License". In this document, page 1 is
the Invoice part, and the rest of the document is the Music License, where
you'll find all relevant information. The information you need for the cue-sheet
looks something like this:
Track title: 1000 Miles
Composer: Dan Gautreau (PRS)
Publisher: Lynne Publishing (PRS)
If you're having problems finding the information you need for your cue-sheet,
feel free to call us or email us, and we will be happy to help.
What should I do with the cue-sheet?
• Please save and print a copy of the filled-in cue-sheet.
• When you send your production to a broadcasting company, always make
sure a copy of the cue-sheet is included along with the film.
• Send a copy of the cue-sheet to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
What about YouTube and Google Video?
Like other broadcasters, YouTube and Google Video pay annual fees to performance
rights organizations. When you upload your video to YouTube or Google Video
and enter information about your video to these sites, you should make sure
that you include good information about the music used in your video. Please
include music track title, composer and publisher info. This will enable the
composer and publisher to receive a micro payment from their performance rights
organization, again, taken from the annual license that YouTube and Google
Video pay to these organizations. Again, this does not cost you, nor them,
any additional money.
But is it, or isn't it, "Royalty-Free"?
It may seem odd that "royalty free music" still generates performance
royalties to the composer and publisher, when the music is broadcast. But
this is how it works, and you'll find the same thing no matter where you should
purchase royalty free music. The broadcasters always pay an annual fee for
their right to broadcast music. This annual fee is the same, regardless of
whether they play music by composers who are registered with a performance
rights organization, or by composers who aren't.
So why call it "royalty-free music"? Well, in regular "not royalty-free"
music, you would have to pay us a royalty for each time you used the music,
or for each month/year you had access to it. Our music is as royalty-free
as any music can ever get. There is no getting around the broadcasters' annual
fee to performance royalties organizations.
Performance royalties don't really have anything to do with Shockwave-Sound.Com
as such. Performance royalties aren't paid to Shockwave-Sound. They are paid
from the broadcaster, via the performance
royalties collection agency as an annual fee, and then divided among composers.
It has nothing to do with Shockwave-Sound, other than us providing you with
information about the composers and publishers of the music you purchase.
Unfortunately, every year a huge amount of music is being broadcast where
no cue-sheet for that music existed. This doesn't mean that the broadcaster's
annual fee is reduced in any way. They still pay the same amount. But when
no cue-sheet is filed, the money goes into a "surplus pool" which,
at the end of the year, is divided on a percentage scale between already high-earning
pop artists -- those who already make the highest amounts of performance royalties.
So the broadcast may have contained music by one of our composers, but the
money that should rightfully have been paid to him, has instead gone to pop
artists like Phil Collins and Britney Spears. And that's just not right. This
is why we insist on cue-sheets being correctly filed when music by our composers
are used in a broadcast.
Performance Rights Organizations across the world:
Here is a list of Performance Rights societies in various countries; they
will be happy to help you if you have further questions about Performance
Royalties and cue-sheets. We hope this article has been helpful.
Brazil UBC, ECAD
Czech Republic OSA
England (See United Kingdom)
Hong Kong CASH
New Zealand APRA
South Africa SAMRO
Trinidad & Tobago COTT
United Kingdom PRS For Music
USA ASCAP , BMI