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Cue-Sheets, TV broadcast and public performance5 min read

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 music used.

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:


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:


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: [email protected] .

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.

Argentina SADAIC
Australia APRA
Austria AKM
Belgium SABAM
Brazil UBC, ECAD
Bulgaria Musicautor
Canada SOCAN
Chile SCD
Colombia SAYCO
Croatia HDS
Czech Republic OSA
Denmark KODA
England (See United Kingdom)
Finland TEOSTO
France SACEM
Germany GEMA
Greece AEPI
Hong Kong CASH
Hungary Artisjus
Iceland STEF
India IPRS
Ireland IMRO
Israel ACUM
Italy SIAE
Lithuania LATGA-A
Malaysia MACP
Mexico SACM
Netherlands BUMA
New Zealand APRA
Norway TONO
Poland ZAIKS
Portugal SPA
Russia RAO
Singapore COMPASS
South Africa SAMRO
Spain SGAE
Sweden STIM
Switzerland SUISA
Trinidad & Tobago COTT
Turkey MESAM
United Kingdom PRS For Music
Uruguay AGADU

Bjorn Lynne

Bjørn Lynne is a Norwegian sound engineer and music composer, now living and working in Stavern, Norway. He was also known as a tracker music composer under the name "Dr. Awesome" in the demoscene in the 1980s and 1990s when he released tunes in MOD format and made music for Amiga games.