Shockwave-Sound Blog and Articles
Three brand new, royalty-free Jazz music albums

Three brand new, royalty-free Jazz music albums

Hi all, we are very happy to announce the release of three new Jazz albums today:
It’s worth noting that the composer behind all the music on these albums is Dmitriy Lukyanov, who has chosen not to be represented by any PRO (Performing Rights Organization), so his music is free of any requirements to obtain additional licensing from the Performing Rights Organization in your country, to play this music in public and in broadcasting (radio etc). This music is entirely royalty-free. The one license you purchase from will cover you for all usage areas, including public play etc.
We hope you’ll enjoy all that great Jazz music from the talented Dmitriy, and find this music useful for your media projects or in-public music requirements.
Mechanical Rights administration and stock music / production music

Mechanical Rights administration and stock music / production music

As I’m writing this article, my target audience is composers / musicians who would like to get into the business of writing music for stock music / production music, and who does not yet fully understand the way in which the administration of your Mechanical Rights through an organization such as GEMA, MCPS, STEMRA etc. basically prevents you from being able to sell / license your music as stock music.

To manufacture a disc that contains music, you need to obtain the Mechanical Rights.


First of all, what are Mechanical Rights administration organizations?

Many composers, at one time or another, decides to join one or more societies or organizations that help them to police and administer their rights as a composer. Such organizations include ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, PRS, MCPS, GEMA, SIAE, BUMA/STEMRA, TONO, APRA and many others.

Some of these organizations administer Performing Rights (meaning your right to some income when your music is performed in public or broadcast on TV/Radio), whilst other organizations administer Mechanical Rights (meaning your right to some income when your music is duplicated on physical media such as DVD, Blu-Ray, CD).

Then there are some organizations that administer both Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights.

Mechanical Rights is where the conflict with stock music / production music happens.Why? Because the license sold by the stock music website / production music library overlaps with the exclusive administration that you have assigned to the Mechanical Rights organization when you joined them as a member.

When a stock music site / production music library sells a track to a customer, they sell a license which allows the customer to put the music in a film/game, and then to go ahead and make physical copies of this film/game. For example, at when you buy the Standard License for a track, you may put the music to a film/game and then manufacture up to 5,000 copies of that product. For more than 5,000 copies, you need the Extended License. Most other stock music sites operate with something similar, although perhaps slightly different license configurations. The stock music site sells a license to the customer, which includes mechanical reproduction rights.

The issue here is that, if you are a member of an organization that administers your Mechanical Rights, then that organization has the exclusive administration of your Mechanical Rights, and that organization is the only one that can issue such a license.

With Performing rights this problem doesn’t come up, because the stock music site doesn’t get involved with the performing license. The License that the stock music site sells is a Sync License (the right to put your music to film or other media) and a Mechanical License (the right to reproduce physical copies of that film or other media).

If that film should end up being broadcast on TV or in a cinema, your Performing Rights organization should collect performing royalties for you and you will get these royalties from your Performing Rights organization — but this doesn’t really affect the stock music customer / user in any way, because these royalties come from annually paid blanket license fees that broadcasters pay to the Performing Rights organization in their own country.

To sum up, if you are a member of an organization that administers your Mechanical Rights, you cannot have your music sold as stock music / production music from or from other stock music sites. Any company that sells your track to a customer and thereby allows that customer to manufacture physical copies of your music, is doing so in violation of the exclusive Mechnical Rights administration that you have assigned to the Mechanical Rights organization when you signed the contract with them.

When I first started out in the stock music business, I was both the composer and also the stock music business owner. I was a member of PRS (Performing Rights Society) and MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) which are the UK organization for Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights respectively.

One day I got a telephone call from an Italian customer. She had licensed my music track from my website, used it in a film, had the film put to DVD, manufactured 10,000 copies of that film in a professional DVD pressing plant, and a few weeks later she received a huge invoice from SIAE, the Italian organization who looks after both Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights in Italy. The bill she got was for Mechanical Reproduction Rights for 10,000 copies of my music, and the bill was many times larger than the amount that she had paid me to license the music from my stock music site.

It was this episode that really made me sit up and force myself to learn about these different rights and organizations, and how they affected my ability to license my music as stock music. After a bit of to and from, I believe I managed to talk MCPS into letting the client off the hook so she didn’t have to pay after I explained the whole thing as a misunderstanding to MCPS and SIAE, the Italian rights collections society.

I ended up quitting my MCPS membership but remaining a member PRS. Since then, I’ve had no problem. Since terminating my contract with MCPS, there is no longer any organization that has the exclusive administration of my Mechanical Rights.

  • In USA, I believe all three societies: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are all Performing Rights based and do not administer Mechanical Rights (somebody correct me if I’m wrong?)
  • In the UK, the organization for Performing Rights is called PRS For Music and the organization for Mechanical Rights is called MCPS. If you are a member of PRS, you may want to check if you also joined MCPS at the same time.
  • In Italy you’re dealing with SIAE and in Germany you have GEMA, and I believe both of these are organizations that take care of both Performing Rights and Mechanical Rights, so really if you are member of SIAE or GEMA, you can’t have your music sold as stock music — although you may be able to sign a special addendum to the Agreement that you have with them, which would make them administer only your Performing Rights, and not your Mechanical Rights – you need to contact GEMA/SIAE to inquire about this.
  • In the Netherlands, I believe BUMA is for the Performing Rights and STEMRA is for Mechanical Rights, so you may want to make sure that you have signed a contract only with BUMA, and not with STEMRA.
  • Sweden, Denmark and Norway each have their own organizations for Performing Rights (STIM, KODA and TONO respectively), but they share one Mechanical Rights organization called Ncb (Nordic Copyright Bureau) which administers Mechanical Rights. So if you want to try to sell your music as stock music, make sure you’re not in Ncb.

If you have specific and confirmed information about similar situations with the organizations in other countries than the ones I have mentioned above, please feel free to comment below. If it’s good info, I will include it here in the main article too.

Music License confusion – Non-PRO vs PRO tracks

Music License confusion – Non-PRO vs PRO tracks

We recently got this question from a confused customer who didn’t quite understand the role of performing rights organizations / royalty collection societies, and how it applies to stock music / royalty-free music. I ended up writing a lengthy answer to her, which I felt could be of use or interest to other customers too, so I turned it into this blog article.

This particular customer is in Italy, so her local collection society is SIAE, but the same applies in other countries. For example, if you’re in the UK, the performing rights society is PRS and if you’re in Germany, they are GEMA. But pretty much, the same principles apply.

Many of you will have noticed that whilst you search or browse for music on our site, you always have the option to “Display PRO and Non-PRO Tracks”, or “Display Non-PRO Tracks only”. But what really is the difference, and when / how / why does it matter?

PRO in this case does not stand for “Professional” as you may first think. It stands for Performing Rights Organization. PRO tracks are composed by composers who are members of Performing Rights Organizations. For those composers, neither we, nor any other stock music site, can legally sell the Performing Rights to their tracks. Non-PRO tracks are composed by composers who are not members of a Performing Rights Organization, and as such, we at or other stock music sites can in fact sell you the Performing Rights to their music.

In a music track there are three “rights”, three different parts of the copyright:

  1. Sync rights = The rights to use the music and put it into a media project, such as a film or a video game.
  2. Mechanical rights = The rights to produce CD’s, DVD’s or other physical objects that contain the music.
  3. Performing rights = The rights to broadcast the music on TV or radio,
    or to play it in a public place (such as a restaurant, cinema, etc.)

Depending on what you are going to use the music for, you may need
only one of these rights, or you may need two of these rights, or you
may need all three. If you are only going to make a film and put it on
YouTube, you really only need the Sync rights. You don’t need the
performing rights, because YouTube is the broadcaster and they already have performing rights.

Or maybe you are going to make a film about your local city and make
1,000 DVD’s of that film. And you want to use our music in your film. Then
you need the Sync- rights (to put our music in your film) and you need
the Mechanical rights (to manufacture DVD’s that contain the film that
contains our music). But you don’t need the Performing rights, because
you have no plans to broadcast this music on TV or Radio, or to play the
film in a public place such as a restaurant etc.

Broadcasters such as NBC, BBC etc
already have performing licenses, so
you don’t need one.

Remember also that existing broadcasters, such as TV stations, radio stations, cinemas, YouTube, etc. already have a Performing right license. So, if you are going to make a film which may possibly be broadcast on national Italian television later, you don’t need the Performing rights. It’s the TV station that needs the performing license. They are the broadcaster, not you. And they already have that license. All “real” broadcasting companies, TV stations, radio stations etc. already have performing licenses from the PRO in their country, which they pay for as one big payment each year. So for them, it doesn’t matter if the music is PRO or Non-PRO. They have already paid their large, annual sum for their performing license, so they already have the Performing rights covered. Which again means that you don’t need to buy the performing rights from us.

So… you see, whether or not you need Non-PRO Tracks, or just any tracks from our site, depends on how you are going to use the music. If you are going to play the music in public, or on your website, then you need the Performing rights. But if you are not going to play the music in public, or on a website, then you don’t need the Performing rights. And if you don’t need the performing rights, then you can use any tracks from our site.

If you need the Performing Rights to a track, and that track is “Non-PRO”, then simply buy the track from our site. With the Non-PRO tracks you are buying all three rights from us.

If you need the Performing Rights to a track and that track is “PRO”, then you have to buy that right from the performing rights society in your country. From our site you can buy only the two other rights; the Sync rights and the Mechanical rights.

As it turns out, the vast majority of our customers do not need the performing rights. They only need the Sync- and or Mechanical rights. And if that’s the case, it doesn’t matter if you choose “PRO” or “Non-PRO” tracks. Many royalty-free music websites don’t even tell you which tracks are PRO and which are Non-PRO, because they figure it is so unlikely that you actually need the Performing Rights, that they don’t want to confuse you with PRO vs Non-PRO music.

On our website you can choose to browse only Non-PRO tracks if you like. As you Search or Browse for music tracks on our website, take a note of the options: “Display PRO and Non-PRO Tracks” / “Display Non-PRO Tracks only” options on top of the list of tracks.

I hope this has been helpful.

Royalties and performance rights – a “must read” if you use music on hold

Royalties and performance rights – a “must read” if you use music on hold

Before you use music in public, there are some things about music copyright and performance rights that you need to understand. This article is meant to give a simple, clear overview of the issues involved in this process.


Royalty free music for telephone
on-hold… What you need to know.

Performance rights:

When music is used in such a way that other people than yourself and your immediate family/friends can hear it, this is called a “performance”. For example, if you are in a supermarket and they are playing the radio over the loudspeakers, that is a “performance” of that music. The same goes for music-on-hold. If you have music playing on-hold for the people that call your company, that is a “performance” of the music.

Most composers are members of the “performance affiliation” for their country. These are sometimes referred to as “performance organization” or “royalty affiliation”. Each country has such an organization. In USA they are called ASCAP or BMI. In the UK they are called PRS. In Sweden STIM, in Germany GEMA… and so on. These organizations all exchange information and work together, so that a composer who is a member of ASCAP in USA is automatically represented by GEMA in Germany, by STIM in Sweden, by PRS in the UK, and so on.

In order for any company to publicly perform music by these organized composers, it must have a license from their country’s performance affiliation. If you are a shop owner in Germany and you want to play music by an American composer so that your customers can hear it, you need a license from the German performance affiliation, GEMA. GEMA will collect the license money from you, and through a longwinded system, distribute a part of the money to the millions of composers who are members of these organizations.

The price for this license is not calculated “per play” or “per song”. It is a set annual fee. Once you have your license arranged, you can play as much or as little music as you want. The amount you have to pay depends on the number of people who can hear the music when you play it. For example, a national TV broadcasting company pays an annual fee that is much, much higher than a dentist who uses music in his waiting room.

But what happened to “royalty free”?

Okay, so you want to play music in public, and you want to avoid having to pay the annual license fee to your country’s performance affiliation. You seek out some “royalty-free music”, and want to play it on your telephone on-hold system or in your shop, or wherever other people can hear it. But here is where it starts to get complicated: Music that you have purchased as “royalty free music” is usually NOT free from the need to have a license from your country’s performance organization.

Most music offered up as “royalty free music” was composed by composers who are members of a performance affiliation. The music is offered to you as “royalty free” because, frankly, it is assumed that every company that publicly performs music already has the annual license in order — in which case it makes no difference, and causes no extra costs, that the composer is a member of his affiliation. Of course, it matters to the composer, because he will then get a tiny fraction of the money that you have already paid in your annual license fee.

So in what way is it then royalty-free? Well, in the traditional way, before “royalty-free” was an option, you would have to pay a royalty to the composer, producer, or company that licensed the music to you, in addition to your annual license fee to the performance organization. The composer would get a small sum directly from you for each time you used his music and he would also get a tiny fraction of your annual license fee, after it has gone through the performance affiliation. When some composers started offering their music as “royalty-free”, the idea was that: “You pay me this one-time sum for my music, you can then use it as much as you want without paying me any royalties…”. This, however, doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay an annual license fee to your country’s performance affiliation.

You can’t really blame the composer for this. His assumption is that you also use other music — in which case you already have your annual license from your country’s performance affiliation, and he is then right to say that there are no royalties to pay on his music.

Another thing to consider is that often, the producer of a product is a different company from the one that ends up broadcasting it, or performing it in public. The most typical example is a TV-program. One company produces the program. If they use “royalty-free music”, they do not ever pay any royalties. They don’t publicly perform or broadcast the program, so they don’t need an annual license either. Another company, a broadcasting company, broadcasts the program. They already have their annual license fee in order, so the music doesn’t cause them any royalties to pay, either. In this highly typical case, the music caused no new royalties to pay by anybody, and as such, it is fair to call it “royalty free”. If the music obtained was not royalty-free, the producer would have to pay the composer a royalty for each time his music was used.

So how can I get completely royalty-free music?

The only way to avoid the annual license fee to your country’s performance affiliation is to use only music composed by people who are not a member of any performance affiliation, anywhere in the world. This can be hard to get hold of. It makes sense for composers to be a member of their performance organization, so most self respecting composers are.

If you are searching for music to use in public, on telephone on-hold, in your shop, on your radio station or wherever other people can hear the music, and you want to avoid having to pay the annual license fee to your country’s performance affiliation, you need to seek out music composed by composers who are not a member of any such organization. At we call these “Non-PRO composers” and their music “Non-PRO Tracks”. Note that “PRO” in this case does not stand for “Professional”, but for “Performing Rights Organization”.

When browsing the music at, take note of the option displayed to you at the top of all track listings: Display “PRO and Non-PRO Tracks”, or “Non-PRO Tracks Only”. If you select the latter, all tracks that were composed by composers who are members of performing rights organizations are removed from the list. You are left with a much smaller list of music tracks, that are all “Non-PRO Tracks”. These tracks are completely royalty-free. You can broadcast them and play them in public as much as you want, without paying any fees to any royalties collections agencies.

Cue-Sheets, TV broadcast and public performance

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