Can I switch my Performing Rights Organization (PRO)?

This is a MAJOR decision, and can have more consequences than you might realize.

It is no secret that music publishing is a very complex system. While changing your PRO is possible, it is important to know that it could have extremely adverse effects on your payments from the society for years.

When switching to a new PRO, you will almost certainly lose money and you may not earn as much money at your new PRO depending on what kind of performances you are receiving. If you rely on the cash from your PRO to pay your bills and do not have backup income, this can be a very financially irresponsible decision.

Things To Consider

  1. Membership Terms: When you affiliated with your PRO, you agreed to their membership terms. These likely included a minimum amount of time, typically one to five years, that you agree to be affiliated with them before you can switch to another society. This can also depend on the number of songs you’ve registered with them, when you registered those songs, and how much money those songs are making.
  2. Delay In Song Registration: Additionally, you may be able to switch your affiliation, but your old society will continue to license the songs you’ve already registered with them for a period of time before you can switch those over to your new society.
  3. Membership Fees: Some societies charge a small affiliation fee, while others don’t. You may have to pay to sign up with a new PRO.
  4. Delays In Payment: When you switch your society, there will likely be a delay in your royalty payments, as your new PRO processes all of your information and songs, new licenses are executed, and licensees switch their payees.
  5. Foreign Collection: Payments from foreign societies may be coming into your society at a very delayed pace, these ‘in flight’ (e.g. coming in the next quarter or two) payments are likely to be lost through bureaucracy or will take 3-4 years to untangle, if at all possible.

It is important to note that there are things that could prevent you from switching at all. If you have an unrecouped advance or adjustment, you will most likely not be able to leave until it is payed back, or your term ends.

If you are still interested in switching your PRO, you can find more information on what steps to take and the risks involved in this blog post.