When to get permission
If you broadcast live or recorded music on television, make sure to get permission for any songs you did not write, recordings made by other people, and lyrics you show. You may need a combination of master, synchronization, public performance, and print licenses, depending on how you use the music. Licenses should be secured before the music is used. You do not need to license songs that you wrote yourself or songs that you know are in the public domain.
How to get permission
To obtain public performance licensing for television that will broadcast in the United States, please contact the following performing rights agencies:
To obtain public performance licensing for television that will broadcast outside of the United States, please contact your local performing rights society.
How the royalties are paid
Artists whose music appears on television typically will not need to secure public performance licenses because these are covered by the station. Station operators need to secure public performance licenses. Expect to report your playlists and pay a percentage of your revenues to the three public performance rights agencies in the United States that distribute these royalties to the composers: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Outside of the United States, please contact your local performing rights society.
Synchronization, master, and print licenses are somewhat complex. You pre-pay royalties upfront based on a custom-negotiated fee. When you hire us, we deliver your request to the copyright holder, negotiate the fee, and present it to you. If you accept, we collect the entire fee from you (which includes the royalties), and then send 100% of the royalties on to the copyright holder. If you need to reorder, a new license is negotiated. You have the option to follow all these steps yourself or hire us for assistance through our Custom Licensing services.