PROs (performance rights organizations) are composers’ best friend.
Their role is to collect the rights of composers and songwriters when their material is being used by others.
When restaurants, malls, public places of all kinds, and of course radio and television, are playing music, rights are being collected by the PROs on behalf of the composer for the music, the author for the lyrics and publisher for the company making the music available.
The coverage goes from mechanical rights which are the rights connected to the sale of recorded items such as CDs, to live performances. (Some PROs do not cover necessarily all the rights)
The first PROs were created in Europe in the mid-19th century, they were covering performances and the sale of printed music. The emergence of the recording industry has enlarged the responsibilities of PROs, which are often playing a legal role in the defense of the artist holding the rights.
Most countries have their PRO, some have more than one. Each have their own rules and regulations with the common purpose of collecting rights (money) on behalf or the artist owner and publisher of the material played registered with them.
PROs are basically selling licenses to use music.
In the case of stores, bars and restaurants, the U.S. used to accept the playing of music if it was legally purchased. Now, all bars and restaurants of a surface superior of 3700 square feet must purchase a license to play music.
It is important for all musicians and their music to be registered with a PRO.
PROs have international agreements. If your music is played in a foreign country, the PRO of this country will transfer the rights to the PRO where the music is registered. It takes longer for music owner and publisher to collect the rights, but your music is protected internationally.
Music Partner being a publisher is registered with PROs and collect publishing rights. It is the only music publishing and licensing company to share its publishing revenues with filmmakers and producers.