As a songwriter there are many specific ways to get paid for your work. Having a performance rights organization helps by paying you and your publisher performance royalties. A performance includes live performances and a recording being played at the mall or on the radio. Venues pay a blanket license fee to be able to have access to the songs in the PRO’s catalog. Having this access means that they are able to play a recording of your song or have live performances done.
PROs only collect performance royalties. Royalties from mechanical licenses and synchronization licenses are collected by you (if you are self-published), your publisher or the Harry Fox Agency (mechanical only).
PROs include ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN (Canada) and more. BMI is the only PRO that does not have paid membership, but they all include different benefits by being a member. Benefits include discounts, memberships and opportunities to learn and share music.