What is a Cue Sheet?

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What is a Cue Sheet?

A look at the Cue Sheet and what it means for music licensing.


Here's an explanation of Cue Sheets and when they are needed.

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Cue sheets are the primary means by which Performing Rights Organizations (PRO) track the use of music in films and TV. Broadcasters pay the PROs fees for the rights to broadcast shows with music, which in turn are paid as royalties to the composer and publisher of the music by the PROs.

Since these fees are paid by the broadcaster to the PROs, there is typically no additional cost to the producer. Plus, the PROs help the producer by providing the "performance rights" on the behalf of the composer and the publisher. This is one of the licenses needed to use the music obtained from TaurusBeats.com for broadcast or films, which has already been cleared with the publisher and the composer of the music through their PRO.

The Cue Sheet must be submitted to EACH of the PROs who have a composer and/or publisher represented. For example, if the Cue Sheet contains works from composers affiliated with ASCAP, BMI and PRS, then three copies must be submitted. One to ASCAP, one to BMI and one PRS. When using my Online Cue Sheet submission form, I will file your Cue Sheet on your behalf with all participating PROs.

An accurately filled out cue sheet is a log of all the music used in a production. This information includes:

  • Series/Film Title AKA
  • Episode Title
  • Episode Title AKA
  • Episode Number
  • Air Date
  • Show Length
  • Music Length
  • Production Company Information
  • Song/Cue Title
  • Composer
  • Publisher
  • Performing rights society
  • Timing
  • Usage

If there is more than one composer for an individual piece of music, or if the writer and publisher split their royalties other than a 50/50 basis, this must also be indicated.

If you like, you can Download a Sample Cue Sheet in PDF format. It contains an example plus a blank Cue Sheet which can be filled out and submitted to ASCAP via Fax or Mail.

Keywords: cue sheet, Performing Rights Organizations, ASCAP, PRO



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