Case Study: Indie Rock Composer-Performer


Posted on March 15th, 2012 by Jean Cook in Financial Case Studies, Participant Data. 6 Comments

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PRO Royalties by Type

About PROs *

Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) collect royalties on behalf of songwriters and copyright owners when their works are publicly performed. Public performances include broadcast on television and radio (including internet radio), live performances, playing recorded works in a public venue – such as a cafe or bar, and some internet uses (generally streaming).

In the United States, the PROs that collect public performance money on behalf of composers and publishers are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. The rates for public performance use of compositions in the US are regularly renegotiated between the PROs and the users of music (broadcasters, venues etc). The PROs in the USA have reciprocal agreements with PROs in other countries so they can collect for public performance uses of compositions on behalf of the composer and publisher worldwide.

This chart shows Indie Rock Composer-Performer’s public performance royalties from the US and abroad, broken down by category. 96% of these royalties are income from his share of writing credits for Main Band #1.


The “General” category, which includes use of the music by nightclubs, restaurants, concert halls, hotels, and live performances of the Artist’s compositions in UK and European countries, make up the bulk of the royalties.

96% of his PRO income is generated by songs he wrote for Main Band #1.
Type of Use 2008 2009 2010 2011 Details
General 54.5% 40.6% 57.1% 63.7% Use of music by nightclubs, restaurants, concert halls, hotels, etc. This also includes live performances of the Artist’s compositions in UK and European countries – which make up the bulk of the uses for this Artist.
Radio 21.9% 35.9% 16.1% 15.6% Broadcast radio airplay, and live appearances on radio
Television 21.8% 22.3% 26.4% 20.6% Use of recorded songs on TV (accompanying sports footage, direct license to shows, incidental music) and music licensed to or composed for films with TV broadcast of those films. Also, live performances of the Artist’s compositions on television.
Internet Streaming 1.5% 0.4% NA NA Internet streaming of music and/or performance
Cinema 0.2% 0.8% 0.4% 0.1% Applicable territories license fee for screenings in movie theaters

* Copyright is complex, and the work PROs do is greatly simplified here. You can learn more about the PROs here: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

Next: Reflections on Touring, Songwriting and Investment


About the Case Studies

Graphs do not have a Y-axis dollar value in order to observe the conditions of our privacy policy. In addition, graphs and visuals in case studies are not comparable within or between case studies. For more details about this, read about our financial case study protocol.

Information detailed in case studies is based on data received directly from the artist or their authorized representative. The data analysis and lessons learned here are based on individual experience, and do not necessarily reflect the experiences of all musicians in genre or roles.

Case studies are one of three ways this project is looking at music creator income.




6 responses to “Case Study: Indie Rock Composer-Performer”

  1. […] examining the books of a successful indie rocker, for instance, the Future of Music Coalition found thant nearly 40% of […]

  2. […] Allerdings dürften sich die Einkommensquellen teilweise verschoben haben. So erzielen Indie Rock Composer-Performer nach Angaben der US-amerikanischen Future of Music Coalition fast ¾ ihrer Einnahmen im Rahmen von […]

  3. […] example, the case study of an Indie Rock Composer-Performer:  ”While he is an active member of four bands in addition to his solo work, 94% of his […]

  4. […] a whole, the survey makes for fascinating reading — there are some case studies here, including this one of an “indie rock composer-performer” who “writes, records and performs his own […]