The Importance of Title Registrations

By Shawn LeMone, SVP, Film & TV Membership  •  March 1, 2007

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This is the first installment of a series of short articles discussing how ASCAP processes performances of music in film and television and pays royalties to our members. The centerpiece for processing performances of music in audio-visual programming is the cue sheet. A cue sheet is a document that lists all the music performed in a particular film or television program. It also lists "entitled party" information (writers and publishers, their shares and PRO society affiliation) as well as how each music cue is used and its duration.

If your music is used in a film or television program and it is not listed on the cue sheet, or if a cue sheet is not filed, then ASCAP may not be able to pay you for any performances. Therefore, it is essential that when your music is used in a film or television program that you make sure that a cue sheet is filed with ASCAP. The most effective way to do this is to request that the production company provide you with a copy of the cue sheet and/or to contact ASCAP's Member Services to make sure that the cue sheet is on file.

In each installment of Cue Sheet Corner, we will be discussing a different element of how cue sheets are processed and related issues involving royalties for performances of your music. In this issue, we want to discuss the reporting of licensed music on cue sheets. Licensed music is any work that was not written specifically for that film or television program and may have a life outside of that film or program. Typically, licensed music includes songs and production music (also commonly referred to as "Library Music").

In order for ASCAP to pay on licensed music included on a cue sheet, we must also have a separate work registration on file that lists the "entitled parties" - writers and publishers, their shares and PRO society affiliation. Without this separate registration, the work will be assigned an "unidentified title code" or "UNID". Credits are held until the work registration is received. It is essential, therefore, if you are an independent band or music production library, that you register all of your musical works with ASCAP before licensing them to film or television production companies.

You can register your works on ASCAP's website here. For more information about this process, please contact our Member Services Department at 800-95-ASCAP. For more information about cue sheets, please refer to our Cue Sheet Corner page in the Career Development section of this site. 

We look forward to providing you additional information that will help you secure your royalties for performances of your music on Cue Sheet Corner in future issues of Playback.