Music Business

New Cue Sheet Standards Will Likely Make Composers More Money

Cue sheets are an essential piece of paperwork for composers when it comes to getting paid, and errors in cue sheets can often times rob these same composers of their revenue. Thanks to new Cue Sheet Standards & Rules, however, that could all be about to change.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Music composers for any kind of broadcast medium know how important cue sheets are. They’re the lifeblood of your royalty stream, but the problem is that it all depends on how they’re filled out. If there’s an entry mistake, it’s entirely possible that either you’ll be paid less than you should or maybe even not at all. This manual process is made all the more tenuous by the fact that different mediums and territories use different rules and terminologies. That could all change soon with the new Cue Sheet Standards & Rules recently agreed to by multiple associations representing publishers and composers alike.

The project has been implemented in a collaboration between CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), representing authors societies worldwide, and music publishers and producers through the Society Publisher Forum. That Forum is a joint initiative of CISAC, ICMP and IMPA, and is supported by the AIMP and IMPF representing publishers. Producers and video-on-demand platforms have also been involved to ensure optimum implementation of the project globally, according to a release by CISAC.

What the Cue Sheet Standards And Rules does is create a standard cue sheet using a standard terminology that will be used worldwide. This will make life simpler and more efficient for anyone using cue sheets, and ensure that proper credits for compositions are more likely to occur.

According to CISAC, the benefits include:

  • improved efficiency when processing cue-sheets and amending the details of a musical work
  • a more efficient musical work registration process and more registrations of works
  • payment records can be linked to musical work documentation, so that publishers can efficiently track royalty payments 
  • greater consistency between the publishers’ registrations and the societies’ payments for exploitation of film/TV productions 

Hopefully the new cue standards will help composers get paid not only more, but also in a more timely fashion as well.

The entire rules document can be found here, and a sample cue sheet here.

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