25 May 2024 in Releasing

Registering Your Music with a PRO like SABAM: Understanding PR% and MR% and Navigating Publishing Agreements

by nOzart 7.24 min reading time

As an independent music producer based in Belgium, I've learned the importance of properly registering my music to ensure I receive the royalties I deserve. One of the key steps in this process involves registering my tracks with a PRO like SABAM and also a global royalty collection service.

Understanding the intricacies of performance rights (PR%) and mechanical rights (MR%), as well as how these interact with my publishing agreements, has been essential. Additionally, dealing with international platforms has taught me valuable lessons in managing my registrations efficiently. I'm happy to share my insights here with you.

What Are PR% and MR%?

When registering a track with a PRO like SABAM, it's crucial to understand PR% and MR%. These percentages determine how royalties are distributed:

There are more types of music licenses, but these two are the only ones important for registration with your PRO. This was a major source of confusion for me in the beginning. If you want to learn more about the other types of music licenses, read my other article 'Understanding Music Licensing: A Comprehensive Guide'.

What is an IPI Number and Why is it Important?

When you register with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI, or SABAM, you are assigned an IPI (Interested Parties Information) number. This unique identifier is used globally to track and manage the rights and royalties for songwriters, composers, and music publishers. The IPI number ensures that royalties are correctly attributed to the right individuals and entities.

How is the IPI Number Used?

Registering My Track with SABAM

To ensure I receive my full royalties, I need to accurately register my ownership of performance and mechanical rights with SABAM.

As the sole owner of the rights to my music, I register:

In collaborations and remix projects, I usually register 50% for PR% and MR% and 50% for my collab or remix partners. You can, of course, agree other percentages with each other if the contribution or effort differs.

In a band we register the tracks as Band/Artist with an equal split for all the band members as Authors/Composers.
For own remixes of for example a 2 heads band, you can allocate 75% to the band member that made the remix and 25% to the other band member. For remixes made by others for your band track, you can allocate 50% to the other remixer and an equal split of the remaining 50% for all the band members. These are just examples, as also here you can agree upon other percentages.

Navigating Publishing Agreements

While registering with SABAM secures my ownership, my publishing agreement with the record label that releases my track outlines how the revenue from various sources will be split. Here's what my agreement includes:

Typically, a 50% share of net income from these sources is allocated to me as the writer.

Dealing with Worldwide Considerations

Initially, I relied on Songtrust, a global royalty collection service, to also handle my PRO registrations. While Songtrust promised to manage these registrations, I found they were not efficient in registering my works with SABAM in a reasonable timeframe. This delay impacted my royalty collection, prompting me to take matters into my own hands.

Major PROs Worldwide

Understanding the global landscape of PROs can help you navigate music rights more effectively. Here are some of the major PROs around the world:

Key Differences


By registering my tracks with SABAM myself, I can ensure that I declare 100% PR% and 100% MR%, reflecting my sole ownership of the rights. While my publishing agreement with the record label governs how these collected royalties and other revenues are shared, understanding the registration process has been vital.

Navigating these processes has been a learning experience, reinforcing the importance of managing my music rights and agreements proactively. As an independent producer, taking control of these aspects ensures I can focus on what I do best: creating music.

By staying informed and proactive about my music rights and agreements, I can maximize my earnings and protect my work globally.

This is a complex subject, and if you have any questions, need assistance, or spot any errors in this article, feel free to contact me. I'm always happy to help fellow artists navigate these waters.



Music Producer

Antwerp based DJ and music producer Olivier Arntz is active in the music business since the mid-1980s. As nOzart he is producing music in several genres without pinning himself down in any particular type though his style is often progressive, melodic, techno, deep house and chill tunes.

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“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Friedrich Nietsche