Picture of Trumpet Grrrl from the 2016 DIY Musician Conference.

Do you make original music? Do you play that music live? 

If so, you can earn publishing royalties from your gigs — but most musicians never take the simple steps to collect this money. Music publishing can account for a potentially big revenue boost.

[If you aren’t collecting your performance royalties, check out CD Baby Pro’s publishing administration service for independent songwriters.]

Yep, every time you play one of your original songs at a music venue, bar, or restaurant, you can earn performance royalties that are an additional live music revenue stream to what you’re already earning through concert tickets, bar sales, or tips.

In order to collect these live performance royalties, you have to tell your performing rights organization about the shows you’re playing, and the list of songs you play each night. That’d be ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC in the United States, or the appropriate PRO for your country if you’re outside of the USA.

Note: If you’re performing outside of your home country, you will need to submit details about your show to your domestic performing rights organization.

Every set list you submit will generate a royalty.

Here’s how to submit your set lists to earn live performance royalties


If you’re affiliated with ASCAP, you can submit information about your performances in the US through their OnStage program — accessible from your mobile device. Payments for live gigs will be bundled with your other performance royalties that ASCAP sends you.

It’s probably best to submit your set lists right after the show to make sure they’re entered quickly and accurately. But if you delay, here are deadlines for submitting your set lists to ASCAP OnStage:

Date of Performance OnStage Submission Deadline
January 1 to March 31 June 30
April 1 to June 30 September 30
July 1 to September 30 December 31
October 1 to December 31 March 31 (following year)

More info: ASCAP OnStage

BMI Live

If you’re affiliated with BMI, you can use BMI Live to submit your set lists and other gig information. Live performance royalties will be paid to you quarterly. If you have an iOS device, you can access the BMI Mobile app. Otherwise, you can submit set lists through the desktop version.

According to BMI:

BMI Live allows performing songwriters to input up to six months of their performance data to be considered for payment. Songwriters may input their tour information at their convenience for concerts from the previous six months and receive these royalty payments quarterly. Both headliners and opening acts may input tour information, and the program is open to all BMI affiliates.

Date of Performance Setlist Submission Deadline
April 1 to September 30 December 21 (for payment in March)
July 1 to December 31 March 31 (for payment in June)
October 1 to March 31 June 30 (for payment in September)

More info: BMI Live


If you’re affiliated with SESAC, you can submit set lists through your publishing account on SESAC Affiliate Services.

More info: SESAC Live Performance Royalties

Could you be making more money from your gigs? Submit your set lists to your PRO to collect the performance royalties you’re owed today!

CD Baby Pro can help you get affiliated with the P.R.O. of your choice, register your songs with royalty collection societies worldwide, and ensure that you’re getting all the publishing royalties you’re owed — not just performance royalties, but mechanical royalties from global streaming that ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC do NOT collect.