If your music is used in a film or television program, filing
a cue sheet with ASCAP is an important step in getting paid for your
work. Here's everything you need to know about doing it right, and the
most frequently asked questions about cue sheets.
As you may know, ASCAP licenses television stations and others the right
to broadcast the music contained in their programming. ASCAP collects the
license fees from networks, cable, PBS and local stations and distributes
royalties to the composer and publisher members based on these performances.
In order to determine what music has been performed and which members to
pay for these performances, "cue sheets" are required that list
all the music contained in any particular program. These cue sheets are then
matched to broadcast schedules and performances are processed so that members
can receive royalties from the use of their music.
If your music is used in a film or television program, it is imperative
that a cue sheet is filed with ASCAP so that you can be paid for your work.
Typically, the production company is responsible for doing this. ASCAP has
very solid relationships with the major and larger independent production
companies and the flow of cue sheets to ASCAP has been steady and reliable
since the early days of film and television. Currently, ASCAP receives tens
of thousands of cue sheets every year.
The creation of cue sheets often stems from the composer or music editor's
spotting notes or edit decision list (EDL). If a music supervisor is on the
project, they can sometimes be responsible for collecting information on
the music used as well. A rough draft of a cue sheet is then sent to the
music department at the production company for verification of accuracy and
the inclusion of additional information, such as the proper copyright information
for licensed music or other publishing-related information. The production
company then distributes the finished cue sheet to all interested parties,
such as publishers, composers, attorneys and performing rights organizations
Due to the rapidly changing landscape of television and film production,
there are a growing number of independent production companies that may not
be aware of the importance of filing a music cue sheet. It has become increasingly
important for composers, publishers and other music professionals to educate
the production companies with which they work about what a cue sheet is.
In recognition of this, ASCAP has created a new area on our website offering
a "Cue Sheet FAQ" and downloadable samples for people not familiar
with cue sheets. There is even a downloadable Excel file that can be used
to submit to ASCAP electronically via e-mail. This area of the website can
be found by clicking "Cue Sheets" on the left side of the home
page at www.ascap.com.
For major production companies, ASCAP introduced EZQ in 1995, a PC based
application, that allowed the easy creation and management of cue sheets
and the ability to digitally submit the cue sheets directly to ASCAP's database
for processing. Tens of thousands of cue sheets have been submitted through
EZQ since that time. Look for future announcements of new technology in this