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What is a cue sheet? Do I need to file one?

A cue sheet is a document that lists all of the musical elements of an audio/visual program, and is used by Performing Rights Societies to determine who receives performance royalties, and makes sure that composers get compensated fairly for their work under US Copyright Law. Filing a cue sheet is free, and royalties are paid by the societies from license agreements that are part of network and venue annual licensing budgets. Your continued use of music you've licensed from Productiontrax is royalty-free.

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 like ASCAP.

Cue sheets are used for tracking broadcasts of music, so should only be filed for projects that are broadcast in some fashion. Licensees can file cue sheets in one of two ways on Productiontrax: 1) they can use our system to file electronically — our system automatically sends cue sheets to the correct agency and sends the artist and the customer a copy for their records; or 2) they can file themselves via mail or email.

Our friends at ASCAP have put together this informative FAQ for both artists and media producers:

You can download a blank cue sheet template for your project here:



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