Music Rights: About the Agreements

Broadcast Music License Agreements

CPB, NPR and PBS have negotiated music license agreements with ASCAP, BMI, the Harry Fox Agency and SESAC on behalf of the public broadcasting system. CPB pays the fees under each of these agreements, which cover all stations that receive Community Service Grants or that are members of NPR or PBS. No station action is necessary for these broadcast music license agreements. Stations will be contacted directly by ASCAP or BMI to provide music use reports under these agreements.

These agreements run from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2022. The SESAC agreement requires that, should a station provide reports to ASCAP or BMI, a copy of the report be sent to SESAC. There is no station reporting obligation required of stations under the Harry Fox Agency agreement.

These agreements and licenses contain significant confidentiality provisions. You will be able to download each agreement after your station has registered.

The ASCAP, BMI, Harry Fox Agency and SESAC broadcast licenses are applicable to both public television and public radio stations.

Internet Music License Agreements

CPB, NPR, PBS and the Station Resource Group worked together to negotiate agreements with SoundExchange and several other performance rights organizations for the use and performance of sound recordings over the internet.

These agreements and licenses contain significant confidentiality provisions and certain reporting obligations. You will be able to download each agreement after your station has registered. Please read and review the terms of each of the licenses before deciding whether your station wants to be covered by them.

  • The SoundExchange agreement is applicable only to qualified public radio stations.
  • No SoundExchange license is necessary for the internet transmission of audio-visual works.
  • The ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and Harry Fox Agency licenses are applicable to both public television and public radio stations.
  • Stations have certain record-keeping and reporting requirements with respect to these agreements.
  • NPR Member Partnership and PBS aggregate the necessary data provided by stations and submit the required quarterly reports to ASCAP and BMI under the terms of those agreements.
  • Stations that provide reports to ASCAP or BMI are required to send copies of those reports to SESAC.