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Music Business

What Is A Cue Sheet And How To Create One

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Cue Sheets. What is the definition of a cue sheet and how do they relate to soundtrack marketing and distribution? Why do you need to know why they are important when it comes to royalties and how would you create a cue sheet for a film exactly? All these questions will be answered below and then you will be a pro. Nowadays cue sheets have become so vital for artists to be paid for their work, so let’s delve deeper into how to make a sound cue sheet. 

What Is A Cue Sheet?

In terms of a cue sheet definition, it is simply a database cataloguing all the info about their members and they ensure that the stakeholders are paid fairly for their songs within film and tv. It is an entry log of the description of how and when the music was used in a production. The producers will submit cue sheets to the performing rights organizations (PROs) in order for the artist to receive payment accordingly. It is essentially a really neat way to track the music used in one document. Every company will do this in a different fashion, so they could do this monthly, semi-annually or annually. As an artist, this process regarding music cue sheets that are tracked, ultimately enables you to be paid on time in terms of royalties. Cue sheets are only used when the song in question is going to be used in a public broadcast, and this includes television, film, documentaries or any other audio-visual productions. The royalties will be paid by the broadcaster. 

Who Fills Out A Cue Sheet? 

This duty would be taken on by the network staff, music editor, composer or a production coordinator on the production team. They will look for the info via the metadata in your master recording or online recordings via a PRO or an International Standard Musical Work Code database (ISMWC). These must be visible otherwise they will not be able to create the cue sheet. If they cannot find your metadata, then they may leave this for another day and your music in the particular film or tv production will not be tracked which means you may not be valued for your work and resulting in you not being paid. 

How Do You Submit A Cue Sheet? 

What does a cue sheet example look like and what information needs to be included so the process runs smoothly? 

  • Series / Film / Episode title
  • Names of producers, director, distributor, main actors
  • Episode Number 
  • Air Date
  • Length of show 
  • Country of origin
  • Title of the song 
  • The performer
  • Composer
  • Broadcast and distribution details
  • Publisher / writer (the rights owners) 
  • PRO
  • ISRC (The International Standard Recording Code)
  • Timing
  • Type of usage (used in the background, theme or feature)
  • Music Type (vocal/instrumental)

These will need to be submitted correctly when submitting a cue sheet and there are plenty of cue sheet templates available to ensure you fill in the right information. 

Top Tips When Creating A Cue Sheet

When creating a cue sheet for a music track, make sure you illustrate if there were more than one composer or if the writer and publisher split royalties more than 50/50, then this needs to be visible when pitching a track. This will make it easier in terms of PRO payment calculations the more info readily available about the piece of music used. The contact details of the artist should be included, and kept up-to-date, so this makes the producer’s job even easier. 

You can always double check with production companies and broadcasters that they have the correct information before they send this onto the PRO. It saves you both time and energy if this is done accurately just once. You should receive accurate compensation for your compositions, so do not rush this process. 

Music Gateway Music Licensing 

It is important to remember that we offer a free sync placement service to enable your music to be used in film and tv. We will represent you and work with music supervisors placing music to media daily. For Non-Exclusive Agreements, you receive 75% of the sync fee (our cut is 25%) and it’s 80% if you’ve signed an Exclusive Agreement (We retain 20%). You keep 100% of all backend royalties & rights. 

We have such an expansive list of independent artists and tracks, that we can provide options for any type of brief across television and film. 

Metadata is key when it comes to being successful with music sync licensing. Our system allows you to keep all your mp3 files and ID3 tag metadata up to date and professional so whether you’re pitching music or we are on your behalf, you don’t miss out on any music industry jobs and creative opportunities. Important things to consider during the cue sheet process are; song registrations, publishing administrations, soundtrack marketing and distribution, royalty collection & music awards. There are of course other things that productions should be aware of but these are some criteria to cover when addressing cue sheets. 

Music Form 

At Music Gateway, we can give you the advice you need to submit a cue sheet. For a music cue sheet template, then look no further than our music form for help on cue sheet delivery

As an artist, we want to know what you are interested in so we can best help you. By completing the music form, we can help you manage your time whether that be with regards to music licensing, composer hire & custom work, licensing management, creative music consultancy or artist partnership. 

Closing Thoughts

Cue sheets as you can see are extremely important in order for your music to be acknowledged and for you to get paid for your public performance. If someone is going to broadcast your music, certain steps have to be taken and as long as you know what needs to be included and you check in with the producers behind the project our music will be used in, then everything will run smoothly. 

Are You A Musician Or An Artist?

Here at Music Gateway, you can develop your brand with artist development and collaborate globally with other musicians, songwriters, and producers. Finally, amplify your music to those that need to hear it with music marketing, promotion and Spotify


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