WHAT EXACTLY IS A CUE SHEET? A cue sheet is a document that itemizes music used in a television or film production by title, composer, publisher, duration and type of music usage (e.g., background, feature, and theme). The cue sheet is normally prepared by the producer of the television or film production.





ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC: USA's primary Performance Rights Organizations. USA equivalent of SOCAN.

Cue: A single piece of music within the context of a score. A score is divided into smaller cues that often correspond to the visual mood, dialog, or scene. Cues are often identified by a number that identifies the cue's chronological placement in the film, such as 1M01, 2M08, 4M13, etc.

Cue Sheet: A document that lists all the cues in an audio-visual production. A cue sheet includes details about where (temporally) the cue is placed, who the copyright holders are, and other information that helps determine how eventual royalties are to be calculated. Cue sheets are often created by a music editor, publisher, or the composer(s) themselves, and are submitted to Performing Rights Organizations to ensure accurate royalty collection and distribution.

EDL File: Edit Decision Lists are lists of edits created by a video editing suite. They are text files that contain the timecode and source tape information that you need to place audio events to picture. Each step in the EDL describes a complete editing task including: The type of edit (audio, video or both).

Library or Licensed Music/Track: An existing piece of music that was created outside the context of the work in which it is used. An audio-visual work's score may consist of original music and/or library music.

Music Creator: a composer, songwriter, or lyricist who would claim a portion or all of the “Writer’s” share of a Performance Royalty

Music Editor: One who is responsible for all physical details regarding the synchronization of the score with the picture.

(Music) Publisher: A publisher is responsible for exploiting (in a good way!) the music (finding placements, promoting the music, etc.) and ensuring the copyright owner(s) receive payment when their works are used commercially.

Music Stakeholder: a music creator, copyright holder, publisher, or administrator – an entity that financially participates in the (good) exploitation of music.

Music Supervisor: Someone hired by the studio or production company who is responsible for overseeing the business and practical details of providing the licensed music for a production, and often working in tandem with the composer.

Performance Royalties: Payments received by copyright holders (composers, songwriters, etc.) in exchange for the performance of their copyrighted works in commercial contexts.

Mechanical Royalties: Payments received by copyright holders in exchange for the reproduction of their copyrighted works.

PRO (Performance Rights Organization): An organization that collects performance royalties from parties that perform or broadcast copyrighted works. Copyright owners register their works with a PRO, and the PRO distributes collected royalties to copyright owners.

Pro Tools: Industry standard music editing software that is often used by the Music Editor when putting together the final version of the score.

Score: A score refers to the entire musical component of a film, episode, game, or other audio-visual work.

SOCAN: Canada's Performance Rights Organization.

Stem: A smaller, "horizontal slice" of a cue, containing a subset of instruments or sounds. A cue is often broken down into stems to allow for greater flexibility when mixed and edited into the film.  For example (and really, just an example!), a cue might be broken down into stems like “strings, percussion, voice, and bass.”

Timecode: A timestamp that is applied to every frame of video, facilitating accurate synchronization between music, sound effects, and picture.





  • Technologist/media and entertainment industry professional Mathew Sherman, a 29 year veteran of BellMedia
  • Composer/software developer Toby Sheriff
  • University of Toronto Music + Digital Media Professor Catherine Moore
  • Justin Gray, Chairman and CCO at Songistry Inc/MDIIO