NEW: Information about our distributions as of 1 July 2022 can be found here.

Distribution in the
Television categories
 (FS, FS VR; T FS, T FS VR)

Drama, recognisability and entertainment - all thanks to your music.

What would a TV show be without music, a crime drama series without
its signature title tune or a TV film without the music that brings out the dramatic tension in it? Even silent films could not do without some kind of musical accompaniment. It is a fact that the music of our members is an important part of the world of film and television and contributes significantly to its success. As a reward for this, our members receive royalties for use of their musical works on private and public television
in Germany.

Television categories easily explained

Each use of a work on TV is remunerated individually. The amount to be distributed depends on which TV channel a work was used on and in what context. For example, live performances on a TV show are weighted higher than introductory or closing music. The distribution is thus based on use and follows the principle of collective weighted distribution.

All major TV channels have to report to us what music they have broadcast. In doing so, they have to specify when and how a particular work was used in films, series or commercials. In this context, new technologies known as monitoring are increasingly being used for automated recognition of music use.

How do we distribute your royalties?

Distribution categories FS and FS VR explained in detail:
own or commissioned productions of a TV channel
  • Own or commissioned TV productions are programmes TV channels produce themselves or commission with third parties.
  • The TV channel receives a blanket licence that allows it to use the entire repertoire GEMA represents.
  • This also includes the synchronisation right, i.e. the right to use a musical work for a film, which would otherwise have to be obtained from the respective creators or their publishers before, for example, a film is produced.
  • The prerequisite for an own or commissioned production of a TV channel is defined by its first exploitation, i.e. its initial broadcast by the licensed TV channel.
  • This distribution category comprises German TV series and documentaries, entertainment shows, news programmes, programme trailers; e.g. “Traumschiff”, “Notruf Hafenkante”, “Morgenmagazin”, “Germany’s Next Top Model”, “Die Sendung mit der Maus”, “Sportschau”, etc.
  • TV channels are required to report each instance of music use to GEMA, providing details of the work and stating the duration of use (broadcast report).
  • Distributions are generally made on the basis of the playing time specified in the usage reports of the TV channels.
Distribution categories T FS and T FS VR explained in detail:
third-party productions and TV co-productions
  • These are third-party productions and TV co-productions created without the participation of German TV channels.
  • TV channels only acquire the broadcasting and mechanical right in the finished productions; in such cases, GEMA does not grant a licence in the synchronisation right, which has to be obtained from the respective creators or their publishers before, for example, a film is produced.
  • As a rule cinema films, series, documentaries, sports events or product commercials produced abroad; e.g. “Honig im Kopf”, “Friends”, “Unser Planet”, the Super Bowl, Milka commercial, etc.
  • Distribution is made based on the registrations by producers or members of the series and films as audio-visual production , or based on cue sheets of foreign CMOs which specify the playing time of the musical works used. Moreover, monitoring technologies are used to recognise music use.

Our Television categories
at a glance

The various distribution categories are defined as follows:
In distribution categories FS and FS VR, we distribute royalties for own and commissioned productions of TV channels. In distribution categories T FS and T FS VR, we distribute royalties for third-party productions and TV co-productions.

Where the royalties come from:
Most of the royalties are licence revenue from public and private TV channels.

How we know which works were used:
We distribute the royalty revenue to the entitled parties based on the usage reports we receive by means of broadcast reports or by means of monitoring.

How royalties are distributed:
Distribution is made using a collective distribution model based on second values (T FS, T FS VR) and minute values (FS, FS VR). Also, weighting is done depending on the TV channel concerned and the context in which the work was used.

Important dates and deadlines for you

Deadline for registration of works:

All works should be registered to GEMA at the latest upon release, preferably using our online work registration service. Please bear in mind that your work must be registered on or before 31 January of the year following its use to be taken into account in the annual royalty pay-out on 1 June.

Please also use the soundfile upload feature, to have your works automatically identified by monitoring service providers. That way you make sure that all of your works that have been used are included in the reports of the TV channels.

Distribution cycle over the year:

On 1 July of each year, we distribute the royalty income from the respective previous year.

Deadline for claiming unpaid royalties:

After distribution of the main royalties, you have 18 months to claim for missing royalties. For more detailed information about how to do this and what you need to know before making a claim, please refer to the claims section of our website.