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Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by dirtysouthstunta, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. I have heard a lot about BMI and ASCAP, and that I need to sign up with them, but could somebody give me the exact definition of what these companies do? Why do I need to sign up with them? Is it easy? Is it free? Also which one is best? :D :D :D

  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    These are performing rights organizations. They keep track of radio, club play and so on and make sure you get paid everytime your song is performed. In the United States, there is one more organization called SESAC to consider. You really don't need to join one of these unless you anticipate having significant airplay in the near future - otherwise it won't be worth the membership cost. AS for which one is best, i've heard that writers on all three make about the same ammount of money, so I suppose they are equal.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    BMI averages the radio take and then distributes the money to the top percentage .. where ASCAP actually takes the logs and pays the individual writers. So if you're a big star or writer BMI is a better wy to go .. if you're a writer of one song or a smaller recording act then ASCAP is better.. SESAC is a Canadian organization.
  4. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    SESAC Canadian? I've not heard that Kurt. I do know that they have headquarters in New York, LA, and Nashville and that US acts are registered with SESAC. Can you tell me more?
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    No I don't have more info on that ... it is just what i have heard for the past 20 years or so ... I could be wrong ... but I don't think so ....
  6. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Cool, thanks. Well one thing about them that's interesting is the waveform recognition software they use instead of the regular paid listener technique. Any opinions as to if this makes them better that the rest?
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    No your mention is the first I heard of this.

    You will notice if you look, that many publishers / recording artists use multiple collection agencies .. like you will see ASCAP/BMI on a lot of credits. This is so they collect payments (in some cases) twice or at least, can choose between which one will pay more. Just because you register with one of them does not preclude you from registering with the others ...
  8. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    sesac isn't canadian. they pay the highest rates. they pay even for college radio play. bob dylan and niel diamond are on sesac. they used to invite only... but are opening up...

    bmi is a bitch to get off of
  9. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Thanks, RecorderMan!

    I was hoping that I'd get some more posts on this thread if it was stickied!

    This is some good info to have, folks.
  10. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Instead of guessing look here http://
  11. taxman

    taxman Active Member

    Before committing to one or the other, this would be a good time to talk to an entertainment lawyer and business manager who are familiar with these companies, royalty audits and other issues.
  12. Geebz

    Geebz Guest


    Yea, I agree with taxman here. Many moving parts in the pro's (Professional Rights Orgs) that can frutrate if you don't get the all the info.
  13. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    uh... I am very familiar. my points stand with absolute first hand experience.
  14. TheGreatAmericanSlum

    TheGreatAmericanSlum Active Member

    Sesac is in Nashville, and if you can get in w/ them they are the most "indie friendly" PRO out there.

    Good luck getting anybody on the phone up at BMI if you're not Nelly. Or Nelly Furtado. Ha...

    I do BMI and it works fine. Would love to buy out and fly over to SESAC though. Hopefully soon if our manager works the gears!
  15. I'm a member of ASCAP. They give you a whole bunch of benefits besides getting you the money you deserve for airplay / performance etc. With an ASCAP card you also get discounts on hotels, car rentals, Uhauls, insurance for your gear, merchandise, and the list goes on and on. Just go to each organization's website and read up so you can pick what would be best for you!
  16. Lazy

    Lazy Active Member

    Socan is the Canadian oganisation. From what I read back in 1996 (which influenced me NOT to affiliate with them) were a few political stances they held on blank media. I went with BMI.... funny Socan's position at the time on blank media is much like BMI over radio play. I don't know if it's changed. From what I've read it hasn't.

    Also: Affiliating with BMI as a songwriter is free. It's the music publishing companies that pay yearly fees. Unless that has changed since I affiliated with them.
  17. BradSamson

    BradSamson Guest

    ascap or BMI?

    PROs license public performances of their members' music which includes network television, cable TV, cable movie channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.), use in nightclubs, stores, restaurants and other public performances. PROs only licenses performing rights, and only non-dramatic performing rights.

    Dramatic Rights (which are not licensed by the PROs) include performances you would see on Broadway or other theater type of performance. These rights are negotiated directly with either the composer, the publisher or their representative. Performance royalties are collected for movie theater performances in almost every country except the United States of America.

    Rights such as mechanical rights, grand rights, master rights or synchronization rights are NOT licensed by PROs. PROs license performing rights only.

    Performing rights organizations monitor their members' music when it is performed on the radio. In Television and Film performances, PROs use what is known as a Cue Sheet to keep track of whose music is used in which broadcast or film. These Cue Sheets are filled out by the producer and submitted to each PRO who has a member represented on the Cue Sheet. The fees paid to the performing rights organizations are typically paid by the broadcaster and are not the responsibility of the producer.
  18. Lazy

    Lazy Active Member

    Socan's blank media tax is the exact reason I decided not to affiliate with them. I also chose BMI.
  19. mtm1

    mtm1 Active Member

    All of these are reasons why you should join one of the PROs--they are not just for songwriters who anticipate getting radio airplay because the revenue streams are much more diverse than that. I always tell people to go with whichever PRO has a rep that they develop a good relationship with--one who will support their music, connect them with good collaborators and exposure opportunities. So if you have PRO reps in your area, try and develop a rapport with them to help you decide which one to go with.

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  20. chancellor

    chancellor Active Member

    They are ALL performing right organizations but not the same when it comes to which one pays the most and more frequent. Sesac by far pays more and more frequent.

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