How does ASCAP and BMI work for musicians?
ASCAP and BMI are both performing rights organizations (PROs) that collect and distribute royalties to songwriters and publishers for the public performance of their music. Here's how they work for musicians:
Joining: Musicians can become members of ASCAP or BMI by signing up and paying a one-time membership fee. Once they become members, they can register their original songs with the organization.
ASCAP and BMI do require an initial membership fee, but they also require ongoing fees and/or commissions based on the royalties earned from the public performance of a member's music. These fees and commissions are typically deducted from the royalties earned before they are paid out to the member.
Additionally, registering songs with the organizations is an ongoing process, as members must keep their catalogs up to date with any new songs they create or release. This ensures that ASCAP or BMI can accurately track and distribute royalties for all of a member's music.
Tracking: ASCAP and BMI track the public performances of their members' music, which includes radio and TV broadcasts, live performances, and even plays in businesses like restaurants and bars. They do this by using technology like audio recognition software and surveys.
ASCAP and BMI use a variety of methods to track the public performances of their members' music. These methods include:
Audio recognition software: ASCAP and BMI use technology that can identify the sound of a song being played, even if it's just a snippet or background music. This allows them to track performances on radio and TV broadcasts, streaming services, and other digital platforms.
Survey programs: ASCAP and BMI also conduct surveys of businesses like bars, restaurants, and other venues to determine what music is being played. They use this data to track live performances and public performances that may not be tracked by audio recognition software.
Direct reporting: In some cases, businesses and organizations will directly report the songs they play to ASCAP and BMI. This is often the case for larger venues or events, where the music played is more closely monitored.
Collecting royalties: When a member's music is publicly performed, ASCAP or BMI collects royalties from the user of the music, such as a radio station or a venue. The royalties collected are then distributed to the members whose music was performed, based on factors like the frequency of the performances and the popularity of the songs.
ASCAP and BMI collect royalties from various users of music such as radio stations, TV networks, streaming services, live performance venues, and businesses like bars and restaurants that play music publicly. These users are required by law to obtain permission and pay for the right to use copyrighted music.
When ASCAP or BMI collects royalties for a member's music, they first deduct any fees or commissions owed to the organization for administering and tracking the public performances of the music. The remaining royalties are then distributed to the members whose music was performed, based on a formula that takes into account various factors, including the frequency of performances, the popularity of the songs, and the size of the venue or audience.
ASCAP and BMI distribute royalties to their members on a quarterly basis, and members can view their royalty statements and payment details through the organizations' online portals. By collecting and distributing royalties on behalf of their members, ASCAP and BMI help ensure that songwriters and publishers are fairly compensated for the public performance of their music.
Paying out royalties: ASCAP and BMI distribute royalties to their members on a quarterly basis. The distribution is based on a complex formula that takes into account various factors, such as the type of music and the number of times it was performed.
ASCAP and BMI distribute royalties to their members on a quarterly basis, typically in March, June, September, and December.
The distribution of royalties is based on a complex formula that takes into account various factors, including the type of music, the frequency and type of performances, and the size of the venue or audience. ASCAP and BMI also take into account the sources of the revenue, such as domestic versus international performances, and allocate royalties accordingly.
The formula used to distribute royalties can be quite complex, and the exact details are not publicly disclosed. However, ASCAP and BMI provide their members with detailed statements that show how their royalties were calculated, including information about the performances and revenue sources that contributed to the royalties earned.
In addition to quarterly distributions, ASCAP and BMI also make retroactive payments to their members for past performances that were not previously tracked or reported. These payments are typically made once a year and are based on a review of the organizations' performance data and revenue streams.
Overall, ASCAP and BMI serve as important resources for musicians, providing a way for them to earn royalties for their music. By joining these organizations, musicians can protect their music and ensure that they receive fair compensation for their creative work.