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Topic: ASCAP vs BMI

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  1. #1

    ASCAP vs BMI

    I am looking to join either ASCAP or BMI. I have never been a member of these organizations and would like your opinion as to their worth. If this is the wrong 'forum' to ask this question, please forgive me and point me towards the person(s) that can give me this information.

    Is there one of these two organizations that is better than the other? I know ASCAP charges $35 for membership and BMI is free. If joining BMI, you are precluded from joining another such organization for 2 years. So before I make a choice, I wanted to check with those of you who may already be members of these groups.

    This is information that probably is important for us to discuss and I am sure that those of you who are members would like to share your experiences.

    I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Best Regards,
    Bill
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  2. #2

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Do you get performances of your music in halls that pay performing rights?
    I think that this is the important question when deciding whether or not to adhere to a performing rights organization.

    I belong to SOCAN, more or less the Canadian equivalent of both BMI and ASCAP (at one point in the past, they WERE more closely linked... sharing a name, if I recall correctly).

    However, I can tell you that in 25 years of getting my music performed, I have gotten exactly one (1) royalty cheque.

    Unless the performance was in a hall that pays performing rights licenses, you won't see any money.

    And to the best of my knowledge, neither BMI nor ASCAP "protect" your work in any manner. It isn't like registering it for copyright protection.

  3. #3

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    This is a good question and I'd be interested in an answer as well...

    My guess is it might depend on what exactly you hope to get out of joining.

    I joined ASCAP earlier this year because I needed a CAE number for something. I was kind of in a hurry and at the time it looked like BMI needed some kind of proof that your work was going to be published or something, which I didn't have time for, whereas ASCAP seemed perfectly happy to take my $35 even if I hadn't written a single note. (I might've been mistaken, as I was in a hurry...)

    Other than getting a CAE number, I don't really get (or need) anything out of ASCAP, especially since I don't make nearly enough $$$ for me to worry about my rights...
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  4. #4

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    Do you get performances of your music in halls that pay performing rights?
    I am a position where some of my work may be performed on a local Classic Music station (WCLV). I am not sure that they pay royalty rights, but it's a question worth asking.

    Thanks for the input. I have had a couple of responses from the composers guild that I am in and would post those if anyone was interested.

    best,
    Bill
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  5. #5

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Quote Originally Posted by wrayer View Post
    I am a position where some of my work may be performed on a local Classic Music station (WCLV). I am not sure that they pay royalty rights, but it's a question worth asking.

    I am not sure of the laws in the U.S., but in Canada, to get an on air license, you MUST pay for a performing rights license. In other words, if you have ANY form of media that will utilize music in any form (including advertisements), you are required to pay for a yearly SOCAN license.

    Stores that play music - CDs or radio - for their customers are also required to have SOCAN licenses (you can see the little SOCAN sticker in the front window of stores that comply with the law).

    Even the small music festival of which I am administrator pays for an event license for that single week. So if we perform any works by living, registered, composers, they would receive their royalty fee directly from SOCAN.

  6. #6

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Here in Germany it is the "Gema". You have to pay a little money a year, but it is a very good thing.

    Sometimes I get money from a record what was played in a radio station 2 years ago in another country, lets say in Belgum... But, the money comes.
    "Music is the shorthand of emotion." Leo Tolstoy

    Listen to me, tuning my triangle http://www.box.net/shared/ae822u6r3i

  7. #7

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    I am not sure of the laws in the U.S., but in Canada, to get an on air license, you MUST pay for a performing rights license. In other words, if you have ANY form of media that will utilize music in any form (including advertisements), you are required to pay for a yearly SOCAN license.

    Stores that play music - CDs or radio - for their customers are also required to have SOCAN licenses (you can see the little SOCAN sticker in the front window of stores that comply with the law).

    Even the small music festival of which I am administrator pays for an event license for that single week. So if we perform any works by living, registered, composers, they would receive their royalty fee directly from SOCAN.
    This is also the way ASCAP works in The States.

    Earlier this year I decided to join ASCAP, primarily to have that credential. I like the idea of having the organization associated with my name, and vice versa.

    There was something incorrect on this thread:

    "...whereas ASCAP seemed perfectly happy to take my $35 even if I hadn't written a single note..."

    That actually is not the case. You pay the fee to have your application processed, but there's no guarantee that an applicant will be accepted. The one prerequisite which is crucial is that the applicant has had music performed in an ASCAP sanctioned venue.

    I went through the process of applying because I knew that our local theatre where "Dorian" was first produced pays ASCAP a yearly fee in order to use any music in the ASCAP catalog for their productions. That was what qualified me for membership.

    Randy B.

  8. #8

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    I was with ASCAP a long time ago. When I started actually getting performances, mechanicals and sync licenses I switched to BMI Classical on the advice of my publisher who told me that BMI paid faster. It was tough to switch - I had to re-register all of my old material - but we worked it out.

    I have no idea if BMI Classical "pays faster" or whatever but I have been very happy with the service. They actually pay twice a year and many people seem to report performances to them faithfully - so I get some money.

    You can also submit programs (not from high school performances or below - but from pro or college/university performances and other professional venues) to get fees. Also there is a separate "world premiere" form which pays a bit more.

    So...after years of NOT using a license service (all of my children's theatre scores went unlicensed and were potentionally a big wad o' cash! Alas!) BMI Classical has been a very nice addition money-wise - I just wish I had known how it worked sooner.

    I'm sure ASCAP is just as advantageous. The people at BMI Classical are very helpful and friendly.

    Anyhoo BMI Classical pays me fairly well and is worth it for me.

    Contact: Ralph Jackson at rjackson@bmi.com or

    BMI Classical Music Administration
    320 West 57th Street
    New York, NY 10019

    EDIT: I've never had to pay BMI anything. Ever.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  9. #9

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    The one prerequisite which is crucial is that the applicant has had music performed in an ASCAP sanctioned venue.
    That might be what they say, but I'm not sure how they'd actually check that... Maybe they do, I have no idea, but maybe they just say that to avoid unnecessary applicants. Anyway, they don't require you to provide any proof of it yourself...

    And I used the word "seemed" so it is not incorrect; that is how it seemed
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  10. #10

    Re: ASCAP vs BMI

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanHannifin View Post
    That might be what they say, but I'm not sure how they'd actually check that... Maybe they do, I have no idea, but maybe they just say that to avoid unnecessary applicants. Anyway, they don't require you to provide any proof of it yourself...

    And I used the word "seemed" so it is not incorrect; that is how it seemed
    Hi, Sean - Since you say you have no idea, I'll gladly inform you (again).

    Using my application as an example, I listed Pentacle Theatre as the ASCAP affiliated venue where I'd had my music performed. It was easy for them to look in their records and confirm that the theatre does indeed have a license with ASCAP, and that my work was performed there.

    You're not required to provide the proof because they need to look things up themselves. You provide the info, they'll verify it.

    And all this is not just how it Seems, it's just Correct. ---more smileys

    Randy

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