« 2NMC - Showcasing Acts Announced | Main | Satellite Radio: XM vs. SIRIUS - Which One is for You? »

August 05, 2004

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451720369e200d834211a0b53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference ASCAP vs. BMI - This may help you decide...:

» ASCAP vs. BMI from Recordstore.com
Music Business: Song writers want to know which performing rights organization to go with - This may help you decide...... [Read More]

Comments

Mark Northam

Congratulations, Don, for taking a strong public stand on this issue. It's high time the "council of elders" that runs ASCAP come out from behind their secret board meetings and start being honest about policies like this.

KC

I totally agree! We have been screwed by both we have $0 payments on our original music, we also have documentation for over 450,000 airplays in less than 6 months, and unless you are with a noteable writer or Artist or with a "Major" label
they tend to look over you. We were also ripped off by a "noteable" writer several months ago that sold a song I helped co-write to 3 other writers and a major label and it's in the the Top 40 now. You always need to cover yourself regardless of friendship or association.

John Wells

A agree with the majority of what was said, but the publishing company can only affiliates with one PRO. In order for one "company" to be affiliated with both (or all three) of the PROs, they have to establish a separate legal entity for each of the PROs.

John Brokaw

I guess I don't fully understand the basis of your complaint. In the first two q's it appears BMI payments substantially exceeded those of ASCAP. When you say that ASCAP matched I would guess that means they then paid the differential based upon BMI's accounting? One interesting conclusion if I fully understand the process is that it benefits both writers of a hit song to have differing affiliations so that this dual accounting occurs. I have heard that BMI is more helpful to smaller artists, writers and publishers. We have yet to have a hit record but have been satisfied that BMI has been effective in tracking and paying for the performance that we have received.

Zircon Skye

John Read

This certainly is a mean business.
I've just got a track on an album by a chart group. The cheering was cut short when I got the album and saw two other 'writers' names on my track.
One was the singer the other was the producer.
News to me. More money on the way to the lawyers.
But I have immense respect and gratitude to Don Rollins for his refreshingly open & decent stance on the payments issue.
Let's have more of this attitude. The only way to beat dubious behaviour in any walk of life, is to shine a light into the dark and murky corners that the culprits would rather keep dark.
Don has just done that. Thankyou Don.
John Read.

Darrell Looney

It may well be true that the PRO's are more friendly to us "little guys". Perhaps 'cause there's a lot more of us and the payouts are smaller. I provided (and have gathered)little to no documentation qv spins for my tracks and still received a quarterly royalty from BMI for internet and on-air spins ($20). Small price for them to pay to keep me quiet, I guess.

FLORIDAROOMENT.COM

WELL IM GLAD THAT JOHN BROUGHT THIS SITUATION TO THE ATTENTION OF THE WRITERS THEM SELVES.. BUT MY QUESTION WOULD BE AFTER ALL... WHO DO WE DEAL WITH.? BMI OR ASCAP? IM A ARTIST ABOUT TO GET SIGNED AND I AM TRYING TO CHOOSE WHUT IS RIGHT FOR ME AND MY FUTURE... CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME? THANK YOU.. THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS..

Moses Avalon

The most disturbing part of Dan’s story is that it’s not uncommon. And I too wish I had a nickel for every time I’m asked “which one should I join.”

A simple method that would help others make this same choice is if songwriter teams, where each member belongs to a deferent PRO, publishes their inconsistent royalty statements. If Dave does not have room on his site, I would be happy to host the postings on my site, MosesAvalon.com.

Only though comparisons (and some blog to round out each story) will people get the full picture of how the individual PROs work.

Not included so far in this discussion is SESAC and their method, which is vastly different then ASCAP or BMI. SESAC has given the impression that you can only join them by invitation only, but recently they have begun to make some exceptions. It’s worth checking out.

Also in regard to so called “advances” all Pros give them. It depends on your negotiating skills.

When I consult with writers I sometimes suggest they start two individual publishing entities and then sign a “work-for-hire”/employment contract with each of them. This makes each publishing entity the 100% copyright owner of what ever song YOU assign to either. Each publishing entity then joins one of the two major PROs. In this way you, the writer, can decide which PRO gets the song and circumvents the ASCAP/BMI policy that a writer can only belong to one or the other. Armed with the knowledge you can then better game the system and negotiate advances on a song by song basis. It empowers the writer significantly and could also extend their copyrights to 95 years.

The above is a very over simplified explanation of a more complex process. In other words, don’t try this at home without an expert assisting you.

For about three years now I have been thinking about putting together a workshop designed specifically to outline the differences between ASCAP and BMI. In the current Confessions workshop that I do, I spend some time on it and go over the different methods and formulas used by both. It helps students see the deferent ways that the two major PROS “think.” This makes it possible to learn why you could have a discrepancies of $6K/$30K and how to choose which one to join.

Keep writing, and always write the truth,

Moses Avalon

Brian Oblivion

I dont know yet. I am in the process of finishing a project and will have to have it copywritten soon. People tell me that ASCAP is more "customer friendly"(meaning that you can talk to an actual human in stead of an automated recording),but I've yet to have something copywritten personally.I live in Atlanta and I've called our ASCAP office 2 or 3 times and gotten only an answering machine.If you ask me I'd prefer an automated recording, at least I'd be getting something accomplished.

Les Hurdle

Was the payment to the ASCAP composer recoupable?
He might be in for a nasty shock !

les H

Mashed Buddha

I'm also deciding which to join, and what I thought was just another step among many small steps to getting my small business/original music out there, is actually instead an entire world of economics, politics, and questionable ethics. I found the following link to be informative on this subject, although it was written before or in 1993:

http://www.woodpecker.com/writing/essays/royalty-politics.html

It's quite anti ASCAP but it's not pro BMI.

This also looks like a good resource on the topic (not spam, not affiliated):
http://www.theindustrystore.com/howtoinyoasb.html

Probably going to buy, hope it's as good as it sounds.

yahyaakelly

NO COMMENT BUT I LEARN MORE TODAY ABOUT WORK MADE
FOR HIRE I DID THAT FOR CIPYRIGHTS NOW I NO I DID
RIGHT. I JOIN ASCAP BUT IF YOU SING WITH A RECORED COMPANY AS A WIITER I MOST HAVE TO BE EXCLUSIVE OWNER OFTHE RIGHTS/ENTITLED

SAM

WHat is a PRO. ?

Unfun Records

A Publishing Rights Organization (the big 3 PROs are BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC)

Gene

So, Publishing companies can belong to ASCAP, BMI, & so on at same time?

M.D

I am a producer who plans to be a songwriter in the future, in the meantime I only write the musical composition. Do I get paid from a performing right organization or do producers traditionally work out 50/50 deals with the songwriter?; Which PRO would be a better fit for a hip hop, r&b and pop producer, ASCAP or BMI? Lastly, are there any costs for me to switch organizations when my contract is up?

joe

The little guy (or girl) always gets screwed. :)

Jon

Help Iam a local unsigned artist
and I want to come in the game right
my music is copyrighted ready for spins
but reading all the messages Iam confused I dont want to
get f&%ked even though there is crookedness everywhere
wut do I do

David Hooper

Don't let your fear keep you from taking any action at all. Both these organizations have great people, so go with the one where you develop the best relationships.

The Budder King

If I am a beatmaker who plans on putting out my own CD of my beats, independently, would I file under WRITER or PUBLISHER?

Also with ASCAP or BMI do you have to pay for each individual song you register?

Chris

I will NEVER deal with any of the PRO's even if it means my music will remain Indie and I will make very little. These guys screw everyone they can.

I copyright everything I write. If you want to record it you will sign a contract with me and pay me based upon charting and airplay and I will always retain ownership. If that doesn't work for you go write your own music at 3 am like I do!!!

Alan

Hey Chris,

Why is it that the creative hour is always in the viciity of 3am? I started writing songs about 6 months ago and the magic always seems to start when the mice come out. :-)

Loren

I have a small venue that has live performances on weekends. ASCAP uses Mafia style collection methods to make more money from these performers on stage than I have in the last year.
My open mic nights and band performances will most likely end this year because of them!

JB

Wow! This is some crazy stuff i've read here. Obviously I've found this article because I was researching on not only which PRO to join but also how to join it (Publisher or Composer/Writer)

I'm a hip hop/r&b/pop producer and trying to make the best decision for me and my pockets. I didn't know that it was this bad with these PRO's though. $30k difference is a lot of money to be cheated out on.

I really like that scenario that Moses had with the 2 separate publishing entities. But to Don, how did you, or whoever's commentary that was, know the payout amounts from BMI and ASCAP if you can only have 1 affiliation??

Tom Gridley


The article says - "I am a writer on "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" which spent eight weeks at #1 last year..."
The key words are "...a writer..." on the song. If he were the only writer, he would have written that he is "the writer".
Also, the last sentence in the paragraph following the payout amounts says " In the meantime my cowriter has $39K that I don't have, and may never have, for the same song, same writer's share, no publishing, etc.

His cowriter belongs to ASCAP,and he belongs to BMI.

ray

I wouldnt be surprised if all of the "PRO's" at some point on the "family Tree", are really working together or are ran by the same people. Just like one commenter said...secrecy is golden. Thats usually how it is. we sometime are just blind to it. EXAMPLE: Its like Coca Cola and 7up. These 2 products have been competing with each other for years but they are both owned by Coca Cola. They "cause" theyre own problems...to make it seem like they are heros when they "fix" the problem. But the problem itself came from the very same people that fixed it. In this particular case ....i wouldnt be surprised that bmi were comparing theyre own payouts to ascap payout (thats why they had to keep matching)....and realized that they cant always be the good guys...they had to let ascap get some glory(lol)because ITS ALL ABOUT POLITICAL BALANCE FOLKS. The politics of it go waaaaayyyy beyond music. All those companies are all ran by the same people(my opinion). This just my own personal and twisted(lmao) idea about what those payout statements were "REALLY" about. dont pay me any mind. thanks

The comments to this entry are closed.

$100,000 as a Musician

  • ATTN: Musicians

    GET THIS FREE BOOK
    ABOUT MAKING MONEY
    IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS
    ...as my gift to you!


    PLUS...
    I'LL GIVE YOU A
    BONUS MYSTERY GIFT
    (A $39 Value)
    TO HELP YOU
    SELL MORE MUSIC
    ...when you sign up below!


    Name:
    Email:

Free Music Business Help

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Contact Me Directly

Listen to Music Business Radio

More Marketing Advice