, establised 1997

In order for a publisher or writer to collect moneys for the performance of their individual compositions, they have to affiliate with one of the following performance rights organizations in the United States.

  1. ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
  2. BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.)
  3. SESAC

A publisher or composer cannot be affiliated with more than one performance rights organization. Therefore must publishers have at least two affiliated publishing companies, one an ASCAP affiliated publishing company and one a BMI or SESAC affiliated company.

The performing rights organization splits the income they collect on a 50/50 basis between the publishing company and the composers. However, ASCAP will only pay ASCAP affiliated composers and BMI will pay only BMI affiliated composers. That is the reason why two companies are required. BMI writers would sign to the BMI affiliated publisher and ASCAP writers would sign up to the ASCAP affiliated publisher.

If a song is co-written by a BMI writer and an ASCAP writer, the performing rights organization that administers the composition, in that case only will make arrangements to pay the nonaffiliated co-writer his share of performing royalties.

The performance rights organizations will collect income for publishers on the following type of performances:

  • Radio and TV performances
  • Wired Music
  • Circuses
  • Shows
  • Concerts
  • Night Clubs
  • Catering Halls

The performing rights organization will also collect performances in the foreign territories through foreign performance societies where the publisher has not entered into an agreement with a foreign sub-publisher or collection agency to collect for them.

The income earned from a particular performing rights organization can vary depending upon the type of music and the index stations that are logged by that particular performing rights organization and the weight that is applied to that station.

The reason for the publisher affiliating with a performing rights organization is that the task of each publisher to collect a fee for his songs on a use by use basis would be almost an insurmountable task.

It is also noted that the licensing rights of the performing rights organizations relate only to small rights. Music Business Institute, Eric L. Cager, 504-945-1800 or or

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