Monday, October 1, 2012

Terminating BMI for ASCAP: What Happens?

Dear Rich: I was in a band that released a few albums. The band's music publisher affiliated with BMI and so did all of the band members who were songwriters. That was about 15 years ago and now I'd like to switch to ASCAP. If I affiliate with ASCAP and terminate with BMI, will ASCAP continue to pay me my share of the songs from my old band? (For readers who may not know, BMI and ASCAP are performing rights organizations that collect money for public performance of songs -- we discussed PROs in a previous entry.) The good news is that you will continue to get paid if you switch from BMI to ASCAP. BMI will write checks to you as a "terminated" writer for a song that is associated with a BMI-affiliated publisher. We weren't aware of the practice but it was confirmed by BMI and ASCAP reps. (BTW, the differences between BMI and ASCAP are highlighted here).

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