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 Question: register my song with ASCAP? 
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Committed Musician
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Hi all! I have what's probably a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyway.

Awhile back, I got a song placed with a music library via Taxi. It was a small boutique library with a very specialized clientele. Because it was small, and due to the special nature of their clientele, I always got paid directly from the library. ASCAP didn't play any role, because of the nature of the licensing.

However, at the end of last year, they sent out new contracts to all their composers saying that they've been expanding like crazy, and that they were on the verge of getting into the tv/film arena.

Sure enough, my last royalty check from them that I got last week was 600% larger than the previous one, so they've obviously been doing some sort of expansion!

So, here's my question. Since there's a distinct possibility that my composition will be licensed this year for broadcast on tv, do I need to register my song with ASCAP? Or does the library -- which is the exclusive publisher of this song -- take care of all that? I am a member of ASCAP already, but I've never registered a song with them yet.

Secondly, I've been hearing some buzz about the benefits of registering with SACEM in France for performance royalties outside of the US. Since 3 of my songs have been forwarded to a UK company, it's got me thinking that maybe I should do that. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

Thanks!
Kevin

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Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:08 am
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Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:37 am
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If you are already an ASCAP member, you should register your songs with them...my experience is that a music library gives the song an "alternative" title to keep track of money from just their placement....
about Europe, I hope someone else pipes in here....
good luck,
Vicky


Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:32 am
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In the libraries I'm in, they always take care of the registering of the songs (their job as "publisher") and that's the way it is everywhere, as far as I know. It wouldnt' make sense for them to have you do it... you don't have the information you likely need for registering them as publisher. Each publisher has a different name for registering under ASCAP, a different name for registrations under BMI, etc. Normally we don't know what those names are or what names they use for that purpose. Plus as a publisher, I certainly wouldn't trust a musician to get everything right on my behalf. ;) ;D

I'd call just to make sure that they're doing what they're supposed to be doing (registering the work).

As far as the foreign stuff, it get passed along and eventually winds up in the hands of your PRO where it gets distributed to you. I have music in TV stuff that gets foreign airplay but it takes years for some of that stuff to materialize so those payments haven't hit yet. I've seen BMI statements from other Taxi folks that do get foreign payments and it all just shows up on their PRO statment eventually without any need to register in different countries, etc.



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Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:12 am
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Normally the publisher will register the song. It typically even says so in the contract. Whether they register it under a new title or the original one (or both) depends on the specifics of the deal, and this will again be spelled out in the contract.
Remember the publisher can't collect their share of the performance royalties unless they register the song, and I can't imagine them taking a chance on that...
However depending on contract specifics, they may wait to register the song until it has been placed in a performance royalty generating production.

I don't know who's talking about SACEM...you can be a member of only one PRO at a given time, and your foreign royalties will be collected by each countries PRO and passed on to in your case ASCAP who will pay you in turn.

matto


Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:21 pm
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Thanks all! That info helps a lot.



Quote:
I don't know who's talking about SACEM...you can be a member of only one PRO at a given time, and your foreign royalties will be collected by each countries PRO and passed on to in your case ASCAP who will pay you in turn.


Well, I joined an email discussion group with the Film Music Network -- FMPRO email group. Some of the composers said that they had ASCAP collect the performance money from the US, but France's SACEM for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, I deleted the emails instead of saving them, so I don't remember the whole discussion. I was going to try to read them more thoroughly when I had time.

But, some of the positives that I remember were: some circumstances where the writer got 60% and the publisher got 40%; some of the participants claimed more accurate reporting than ASCAP; and, if I remember correctly, composers avoided whatever ASCAP's administration cut is for collecting the royalties--although I would imagine that SACEM also has an administration fee.

However, I also recognize that FMPRO is particularly negative toward ASCAP. Very much so. So, I'm not sure how much is blown out of porportion or not. I'm sure that ASCAP can be a bloated bureaucracy that's slow to change, but to hear the FMPRO members talk, ASCAP is downright evil. So, I thought I get your take on the topic, since we don't have a distinctly anti-ASCAP vibe going on here.

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Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:32 am
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