Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

A creative space for business discussions.

Moderators: admin, mdc, TAXIstaff

VanderBoegh
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1777
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:47 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Boise, Idaho
Contact:

Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by VanderBoegh » Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:13 am

Following in my homie Marcus Cohen's footsteps on this one, as well as Desire Inspires, who both prompted me into finally making the jump.

I've submitted my resignation to ASCAP, and effective July 1 I will be moving to BMI. I'll leave my existing catalog with ASCAP, but all new works will be registered with BMI as of July 1. I've done this for two reasons, most of which has already been covered in Marcus' similar post, but maybe this will shed some additional insight for anyone thinking of switching, or who hasn't yet decided upon a PRO:

1) BMI pays about 2.5x what ASCAP pays for vocal placements. Around 5(ish) years ago, ASCAP nixed their "vocal" payment tier, and began paying vocal placements on the same pay scale as instrumental placements. Not a big deal if you rarely write vocal songs. But if you write a goodly amount of vocal songs, you're gonna get shafted by ASCAP.

ESPECIALLY if - like me - you need a vocalist to collaborate with. In that case, you're most likely splitting the royalties 50/50. Which means you'll get half the amount of money that you'd get by landing an instrumental placement on a cue you wrote yourself.

So, it's like this...... vocal songs take me about 4-5x the amount of time to create as an instrumental cue. Then they make me half as much money. WTF?!?!?! Why would I ever want to continue making vocal songs, when this is the payment model? That's just horrible business. And I love making vocal songs and working with my friends. But where's the motivation when remaining with ASCAP?

2) BMI also pays more from instrumental placements. I verified this by analyzing a track that Terrell Burt and I co-wrote about 5 years ago, which landed an instrumental placement on "Love & Hip Hop" about 3 years ago. Plenty of time has passed on that placement now to assume that most of the money has already come in on it. Terrell was kind enough to send me his BMI statements and we compared.

I've made lifetime earnings of $72 on that one instrumental placement through ASCAP. Terrell has made $89 through BMI. One the same freakin' placement. Now, that might not seem like much, heck it's only seventeen dollars. But that equates to a 23% difference in payouts. Extrapolate that over an annual royalty stream of $50-$100K, and we're talking a HUGE amount of money.

Yes, I realize I'm making a big leap in assuming this one single placement represents the entirety of the ASCAP vs. BMI instrumental pay scales. But it's such an apples-to-apples comparison, that it would be folly to think it doesn't speak for the lion's share.

Finally, to really make sure I was making the right decision, I spoke to four publishers about this. Two of them were adamant that I switch to BMI as soon as possible, saying that BMI pays better across the board (which will, in turn, make the publisher more money too); one was pretty convinced BMI was the better choice, but wasn't willing to go all-in on that assumption; and only one publisher recommended staying with ASCAP (but has since emailed me saying he's found a ton of mistakes in his latest ASCAP statement).

Having done my due-diligence, I decided to make the switch. And now I've done my due-diligence in sharing this with you all in attempts to pay it forward!

~~Matt

ComposerLDG
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1609
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:49 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by ComposerLDG » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:38 am

Thanks for the informative post, Matt. I may consider it too, though my realm is 100% instrumental, no vocal.
Loren DiGiorgi
Uniquely piano-inspired Orchestral | Tension | Hybrid | Trailer
lorendigiorgi.com
www.taxi.com/lorendigiorgi
www.soundcloud.com/ldigiorgi
YouTube
Instagram

DesireInspires
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1248
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:06 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Miami Beach
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by DesireInspires » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:10 pm

That's what's up. Good deal!

cassmcentee
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 2892
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:40 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by cassmcentee » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:32 am

Thanks Matt (& Marcus)
I've put on my life preserver and submitted my request to "Jump Ship" as well...
Adrift until July 1rst
Cass

funsongs
Total Pro
Total Pro
Posts: 5102
Joined: Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:18 am
Gender: Male
Location: So Cal
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by funsongs » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:10 pm

Since it was easier to spell, and for an Old-Guy to remember - I went with BMI from the start.
Looks like I lucked out and made the right choice. :? 8-)
Thanks, Professor. :)
Peter Rahill
https://soundcloud.com/funsongs-1
https://taxi.com/peterrahill
“The future aint what it use to be.” - Yogi Berra

SubRivers
Getting Busy
Getting Busy
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:51 pm
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by SubRivers » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:29 pm

I am not member of either (I am UK PRS) but I have had the impression that BMI seems to be more popular than ASCAP.
So this thread is interesting as to the reasons.

jdstamper
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 1327
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:40 am
Gender: Male
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by jdstamper » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:56 pm

This is really helpful to me. I'm with BMI but sometimes have felt like the grass might be greener on the ASCAP side. For one thing, I had the impression that ASCAP provides more information (a cue sheet) While BMI is reported more at a summary level. Even so, the bottom line is the most important criteria.

Thanks! Jim
Jim Stamper
Production Music ... from Underscore to Overdrive
http://www.taxi.com/jimstamper

Kolstad
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 4302
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:19 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Denmark
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by Kolstad » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:18 am

The complexity of this is vast, so you did well with collecting the data and experiences you had access to, it seems.

I'd just wanted to add that what you write seem to correspond with the information in this article https://www.themusickitchen.com/music-b ... bmi-sesac/

But I will think this choice is highly dependent on your portfolio, and personal circumstances, so others might get reverse results if they blindly follow your example, without doing the same analysis that you did. There is a big issue of transparency here (from the PROs)..
Last edited by Kolstad on Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:20 am, edited 3 times in total.

Tunesmith
Committed Musician
Committed Musician
Posts: 516
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:47 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Planet Earth
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by Tunesmith » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:07 pm

Well I had no idea about this..why does Ascap pay less and how do they get away with it? I've been with them a long time, most revenue from cd song airs. The past 2 years I have been filling it up with my instrumental and vocal cues/ songs wIth shared publishing from libraries.

So I gather that you can leave your existing catalog with them, still be an ASCAP member and open a BMI account as well and list all new material there?

Thanks for the information Matt and all!

Linda

cassmcentee
Serious Musician
Serious Musician
Posts: 2892
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:40 am
Gender: Male
Contact:

Re: Also switching from ASCAP to BMI

Post by cassmcentee » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:20 pm

Tunesmith wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:07 pm
So I gather that you can leave your existing catalog with them, still be an ASCAP member and open a BMI account as well and list all new material there?
Linda
Hey Linda, here's the process:
You log into you ASCAP account(s)
Under "Profile" you click on "Submit Resignation"
It will check to see if you are in the appropriate time slot for resigning
In my case the time slot was Jan to March
This starts the paperwork process and the reporting of which "works" can be migrated to a different PRO (BMI)
I will receive this paperwork shortly after July 1rst, showing what tunes can be migrated and that I am no longer with ASCAP
except for the tunes that can't migrate. ASCAP will still collect for those and still pay out.
Once you have the letter you then call BMI or use the website.
They will need a copy of the letter and then can start your membership.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest