Choosing a PRO

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Nick2012
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Choosing a PRO

Post by Nick2012 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:14 am

Sorry if this has been discussed before. I did a forum search on "PRO" and got way too many returns to sift through. My basic question is this: Is one PRO a better choice over the others for TAXI members who focus mostly on TV/movie placements? Or is it a 6 of 1, half dozen of another sort of thing. Also, I'm assuming there is no value-added in being a member of more than one PRO. True?

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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by mazz » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:51 am

From what I understand, it really kind of is 6 of 1................ I believe with SESAC you have to be invited to join, BMI and ASCAP you can join online with no invitation.

As a writer, you can only be a member of one PRO at a time.
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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by kclements » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:55 am

What Mazz said.

I read somewhere a long time ago that you should go through you record collection and see what PRO a majority of your favorite records/artists you like are on. Then join that PRO. I guess the thinking was that if you are firmly seated in one genre, then you may have better luck with a PRO that deals a lot in that genre?

But I don't think it makes that big of a difference in the end.

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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by Nick2012 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:15 pm

Thanks very much for the replies guys.

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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by T&V Marino » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:20 pm

Hi Nick,

Just wanted to clear a few things up about each PRO...

First, you do NOT have to be invited to join SESAC. We know James Leach, the Associate Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations & New Technologies, and he's constantly trying to stop that myth! If you live in the Los Angeles area, SESAC will be having their Annual "Songwriter's Boot Camp" for only $25 on Wednesday, July 27, at the Skirball Center -- and this includes breakfast, lunch & dinner!!! You MUST pre-register to attend by going to the SESAC website. We've gone to this all-day event several times and it's great. It will give you an idea what SESAC is all about, and you'll meet publishers, A&R people, music supervisors, and other cool music industry people. Only about 200 people attend, so it's "up close and personal." By the way, SESAC also pays back-end only 1-2 quarters behind, unlike ASCAP and BMI which pay 3-4 quarters behind.

Second, if you write music for commercials, then as of this writing, BMI is probably not for you! We're with BMI and JUST found this out after writing 4 songs for a major production music library. After they signed our songs, they told us nearly all of their "advertising composers" are members of ASCAP. We had NO idea! It gets complicated, but basically the rule is this: if the commercial has a voice-over come in BEFORE 30 seconds, THEN BMI will pay back-end. Well, MOST commercials we've seen have a voice over come in before that 30-second mark. :x But, if you're concentrating on writing for film/tv, then BMI is a good bet.

Third, ASCAP has great workshops and they do a fantastic job hooking up songwriters with up-and-coming songwriters. They also have the Annual ASCAP Expo in April. This is a great feature: they have cue sheets available on their website, which we think is really helpful. SESAC does this, too. Their film/TV reps are accessible and very helpful.

Last, if you're aspiring to write hit songs, any PRO is good for that.

Final thoughts: we've made friends with reps from all of the PROs and we can honestly say they're all great. Each one has pros and cons, so we hope this gives you SOME direction.

Good luck!

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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by mojobone » Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:50 pm

Generally, if you do ONLY instrumental music, there is a very slight advantage in ASCAP. As stated above by Vance and Tracy, the advantage increases if you work mostly in advertising. 8-) If your output is mostly songs, (with lyrics) BMI may be a better bet.
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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by Nick2012 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:57 am

Thanks Tracey & Vance for that great breakdown.

Mojo, I'll probably let successes (or lack of successes) determine whether I focus on songs w/lyrics, or instrumentals. I think I am skilled at both. But I might end up getting a reality check :lol:

Bottom line is I might pick a PRO up front, then find later I may not have made the BEST choice. From what I hear though, there's really no out-n-out WRONG choice.

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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by deantaylor » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:50 am

I'm ASCAP, but I'm not sure there is a big difference with them and BMI. I just had to pick one.

I recommend that you also get your own publishing entity with them when you join .. i.e. join as both a writer and a publisher. Some libraries require you have one. And if you ever license anything directly to film-tv, you'll need it.
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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by kclements » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:56 am

If you are registered as a writer with one (in my case, BMI) can you join as a Publisher with another (as ASCAP)?

Cheers -
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Re: Choosing a PRO

Post by Nick2012 » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:07 am

It's my understanding that many publishers are members of all the PRO's. That's because material has to be registered at the PRO of which the writer is a member (and a writer can only be in one). So I assume this means that, as your writing entity, you can join only one. But as your publishing entity, you can join all.

Nick

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