Unusual PRO Question

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RealPickle
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Unusual PRO Question

Post by RealPickle » Wed May 22, 2024 3:01 pm

Hi all,

I'm still pretty new to the production music game, and a couple months ago I rashly signed up for ASCAP. Since then I've seen numerous things indicating that BMI is the preferred PRO for instrumental production music (and just generally) and so I'm regretting my decision to join ASCAP.

I have received my IPI number but haven't registered any music with them. I contacted them about cancelling but it doesn't seem like that's going to be possible (until my 2-year term is up)

My question is, what would happen if I just joined BMI? Since I haven't registered any music with them, does it really matter? Or would BMI know I'm already an ASCAP member and reject me? Complicating things is I actually did a legal name change (long story) and so my legal name is different than what ASCAP has for me (I haven't changed it with them yet).

Is there any precedent for ASCAP letting people out of their membership before their 2 year term is up? Should I just join BMI and pretend ASCAP doesn't exist? Should I suck it up and deal with ASCAP for 2 years? (I've received some forwards but nothing signed to a library yet)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Casey H
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Re: Unusual PRO Question

Post by Casey H » Wed May 22, 2024 5:24 pm

Real Pickle
ABSOLUTELY do NOT join BMI while still as ASCAP member. You are not permitted to have two PROs in the US. It could cause you nothing but grief.

My understanding is that there isn't that much difference in pay on instrumental tracks between ASCAP and BMI. The differences tend to be more with vocal songs because ASCAP pays the same rate for vocals as instrumentals while BMI pays higher on vocals. I think what you would find is if you, as an ASCAP member, wrote cues with a BMI member (50/50 split), on some placements, the ASCAP payment will be higher and on some the BMI will be higher. It all washes out.

Don't sweat it. You can switch later on if you still want. There is process for resigning one PRO and joining another. The tracks you originally registered with ASCAP will stay there while your future ones will be BMI.

Being new to the production music game, this is probably not something to give any thought to anyway. It takes years to build up any decent revenue stream.

Best,
:D Casey

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Re: Unusual PRO Question

Post by RealPickle » Wed May 22, 2024 5:31 pm

Casey H wrote:
Wed May 22, 2024 5:24 pm
Real Pickle
ABSOLUTELY do NOT join BMI while still as ASCAP member. You are not permitted to have two PROs in the US. It could cause you nothing but grief.

My understanding is that there isn't that much difference in pay on instrumental tracks between ASCAP and BMI. The differences tend to be more with vocal songs because ASCAP pays the same rate for vocals as instrumentals while BMI pays higher on vocals. I think what you would find is if you, as an ASCAP member, wrote cues with a BMI member (50/50 split), on some placements, the ASCAP payment will be higher and on some the BMI will be higher. It all washes out.

Don't sweat it. You can switch later on if you still want. There is process for resigning one PRO and joining another. The tracks you originally registered with ASCAP will stay there while your future ones will be BMI.

Being new to the production music game, this is probably not something to give any thought to anyway. It takes years to build up any decent revenue stream.

Best,
:D Casey


Thank you Casey. I suspected as much, I just keep reading stuff with people saying how much better BMI is and was having buyer's remorse. But as you said, at this point the difference in revenue over the next two years is almost definitely negligible.
Thanks again.

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Re: Unusual PRO Question

Post by cosmicdolphin » Thu May 23, 2024 12:43 am

I don't think anyone really knows which PRO is best for any given catalogue - just too many variables and unknownable formulas which could change.

Personally - IF it was ME and I REALLY wanted to join BMI then I'd just do it under my new legal name especially with zero music registered with ASCAP. Just let the ASCAP account wither and die. Cancel it in a couple of years time.

As long as you only ever gave out your BMI number to publishers I don't see any issue ( I mean technically it breaks their TOS but YMMV depending on your attitude to red tape and flagrant disregard for arbitary rules ).

It's not like you're trying to double-collect on the same works, and it wouldn't ever happen accidently as the names are different.

What's the worst that can happen :lol:

Mark

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Re: Unusual PRO Question

Post by deantaylor » Thu May 23, 2024 1:25 pm

I agree with Casey.

I suggest this ... DO NOT join both. Stick with ASCAP, give it a few years, see how much money you are making, do your own comparison with BMI if you have BMI co-writers, then switch in the future if you really see an advantage to BMI.

I don't see a big difference between the 2.

I think you will probably make similar money with either.

I am ASCAP. I like ASCAP just fine.

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Re: Unusual PRO Question

Post by VanderBoegh » Thu May 30, 2024 9:11 am

Hey man, it's easy to get caught up in the "but someone in this other PRO makes more than I do on the same music" mindset, but unless you have an apples-to-apples comparison to work with (i.e. you've co-written a track with a BMI member and can directly compare the earnings on a placement to your ASCAP revenue over the course of a few years of airtime), you're just going to be guessing and getting caught up in the hype of the day.

For what it's worth, I was an ASCAP member and switched to BMI after doing exactly what I mentioned above, and comparing what I was paid for a placement vs. what my BMI co-writer was paid over the course of a few years. This was about 5 years ago, mind you.... but what I found back then was that BMI paid a little better than ASCAP.

Now, algorithms change, payment structures change, the value of "credits" changes.... there's a lotta variables. It could be that ASCAP is the better bet now. And it could also be that in another 5 years BMI will be the best bet again. But truthfully, unless you've got THOUSANDS of tracks out there generating many thousands of dollars in revenue every quarter from oodles of placements, the difference you might see in one PRO vs. another is going to be pretty negligible. We're talking the difference of pennies or dollars - nothing to get worked up over until you're waaaay down the line in this game.

~~Matt

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Re: Unusual PRO Question

Post by RealPickle » Mon Jun 17, 2024 6:23 am

Thanks again everyone for your input. I'll obviously stick with ASCAP and ignore the noise for now about the differences.

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