Which is better ASCAP or BMI?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

When it comes to choosing between ASCAP and BMI, it’s important to understand that both organizations are quite similar in terms of how they collect and distribute performance royalties. They are both performing rights organizations (PROs) that work on behalf of songwriters and music publishers to ensure they are compensated for the public performance of their music. However, there are some differences that may make one organization a slightly better choice for songwriters.

One key difference is the signup fees. ASCAP requires a one-time $50 fee for songwriters to join, while BMI does not have any signup fees. For songwriters who may be just starting out or on a tight budget, this can be a significant factor to consider. Not having to pay a signup fee can make BMI a more attractive option for those looking to get their music registered with a PRO without any upfront costs.

Another important factor to consider is the payout process. Both ASCAP and BMI distribute royalties on a quarterly basis, but BMI generally tends to have a faster payout system. In my personal experience, BMI has consistently provided quicker and more regular royalty payments compared to ASCAP. This can be advantageous for songwriters who rely on their music royalties as a source of income and prefer more frequent payments.

In terms of benefits and perks, both ASCAP and BMI offer similar services to their members. They provide educational resources, networking opportunities, and assistance with licensing and copyright issues. Both organizations also have dedicated teams to help their members navigate the music industry and maximize their earning potential. Therefore, the benefits and support provided by ASCAP and BMI are relatively comparable.

Ultimately, the decision between ASCAP and BMI may come down to personal preference and individual circumstances. If you are just starting out or have financial constraints, BMI’s lack of signup fees may be a significant advantage. Additionally, if you prefer faster and more regular royalty payments, BMI’s payout system might be more appealing. However, it’s worth noting that both organizations have a strong reputation and are widely recognized in the industry.

ASCAP and BMI are both reputable PROs that offer similar services and benefits to songwriters. While there are some differences in terms of signup fees and payout process, both organizations can effectively collect and distribute performance royalties. Ultimately, it’s important to carefully evaluate your own needs and preferences before making a decision.