I’m ready to join ASCAP or BMI by around the first of the year. Anyone here a member of either? Advantages of one over the other?

I sing mostly country gospel/country and some contemporary. I write some songs and lyrics as well, but most of what I write comes out more like classical music.

Whichever group I join, I’m thinking of joining initially just as singer/songwriter, but eventually I plan to also be my own music publisher (it fits with other work we do through our business).

Thanks in advance for any comments, suggestions. :)

No I’m not a member but please share with us your reasons for joining, i.e., what you do expect to get from being a member & how do you think it will help your music career?

Thanks in advance.

Friend of mine writes country tunes as well as CCM. He is a BMI member. He has sold some songs through BMI. Ain’t got rich yet…but he’s made more money off music than a lot of people I know…


Hey scriglet, Our band is a member of ASCAP and there are benefits to being a member. Although we have not made any money yet!!! we do get great discounts at Guitar center/Musicians Friend stores. But, with ASCAP when you apply for membership you will be asked if the song you register is being given any airtime and at which station it is being played. Also note that each member of your band will have to register separately and you will have to fill out who is the writer/s and performer/s of the song. You only have to register one song and when you get your ASCAP membership card each member will have to call them to activate their membership number, once that is done you will have to go online and register as a member and submit your song online so that it will appear in their database. I know this sounds like quite a bit of work to do but it’s not really. And if you don’t make alot of money you do get the discounts!!!. Hope this helps

He has sold some songs through BMI.
I didn't know you could sell songs through BMI? Do you mean he's sold some songs to a publisher & BMI has helped him collect fees?

Here's what BMI says it does:

The non-profit-making company, founded in 1939, collects license fees on behalf of those American creators it represents, as well as thousands of creators from around the world who chose BMI for representation in the United States. The license fees BMI collects for the "public performances" of its repertoire of approximately 4.5 million compositions - including radio airplay, broadcast and cable television carriage, Internet and live and recorded performances by all other users of music - are then distributed as royalties to the writers, composers and copyright holders it represents...
BMI was founded in order to open the door to performing rights representation for songwriters and composers and to provide the business and broadcast communities with a music catalog of unique and lasting value.

Here's what ASCAP says:

ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. ASCAP's licensees encompass all who want to perform copyrighted music publicly. ASCAP makes giving and obtaining permission to perform music simple for both creators and users of music.

So unless you've got a published song or a record contract, I can't really see what these organizations would help a little guy, like me for example?

Yeah. Exactly that. When a CD sells with one of his songs on it, BMI tallies it up and sends him a check once a month. He also has a CD that was selling pretty well in Europe and his proceeds for that come through BMI. I have not done a lot of research on it because basically, I’m a no-talent guitar hack that likes to record stuff no one else would wanna hear! :D :D


Well congratulations scriglet1!!! You’re a better “man” than I. I almost got one of my songs considered for a “B” grade movie, which would have been great, but I didn’t make the final “cut”.

Try SESAC. All the privledges of ASCAP or BMI but they pay you more frequently and are easier to deal with. I have shown up on their door step unannounced in Nashville and was able to get in with my rep in a few minutes time. SESAC requires that you submit material and they don’t take everyone, but if you can get in, SESAC is worth it IMO.

One note, when you submit a song to their catalog, make sure you submit the final master. They take a signature from the tune and use it to match up with what radio stations play. If you go back for an EQ tweak or an over dub after the submission and then send the new version to a radio station, their systems won’t recognize it.