ASCAP and their inadequate survey system

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Michael Nickolas 5 days, 18 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 31 total)
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  • #28485 Reply

    Dannyc
    Participant

    is it just BTN placements that suffer from this ASCAP surveying issue?

    #28487 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    BMI doesn’t pay a THM rate on segment themes, per their page here:

    Ah. True, and all of my main themes were used as segement themes 10 times during each episode. Of course, ASCAP missed so many of those performances that the fact that they would have paid more for them was meaningless. That’s why I switched to BMI.

    is it just BTN placements that suffer from this ASCAP surveying issue?

    No. As mentioned above, I had theme music and background music in five TV Shows running in syndication since 2001. ASCAP occasionally missed entire episodes. It didn’t matter to that the producer provided them with cue sheets AND air dates. If it didn’t show up in their survey, I didn’t get paid.

    #28491 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    @pgbanker – I see data from all 3 pros because my co-writers and I share the data with each other each time a quarterly statement is issued. I do get statements as publisher too. One very obvious difference between SESAC and ASCAP is that SESAC pays substantially more for tv commercials. I do not see much of a difference with background tv cues for all 3 of them. I have not processed a TV spot through BMI yet and probably never will because I am very pleased with what I see from SESAC for those kinds of placements. My only advice for anyone new is that if you have a knack for landing music in TV commercials, I’d look at joining SESAC first. They are for profit. ASCAP and BMI should be in the business of making profits too.

    What frustrates me about the Big 10 Network and ASCAP is that the cue sheets are on file at ASCAP. I see dozens of them but ASCAP writers are not getting paid performance royalties. Another lame example where the publisher earns money off our music but we don’t. They sell the blanket fee for access to the catalog. They are paid by BTN. Writers just face humiliation and get paid $0 and the music airs away every day on BTN.

    #28494 Reply

    Dannyc
    Participant

    is BTN a low tier cable network? what would be the other low tier cable channels/networks? sorry this is all still very new to me.

    #28496 Reply

    pgbanker
    Participant

    <is BTN a low tier cable network? what would be the other low tier cable channels/networks? sorry this is all still very new to me.>

    I don’t know about the tier info but BTN is now in over 60 million American homes! Also, to reiterate what MichaelL was saying, I’ve been screwed (not paid) by the ASCAP survey system on placements for CBS, NBC and BTN.

    #28497 Reply

    pgbanker
    Participant

    So I feel your pain, as I’ve probably ‘lost’ upwards of $20K by being shafted by the survey system. So lame that it can’t all be done automatically in 2017.

    I couldn’t agree more Mark! It is totally ridiculous that ASCAP is doing a “survey system” in 2017. This is antediluvian behavior!! 20K is way too much money to be screwed on. It must be hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions that ASCAP’s survey system is screwing writers & publishers out of every year. Does anybody know a good class action lawyer?

    #28527 Reply

    SabalSounds

    I’m an ASCAP member looking to switch PRO’s because of the same trends I’m seeing regarding surveys. Numerous BTN, Tennis Channel, CBSSports, plays (well over a minute of air time in many cases) have gone unaccounted for and with properly filed cue sheets in my ASCAP account. My loss doesn’t come anywhere near what Mark mentioned but I’m getting out now to prevent that becoming a reality.

    BTW anyone reading this post…please go reread your PRO contract asap. In my case I can request to resign from ASCAP Q4 of this year, and assuming they agree, I will not be eligible to join another PRO until April 1, 2018. You read that correctly. 6 months. And should I want my catalog to move from ASCAP to anywhere else i have to get all publishers involved which will translate into a nightmare of red tape and more time of not earning as placements are happening.

    Also, I mentioned to an ASCAP rep that all of these shows that aren’t picked up on TV are being posted on Youtube so why aren’t composers paid for that use? No response. I know 250k views on Youtube doesn’t equate to prime time TV payouts but ASCAP collects money from the stations, the music library earns money for access to a composer’s work, the TV stations earn from advertisers featuring the composers work, the only person in the equation not earning is the composer.

    I didn’t go into TV composition blindly. I knew it was a numbers game and not for the faint of heart. However, to find out that the PRO’s are working against the composers in some ways by doing so much “creative accounting” with no oversight is a tough pill to swallow some days.

    #28528 Reply

    SabalSounds

    ASCAP claims 625,000 members and that they netted $1B in 2016 and of that distributed $918M. That’s less than $1,500 for each member annually lol.

    I realize not all 625,000 members would all have placements in 2016 but that’s where the questions really begin from my perspective. How many of the 625k members actually received any distributions?

    http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7751531/ascap-billion-dollar-revenue-third-straight-year-2016

    BMI posted very similar results in 2016.

    #28537 Reply

    pgbanker
    Participant

    And should I want my catalog to move from ASCAP to anywhere else i have to get all publishers involved which will translate into a nightmare of red tape and more time of not earning as placements are happening.

    You should check with your publishers. I’m in the exact same boat. It might be easier for them to make the switch than you think. Depending on the size of your current catalog with ASCAP, whatever royalties you miss out on in those 6 months will be peanuts compared to what you will be screwed out of by the ASCAP survey system over the rest of your lifetime.

    #28538 Reply

    MichaelL
    Participant

    Depending on the size of your current catalog with ASCAP, whatever royalties you miss out on in those 6 months will be peanuts compared to what you will be screwed out of by the ASCAP survey system over the rest of your lifetime.

    You don’t miss out on 6 months of royalties. Remember that payments generally lag two quarters (6 months behind) performances. When I switched from ASCAP to BMI the process was coordinated between the PROs so that there was no gap in income.

    As far as moving my catalog from ASCAP, BMI was very efficient at moving my works. BMI has even detected recent performances, and paid me for, 20-year old tracks originally paper-registered in ASCAP that never made a penny with ASCAP.

    #28543 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    @pjbanker – I can not say the grass is greener on the BMI side. I really do not see much of a difference for TV show royalties. I am not sure where you feel as though you are getting screwed…is it themes? Background cues on shows? TV Spots?

    Also, regarding 625,000 members in ASCAP. I’d be willing to bet that only 50,000 are truly active. Many musicians probably signed up when they made their first album then probably ignored their membership and went into other businesses. Some of these people may not even be alive anymore. I’d bet half do not even know what ASCAP does, yet they are members.

    Finally, even though BTN is being piped into 60 million homes that certainly does not mean that 60 million folks are watching that network. How many people really are interested in College sports? Perhaps only 50,000 people nationwide watch that network each night. We really do not know.

    Some interesting data here on most viewed shows and sports events:

    http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2016/tops-of-2016-tv.html

    #28551 Reply

    pgbanker
    Participant

    I can not say the grass is greener on the BMI side. I really do not see much of a difference for TV show royalties. I am not sure where you feel as though you are getting screwed…is it themes? Background cues on shows? TV Spots?

    I certainly think everyone is entitled to an opinion. That is great that you don’t really see a difference for TV show royalties Music321. But I might remind you that the title of the thread here is “ASCAP and their inadequate survey system”. There are several writers here on the thread who have been screwed by the ASCAP surveying system. In my particular case, it is for hundreds of background instrumental placements on CBS, NBC and BTN programs. In several instances, the instrumentals were used for two minutes or more. I hope that more ASCAP writers will chime in with their stories like Sabal Sounds did. It is the exact same situation. ASCAP is not paying performance royalties on cues that are being reported due to their INADEQUATE (might I add ANTIQUATED, UNFAIR & OUTRAGEOUS) surveying system. And when I asked ASCAP Member Services about the surveying time periods, like when do they occur? How often do they happen? The response I got was “we aren’t allowed to give out that information”. So yeah, if you are a BMI or SESAC writer with TV placements then you are DEFINITELY in a better position to get paid performance royalties. If you are writing music for TV then STAY AWAY FROM ASCAP!!! They will screw you on performance royalties from TV shows.

    #28552 Reply

    pgbanker
    Participant

    As far as moving my catalog from ASCAP, BMI was very efficient at moving my works. BMI has even detected recent performances, and paid me for, 20-year old tracks originally paper-registered in ASCAP that never made a penny with ASCAP.

    Thank you MichaelL for that encouraging information! Congratulations on the 20-year old tracks earning royalties through BMI. It simply amazes me that ASCAP gets away with not paying their writers the royalties that are owed to them. I can’t imagine how much money they kept in their pockets over that 20 year time period. It is nothing short of criminal in my opinion!!

    #28564 Reply

    Michael Nickolas
    Participant

    FWIW- the archaic survey system finally worked in my favor for a change, based on today’s domestic statement…

    #28566 Reply

    Music1234
    Participant

    I have to agree Michael. My statement was looking good today. People can beat themselves over the head for an eternity and want to switch PRO’s and so on, but the numbers don’t lie.

    ASCAP did pay a piece of money to everyone in that “youtube settlement” whatever that was. Internet royalties, while still very tiny seems to pay more at ASCAP for Hulu and Netflix as compared to BMI. But then I’ll notice BMI paying better for reality TV cues on certain shows.

    It seems kind of senseless to develop theories about which PRO pays more. I can not draw meaningful conclusions after seeing statements from all three PRO’s for 4 years. However, there is one that I will stand by: SESAC pays substantially more than ASCAP for TV commercials.

    I like all of the PRO’s.

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