ASCAP and their inadequate survey system

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  • #28593 Reply
    Michael Nickolas

    ASCAP email says that youtube settlement payment is the first of two. Should be another one paid in the March/April 2018 distributions.

    #29479 Reply
    David Rockower

    I’m in the middle of the quarter that I would be able to terminate my contract with ascap. I have seen over 600 cue sheets in ascap, and have been an extremely active writer for 3 years. I am barely seeing more per quarter than if I were playing brown eyed girl at a bar on the weekend. Transferring all of my work over to a new pro would be a nightmare considering all the places I have it, so I am probably just going to move forward. I have untill the end of march to decide. I have been lucky to have a fella at the nashville office dig through my catalog and try and find errors, but I gotta say, it seems like since day 1 this whole library writing thing has been severely error prone, and possibly not worth the time.

    I’ve seen episodes show up from SOCAN almost every quarter that still havent shown up in the states. I even had the show “Just Jillian” show up with one of my cues in canada, I called ascap 6 months later, and they said they have been paying on the episode, yet somehow my cue isn’t listed? I feel like everywhere I turn, someone is dropping the ball… except me? I make all my deadlines…. why is no one else?

    Should I switch? Is it possible this ascap rep will uncover errors that have prevented me from seeing a substantial paycheck? Should I move my catalog? Its all on TV. What would be involved with that? Will the new legislation, and talks of merging databases make a move not worthwhile?

    #29482 Reply

    @ David, 10 years since my first upload to a music library that feeds tv shows, I now have 3000 cues sheets. 5 times what you have and NO, I STILL could not make a living from just that back end PRO money!

    I am not sure getting upset and switching PRO’s is the answer to your woes. I see data from all 3 as writer and publisher.

    Patience and consistency and quality music is the only answer. More importantly, diversification into different distribution channels that enable multiple revenue streams for your music. Not one “exclusive” distributor. The exclusive representation model will lead you into no man’s land, frustration, despair, and not wealthy enough to justify making cues for a living!

    Your music needs to be “out there” working for YOU and only YOU….Not the greedy publisher trying to build up his exclusive catalog to sell to Universal Music Group so he can go and retire a rich man. OWNERSHIP OWNERSHIP OWNERSHIP, OWN your music asetts. CONTROL your music assets. You won’t regret it.

    #29483 Reply

    Being as transparent as possible. David, I actually think you might be wise to search for “greener pastures”. I hear a LOT from fellow composer friends that they are having a MUCH better life after ASCAP. As well, ASCAP really IS behind the times, and seems to work better from a PRO stand-point when it comes to “records”.

    1) Maybe you might want to think about switching. Will take a couple of years to really see it going, But, there are better PRO’s for production music.
    2) Perhaps, start checking into “admin deals”..

    #29484 Reply

    I sent a reply Art. It was short (a paragraph or so) and no profanity. Of course, I didn’t save it before hitting submit. Maybe it’s still sitting in the ether and you can post it back up. Thanks.

    #29485 Reply

    @David, I forgot to ask…are you on 600 “Series” or 600 “Episodes”?

    #29486 Reply

    Patience and consistency and quality music is the only answer. More importantly, diversification into different distribution channels that enable multiple revenue streams for your music. Not one “exclusive” distributor.

    I think this cannot be over-emphasized….So I quoted it. 🙂

    I have no idea how many cue sheets I have. BMI doesn’t work that way. I mean, they use cue sheets of course, but to my knowledge, they are not made public where a writer can see and count them. If they are available for me to see, then I’m an idiot cause I don’t know about it and haven’t ever seen them. Haha!

    I can tell you that I’m on way, way over 2000 episodes of episodic TV and films. Most episodes have multiple pieces of my music in them. On average 3-6, often over 10 per episode. I could live on my BMI back end if I pinched pennies. I don’t like pinching pennies though, so I am looking to different avenues for income. BMI is playing games with my income and I don’t like it one bit. I also believe that the back end model of royalty income for composers is waning. We’ve had that discussion elsewhere.

    I’m quite unhappy with BMI for a variety of reasons and looking to change out when I have the opportunity. With my number of titles in the mid-5 figures it won’t be easy – and it won’t be to ASCAP either….

    #29487 Reply
    Art Munson

    I sent a reply Art. It was short (a paragraph or so) and no profanity.

    Sorry LAwriter. Don’t see one there but see the one this morning. I made some changes last weekend that I thought would fix this intermittent problem but sadly no. 🙁

    #29488 Reply

    No worries Art. Appreciate the ongoing efforts to figure out the weirdness. Cheers, LAw

    #29491 Reply

    With BMI I now get this garbage when I click on “works catalog”.

    “This catalog is too large to display. Please enter your search criteria.”

    Everyone wants to beach and moan about their PRO’s…I have logins in all 3. In all honesty, ASCAP IS the most impressive in terms of what I can see.

    1. I want to see my titles! Every single one of them. I don’t care if there are 2 milllion of them, I want to scroll through all of them when I click on “my Catalog”. @BMI…Why are you becoming less transparent? I don’t even know what is going on especially when you have catalogs/ publishers on steroids desperately retitling songs 3 or 4 times to make all their clients “publishers”. When is this BS practice going to end SK? Why is the client now the publisher. Weak handed and paranoid publishers should just close up shop and go find a new job. Giving away your blood sweat and tears to the client is NOT THE ANSWER. Bribery and kickbacks are illegal are they not?

    2. I want to see cue sheets for EVERY show. I see them all at ASCAP, I do not see cue sheets at SESAC or BMI. At those PRO’s, I wait for statements to see the action. This is not good enough in an era of Big Data.

    SESAC and BMI need to display the cue sheets when their members have cues on filed cue sheets. If that web development is too laborious, then hire some freak from google to manage your big data dilemma. It is 2018 after all. If ASCAP can show our cue sheets, so can you. What do you have to hide anyway?

    3. I like 8 checks a year from ASCAP. I get 4 form the other two. I like the separation of “Domestic” (USA) royalties and “international” Royalties when it comes to statements.

    None of the PROS are really taking streaming or on line music streams very seriously. It seems like they all said ‘Well let’s throw these writers a penny for each title, each statement…we just don’t know how to deal with “streams” so let’s go ahead and pay these folks $0.01 cent per title that may appear “somewhere” on the internet….What a Joke!

    The “which PRO is better debate” is really getting old and boring. All I can say is this, if you have a knack for landing a lot of Prime Time TV spots with Big Brands airing nationally in the USA….definitely get in bed with SESAC. They really pay a lot more for TV commercials. Not sure why, but they do. On the flip side…I sometimes feel like they (SESAC) pay WAY LESS for background TV cues on TV shows. At BMI and SESAC, there are no cue sheets displayed (Archived for viewing) in my account, so I don’t know what is going on in TV show land.

    That’s all I have for now…


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