ASCAP Refuses to Accept TuneSat Monitoring.

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    Art Munson

    Chris over at Tunesat pointed me to this article. Thought it was interesting.


    This article is consistent with my experience with ASCAP. I have had thousands of performances, (about 3,900 per week) of which ASCAP only picked up hundreds in its surveys.

    My co-publisher, with identical shares in BMI, received 8 or 9 times more in royalties than I did. Only minor adjustments were made when ASCAP  was presented repeatedly with cue sheets and air date info, by the producer.  I am now a member of BMI.


    Is it tough to change to BMI Michael?


    I’m hardly in your league as far as royalties go..but i’ve been out of work for a while and living off my music $ for the time being – missing even a dollar of royalties hurts – also if anyone can explain…why is ASCAP so lax about this situation? (or is that obvious)


    Hi Jay,

    Whether or not it is easy to switch from ASCAP to BMI depends on the individual situation.  I switched as a writer and I moved my publishing from my ASCAP publishing company to my BMI publishing company. That complicated things.

    For each, there is a three month window of opportunity in which you can notify ASCAP of your intent to resign your membership. The window of opportunity is based upon the date that you first became affiliated. Then, it becomes effective 6 months later. In my case, my writer window and publisher window did not line up, and I essentially bled money for three quarters.

    I’m not going to make any conjecture regarding why things are the way they are. Mark Northam, from the Film Music Network, has written a lot on that subject.

    In some situations, I determined that ASCAP pays perhaps as much as 40% less per minute. That’s not a secret. If you read how each calculates royalties, there are situations in which BMI pays $1.00 per minute and ASCAP pays $.60. The biggest problem for me was that most of my music airs in syndication, outside of prime time. ASCAP’s survey method missed 75-80% of my performances.

    If you switch, all of your music that has another “member in interest,” like a publisher, will remain with ASCAP, unless that publisher agrees to move those works to it’s BMI entity. AND, if they do, that publisher has a three month window of opportunity, based upon its date of affiliation in which to notify ASCAP that it wishes to remove your works. And that will become effective 6 months later. The whole process could take a few years before you realize any change.

    I switched for the following reasons:

    1) the number of annual performances involved, and

    2) where the majority of those performances occur (syndication and cable).

    Your results may vary.

    Best of luck,





    Michael, can I ask in what genre are you writing? 3900 in a week is more then I can dream off really…



    Hi musiccomposer,

    I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to compose the theme music for a number of syndicated and cable shows. That’s where those performances come from. The music runs the gamut including, rock, world, pop/rock w/country twang, and orchestral.

    I write in many genres, because that’s what interests me. However, when libraries hire me they generally ask for orchestral cues. (bang for the buck I guess).



    FWIW…it’s not as much as it sounds. Some performances are only $.10 and by the time the pie gets sliced up, even with 3,900 performances per week, it isn’t the kind of money one would fantasize about. So, I’m still focusing on producing my library catalog,



    thanks Michael..


    Hey Jay,

    I just answered a pm on this subject. If you haven’t been at this too long, and don’t have a lot of tracks, it isn’t that hard to switch. It’s a matter of determining your affiliation date and filling out a form. What you’ve already got out there can stay in place. You can just go forward with BMI. It gets complicated when you want to remove works.

    Gotta unplug and move things out of harms way. Sandy approaches.

    All the best,




    Stay safe Michael..between my publishing company and 2 others (library retitles) I’m up around 280 – so I guess I’m stuck but being pretty prolific lately maybe I can switch my new stuff to BMI?

    I’m watching the storm on TWC and it’s looking pretty hairy – I have friends & family in the north east..better check on them – this one looks pretty bad  🙁


    The article also mentions that BMI refuses to accept Tunesat data, but I think I read somewhere that BMI is working with writers on an individual case basis on this problem.


    Thanks for the detailed response Michael!


    I thought ascap census vs survey data applied to commercial and promo’s and not regular programming.

    Did I get that wrong?


    How come music libraries aren’t fighting for Tunesat to be used by PROs? Don’t they lose out on the Publisher’s share of royalties for unreported song uses? That could be millions of dollars of revenue for some companies.

    Is there any way composers can persuade music libraries and publishers to be vocal and take action? Those companies have a tremendous influence. Is the PMA (Production Music Association) fighting for this cause? Do they know that they are losing money? Does the PMA care?



    I have been a satisfied Tunesat user for the past few months. It is a value at even twice the cost.

    I would be very surprised and upset if my PRO turned to Tunesat for official data.

    Tunesat misses several of my detections on a daily basis. The data is helpful, yet by no means concrete.

    In addition, the data presented in the Digital News article is laughable. The “ASCAP Statement” presented in the article isn’t even a real statement.

    We’ve ALL had false positives come up on our Tunesat system. How many of Tunesat’s detections really belonged to Freeplay Music?

    If Tunesat and my fellow composers (including myself) would like ASCAP to start recognizing Tunesat as genuine, the detections have to be tightened up.

    Are you happy when ASCAP pays someone based on inaccurate data?

    I’m no friend of ASCAP (especially after their feature vocal coup) yet let’s all examine the facts before we start lobbying for significant changes to the way we are paid our living.


    So Tunesat’s detections aren’t accurate? I thought it was a fingerprinting service. I didn’t know that it generated falae positives. Is there a better service available? Maybe the PROs should wait on implementing fingerprint services until all of the kinks are worked out.

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