- This topic has 36 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 10 years, 3 months ago by MichaelL.
I received my first ever royalty check in January. It was a nice surprise from BMISteve B.Guest
@MichaelL – You really have me seriously thinking of changing to BMI. Sounds like it’s a PITA, but ultimately worth the switch. Any advice on best way to handle it?
My situation was complicated because I have several publishing companies, one with ASCAP and two with BMI. Not only did I switch as a writer, I moved all of my tracks from my ASCAP publishing company to one of my BMI publishing companies.
ASCAP requires that you provide written notice within a 90 day window, based upon your affiliation date. You can get that information online now in your account access under “my membership.” Once you notify ASCAP, it doesn’t become effective for about 6 months.
The difficulty for me was that my writer and publisher affiliation dates are 6 months apart. So, the notification and release periods didn’t line up.
If your tracks are published by other publishers, you can elect to leave them with ASCAP, and just switch to BMI going forward. Otherwise, you’d have to get all of your publishers to agree to move your tracks. And, each of them would have to give ASCAP notice based upon their affiliation date. Sound confusing?
I have another writer who contributes to my libraries, and he decided to switch as well, because I place his music in the same shows. We lucked out because his notification period and my publishing company’s notification period are the same. So, I’ll move all of his works to my BMI publishing company on the same date the he becomes a BMI member.
One other curious thing that I discovered during this process…if your have older titles that were “paper registered” with ASCAP, prior to when they built their database AND those titles never earned any royalties, they simply don’t exist as far as ASCAP is concerned. Those titles aren’t in their system!
As I said, your milage may vary. My situation arises from the fact that all of the music in question is broadcast in syndication outside primetime. For regular network broadcasts and top tier cable, the differences may be minimal.
You may be onto something Michael L, below are some payouts my writing partner received for the same TLC show (different episodes) . For privacy purposes, I am not going to list the title of the track nor the publishers.
Writing partner received this from BMI for these cues on TLC show:
00:12 20122 100.00% $25.46
00:31 20122 100.00% $27.34
00:17 20122 100.00% $15.00
00:20 20122 100.00%$24.62
00:24 20122 100.00% $31.34
ASCAP paid (me) this much for these cues on the same TLC show:
00:53 0.127 $0.90
00:51 0.561 $3.98
00:06 0.130 $0.92
00:00:28 0.301 $2.14
Clearly a huge difference! It’s the same show! same network, same usages….background music cues…this is bizzarre.
However, when we compared network placements…ASCAP paid a bit better…not much just a tiny bit more.eucaGuest
@Glen, that chart seems pretty off to me. How many usages is your partners statement for on those shows? And what day part are they for? That factors into it as well.
I am with ascap as well and you can see on our statements what part of the day it was on and how many usages. I’m not sure if bmi does that as well or if they just lump them all together.
Long explanation Deleted.
In my case, everything was identical..cues, day parts, episodes. ASCAP simply missed 75% of the performances, which they admitted, but were not willing to correct, even when provided with cue sheets three times and with copies of my co-publishers BMI statements.
@michaelL, yes that makes sense how you had a hugh difference. How did the actual amounts compare between your statement and his? Basically if you each had 30 seconds in the afternoon, how did the dollar amount compare?
I was saying that with Glen’s chart there is missing information to make a good comparison.GregGuest
Any comments on sesac? Someone in the biz suggested them.
The first concept the you need to understand is that my co-writer / co-publisher was not a writer. He is a publisher. For business reasons, I traded half of my writer’s share for half of his publishing share. So, we are really talking about my cues, not his cues and my cues. Everything is identical, one and the same.
So, to answer your question, for the 2nd Q distribution of 2012 BMI paid him 4.5 x more for my cues than ASCAP paid me for my cues. Maybe that isn’t so bad when you’re talking about a few dollars, but when you’re adding zeros onto those numbers it’s painful.
What BMI just paid for the 2nd Q of 2012 was 2x what ASCAP me paid for the the previous three Q’s combined.
Comparing my ASCAP Statements from June/July of 2012, with my BMI Statement, BMI paid me 5x more. Just so you understand this clearly, there is no other music involved, like other library cues. I am talking about 5x more for the same cues, same episodes and same day parts, same days of the week (reruns). In other words, there are no variations that would account for the difference.
Looking at the statements side by side, ASCAP simply failed to detect 75% , or more, of the performances. And, in the case of one cable show, where they did catch all the performances ASCAP paid 30% less per minute (the weighting formula).
That is probably not the case with Network programming. But, out of all the places our music gets used, how much of it is Network programming? Maybe these differences will be resolved when ASCAP adopts digital detection.
This is not a side by side charts of the exact same cues. Its simply an example of what background cues paid for the show toddlers and tiaras by bmi and ASCAP. As far as time of day, number of usages, i have never seen that info on either an ASCAP nor a BMW statement so I am not sure what you are referring to euca?GlenGuest
Sorry about the typos aim using I pad now I meant bmi.eucaGuest
“Looking at the statements side by side, ASCAP simply failed to detect 75% , or more, of the performances. And, in the case of one cable show, where they did catch all the performances ASCAP paid 30% less per minute (the weighting formula).”
Thanks MichaelL, just what I was looking for.
@Glen, On your ascap statement, three columns before the duration is Day Part and next to that is # of plays. Primetime will pay better than afternoon, morning and night. I’m not sure about bmi’s statements, I have never seen one but I would imagine they also have the number of plays etc.
I had a cue on Toddlers on my last statement. :21 in primetime paid just about $14 for 3 performances, so each performance was about $4.60. The same cue for a night performance paid much less.GregGuest
Don’t all pro’s take a cut of this money? Wouldn’t it be in their interest to detect and collect all they can?
@Greg, I’m not going to jump on the “conspiracy theory” bandwagon. That only makes people look crazy.
However, the PRO’s collect a certain amount from broadcasters in annual blanket fees, whether they pay you or not. You can do research on what happens to undistributed royalties.
I believe that Mark Northam (FMN) has written on this subject. Maybe Gael MacGregor can explain, if she reads this.
The short answer is, I’m not sure there’s a connection between detecting and collecting, because broadcasters pay a blanket fee. Detection only tells the PRO’s who get’s what slice of the pie. If they don’t detect all of your performances, there’s pie leftover. The real question is who gets the leftover pie?GlenGuest
Day Part = N, A, M , or P on ASCAP statement I had one “N” play and three “A” plays… Yes, I can see that “P” (I assume for prime time) plays pay more.
What do N, A, and M stand for on the ASCAP statement? Night? Afternoon? Morning?
I can see on the BMI statement that there were 3 times as many plays so I guess this is a false alarm…BMI statements do not seem to indicate “Prime Time” verses “Day Time”, etc…You learn a bit more every day in this