Publishers with both ASCAP and BMI?

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  • #18324 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)

    Does anyone know why some (most?) publishers have entities registered with more than one US PRO?


    #18327 Reply

    Hey Rob,

    Publishers who are registered with multiple PROS can then collect their publishing shares from their writers who are affiliated with different PROs.

    My wife is doing an artist development deal (she’s going to get a share of publishing) and because the three writers/composers are affiliated with both BMI and ASCAP, she had to create publishing entities in both BMI and ASCAP so that she can collect her share of publishing royalties.

    Hope that was helpful!

    #18328 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for your response. I’m afraid I still don’t understand. πŸ™‚

    If a cue sheet is filed and has the publisher’s and writer’s details listed and thus the broadcaster knows what should go where, why does it matter if the pub and wrtr are with different PROs?

    Being that I’m in Aust. and we have only one PRO, it’s a bit confusing.

    Thanks again.


    #18329 Reply

    Hi Rob,

    My explanation sounded clearer in my head before I typed it- LOL!

    Because we have more than one PRO, writers can go with the PRO they feel best serves their interests. But broadcasters are paying licensing fees to those PROS for the privelelge of using music from PRO’s musical catalog.

    So if a broadcaster wants to use a piece of music written by two writers where one writer is affiliated with ASCAP (and will have an ASCAP publisher assigned for that piece of music) and the other writer is with BMI (and will have a BMI publisher assigned for that piece of music) then the broadcastr fulfills their paperwork responsibility by submitting their cue sheets and the PROS will pay out their shares to their writer and publisher.

    Hopefully that was more helpful – but maybe not? πŸ™‚


    #18330 Reply

    forgot to add:

    and if BOTH writers are with the same library, then that library must have entities with both ASCAP and BMI in order to get paid.

    #18331 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)

    Thanks Paul. It’s pretty late here, I will try and digest this tomorrow.

    Thanks again for taking the time to try and explain this! Much appreciated. πŸ™‚

    #18333 Reply

    Hi Rob,

    Unlike writers, the PRO “rules” allow for publishers to belong to more than one PRO.

    That way, a single company can represent the works of composers, no matter what PRO the writer belongs to.

    If you’re making decisions regarding your current venture (or not), send me an email. But, in that situation, affiliation with multiple PRO’s would be necessary, IF you want to publish the works of other composers, or collaborators, who do not have the same affiliation as your existing publishing entity.



    #18341 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)


    Thanks to both you and MichaelL for taking the time to explain. Greatly appreciated! I understand the basics, but still have a few considerations to work out but they’re different questions. Thanks again!

    #18345 Reply

    It boils down to this:

    When filling out a cue sheet in the US, each writer needs a publisher that has the same PRO. (Unlike with APRA in Oz / NZ where a composer doesn’t need a publisher and can automatically collect both sides of the royalties)

    So if you have SESAC, ASCAP and BMI co-writers on your show / library, you need to set up publishing ‘companies’ with all three PROs to match the writers.

    One exception seems to be for composers with foreign PROs – any of the US PROs can be a publisher in those cases, at least from my own experience with ASCAP and BMI.

    #18351 Reply
    Rob (Cruciform)

    Thanks Mark, with everyone’s input I understand the ‘what’ of it. I have an additional more complicated question but I’m hoping my PRO can answer it.

    #27702 Reply

    To be even more clear:

    If a publisher is with one US PRO (for example ASCAP) and they try to collect their portion of royalties from a piece of work that has a writer who is with another US PRO (such as BMI), the publisher will not even be able to successfully register that piece of work because you will not be allowed to do so. Your current US PRO will let you know that you can’t register it and they will tell you that “An ASCAP party cannot be linked to a BMI/SESAC party within the same entitlement chain.” Therefore, they make a publisher have to register with multiple US PROs if they are going to be working with talents from different PROs. That is why many publishers join more than one.

    #29002 Reply

    need Your advice. I have a publishing company [firepen publishing] I’m already with ascap as a publisher. And I’m with BMI as a writer. I’m in the process of opening an account with BMI as a publisher. Can I open it with the same name[firepen publishing]?

    #30286 Reply

    I know this topic has been dropped a long time ago but I have the same question as Godwin above.

    1. Do you have to have a different publisher name for ASCAP and BMI?

    Context: I am registered on ASCAP as a writer and publisher. I am also looking to register under BMI as a publisher but found a line on BMI’s website that says “you must establish a publishing company that is affiliated with each society that represents one of your writers, and each of these companies needs to have a different name.”

    This last part that says each company needs to have a different name is confusing to me. If I create a different company name with BMI then how do I then register my business with the Secretary of State? Do I have to register two businesses?

    Any help you can send is greatly appreciated!

    #30289 Reply
    Art Munson

    AFAIK you will need a BMI writer in order to register a BMI publisher. You are already an ASCAP writer so you can not join BMI as a writer. Once you have a BMI writer (spouse?) your publisher name must be different than the ASCAP name.

    I did not register my publisher names with CA Sec. Of State. I did do a DBA for banking purposes.

    #30294 Reply

    Ok, good to know. I didn’t know you could register as DBA without creating some sort of business entity. I appreciate the help!

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