What Is the Purpose of BMI & ASCAP?

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ASCAP and BMI are both performing rights organizations (PROs) in the United States that collect and distribute royalties to songwriters, composers, and music publishers for the public performance of their musical works. Here’s a brief overview of each organization:

ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers): ASCAP is one of the oldest and largest PROs in the United States. It represents a wide range of music creators, including songwriters, composers, and music publishers. ASCAP licenses the public performance rights for their members’ works and collects royalties from various sources such as radio stations, television networks, streaming platforms, live performances, and more. These collected royalties are then distributed to the appropriate members based on the performances of their works.

BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.): Like ASCAP, BMI represents songwriters, composers, and music publishers. BMI also licenses public performance rights and collects royalties from various sources. One thing that stands out with BMI is their service is free to songwriters and composers. They have a large repertoire of popular music and represent many well-known artists and songwriters.

Both ASCAP and BMI operate on a non-profit basis and provide similar services to their members. They track performances of music, collect licensing fees, and distribute royalties to their respective members. Songwriters, composers, and music publishers can choose to affiliate with either ASCAP or BMI, depending on their preference. It’s worth noting that while these two organizations are the most prominent PROs in the United States, there are other PROs worldwide, such as SESAC, that perform similar functions in different countries.