What does a composer need to know about PRO’s? – It’s important to know that ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN, and other associations that collect performance royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers are called “Performing Rights Organizations,” or P.R.O.s. They are not your publisher, and do not act as your publisher. They do one thing: collect performance royalties.
ASCAP stands for is the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishersand BMI stands for Broadcast Music Inc. ASCAP is a membership association that has over 400,000 composers, songwriters, music publishers, and lyricists from the United States.
There is a one-time, $50 fee for each application submission. This fee is non-refundable, but ASCAP does not charge annual dues or fees. There are administrative costs associated with new ASCAP members which reduce distribution revenue for existing members.
Typically, most non-performing songwriters wait to join a PRO until they are either signed to a publishing deal or have a composition being commercially exploited.