ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE COMPLETE BY JULY 15,2013 TO BE INCLUDED IN THE FIRST ROUND OF PITCHES
If we have directed you to this page, then Congrats! We are considering your track to be part of our brand new Sync Licensing program. We now have a full time agent working to get placement for artists who are involved with Abducted Records! What does this mean for you? The possibility to get your music in Film, TV, Commercials, and more, and get paid for it!
ONCE YOU ARE REGISTERED: Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information:
- Your artist name.
- The names of the tracks that you registered (only tracks that have been signed/released with Abducted Records).
- If you have/can send both instrumentals and stems of the track(s) (These are some times requested by clients, and its good to have on hand just in case).
- Confirmation that all samples are cleared.
PLEASE NOTE: That we can not license tracks that have uncleared samples. This pertains mostly to vocal samples that you have pulled from random acapellas. If you are unsure about if it is ok or not, please email us!
We are sharing some of the materials our agent has given us. This is by no means a complete guide to the field, and this is by no means meant to sway your decision. We are simply giving you the materials that we are provided by an agent who is involved with the business.
KEEP IN MIND, EITHER ASCAP OR BMI IS OK. But we CAN NOT license tracks that are not registered with one of these communities. If you have problems registering, please let us know so we can try to help you!
How To Register with BMI As A (USA) Writer
If You Are A USA Citizen
- Go to this link: http://www.bmi.com/join/.
- Click “I am a songwriter.”
- Follow the steps and fill in all the necessary information correctly.
It is an easy online form. You will need your Social Security number and date of birth on hand. Remember that the address you include on this form will be the address your pay checks will be sent to.
If you end up reading the entire contract (which is usually a good idea), don’t worry – it looks long and complicated but it’s not! Don’t get concerned with the legal language either – this is a standard contract all professional songwriters sign at some point in their careers.
Please note that filling out BMI’s online application form gives you automatic membership for worldwide performance royalties collection. Therefore BMI will collect any performance royalties owed to you in all territories of the world.
If you have ever been a member of any other PRO in the world, you will have to contact that PRO to have them limit the territory to ensure that society is not already collecting for you worldwide or in the USA. Once you have done this, then you may fill out the BMI application.
A few days later you will receive your official confirmation of membership. If you have never been a member of any other PRO in the world, you will also be assigned your official CAE# (now called the IPI#). This number is your unique identification number assigned to you as a songwriter. Keep this number on file! If you make any phone calls to BMI in the future, definitely have this on hand so they can access your information. If you ever join another PRO in the world, they will know you are also a member of BMI because of your CAE/IPI#.
How To Register with BMI As A (non-USA) Writer
ATTN: If you have already registered with the PRO in your country, do NOT register with ASCAP or BMI
Send by mail to BMI’s Nashville office:
The paper application.
Click on this link to access the paper application: https://applications.bmi.com/writeraffiliation/forms/bmi-writer-kit-2005.pdf
This packet includes:
Two copies of the agreement, both of which you must sign
Don’t worry – it looks long and complicated but it’s not! Don’t get concerned with the legal language either – this is a standard contract all professional songwriters sign at some point in their careers.
For Item 11 on the application form (W9 and tax info), leave blank and refer to the W-8BEN info below.
In order to redeem payment as a non-USA citizen, BMI needs you to complete a W-8BEN form. A W-8BEN form is a certificate of foreign status as a “beneficial owner,” which denotes the person that will be receiving funds from the United States.
Click here to access the form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw8ben.pdf
Click here to access directions on how to fill out the form: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pdf
Question 1: Please put your real first and last name
Question 2: Please put your Country
Question 3: Please mark which one pertains
Question 4: Please enter your address in which you receive physical mail here via post.
Question 4: Please enter your City, State/Province, Zip/Postal Code
Question 4: Please put your full country name
Question 5: Only fill this out if your resident address is different than above.
Make sure to fill out item 7, according to the country you live in.
Question 9: Please mark A and enter your country
W8-BEN – Part IV
Please sign in ink
Please date in the format of MONTH (MM) – DAY (DD) – YEAR (YYYY)
Please write the word from Part I question 3 in “Capacity in which acting”
Item 6 may cause confusion. A “US taxpayer identification number” can be either an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Both of these numbers allow non-USA citizens from certain countries to receive tax deductions on their revenue from BMI and other USA companies. Many non-USA citizens do not already have a US taxpayer ID number because they may not have a physical presence in the USA, and/or are not filing taxes, etc. Only fill out item 6 if you have an ITIN or EIN issued by the IRS. If not, leave item 6 blank.
Please note that the BMI paper application tells you to also fill out the W7 form. A W7 form is a form that non-USA citizen individuals submit to the IRS in order to obtain an ITIN.
Why would you want an ITIN? Because it allows non-USA citizen residents from certain countries to receive tax deductions on their revenue from BMI and other USA companies. Key words being certain countries: Only certain countries have treaties with the USA whereby residents of those countries can get tax deductions on USA income.
You should only submit a W7 form if you don’t have an ITIN and want an ITIN AND if your country of residence has a treaty with the USA whereby citizens of your country are eligible to receive tax deductions on USA income.
If you do not already have an ITIN, do not worry about it and do not send in the W7 form. If you eventually end up generating royalties from BMI, BMI will automatically send you a “W7 letter” so that you can submit it with the W7 form to the IRS.
In part II item 9, check a and fill in your country of residence on the blank line. Check b if you have an ITIN or EIN. Leave everything else blank if you are unsure but follow the directions given by the IRS.
Please note that filling out BMI’s application form gives you automatic membership for worldwide performance royalties collection. Therefore BMI will collect any performance royalties owed to you in all territories of the world.
If you have ever been a member of any other PRO in the world, you will have to contact your PRO to have them limit the territory to ensure that society is not already collecting for you worldwide or in the USA. Once you have done this, then you may fill out the BMI application.
A few days later you will receive your official confirmation of membership. If you have never been a member of any other PRO in the world, you will also be assigned your official CAE# (now called the IPI#). This number is your unique identification number assigned to you as a songwriter. If you make any phone calls to BMI in the future, definitely have this on hand so they can access your information. If you ever join another PRO in the world, they will know you are also a member of BMI because of your CAE/IPI#.
SEND ALL MATERIALS TO:
BMI Writer/Publisher Relations
Attn: International Writer Application
10 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203-4399
An opinionated view by our licensing agent on
ASCAP vs. BMI
It completely depends on the person. Everyone has their own different opinion. There is no clearly better option.
My own facts and observations gathered:
Charges $30 for sign up as a writer
If you are a writer without a publisher and if you want to collect the publisher’s share of royalties, you MUST start your own publishing company. As a writer with ASCAP, you may only collect the 50% total of shares, your “writer’s share.” If you are not signed with an established publisher (who would collect the 50% “publisher’s” share), you must create your own publishing company to collect that money. Otherwise, you are missing out on the 50% publisher share.
System is slightly dated and definitely visually looks dated. Process of registering each and every individual work has more steps and lasts longer than the general BMI registration in my experience.
Process of limiting collection territories is easier (than BMI). Fill out the form, indicate the territory you want to exclude, scan and email to Zachary Horowitz, he gets back to you 7 days later with updated account.
When calling they ask for your CAE# so that when you get on the phone with a rep they can tailor the conversation to you and your account. If you call, you will talk to someone immediately.
Jorge is a writer member of ASCAP from back in the day. (I’m not sure why he chose ASCAP.) Royalty reports received for Jorge’s music have not been detailed. However, he has ASCAP collect for him worldwide, and he has been receiving on average $500 checks periodically which they indicate is performance revenue from all Eastern European nations (CR, Hungary, etc.)… and he has never even registered any specific works with ASCAP (only his own writer account). To me, this is awesome.
In my experience talking with ASCAP representatives, which has ranged from clerks to the director of publisher relations in NYC, they have all been helpful, transparent, and kind.
No charge to sign up as a writer
As a writer without a publisher, you can collect ALL of your performance royalties. Whereas ASCAP uses a 50% writer / 50% publisher system whereby there must be a writer and a publisher to collect all the royalties, BMI uses a 200% system – 100% writer share, 100% publisher share. When registering a work with BMI, you may indicate that the work is “unpublished” and you may enter the number 200%, meaning that you collect ALL of the shares to you, the writer. Thus, no publisher account is necessary.
Online system is significantly cleaner and sleeker for registration. Process is straightforward and simple. Time to register work is lower and process is simpler.
The online writer registration process automatically signs you up with BMI for worldwide performance rights collection. If you want to limit the territory BMI collects for you to, say, North America only, BMI makes this process extremely difficult. They highly discourage it, especially for American writers. They want you doing business with just them. Example: We (Symphonic) have been trying to set up our publishing administration program in such a way that we register a writer with BMI for North America collection and PRS (in the UK) for worldwide except North America, since our artists get so much traction in Europe. I got on the phone with their SVP of publisher relations and they were snarky about it. You must request a paper form to a certain person, mail it with a handwritten signature, may not be approved, etc. This is an issue we are trying to figure out right now.
In my experience speaking with BMI personnel, they are helpful. Calling them is not an organized system as with ASCAP – you call the Nashville office for writer/publisher relations, and if someone does not answer the phone, you must leave a message. I have received one call back a week later from BMI. Overall, I have usually been able to get in touch with someone. Note that I also emailed quite a few people; the director of writer/publisher relations ended up organizing a conference call with the SVP of writer/publisher relations and the assistant VP of BMI. I was really impressed with the extra step they took to speak with me over phone to answer my detailed questions. However, they were not happy when I explained our desire to work with PRS as well for collection (as explained above).
It is blatantly obvious to everyone and common knowledge that both ASCAP and BMI use a paying system completely biased and weighted towards the big name writers who get the radio hits. Both use corrupt systems that unfairly reward the big namers and leave the rest of us scrambling for the leftovers. For certain areas, both use a “census” survey whereby on one day of the year they take a census of songs played and apply it to the entire quarter. The societies are not transparent whatsoever and do not provide details as to their payment system. It remains a hush-hush topic. ASCAP technically does give a formula (http://www.ascap.com/members/payment/royalties.aspx), but the weight system calculations aren’t specified and that is the important formulae to know. I would advise not to make any decision based off of their respective payment systems. Base it off of opinions of colleagues and their experiences and the facts you get.