Larry Scullark
Posted 3 years ago read in 5 minutes
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Best Performance Rights Organization for Independent Artists

Best Performance Rights Organization for Independent Artists

Joining a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) is important for independent musicians. A PRO will ensure you get paid royalties when your music is performed publicly. Musicians can choose from ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. A large number of new artists choose BMI because it’s free and offers great services for their members. ASCAP is also very popular and only charges a one-time payment of $50.00. SESAC is “invite” only so the majority of musicians will join ASCAP or BMI, but all are a great choice. To find out more about each PRO view the overview below.


ASCAP stands for The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. ASCAP ensures all of their members receive royalties for their copyrighted work when it’s performed publicly. ASCAP is owned and operated by songwriters, composers, and music publishers. They are the only US performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters, and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from their membership. They cover almost all genres of music such as Christian, concert music, film & TV, Jazz, Latino, London, musical theater, Nashville, pop/rock, and rhythm and soul. ASCAP not only collects royalties, but they also help with artist development. The website has a lot of useful information for new artists including but not limited to tips for hit songwriting, how to write an excellent biography, how to prepare an album for post-production, and many other useful tips.

Member Tools & Benefits

ASCAP also has links to web tools, insurance, travel, software, financial help, gear, manufacturing, online education, and many associations. The organizations listed can be a gold mind for brand new members new to the music industry. ASCAP OnStage is another excellent feature they provide on the website. ASCAP OnStage allows members to claim royalties for copyrighted works performed live at venues. While reading about what is eligible for royalties you’ll learn that musical theater, teaching activities, religious services, livestock and agricultural exhibits, government events, and nonpermitted events do not qualify for royalty claim.

Awards & Special Events 

ASCAP even supports their members by offering prizes and awards. The ASCAP Plus Award is only available to writers who received less than $25,000 in royalties the previous year. This type of award gives new members something to strive for and achieve. Every year ASCAP host what is called I Create Music ASCAP EXPO. This expo provides those that attend the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the top professionals in the music business.

To learn more about ASCAP visit


BMI stands for Broadcast Music Inc. They ensure songwriters, composers and publishers get paid for their work. BMI also works with businesses by offering music licenses that allow them to play music in their establishments.


BMI Live allows members to get paid (royalties) for their live performances. Members even can log past shows back to 6 months prior. The headliner and opening act.

BMI Mobile is available on IOS or Android and allows members and licensees to manage their account from a mobile device when they are on the go. This is perfect for indie musicians that are always on the road touring or busy in the studio.

Member Benefits 

Insurance: They offer benefits for instruments and also the members. A large number of independent musicians have trouble getting medical and dental insurance. BMI provides these benefits to its members in “Platinum Privileges.” They also cover instruments.

Direct Deposit: BMI members can sign up for direct deposit instead of waiting for a check. This means your money is available instantly so you can get to it quicker.

Discounts: BMI members can receive discounts on subscriptions, education, equipment, and also bank loans.

News: BMI uses its publications to keep members informed on the latest music news, and also provides career advice.

To learn more visit


SESAC stands for Society of European Stage Authors and Composers. SESAC has a lot of significant resources on their website and the phrase a lot may be an understatement. All the information is centered around songwriters and publishers since SESAC is a PRO.

Website Overview

In the about link you can find information on the history of SESAC, careers, educational information, and advocacy. The repertory link allows members to look up and search songs, writers, publishers, and artists that are affiliated with SESAC.  The news link features news about SESAC in many different fields including but not limited to, film & TV, partnership news, and magazines. The news page also features over 100 SESAC headlines that users can select to view. The event link offers information on the SESAC Awards & seminars and features a very convenient calendar that displays every event that is happening that year. In the contact link, users can find the telephone number and address for SESAC offices in the major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and even international agencies. This page also has a link for writers and publishers who want to affiliate with SESAC.

Writers & Publishers 

The most important links are the writers and publishers link and the licensing link. The writer and publisher link hold information such as how SESAC pays, how to become an affiliate, affiliate benefits, how they are represented, and the FAQ. If a person wants to request a license or make a payment, they can use the licensing link. Members can also find FAQ’s and contact information for licensing here, and apply to become a consultant for SESAC.

Membership & Representative Opportunities 

Writers/publishers who are not asked to join SESAC directly can still contact the PRO and prove to them they are worthy of affiliation by providing a Press Kit. Once you have your Innovadiv website established, you can contact SESAC for a membership. The consultant opportunity is fascinating. All the consultant would do is contact establishments that do not have to license their music, explain SESAC’s services, and then obtain a signed license agreement.

To learn more about SESAC visit

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