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How Does BMI/ASCAP Track Your Music?
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ballerblocking01
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18th August 2010
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How Does BMI/ASCAP Track Your Music?

Ok, say you are a music producer and you make beats or whatnot how would ascap/bmi know that your beat was used on a particular song and they themselves do not have a copy of the song? I know when you a registering you music it asked you to enter a title of the song being registered but if the artist has another name for the song that differs from the actual beat title and ascap/bmi do not have a copy of the actual song then how can they locate/track your song?
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ASCAP and BMI only know what the submitted registration form says. If someone who contributed to the writing of a song doesn't appear on the registration, that writer won't be credited and won't see any income on that song's earnings.

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Originally Posted by ballerblocking01 View Post
Ok, say you are a music producer and you make beats or whatnot how would ascap/bmi know that you beat was used on a particular song and they themselves do not have a copy of the song? I know when you a registering you music it asked you to enter a title of the song being registered but if the artist has another name for the song that differs from the actual beat title and ascap/bmi do not have a copy of the actual song then how can they locate/track your song?
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Thanks, I get that part but what I don't get is how do the even know what the beat or song even sounds like for them to even track it down in the first place? For example copywrite.gov has a copy of the songs you submit so if you ever ran into legal issues all they would need to do is find the song you submitted to them, copywrite.gov has an actual copy of the track. So what you are saying is BMI and ASCAP just goes by the title of the work you submitted? Meaning if someone just renamed it, made a song to your beat and got the song played at there local stations ASCAP or BMI would not be able to track it because its under a different name than the one you registered the song under?
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each song has a "fingerprint" ... when it is broadcast an computer reads the fingerprint and counts it as a spin...

i believe only reporting stations have this.

-s0nguy
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in some cases t.v. and radio stations are required to fill out cue sheets for their programming which list song titles used. PROs like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC pay on these. there are also services, such as competitrack for ads, which keep track of how many times a spot airs. once an ad is done, you/the publisher need to submit a bunch of info to the PROs to help track the ads (i.e. mp3s of the spots, scripts, and media buys).

oto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otobianki74 View Post
in some cases t.v. and radio stations are required to fill out cue sheets for their programming which list song titles used. PROs like ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC pay on these. there are also services, such as competitrack for ads, which keep track of how many time a spot airs. once an ad is done, you/the publisher need to submit a bunch of info to the PROs to help track the ads (i.e. mp3s of the spots, scripts, and media buys).

oto
How would you go about submitting your mps's and such to them?
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for advertising spots there are departments at the PROs which handle those type of things. I would call them (they are usually helpful) and will lead you to the right people and give you a list of what's needed.

you might be able to also find this on their websites.

best.

oto
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18th August 2010
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Quote:
How Does BMI/ASCAP Track Your Music?
Quick answer: They don't.

Unless you get to the place where your song is getting play on a major radio station, it will likely not be included in the sampling system used to determine which songwriters get paid.

best,

john
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s0nguy View Post
each song has a "fingerprint" ... when it is broadcast an computer reads the fingerprint and counts it as a spin...

i believe only reporting stations have this.

-s0nguy
Yeah they started doing this for a bunch of streaming stations. Similar to Shazam if you know the app. They "listen" and generate a precise playlist. For traditional radio, I think they still rely on playlists and people manually taking down samples of what's being played on the radio, and generating estimates from that.

ASCAP uses MediaGuide for fingerprinting/auditing. I'm not sure the name of the service BMI uses. I believe you have to submit your music though.
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Yeah... what you're asking about... is not something they can or will ever pay any attention to whatsoever.

If you make a beat and someone uses it, it's up to you to prove ownership of it, and sue them if necessary.

I'd say that it is extremely likely that the entire notion of trying to track that down in any way is a tremendous waste of your time. In the incredibly unlikely event that someone steals your recording, uses your beat, and actually makes any real money from selling the song (that part alone has odds like the lottery)... then you can take them to court, but bmi, ascap, etc... will have nothing to do with that.

The realest advice I can give: Stop worrying about it and get your stuff out there... registering copyrights as you go. If something you own rights to makes it into their system, then there's one more bit of paper trail. If it doesn't, so what.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerblocking01 View Post
Ok, say you are a music producer and you make beats or whatnot how would ascap/bmi know that your beat was used on a particular song and they themselves do not have a copy of the song? I know when you a registering you music it asked you to enter a title of the song being registered but if the artist has another name for the song that differs from the actual beat title and ascap/bmi do not have a copy of the actual song then how can they locate/track your song?
Whether or not you'd get ASCAP/BMI money would depend on your deal with the artist.

If you agreed on a fee based usage and nothing else, then there wouldn't be any need for them to tack that for you.

If your beat gets you songwriting credit, then you will be credited as a songwriter under the alternate title and they'd track it by title.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CallMeAl View Post
Yeah... what you're asking about... is not something they can or will ever pay any attention to whatsoever.

If you make a beat and someone uses it, it's up to you to prove ownership of it, and sue them if necessary.

I'd say that it is extremely likely that the entire notion of trying to track that down in any way is a tremendous waste of your time. In the incredibly unlikely event that someone steals your recording, uses your beat, and actually makes any real money from selling the song (that part alone has odds like the lottery)... then you can take them to court, but bmi, ascap, etc... will have nothing to do with that.

The realest advice I can give: Stop worrying about it and get your stuff out there... registering copyrights as you go. If something you own rights to makes it into their system, then there's one more bit of paper trail. If it doesn't, so what.
Don't be so dismissive without knowing the context.

It sounds like you're assuming that he's worried about someone stealing something he's written and you may be right.

My impression is that he's in the midst of working out an agreement with someone and is unclear how PROs work.
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19th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
Don't be so dismissive without knowing the context.

It sounds like you're assuming that he's worried about someone stealing something he's written and you may be right.

My impression is that he's in the midst of working out an agreement with someone and is unclear how PROs work.
That's exactly right, im working with a cash money artist and they want one of my beats to be placed on their artist album, im just making sure everything is on point as far as understanding how bmi/ascap tracks down songs. Thanks for everyone's input so far, im just one of those people who wants to get as much information as possible on any particular subject not just this one.
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19th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerblocking01 View Post
That's exactly right, im working with a cash money artist and they want one of my beats to be placed on their artist album, im just making sure everything is on point as far as understanding how bmi/ascap tracks down songs. Thanks for everyone's input so far, im just one of those people who wants to get as much information as possible on any particular subject not just this one.
The lawyer I use is coincidentally Cash Money's lawyer - Ed Grauer. He is an excellent lawyer, and very ethical as both a lower an human being. You should probably end up interacting with him as part of the deal - unless you have your own lawyer, which you should. It's not his job to explain it to you, but if there's nothing legally or ethically that prevents him, I'm sure he'd take the few minutes to clarify.

I'd expect your lawyer to do the same. If you don't have one an need a referral to one, PM me.

Also, there are people at both BMI and ASCAP who can and will explain it to you. I know more people at ASCAP and I can tell you that they are very artist friendly. Don't hesitate to call them, describe your situation and ask any question you have. They'll be happy to do so both because there are people who's job it is, and they want to recruit new earners, which, with a Cash Money deal, has optimistic odds.
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ASCAP and BMI don't know what any of it sounds like. They manage the song registrations which amount to showing the songwriter and publishing splits that show what percentage each writer and publisher is entitled to when income is earned. If they have a single registration filed, they will pay out according to that. If you wrote part of a song that was registered with them without including you, in order for them to pay you you'd have to make a claim and the party who made the original registration would have to substantiate their registration. They just pay out, it it's up to the writers and publishers to get the song splits correct.

As far as how they know when to pay out, they sample radio, tv, etc., to get an idea of what's being played. Some radio stations are randomly sampled and for other things like network TV, they are sampling 24/7, meaning if ABC plays your song, you WILL get paid something. This playlist info is provided to them by the stations via logs.

So, in what I think is your case, you'd have to either contact the artist and work out the splits in writing OR wait until you heard the final song and file a counterclaim with the copyright office and the performing rights societies (ASCAP/BMI) and then it becomes a legal matter where you'd still have to work out the song splits except this time it's with attorneys. The later option is the more expensive one so, unless the song is pulling in decent bucks, it's not worth it. Also, ASCAP & BMI will put a hold on the earnings and wait for a resolution from the parties involved.

It's always best to hash out the song splits in writing immediately after writing it. All you need is a simple sheet laying out the song credits and splits, everyone signs with a notary.

When I was involved with music publishing for 15 years, I saw lots of ugly consequences when this wasn't done and the writers were at odds with each other.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ballerblocking01 View Post
Thanks, I get that part but what I don't get is how do the even know what the beat or song even sounds like for them to even track it down in the first place? For example copywrite.gov has a copy of the songs you submit so if you ever ran into legal issues all they would need to do is find the song you submitted to them, copywrite.gov has an actual copy of the track. So what you are saying is BMI and ASCAP just goes by the title of the work you submitted? Meaning if someone just renamed it, made a song to your beat and got the song played at there local stations ASCAP or BMI would not be able to track it because its under a different name than the one you registered the song under?
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19th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
The lawyer I use is coincidentally Cash Money's lawyer - Ed Grauer. He is an excellent lawyer, and very ethical as both a lower an human being. You should probably end up interacting with him as part of the deal - unless you have your own lawyer, which you should. It's not his job to explain it to you, but if there's nothing legally or ethically that prevents him, I'm sure he'd take the few minutes to clarify.

I'd expect your lawyer to do the same. If you don't have one an need a referral to one, PM me.

Also, there are people at both BMI and ASCAP who can and will explain it to you. I know more people at ASCAP and I can tell you that they are very artist friendly. Don't hesitate to call them, describe your situation and ask any question you have. They'll be happy to do so both because there are people who's job it is, and they want to recruit new earners, which, with a Cash Money deal, has optimistic odds.
Thanks, Ill give them a call and see what they tell me, Ive sent you a PM also.
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19th August 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlowe View Post
ASCAP and BMI don't know what any of it sounds like. They manage the song registrations which amount to showing the songwriter and publishing splits that show what percentage each writer and publisher is entitled to when income is earned. If they have a single registration filed, they will pay out according to that. If you wrote part of a song that was registered with them without including you, in order for them to pay you you'd have to make a claim and the party who made the original registration would have to substantiate their registration. They just pay out, it it's up to the writers and publishers to get the song splits correct.

As far as how they know when to pay out, they sample radio, tv, etc., to get an idea of what's being played. Some radio stations are randomly sampled and for other things like network TV, they are sampling 24/7, meaning if ABC plays your song, you WILL get paid something. This playlist info is provided to them by the stations via logs.

So, in what I think is your case, you'd have to either contact the artist and work out the splits in writing OR wait until you heard the final song and file a counterclaim with the copyright office and the performing rights societies (ASCAP/BMI) and then it becomes a legal matter where you'd still have to work out the song splits except this time it's with attorneys. The later option is the more expensive one so, unless the song is pulling in decent bucks, it's not worth it. Also, ASCAP & BMI will put a hold on the earnings and wait for a resolution from the parties involved.

It's always best to hash out the song splits in writing immediately after writing it. All you need is a simple sheet laying out the song credits and splits, everyone signs with a notary.

When I was involved with music publishing for 15 years, I saw lots of ugly consequences when this wasn't done and the writers were at odds with each other.
Thanks, my best bet is to just get everything in writing so there won't be any head aches on both ends. I don't want this to turn into a bangladesh situation.
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You have your copyrights and you have all your ironclad individual deals and etc etc. Oh ... now there is the issue of bmi and ascap.

The mindset over the ages is "I gotta sign with bmi or ascap" as a fact of life that is non-negotiable.

Rather than "how does bmi/acsap track plays"... what about another question such as, "are bmi and ascap obsolete in the modern world?"

Who has NEVER received a check from BMI and Ascap as a member?
If so, why bother signing with either?

To get on the radio and tv? so what? If bmi/acap is a crapshoot for payments and for the most part, they don't pay every single member in tangible money anyway, why bother signing with them?

But they protect your rights? How?
If they never pay anyway, why bother signing with them?


But they protect your rights for airplay. Hmm... let's see ... ariplay. okay.. I struck the lottery and have managed to get massive airplay worldwide. Why do I need bmi or ascap especially at that point ? They certainly didn't help me get the airplay.

How about this Mr. radio station conglomerate... you play my music all you want to your bazillion listeners and ya don't have to pay bmi or ascap on my behalf cuz I'm not with either one...

go ahead mr. radio ... play my stuff all you want ... won't cost you a dime in fees (which I never see anyway). I'll benefit from the exposure and get the gigs and (maybe) album/mp3 sales from the exposure and keep my money from that. No fees on your part ... no payola on my part ... mr radio keeps getting its money from advertisers ... i get my exposure so that I can get gigs and sales of my own albums. Everyone's happy .... why is there a bmi and ascap in the middle there? Where are those fingers in the pie coming from? What's the point in this modern age ?

Oh yeah .. .but they are in there watching out for me from internet radio and they and the riaa are now watching out for me by wanting to force cellphone makers to add fm radio tuners too so that more people will listen to radio stations.

So what? I don't see a dime of that and I'm on the radio. I'd rather get the airplay for free anywhere I can. You're screwing that up for me BMI and ascap and I don't see a dime .

Oh yeah ... well, BMI/Ascap monitor local clubs and coffehouses and if they're playing members music, b/A make them pay a fee. Oh Yeah ??? Well STOP THAT ! I want every kid to be able to play my stuff on any gig, bar, or club anywhere any time. I'm not making my money from the local band playing my songs at the coffee house. Leave those kids and bar owners alone !!!!

It's great that bmi/ascap probably spews out some amount of money to the old-timers, but again ... in this modern age , economy, and new business model ... what is the point of bmi and ascap in terms of real dollars to ME that would entice me to sign?

Er .. well you HAVE to sign with one of them to release anything to radio etc. OH REALLY ? That seems to work into scam territory in today's world.

So ... where does bmi and ascap really fit in to the independent artist in the modern world ?

I would invite any answer that you come up with to be followed by the question "but if I don't see any income from it anyway, what is the point?"
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You don't have to sign up with a PRO to get music on the radio, just to collect your performance royalties as a songwriter or publisher.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
You have your copyrights and you have all your ironclad individual deals and etc etc. Oh ... now there is the issue of bmi and ascap.

The mindset over the ages is "I gotta sign with bmi or ascap" as a fact of life that is non-negotiable.

Rather than "how does bmi/acsap track plays"... what about another question such as, "are bmi and ascap obsolete in the modern world?"

Who has NEVER received a check from BMI and Ascap as a member?
If so, why bother signing with either?

To get on the radio and tv? so what? If bmi/acap is a crapshoot for payments and for the most part, they don't pay every single member in tangible money anyway, why bother signing with them?

But they protect your rights? How?
If they never pay anyway, why bother signing with them?


But they protect your rights for airplay. Hmm... let's see ... ariplay. okay.. I struck the lottery and have managed to get massive airplay worldwide. Why do I need bmi or ascap especially at that point ? They certainly didn't help me get the airplay.

How about this Mr. radio station conglomerate... you play my music all you want to your bazillion listeners and ya don't have to pay bmi or ascap on my behalf cuz I'm not with either one...

go ahead mr. radio ... play my stuff all you want ... won't cost you a dime in fees (which I never see anyway). I'll benefit from the exposure and get the gigs and (maybe) album/mp3 sales from the exposure and keep my money from that. No fees on your part ... no payola on my part ... mr radio keeps getting its money from advertisers ... i get my exposure so that I can get gigs and sales of my own albums. Everyone's happy .... why is there a bmi and ascap in the middle there? Where are those fingers in the pie coming from? What's the point in this modern age ?

Oh yeah .. .but they are in there watching out for me from internet radio and they and the riaa are now watching out for me by wanting to force cellphone makers to add fm radio tuners too so that more people will listen to radio stations.

So what? I don't see a dime of that and I'm on the radio. I'd rather get the airplay for free anywhere I can. You're screwing that up for me BMI and ascap and I don't see a dime .

Oh yeah ... well, BMI/Ascap monitor local clubs and coffehouses and if they're playing members music, b/A make them pay a fee. Oh Yeah ??? Well STOP THAT ! I want every kid to be able to play my stuff on any gig, bar, or club anywhere any time. I'm not making my money from the local band playing my songs at the coffee house. Leave those kids and bar owners alone !!!!

It's great that bmi/ascap probably spews out some amount of money to the old-timers, but again ... in this modern age , economy, and new business model ... what is the point of bmi and ascap in terms of real dollars to ME that would entice me to sign?

Er .. well you HAVE to sign with one of them to release anything to radio etc. OH REALLY ? That seems to work into scam territory in today's world.

So ... where does bmi and ascap really fit in to the independent artist in the modern world ?

I would invite any answer that you come up with to be followed by the question "but if I don't see any income from it anyway, what is the point?"

sorry to say it friend, but your post displays a staggering amount of ignorance on the subject. might want to look into it further if you are really on the radio or television.


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