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Happy BMI Day!
Old 21st June 2019
  #1
Happy BMI Day!

So I switched from ASCAP to BMI starting April 1st and got my first BMI check (for Q4 2018 Placements). Not bad for just getting stuff moved over.

I only got placements for one show, but the royalties seem to be higher than they would have been with ASCAP.

I should be getting an ASCAP payout in a few weeks. I am interested to see how they compare.

Anyone else got news?
Old 21st June 2019
  #2
Gear Head
 

Been doing this 5+ years. 5 figure checks at this point. This one was almost double last one, and the last one was my ATH. Not bad.
Old 21st June 2019
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngrichyrich View Post
Been doing this 5+ years. 5 figure checks at this point. This one was almost double last one, and the last one was my ATH. Not bad.
Gangsta!

If your team is looking for music, send me some briefs.
Old 21st June 2019
  #4
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Poor quarter compared to same quarter years past.
Old 21st June 2019
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
So I switched from ASCAP to BMI starting April 1st and got my first BMI check (for Q4 2018 Placements). Not bad for just getting stuff moved over.

I only got placements for one show, but the royalties seem to be higher than they would have been with ASCAP.

I should be getting an ASCAP payout in a few weeks. I am interested to see how they compare.

Anyone else got news?
thats interesting. i switched also starting from April 1st. did you move your full catalog over with you?
Old 21st June 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymc View Post
thats interesting. i switched also starting from April 1st. did you move your full catalog over with you?
No, actually I left everything at ASCAP. But I guess BMI is moving things over. I see that most of my stuff with ASCAP is now registered with BMI. My CAE/IPI number stayed the same too. So I am not sure how all of that stuff works.

I only got placements from BMI for one show, but it was for like 15 episodes. If I were with ASCAP, I may have never been paid for those shows.

The main reason why I switched is because I had numerous cue sheets with ASCAP and they refused to pay because their survey did NOT pick up any performances. Their sole job is to pay money to songwriters and publishers when music is used.
Old 21st June 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
No, actually I left everything at ASCAP. But I guess BMI is moving things over. I see that most of my stuff with ASCAP is now registered with BMI. My CAE/IPI number stayed the same too. So I am not sure how all of that stuff works.

I only got placements from BMI for one show, but it was for like 15 episodes. If I were with ASCAP, I may have never been paid for those shows.

The main reason why I switched is because I had numerous cue sheets with ASCAP and they refused to pay because their survey did NOT pick up any performances. Their sole job is to pay money to songwriters and publishers when music is used.
i moved for the same reasons but they wouldn't allow me take my catalog with me because i didn't specify that i wanted to move it when i resigned. now i have to wait another year. nightmare.
Old 21st June 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
No, actually I left everything at ASCAP. But I guess BMI is moving things over. I see that most of my stuff with ASCAP is now registered with BMI. My CAE/IPI number stayed the same too. So I am not sure how all of that stuff works.

I only got placements from BMI for one show, but it was for like 15 episodes. If I were with ASCAP, I may have never been paid for those shows.

The main reason why I switched is because I had numerous cue sheets with ASCAP and they refused to pay because their survey did NOT pick up any performances. Their sole job is to pay money to songwriters and publishers when music is used.
usually your CAE/IPI number stays the same for life. that is the unique identifier that identifies you as an individual composers around the world. Usually the only time you get a new one is if you create a pseudonym or there is a screw up. Your CAE/IPI is not unique/linked to your PRO... It's unique/linked to YOU as an individual. Every PRO around the world has your CAE/IPI number and your name is attached to it. That way when your music airs in Germany, Australia, Japan, etc the PROs in those countries know it is YOU and not another person with your same name somewhere else in the world.

Out of all the metadata, your CAE/IPI number is one of the most important to get correct when submitting music. If you don't then someone else will be getting paid your money.
Old 24th June 2019
  #9
No more BMI updates?!?
Old 24th June 2019
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
usually your CAE/IPI number stays the same for life. that is the unique identifier that identifies you as an individual composers around the world. Usually the only time you get a new one is if you create a pseudonym or there is a screw up. Your CAE/IPI is not unique/linked to your PRO... It's unique/linked to YOU as an individual. Every PRO around the world has your CAE/IPI number and your name is attached to it. That way when your music airs in Germany, Australia, Japan, etc the PROs in those countries know it is YOU and not another person with your same name somewhere else in the world.

Out of all the metadata, your CAE/IPI number is one of the most important to get correct when submitting music. If you don't then someone else will be getting paid your money.
i've a question Etch. since i switched from ASCAP to BMI in April of this year does this mean that any cue sheets that are submitted from here on by production departments in TV networks etc will go to the folks at BMI and not ASCAP? those tracks are still registered with ASCAP but my CAE/IPI hasn't changed when i moved, just the PRO.
Old 24th June 2019
  #11
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
No more BMI updates?!?
You trying to make me cry this early on Monday morning??? (faceplam is for BMI not you....)
Old 24th June 2019
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
You trying to make me cry this early on Monday morning??? (faceplam is for BMI not you....)
Have you considered moving to another PRO?

It would be a mess for all of your back catalog, but you could have your new works with another PRO.

Can anyone you have worked with get you into SESAC?
Old 24th June 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannymc View Post
i've a question Etch. since i switched from ASCAP to BMI in April of this year does this mean that any cue sheets that are submitted from here on by production departments in TV networks etc will go to the folks at BMI and not ASCAP? those tracks are still registered with ASCAP but my CAE/IPI hasn't changed when i moved, just the PRO.
It's not so much about when the cue sheet is filed its about when the songs were registered with which PRO.

If you were with ASCAP and then in 2019 you switched to BMI... everything you registered with ASCAP up to 2019 is your ASCAP repertoire and will stay there (unless you decided to move it over). Anything from this point forward you will (or your publishers will) register under BMI and that will become your BMI repertoire.

So you will receive checks from both ASCAP and BMI. If you decide to move your ASCAP stuff over to BMI (which can be a HUGE PITA for both ASCAP and BMI and all your publishers), then everything has to get updated in all the databases with all the PROs around the word... the ISWC numbers for all of your ASCAP works have to be redirected to BMI, and for years you'll still get erroneous ASCAP payments for placements that happened before the switch and they made it through the cracks... or you'll get forwarded payments over from ASCAP to BMI for the same reason.

The other thing you have to remember, broadcasters do not pay "per use". So the cue sheet isn't used by the broadcaster to determine who they have to pay when they used the music. The cue sheets are solely for ASCAP/BMI/SESAC to determine how much of their pie they have to pay out to composers and publishers. The broadcasters send the same cue sheet to all PROs simultaneously and basically just say "here, you figure out where and what of yours was used".

broadcasters pay a flat blanket fee per year. They don't pay "per use". So for example CBS might have to pay ASCAP $100mil a year, and they have to pay BMI $100mil a year. That's it. They write the one check and they are done. they can use anything from either ASCAP or BMI as much as they want, wherever they want.

ASCAP and BMI have to use the Cue Sheets and Competitrack Reports and other methods to determine how much of that $100mil payment each use within the year on that broadcaster will get. That is why it's a sliding scale. If CBS doubles the amount of music they aired in a year... well, that means that each use is now worth roughly half as much as it was the year before, because CBS didn't pay $200mil this year and $100mil last year.

A lot of people think "well the more content that is broadcast with music in it, the more money composers will make in performance royalties" but it doesn't really work like that. It is really the opposite in the short term. Long term, yes, the PRO can go back and renegotiate a higher rate to try and cover the additional uses... but short term, it's supply and demand. If you only have $100mil from one broadcaster to pay for every use that airs on that broadcaster for a year... well the more uses that air, the less each one is worth.
Old 24th June 2019
  #14
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Have you considered moving to another PRO?
Yes. About a year or so ago I told BMI I was leaving. Then they checked my anniversary date and laughed at me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
It would be a mess for all of your back catalog, but you could have your new works with another PRO.
Yeah, how hard could it be to move 42,000 titles???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Can anyone you have worked with get you into SESAC?
yeah, but I'm unconvinced at this point. I think the entire system is corrupt, and you just choose who to get into bed with.....
Old 24th June 2019
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
It's not so much about when the cue sheet is filed its about when the songs were registered with which PRO.

If you were with ASCAP and then in 2019 you switched to BMI... everything you registered with ASCAP up to 2019 is your ASCAP repertoire and will stay there (unless you decided to move it over). Anything from this point forward you will (or your publishers will) register under BMI and that will become your BMI repertoire.

So you will receive checks from both ASCAP and BMI. If you decide to move your ASCAP stuff over to BMI (which can be a HUGE PITA for both ASCAP and BMI and all your publishers), then everything has to get updated in all the databases with all the PROs around the word... the ISWC numbers for all of your ASCAP works have to be redirected to BMI, and for years you'll still get erroneous ASCAP payments for placements that happened before the switch and they made it through the cracks... or you'll get forwarded payments over from ASCAP to BMI for the same reason.

The other thing you have to remember, broadcasters do not pay "per use". So the cue sheet isn't used by the broadcaster to determine who they have to pay when they used the music. The cue sheets are solely for ASCAP/BMI/SESAC to determine how much of their pie they have to pay out to composers and publishers. The broadcasters send the same cue sheet to all PROs simultaneously and basically just say "here, you figure out where and what of yours was used".

broadcasters pay a flat blanket fee per year. They don't pay "per use". So for example CBS might have to pay ASCAP $100mil a year, and they have to pay BMI $100mil a year. That's it. They write the one check and they are done. they can use anything from either ASCAP or BMI as much as they want, wherever they want.

ASCAP and BMI have to use the Cue Sheets and Competitrack Reports and other methods to determine how much of that $100mil payment each use within the year on that broadcaster will get. That is why it's a sliding scale. If CBS doubles the amount of music they aired in a year... well, that means that each use is now worth roughly half as much as it was the year before, because CBS didn't pay $200mil this year and $100mil last year.

A lot of people think "well the more content that is broadcast with music in it, the more money composers will make in performance royalties" but it doesn't really work like that. It is really the opposite in the short term. Long term, yes, the PRO can go back and renegotiate a higher rate to try and cover the additional uses... but short term, it's supply and demand. If you only have $100mil from one broadcaster to pay for every use that airs on that broadcaster for a year... well the more uses that air, the less each one is worth.
great post as always. thanks Etch.
Old 25th June 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
yeah, but I'm unconvinced at this point. I think the entire system is corrupt, and you just choose who to get into bed with.....
quoted for emphasis!

The fact that the PROs can just change variables within the royalty calculation equation at anytime to favor different types of uses is sketchy.

Most composers don't even know the formula used either, so changing the variables is super easy and goes unnoticed. Neither publishes the actual rate for each variable either! Which makes it very easy for them to change them constantly. For example, for people reading this, if I asked you to tell me which equation is ASCAP and which is BMI, could you without looking it up?

A)
Royalty Payment = (Total License fees per quarter/Total performances per quarter) x Duration of individual performance x Licensee Weight x Use Weight x Nielsen audience measurement data x Bonus Multipliers (Super Usage or Theme Song Bonuses) x Composer Share of Composition

B)
Royalty Payment = ((Use Weight x Licensee Weight x "Follow The Dollar" Factor x Time of Day Weight) + Premium Credits) x Composer Share of Composition x Credit Value

And then what number(s) is used for Use Weight, Licensee Weight, Bonus Multipliers, Time of Day weight, Follow The Dollar Factor, Premium Credits, Credit Value, etc??? All of these variables that have hard numbers/percentages attached to them are kept private and change constantly.

If the PROs have a type of music or specific writers they want to pay more to. It's very easy for them to change the values of these "factors" to pay more to the people they want to pay more, and pay less to everyone else.
Old 25th June 2019
  #17
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
For example, for people reading this, if I asked you to tell me which equation is ASCAP and which is BMI, could you without looking it up?

A)
Royalty Payment = (Total License fees per quarter/Total performances per quarter) x Duration of individual performance x Licensee Weight x Use Weight x Nielsen audience measurement data x Bonus Multipliers (Super Usage or Theme Song Bonuses) x Composer Share of Composition

B)
Royalty Payment = ((Use Weight x Licensee Weight x "Follow The Dollar" Factor x Time of Day Weight) + Premium Credits) x Composer Share of Composition x Credit Value
I can. Cause I've stared at my statements for way too long trying to figure out why in the **** they vary so much.

A = BMI, so by default I presume B = ASCAP.

Am I right??? What do I win?

I'd settle for a legit, sit down with my BMI rep explaining how I can close to triple the number of placements worldwide and have my payouts go down 40% over the last 5 years......with 40k+ titles in their catalog. All the while they feature newbie writers with 15 songs who I've never heard of making "big stuff" out of careers I've never even seen..... You can REALLY see where their priorities are.
Old 26th June 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'd settle for a legit, sit down with my BMI rep explaining how I can close to triple the number of placements worldwide and have my payouts go down 40% over the last 5 years......with 40k+ titles in their catalog. All the while they feature newbie writers with 15 songs who I've never heard of making "big stuff" out of careers I've never even seen..... You can REALLY see where their priorities are.
Not to make light of the situation, but you should either collaborate with some of these younger people or allow them to sample the works that you still own copyright to for a hefty portion of royalties.

If I had 40k+ titles, I would be exploiting that catalog and let the younger folks sample my works while collecting checks.
Old 26th June 2019
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'd settle for a legit, sit down with my BMI rep explaining how I can close to triple the number of placements worldwide and have my payouts go down 40% over the last 5 years......with 40k+ titles in their catalog.
Don't bother, I already know what they are going to say to you...

they will point to..."Total License fees per quarter/Total performances per quarter"

Based on the money they collect for the networks your music airs on versus how many BMI titles are performed, you get what you get. The more BMI composers are used on that network in that quarter, the less you make.

The fact that more and more people are signing up with BMI and/or switching to BMI over the last 10 years does not help any BMI composers, it hurts them. Because now you have composers that were ASCAP, who switched to BMI and are now getting paid through BMI for performances right next to yours... which cuts into your money.

Also another thing BMI does but they do not mention on the site is they allocate a certain amount of money to each area of use. They admitted this to a friend of mine who is in a dispute with them over promos. They said in conversation with him "for the amount of money we allocate for promos vs the report we got from the network for the use of the promo in question, you were paid correctly" (which he wasn't).... so then he asked "wait, how much money do you allocate for promos?" And then there was silence followed by a lot of hmmm'ing and haw'ing... followed by a "I can't release that information..."

So instead of the "official" stance of "total license fees per quarter/total performances per quarter" it's really "total money BMI decides to allocate for this specific market segment per quarter/total performances per quarter".

That also allows them to favor certain individuals who get certain types of uses (like they could allocate more money to in-show use for reality TV networks in order to give Jared Gutstad more money, or they could allocate more money to in-show scripted TV and increase the song bonus multiplier to favor certain songwriters they know are going to get a new top40 song placed in an upcoming TV show.

But at the end of the day, it's all a finite pie of money they are drawing from. So as more writers dilute the BMI system and BMI shifts focus toward famous songwriters or whoever... everyone who isn't focused on sees less and less.
Old 26th June 2019
  #20
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Don't bother, I already know what they are going to say to you...

they will point to..."Total License fees per quarter/Total performances per quarter"

Based on the money they collect for the networks your music airs on versus how many BMI titles are performed, you get what you get. The more BMI composers are used on that network in that quarter, the less you make.

The fact that more and more people are signing up with BMI and/or switching to BMI over the last 10 years does not help any BMI composers, it hurts them. Because now you have composers that were ASCAP, who switched to BMI and are now getting paid through BMI for performances right next to yours... which cuts into your money.

Also another thing BMI does but they do not mention on the site is they allocate a certain amount of money to each area of use. They admitted this to a friend of mine who is in a dispute with them over promos. They said in conversation with him "for the amount of money we allocate for promos vs the report we got from the network for the use of the promo in question, you were paid correctly" (which he wasn't).... so then he asked "wait, how much money do you allocate for promos?" And then there was silence followed by a lot of hmmm'ing and haw'ing... followed by a "I can't release that information..."

So instead of the "official" stance of "total license fees per quarter/total performances per quarter" it's really "total money BMI decides to allocate for this specific market segment per quarter/total performances per quarter".

That also allows them to favor certain individuals who get certain types of uses (like they could allocate more money to in-show use for reality TV networks in order to give Jared Gutstad more money, or they could allocate more money to in-show scripted TV and increase the song bonus multiplier to favor certain songwriters they know are going to get a new top40 song placed in an upcoming TV show.

But at the end of the day, it's all a finite pie of money they are drawing from. So as more writers dilute the BMI system and BMI shifts focus toward famous songwriters or whoever... everyone who isn't focused on sees less and less.
Exactly. Politics and money grab - PRO style..... No wonder they don't want to go to a watermarked system. That would leave zero wiggle room.

HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!!! You didn't tell me if I answered A/B correctly???
Old 26th June 2019
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!!! You didn't tell me if I answered A/B correctly???
Oh, yeah... sorry, you were correct. But like you said, it's not really fair because you've been staring at your BMI statements and the formula and analyzing them trying to make heads or tails of it all for a while now. Most "regular" composers that aren't as meticulous and organized as you are probably won't know the difference.
Old 26th June 2019
  #22
I should also point out... ASCAP has the same problems as well. It's not just a BMI thing. The same dilution of funds happens with ASCAP as does the internal focus on a particular area of use or a specific type of writer.
Old 26th June 2019
  #23
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Oh, yeah... sorry, you were correct. But like you said, it's not really fair because you've been staring at your BMI statements and the formula and analyzing them trying to make heads or tails of it all for a while now. Most "regular" composers that aren't as meticulous and organized as you are probably won't know the difference.
Woohoooo!!! Even though I'm losing, I WIN!!!
Old 27th June 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Woohoooo!!! Even though I'm losing, I WIN!!!
Isn't that ASCAP and BMI's slogan already?
Old 27th June 2019
  #25
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Isn't that ASCAP and BMI's slogan already?

Ummmm....close. I think it may be : "even though YOU'RE losing, WE win!!"
Old 28th June 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Audit your statements!!!!
Old 28th June 2019
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFulford View Post
Audit your statements!!!!
absolutely!

But it sucks when after you audit and find problems and you call and they tell you that they feel the statement is correct.
Old 28th June 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFulford View Post
Audit your statements!!!!
This has actually been recommended to me by one of my contacts at BMI. I can't quite get my head around how to do it though. The problems are:

- I don't have time to go through my statements with a fine toothed comb. I'd be open to the idea of paying someone to do it, but that leads to problem #2

- 99.9999% of my placements are made through a publisher. I have no idea which cues are being used where until I see them on my statement. Given all of the blanket deals that publishers are making, I'm not even sure they know. This means I can't check my statement against known uses. Even if I could, that leads back to problem #1 ...no way do I have time to audit every use, type of use, duration, number of performances, etc.

John, you must be in the same boat. How do you do it? DrBill? Etch?
Old 28th June 2019
  #29
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ehrenebbage View Post
This has actually been recommended to me by one of my contacts at BMI. I can't quite get my head around how to do it though. The problems are:

- I don't have time to go through my statements with a fine toothed comb. I'd be open to the idea of paying someone to do it, but that leads to problem #2

- 99.9999% of my placements are made through a publisher. I have no idea which cues are being used where until I see them on my statement. Given all of the blanket deals that publishers are making, I'm not even sure they know. This means I can't check my statement against known uses. Even if I could, that leads back to problem #1 ...no way do I have time to audit every use, type of use, duration, number of performances, etc.

John, you must be in the same boat. How do you do it? DrBill? Etch?
Ditto X 1000. Make that 10,000. I'd have no idea where to start. Just about 1% of my placements come from "me". Everything else is floating out there to be used, and I have no idea how, where, when, who, or if it's going to happen. An audit sounds awesome.

How do we do it John??
Old 28th June 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Ditto X 1000. Make that 10,000. I'd have no idea where to start. Just about 1% of my placements come from "me". Everything else is floating out there to be used, and I have no idea how, where, when, who, or if it's going to happen. An audit sounds awesome.

How do we do it John??
Sure, the main steps are

1) Tunesat everything
2) Learn how to make and navigate your statements through excel "pivot tables".
3) Combine all of your statements into one giant CSV file.

Think of it as treasure hunting. I had a well paying cable show first air Q1 2018 with four instrumentals of mine. The entire episode was never paid out. The PRO didn't try and put up a fight because the ENTIRE EPISODE never paid out!! Those are the low hanging fruit.
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