In this dog eat dog competitive creative industry, how to protect one’s rights and interest can sometimes seem like an obstacle course to an artist–especially a newer one. I mean, we here at the Hollywood Lawyer get it–we’re entertainment attorneys and we know that breaking into the industry can be like a balancing act–ideally, you want to give up what you need to in order to get in, but not more than what you have to in order to stay in. Still, it has always happened and will continue to happen–what’s new and inexperienced gives way to what’s powerful and experienced. With this in mind, however, my artist, don’t throw in the towel just yet. There are independent organizations that were created by those like you, and exist for those like you. The acting industry has SAG/AFSTRA, the recording industry (songwriters, composers, and publishers) have ASCAP and BMI. In the next two posts, we will discuss the latter–ASCAP and BMI.
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)
ASCAP was founded over 100 years ago as a member owned non profit organization performance rights organization. ASCAP is designed to protect artists, ensure that they are treated fairly regarding their performances. When an artist joins ASCAP, he/she is joining a team of hundreds of thousands of songwriters, composers, and publishers. ASCAP is endorsed by powerhouse artists such as Dr. Dre, Katy Perry, Ne-Yo, and Sara Bareilles.
How It Works
ASCAP monitors its members performances and acts as the artist’s “advocate” or “agent.” For instance, when an artist member’s music is played or the artist member performs, ASCAP monitors these performances and collects licensing fees on behalf of the artist. These fees are then distributed back to the artists/organization as a royalties. The bottom line, ASCAP helps to ensure that you, as a songwriter, composer, or publisher get paid.
How Do I Join?
Check out the ASCAP website at http://www.ascap.com/. You will find all the information you need to register as well as information about the organization such as resources offered, celebrity member endorsements, information on history of the organization.
If you are a writer, you will need:
1) A social security number (or foreign tax information) and
2) A US bank issued credit card for a one time $50 registration fee.
If you are a publisher, you will need:
1) A name for your company
2) Information about your company (social security number or tax identification)
3) A US bank issued credit card for a one time $50 registration fee.
Coming up next week…
ASCAP is not the only organization of its kind–we will discuss BMI.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained within this blog post and site is offered simply as a consideration to visitors who are in the entertainment industry and are seeking to learn more about various areas of entertainment, be it in film, movies, television, music, digital, new media, film financing, merchandising and/or branding. As such, the information so provided should never be construed as legal advice. If you need further assistance or legal advice for your specific matter, please do not hesitate in contacting an entertainment attorney (film, music, digital, licensing, financing) here in Los Angeles, California at The Hollywood Lawyer by(1) emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org; (2) calling us at (323) 300-4184; or (3) filling out our online form.