SESAC vs ASCAP vs BMI (Full Comparison!)

Best Music Performance Rights Organizations

Best Performing rights organizations

Your PRO will make sure that all places that play music have a licence!


They'll keep track of who hasn't paid, and then figure out how much each composer, publisher, and songwriter should be paid.


These are the top 3 performance rights organizations:

  1. SESAC

  2. ASCAP

  3. BMI


But which ones is best for you?


Each service has different benefits, like workshops, conferences, awards, discounts, partnerships, and more.


Let's compare ASCAP, BMI and SESAC!


Your broadcast music needs the best public performance royalties tool.


At the end of the day, they all do about the same thing - but the nuances make the difference.


Along with Free Music Distribution you'll need good music publishing!


Read this full blog to find the best PRO for your needs!



what is a performance rights organization?

What is a performance rights organization


A performance rights organisation (PRO) acts as a go-between for copyright holders and people who want to use copyrighted works by doing things like collecting royalties.


They make sure you get your monthly radio royalty payments on time!


When people buy works legally, like when they buy CDs from a music store, they get private performance rights.


Performance royalties need a system of reporting and to distribute public performance royalties.


That is why the music industry needs performing rights organizations.


PROs usually only collect royalties when an organisation needs to use a work to do something else.





#1. SESAC (Europe)

SESAC music publishing


Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (also known as SESAC) is an epic performance rights organization.


The original goal of SESAC was to help underrepresented European authors and composers of stage works by giving them their American performance royalties.


In the 1950s, an electrical transcription service was started.


In the question of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC... This s a big one.


The mechanical royalties and radio royalty payments are beyond insane.


This performing rights organizations is my favourite.


If you create music... I recommend you seek discounted registration and sign up.

in ASCAP vs SESAC, the win does to SESAC.


Through radio stations and billboard touring conference, you'll crush it.



pros of using SESAC for public performance royalties

SESAC advantage


SESAC is extremely different from other PROs.


Here are the benefits of using SESAC:

  • Private enforcement

  • Monthly royalties collected


SESAC pays royalties every month, straight from their site! That could help a lot to a new artist make steady paychecks.


When those checks come every three months, like they do for other PROs, it can be hard to pay the bills.


Collect public performance royalties in record time with this fame membership.


They will send performance royalties to you directly!


The American songwriter magazine discount is epic too.


Because it wants to make money, this company might try a little harder to get fees for protected music, since it needs money to stay in business.


PROs who work for nonprofits might not have the same drive.


This is one of the few PROs that works to make money.


Bonus: learn the difference between music publishing and distribution!



The cons of using SESAC

The downside of using SESAC

SESAC isn't all sunshine and rainbows though.


Here are the negatives to using SESAC:

  • SESAC charges higher fees

  • SESAC is Invite only


Compared to BMI or ASCAP, this performance rights organization is exclusive. You must be invited and accepted here.


This is one of the only PROs that does business for profit.


SESAC wants to get paid every time a protected piece of music is played.


Some of this fee goes to the composers, songwriters, and publishers who worked on the piece of music.


In the question of ASCAP, BMI and SESAC - this one is a legit player.


If you're making background music... This for profit private company is not the performing rights organization for you.




#2. ASPAC (America)

ASCAP Publishing


ASCAP collects licensing fees from people who want to use music that was made by one of its members, and then gives those fees back to its members as royalties.


Why should you use ASCAP?


When a song is played, the user doesn't have to pay the copyright holder directly, and the music creator doesn't have to bill a radio station for using a song.


They handle all of your needs easily.


Major pros in the music industry (even record labels) use ASCAP for their music business.


This nonprofit organization offers music related retail products and international royalties.


Once you get your public performance licenses, you can collect performance royalties pronto.


Stevie Wonder produce uses the American Society of Composers as his main performing rights organization.



The benefits of using ASCAP

There are dozens of music grant organizations in the USA that regularly award cash to serious artists.


These are the advantages to using ASCAP for public performance royalties

  • Music grants

  • Music licensing

  • Collect performance royalties

  • Songwriting contests


AS you can see, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers isn't bad!


ASCAP offers grants to music artists to create good music!


Unlike loans, they don't need to be paid back! ASCAP is non-profit, which is nice.


Depending on the type of grant, the funding could be used to get a new music project off the ground.


Sometimes ASCAP places restrictions on how you can use the money.


If you enter a song contest, you're increasing your odds of getting heard!


ASCAP offers their song contests and it's a wonderful avenue for artists.


No matter what happens after that, you'll be able to start songs better and finish them better.


If you win a songwriting contest, some people in the business may keep an eye on you in the future.


Only a very small number of people who enter songwriting contests actually win.



The negatives of using ASCAP to broadcast music

The downside of using ASCAP


There are many negative reviews about ASCAP.


There are lots of reports that people aren't able to cancel their ASCAP membership easily.


This is definitely something to look out for.


The quarterly royalty checks are slow.


Since this is a not for profit organization, the ASCAP members discounts are spread thin.


The royalty payments are sent later than SESAC or BMI.


The one time where ASCAP public performance royalties are better than the others are if you create music all the time.


Bob Dylan and other famous artists avoid ASCAP. It's the only PRO that offers members quarterly royalty checks!


European artists can easily access Broadcast Music inc.



#3. BMI (Global)

BMI Music


Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) is a group in the United States that deals with performance rights. They charge businesses that use music a flat fee that lets them play any song from BMI's collection.


Steaming services and every American songwriter magazine loves BMI.


The PROs collect royalties from Apple Music, Spotify, etc.


BMI gives the money to songwriters, composers, and music publishers who have had their works performed as royalties every three months.


BMI awards offers discounted registration for their services.


Their Society of composers authors and publishers range far and wide.


Some of the most famous artists get their live performance royalties from BMI.


Disc makers cd manufacturing use BMI to crush it.


ASCAP vs BMI vs SESAC... The BMI Affiliates artistshare is epic!



Set up a publishing company with BMI

When songwriters keep their publishing rights, they get both the writer's share and the publisher's share of any money made from their songs!


Self-publishing may be the best choice for people who can get their work placed and make money without needing a publisher. BMI is good at this.


No matter if you want to publish your own songs or songs written by other people, it's easy to start a music publishing company.


BMI affiliates video games and sync licensing is epics well!


Affiliates of BMI can get a discount on the LA Show Billboard Touring Conference.



Monthly radio royalty payments

In the US, only songwriters and their publishers get paid performance royalties when their songs are played on the radio.


The United States is one of the few places in the world where there are more than one PRO.


If a radio station wants to play any music they want, they have to get a licence from all four PROs!


Regardless of the PRO used, you can crush it with all platforms.


The price of these blanket licences will depend on the type of radio and the number of people who will be listening.




The performance rights organization you want to use is BMI.


This is cause BMI has:

  • Fast payouts

  • No sign up fee

  • Accessible to all artists


Join BMI and ditch the other legacy learning system.


ASCAP is non-profit and accepts all artists, however, they have higher upfront fees.


TLDR: The best PRO for music artists is BMI. SESAC is too exclusive, and ASCAP is too pricey. With BMI you're getting fast payouts.


They reign supreme in the ASCAP, BMI and SESAC debate.



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