How to Join BMI or ASCAP

Composers, artists, and publishers have to decide at some point which performing-rights organization to join. ASCAP and BMI both collect royalties from artists' songs and publications. Since it is only permissible to join one, knowing the process for admission into these exclusive organizations is helpful.

Joining ASCAP

Decide whether you wish to join as an independent writer or publisher. You can also choose to do both, which requires separate applications.

Find the website application at

Review the list of requirements for membership. Members must have a publicly available work that meets strict criteria for performances. You have to be a published artist or have had your music performed in an acceptable venue. As a publisher, you must have a client that meets the criteria.

Once you have confirmed that you have met the requirements, continue through the application. You will receive a list of questions to confirm that you are eligible.

Complete the six steps required for acceptance. The application will ask for several things, including personal and music-related information, along with a payment for the application. Once completed, the organization will notify you by mail if you are accepted.

Joining BMI

Joining BMI is less intensive than completing an application for ASCAP. With BMI, you have the same options to apply as a writer or publisher, plus a special option for classical composers.

Decide if you want to apply as a songwriter, publisher or classical composer and visit the website at

Complete the required application and pay the enrollment fee. BMI will notify you of your status by postal mail after the application is complete. Tips Have your contact information, social security number, and information about your musical works ready before applying. Warnings Once you join a performing rights organization you can not join another. Take this process seriously -- it is a lifetime decision.



BMI [] Resources (Further Reading)

ASCAP: Join ASCAP [] BMI: Join BMI []


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