Joining BMI is an important early step in an aspiring songwriter, composer and/or artist’s career. If you have written at least one musical composition, either by yourself or with others, and the composition is currently being performed or is likely to be performed soon, you should join BMI. An official “public performance” can be live or recorded, and occurs when your musical composition is performed on the radio, television, or the Internet, as well as in live music venues, clubs, and in other public performances.
A songwriter or composer is the creator of a work, which is a song, score or other musical composition. A publisher, on the other hand, is an individual or company that owns or administers the copyright of a work. The writer or creator of the work must assign the copyright to a publisher in order for that publisher to claim ownership.
Although some performing right organizations collect annual dues, BMI does not. Instead, there is a one-time application fee of $150 to register a publishing company that is owned by an individual, and $250 for a publishing company that is a partnership, corporation (including sole stockholder corporations) and/or limited liability company. The fee is due when the publishing company is initially set up, and it is neither refundable nor deductible from future earnings. To get started visit our Join page.
If you are just getting started, you will not need to set up a publishing company. Creating a publishing company will not mean that you receive more royalties. You are not leaving any royalties on the table.