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 rights 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.
One half is designated for the songwriter(s) or composer(s), and the other half is designated for the publisher(s) or copyright holder(s). Learn more about how BMI pays royalties. If you do not have a publisher, you will also receive the publisher’s share as a writer.
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.
At BMI, you need not affiliate a publishing entity in order to receive publishing shares, as we pay all royalties (writer and publisher) to the composer on any self-published works. If you prefer to receive your composer and publisher royalty streams separately, you may affiliate your publishing company by completing the BMI Publisher Application Form. Please note that while composer affiliation is free, there is a one-time fee to affiliate a publishing company with BMI.