Access Abundance

Performance Rights Organizations (PROs)

A Primer


This is a work in progress. Thanks for your understanding and check back soon!

North American PROs



The 3 primary USA-based songwriter PROs now have programs to compensate songwriters for live performances of their original works in various contexts, e.g. festivals, theaters, municipal events, clubs, other venues, open mics and more.

Affiliation Fees
Fee Waiver?
Live Performance Payment Program Website
$150 - $250
BMI Live
SESAC Live Performance Payments

When you affiliate with a PRO, it’s important to affiliate as both a WRITER member and as a PUBLISHER member. Otherwise, you will only receive half the money to which you are entitled.

As stated on ASCAP's website: "Unless you've assigned your publishing rights to someone else, you are your own publisher."

*The one exception is BMI, where if your works are not controlled by a publisher, you can register your songs under your writer membership at 200%. Despite this "work-around" solution offered by BMI, it may still be advisable to affiliate as a publisher member. In particular, anyone interested in sustaining a long-term musical career should strongly consider publisher affiliation as an essential component of their business infrastructure.

**There are no affiliation fees to join SESAC, but there is an evaluation / invitation process, whereas BMI and ASCAP accept all songwriters that meet their eligibility criteria, which are easily satisfied.



Which PRO is "Best"?
or, Which PRO is Right for You?

Surveys conducted by Access Abundance indicate that SESAC members have the greatest level of satisfaction with their PRO, and the lowest rate of negative opinions. We are in the process of conducting additional surveys and research to determine why this is so, and which PRO actually pays the most for public and broadcast performances. We will share this information as soon as it is ready for publication.

The "best" PRO for you is a matter worthy of some consideration and depends upon a number of variables, including the particulars of your unique position and career as a songwriter and music publisher. Access Abundance is able to provide some guidance and clarity on this matter -- Email or call us today at 385-7GETPRO to start the conversation. We can help you figure out your optimal path and PRO selection!




To join ASCAP, you can click here or better yet, email or call Access Abundance at 385-7GETPRO. Access Abundance can answer all your questions, eliminate the confusion and risk of inadvertent errors and often get ASCAP affiliation fees waived for new writer and publisher members.

Eligibility requirements: As of 2012, ASCAP no longer has any membership eligibilty requirements. Both writer and publisher membership in ASCAP is open to anybody; However, those without a Social Security or FEIN/TIN number, successor or posthumous applicants may not be able to apply for ASCAP membership online, but may be required to submit their application using an alternative process. Please email or call Access Abundance for additional information, or visit ASCAP's website:

Writers - What You'll Need to Apply
- Your Social Security Number
(No SSN? We will also accept your foreign tax information)

- Credit card (issued by a US bank) for payment of one time, $50 processing fee. Access Abundance is often able to get this one-time fee waived, so no credit card is required to join ASCAP if you first become a client of Access Abundance!

Publishers - What You'll Need to Apply
- A name for your publishing company

- Information about your company
(Social Security Number OR Taxpayer Identification Number & stakeholders)
Credit card (issued by a US bank) for payment of one time, $50 processing fee. Access Abundance is often able to get this one-time fee waived, so no credit card is required to join ASCAP if you first become a client of Access Abundance!

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in 1914 and has over 500,000 affiliated writers, composers and publishers. They collect nearly a billion dollars per year in licensing fees from venues, radio and television stations and other sources, and distribute most of that back to its writer and publisher affiliates, retaining about X% to cover their operating costs. In 2012, ASCAP collected $X and distributed $Y to its affiliated writers and publishers.




Eligibility requirements:

To join BMI, click here.




Eligibility requirements:

To join SESAC, email the following information to any one of these addresses:



Puerto Rico






To join SOCAN, click here.

To become a SOCAN member, music creators must meet the following criteria:

- Be a music composer, songwriter, or lyricist;

- Have created a musical work or part of a musical work that has been: published by a music publisher; or recorded; or performed (or will be) in a public forum (i.e. radio, television, film, live performance, satellite radio, ringtone or internet) subject to licensing by SOCAN.

Membership is free for music creators who apply online.


PRO for Recording Artists (USA)


To join SoundExchange, click here.



Wikipedia list of PROs worldwide




Access Abundance does not and cannot dispense legal advice. The information in this website is provided only as general reference and industry background. Access Abundance strongly recommends that you should consult with an attorney in all instances in which you might act upon the information presented here.