Hopefully as a songwriter you know that you need to be a member of a performance fee for sound recording organization if you want to get paid when your music is played. If you didn’t know, now you do and you should pay attention.
ASCAP: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
BMI: Broadcast Music, Inc.
These three listed above are US public performance organization that collect publishing royalties for a public performance. Yes, this will pay you due to play on radio stations, convert venues, colleges and anywhere else your music is performed. The way it is broken down is the songwriter gets 50% and the publisher gets 50%.
Now, living in the technology age, SoundExchange is something that had to happen. It deals with all digital public performance. This is where you get paid from iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Cable TV Satellite radio.. anything that has to do with technology will be paid to you via SoundExchange. They have the license to do this. It also works differently because it does not pay royalties from song writing. The artist get paid through sound exchange. The songwriter will get paid through BMI, ASCAP or SESAC after SoundExchange reports that the music was played.
We know, it is a bit confusing, but it is all stuff you don’t have to think too much about if you are registered for both your performing publishing rights and your digital ones. There are many different breakdowns of how things are broken down, who gets what and for what reason, what Class Act decided all of this and more details you don’t want to read about.
The point here being, before you put ANY of your music out there into the world, make sure you are registered to BMI, ASCAP or SESAC and SoundExchange to make sure that you get paid anytime your music is played.