What’s an ASCAP and BMI music license?

Performing Rights Organizations in the United States, their fees and costs

What's a Performing Rights Organization? (PRO)

A PRO works on behalf of songwriters and publishers to make sure they’re paid for their work when it’s publicly performed. This means playing music in a public place or anywhere people gather, including commercial venues. PROs charge a license fee, and in return you can play music by anyone they represent. If you use music they represent but don’t pay them, you’re liable for copyright infringement damages.

Who are the Performing Rights Organizations?

The main PROs in the United States and Canada are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc (BMI), the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN), and Re:Sound.

How much does a BMI or ASCAP license cost?

Paying a PRO means paying for the right to a music source, the library of songs you can play. It also covers the right to perform music to your customers. They all have different rates, depending on things like the size of your premises, how you’re playing music, how many customers you have or how many speakers you’ve got.

Each organization carries out its own set of calculations and presents you with a bill each quarter or month, and unless you’re only ever playing the same few artists all the time, you’re likely looking at a couple of those bills coming from the multiple PROs.

We simplify your licensing. And we make it cheaper.

Soundtrack includes ASCAP and BMI licensing for U.S. based businesses, which works out to saving between 21%-90% of the costs if you paid for them separately.

We license the rights from the PROs, or we manage our playlists and content to avoid any music which isn’t licensed. Our systems track and enable payment to artists (and songwriters and publishers) each time a track’s played. No more estimating for them either—the artists you play are the ones getting paid.