You can, but it’s complicated.
It’s possible to switch your Performing Rights Organization (PRO) affiliation in the U.S., but each PRO has its own process and requirements that must be met before you can receive a proper release letter. BMI asks for at least a two-year term after your initial affiliation date. ASCAP does not have a minimum term; they have specific windows throughout the year where you can request the termination of your affiliation. Your window will depend on when you first affiliated with them. If you miss it, you will have to wait until the following year.
When switching to a new PRO, you may see delays in your royalty flow and earn less money depending on the kind of performances you are receiving. For more info on how complex this transition can be, check out our detailed blog post here.
We also compiled list of key things to consider below:
- Membership Terms: When you affiliated with your PRO, you agreed to their membership terms. These likely included a minimum amount of time — typically one to five years — before you can switch to another society. This may also depend on the number of songs you’ve registered with them; when you registered those songs; and how much money those songs are making.
- Delay In Song Registration: Your old society may continue to license the songs you registered with them as you switch over to your new society.
- Membership Fees: Some societies charge a small affiliation fee; you may have to pay to sign up with a new PRO.
- Delays In Payment: There will likely be a delay in your royalty payments as your new PRO processes all of your information and songs, new licenses are executed, and licensees switch their payees.
- Foreign Collection: Payments from foreign societies may come into your society at a very delayed pace. These “in-flight” (e.g., coming in the next quarter or two) payments could be lost through bureaucracy or take 3-4 years to untangle.
Lastly, they are some factors that could prevent you from switching at all. For example, if you have an unrecouped advance or adjustment, you will most likely not be able to leave until it is paid back or your term ends.
If you choose to change your affiliation, you must notify us of your new PRO and IPI so we can update your account information accordingly. If we are not notified of this change, your registration and royalties will be significantly delayed.
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