It comes down to scales and shares.
While Songtrust operates on a 100% scale for song splits, BMI follows a 200% formula. This is because BMI allocates 100% each for the writer’s and publisher’s share.
Songtrust asks that you register only the writer’s share - with splits adding up to only 100% - because a songwriter is automatically entitled to an equal publisher’s share unless the writers agree upon a different arrangement, which is rare.
Let’s say you wrote a song by yourself, and are self-published — meaning that you do not have a publishing entity. On BMI, you would register the song under your name at 200%. This is because you have full ownership of both the writer’s and publisher’s shares. With Songtrust, you would register the same song under your name at 100%, and we would automatically recognize the publisher’s share based on the writer's share.
The same rules apply to publishing entities. If you have a personal publishing entity, you would register yourself at 100% in the writer field and your publishing entity at 100% in the publisher field on BMI. With Songtrust, you would register the songwriter and publishing entity at 100% once. This is why it is important to add a publishing entity to your Songtrust account if you have one.
A good rule of thumb when entering BMI information into Songtrust would be to cut everything in half if you do not have a publishing entity, and leave the percentage alone if you do. If your publisher's share is a different percentage than your writer's share, please let us know via our support form so we can assist you with adding this song into your account.
You should be entering songs in your Songtrust account, not with your Performing Rights Organization (PRO), once you’re signed up. We will forward these registrations to your PRO and other royalty collection societies, and have them registered on your behalf.
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