Joining ASCAP as a Writer? Here’s Why You Should Join as a Publisher, Too.

Joining ASCAP as a writer is a great first step for your music career. Before you finalize that application, make sure you have joined as a music publisher, too

A publisher is a person or entity that controls how a musical composition is used and monetized. Publishers pitch the works that they represent to recording artists and music supervisors and license them for film & TV, as well as other uses. They also collect multiple revenue streams for their writers, including mechanical royalties (e.g., from the sale or download of recordings), sheet music sales and more.

If you write music, US Copyright law gives you certain rights, including the rights of a music publisher. Here are four reasons why it makes sense to make it official, and become an ASCAP publisher member.

1. You are missing out on $$$ without one.

When ASCAP distributes royalties for a performance of your music, 50% goes to the writer(s), and 50% to the publisher(s). If you want to access your publisher’s share, you will need to set up a publishing company with ASCAP.

2. It’s easy.

All you need to become an ASCAP publisher is a mailing address, email address, US tax ID number and about 10 minutes. You don’t even need to set up a corporation or fictitious business name to join - if you choose the “Individual/Sole Proprietor” option, you can simply enter your Social Security Number and you are good to go.

3. Set yourself up for the future.

Whatever the future holds for your music career - if you write alone or with others, if you self-publish or sign a co-publishing deal - setting up an ASCAP publishing company now will help you take advantage of opportunities as they come. 

4. You can name it (almost) whatever you want.

Starting a publishing company is more than just a great business idea. Since each publishing company name has to be different than every other publishing company name in the world, it is also an opportunity to flex your creative muscles.

Need some inspiration? Check out 25 of our favorite ASCAP publishing company names.


Ready to join? Visit and choose the “Writer & Publisher” option to get started. Already an ASCAP music creator? Select the “Publisher” option.