Resigning from ASCAP

We would very much like to keep you as part of the ASCAP family. But if you are considering switching to another PRO, we strongly encourage you to consider carefully how resigning from ASCAP will impact your future distributions.

ASCAP’s member resignation rules, as set out in the Compendium of ASCAP Rules & Regulations and ASCAP's Survey and Distribution System Rules & Policies, are determined by the ASCAP Board of Directors. The resignation process can take some time and requires your close attention so that you do not lose out on any royalties that are owed to you, whether through ASCAP or your future PRO. We have prepared these FAQs to help explain the resignation process. Additional details not covered here can be found in the Compendium of ASCAP Rules & Regulations and ASCAP’s Survey and Distribution System Rules & Policies – both documents can be viewed and downloaded at our Governing Documents page

Glossary of Terms

  • Resignation Effective Date: the date on which a request to resign from ASCAP membership, submitted within the notification window and formally acknowledged by ASCAP, will take effect
  • Removal Effective Date: the date on which a resigned member’s musical works are no longer part of the ASCAP repertory
  • Notification window: an annual three-month period, based on your election date to ASCAP, during which an ASCAP member who wants to resign must notify ASCAP of their intention
  • License-in-Effect: any license agreement between ASCAP and a music user that is signed and final at the time of your Resignation Effective Date

FAQs

  • Resigning from ASCAP
How can I resign from ASCAP membership?

Your notice of resignation must be submitted using the Member Access portal, available at www.ascap.com/members. Click the Profile → Membership Status section. If you are within your annual notification window, you will see a button to begin the resignation process. If you do not see the button, your annual notification window is not yet open.

If you cannot access the internet, please contact ASCAP Global Services at 1-800-95-ASCAP.

When can I resign from ASCAP membership?

There is an annual three-month window based on your date of election to ASCAP membership, during which you must notify ASCAP of your intention to resign. If you miss this window, you will have to wait for your window to open again the following year.

Membership
Election Quarter
Notification
Window
Resignation
Effective Date
1Q (i.e., Jan 1 - Mar 31) Oct 1 – Dec 31 April 1 immediately following date of notice
2Q (i.e., April 1 - June 30) Jan 1– March 31 July 1 immediately following date of notice
3Q (i.e., July 1 - Sep 30) April 1 – June 30 Oct 1 immediately following date of notice
4Q (i.e., Oct 1 - Dec 31) July 1 – Sept 30 Jan 1 immediately following date of notice

 

Your personalized notification window is also listed in Member Access, under the Profile → Membership Status section.

Please note that if you notify ASCAP of your intention to resign within the proper window, your resignation will take effect on the Resignation Effective Date also listed in Member Access.

What will happen to my ASCAP catalog after I resign? 

Upon notification of your intent to resign, you must select how you would like ASCAP to treat your then-existing ASCAP catalog (i.e., any of your musical works licensed by ASCAP during your membership, including music you write on or before your Resignation Effective Date). You have two options:

  1. You can choose to have ASCAP continue to license your works already in ASCAP’s repertory.

    This is the most common option for resigning members. For all works that you wrote during your membership term or were otherwise licensed by ASCAP before your Resignation Effective Date, we will continue to license these works (including for new licenses entered into after your Resignation Effective Date), and you will continue to receive domestic ASCAP royalties for these works in the same manner as if you were a current ASCAP member. Any works you write after your Resignation Effective Date will not be licensed by ASCAP.

  2. You can choose to remove your existing catalog of works from ASCAP, and switch them to your new PRO.

    You may decide to request removal of your existing ASCAP catalog to your new PRO. Keep in mind that your works may not be able to be removed at the same time as your Resignation Effective Date, because both the writer and corresponding ASCAP publisher shares associated with your interest in the work must be removed before ASCAP can accept the work removal. Additionally, upon the effective date of the work removal, the removed works will remain subject to any ASCAP Licenses-in-Effect (discussed below).

What are Licenses-in-Effect? How does my decision to resign affect my royalties from these types of licenses?

A “License-in-Effect” is any license agreement between ASCAP and a music user that is signed and final at the time of your Resignation Effective Date. ASCAP’s licenses generally include a provision that assures the licensee that it may continue to publicly perform the musical works that are in ASCAP’s Repertory until the term of that license expires. In exchange, ASCAP receives consistent payment from the licensees and our members will be paid royalties accordingly.

Once your works are removed from the ASCAP repertory, ASCAP will continue to pay you domestic royalties attributable to performances under Licenses-in-Effect, until those licenses expire. ASCAP will not pay you domestic royalties from any other sources.

How are my foreign royalties impacted if I resign from ASCAP?

On or right after your Resignation Effective Date, ASCAP will update the international Interested Party Information (IPI) database to reflect that we no longer represent you as a writer, as of your resignation date. It is then the obligation of your new PRO to update the IPI following ASCAP’s release.

Keep in mind, distributions from foreign societies are generally paid to the society that is currently claiming the writer even if we continue to license the writer’s ASCAP catalog in the US. This means that ASCAP no longer has the authority to collect your royalties for performances outside the US.

It is therefore possible that significant income could be missed by a writer (or publisher) if your new PRO doesn’t immediately inform SUISA (the Swiss PRO that administers the IPI database) of your new PRO affiliation. We encourage you to avoid any gap between your resignation with ASCAP and affiliation with another PRO, to avoid losing out on any income. Make sure to keep in contact with your new PRO about updating the IPI database as soon as your ASCAP Resignation Effective Date has passed and you confirm that you are affiliated with your new PRO.

If for whatever reason affiliation gaps, distribution delays, etc. ASCAP receives payments from a foreign PRO after you have resigned, we will distribute those royalties to you on the same basis as a current ASCAP member.

How do I remove my works from ASCAP so I can switch them to another PRO?

The writer’s share and publisher’s share of the same interest in a work are two parts of an inseparable whole.* Accordingly, neither interest can be removed from the ASCAP repertory unless both interests are removed (i.e., you cannot “split” a writer’s share and a publisher’s share).

If you are a self-published writer member of ASCAP (i.e., if you do not have a co-publishing deal with another ASCAP publishing entity), you must:

  1. Resign your writer membership from ASCAP, and request to remove the works in your writer catalog, via Member Access.
  2. Resign your publishing company from ASCAP, and request to remove the same works, via Member Access.

If you are an ASCAP writer published/co-published by a third-party publisher (i.e., a company not owned/controlled by you):

  1. Resign your writer membership from ASCAP, and request to remove the works in your writer catalog, via Member Access.
  2. If you own/control an ASCAP company that co-publishes the works with a third-party publisher, resign this publishing company from ASCAP and request to remove the same works, via Member Access.
  3. The third-party publisher must acknowledge the removal by submitting a Publisher Works Removal Form (“PWRF”). This is akin to a resignation for that publisher, limited to the resigned or resigning writer’s ASCAP works. This allows for ASCAP publishers to “follow the writer” without resigning their entire publisher membership.

Following your request to remove works, ASCAP will provide you with confirmation as to whether your catalog includes any Continuing Members-in-Interest (“CMII”) which may delay or preclude your removal of any of your works (as a reminder, you can always view your catalog, including the details regarding any Continuing Members-in-Interest, via Member Access). A resigning writer may only remove works if the corresponding Continuing Member-in-Interest (e.g., a publisher in the case of a resigning writer) has acknowledged and agreed to the removal, as described above.

Effective Date: So long as the resigning writer and all publishers attached to the resigning writer have either (a) resigned from ASCAP and requested to remove works, or (b) submitted a Publisher Works Removal Form in a timely fashion, then the works will be removed from the ASCAP repertory upon either the writer’s Resignation Effective Date, the publisher’s Resignation Effective Date (if resigning) or the anniversary thereof (if a Publisher Works Removal Form is submitted in lieu of resignation), whichever is later.

It is always possible that a resigned writer with the intent to remove works from their ASCAP catalog may not be able to do so, if the corresponding publisher does not also agree with the removal by following the procedure set forth above. It is the responsibility of the resigning writer to coordinate with their publisher(s) if they intend to remove their works from ASCAP.



*See generally, Marks v. Taylor, 10 Misc. 2d 9, 55 N.Y.S.2d 94 (N.Y. S.Ct. 1945) and the Compendium of ASCAP Rules and Regulations, and Policies Supplemental to the Articles of Association, Section 1.11.5.

The music I write is co-published by multiple ASCAP publisher members. If I resign and choose to remove my works, will they all be removed from ASCAP at the same time, regardless of the co-publisher?

Because your works’ removal is dependent on your co-publishers submitting a Publisher Works Removal Form on the anniversary of its Resignation Effective Date, it is quite possible that portions of your catalog may be removed at different times (or not at all). We encourage you to consult with your publishers before and after your resignation.

How would resignation impact my eligibility for ASCAP bonus payments?

If you choose to keep all (or a portion) of your existing ASCAP catalog in our repertory, any work remaining at ASCAP which would normally qualify for a bonus (e.g., an Audio Feature Premium, Classic Songs Bonus or TV Premium) will still receive a bonus, just as if you were still an ASCAP member.

Based on current ASCAP Survey and Distribution Rules & Policies, if you remove your works, bonus payments for those removed works may be affected by the removal as follows:

  • TV Premium and Classic Songs Bonus: These payments will be paid at the same rates as usual until the expiration of the applicable Licenses-in-Effect. After the license expires, you will no longer receive any royalties (bonus or otherwise) from ASCAP for these removed works.
  • Audio Feature Premium (i.e., bonus payments for qualifying works performed on terrestrial radio, satellite radio and certain audio streaming services): These payments will be phased out at a rate of 25% per quarter over the first four quarters immediately following the Removal Effective Date.

Why we phase out Audio Feature Premiums

ASCAP collects revenues from thousands of licensees whose performances are not surveyed (aka “Unsurveyed Licensees”), due to the impracticality of surveying each and every one of them. These include most General Licensees bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. The fees from these “Unsurveyed Licenses” are currently allocated to fund Audio Feature Premium payments, as audio feature performances are a reasonable proxy for music performed under Unsurveyed Licenses.

Unsurveyed Licenses generally renew automatically each year on the anniversary date of the individual license; which could be on any date in a given year. Because it would be impractical to track the specific termination dates of all Unsurveyed Licenses and match them to the date that a resigned writer’s works are removed from the ASCAP repertory, the distributions from these fees are paid to writers and publishers of removed works by “phasing out” the Audio Feature Premium over the four quarters following the Removal Effective Date, as follows:

# of quarters following Removal Effective Date % of standard Audio Feature Premium rates paid by ASCAP
1 100%
2 75%
3 50%
4 25%
5 onward 0%
How will resignation affect my eligibility for an ASCAP award?

Submitting a notice of resignation may mean that you are ineligible to receive an award at any of ASCAP’s award shows, even if you continue to receive ASCAP distributions for your works. For more information about eligibility, please review our Awards Show Rules page here: https://www.ascap.com/news-events/awards/awards-rules

What if I have questions not answered here?

Contact our Global Services team at 1-800-95-ASCAP.