5 Ways to Maximize Your ASCAP International Royalties

By Stephanie Reeder, ASCAP Global Publisher Services Rep  •  September 16, 2015

As part of your ASCAP membership, we work with performing rights organizations all over the world to ensure that you receive royalties for your music, wherever it’s performed. We have reciprocal agreements with societies representing virtually every country that has laws protecting copyright (see the full list of affiliated international societies here). We license their members’ music in the US, and they license ASCAP music in their territories.

When an international society picks up performances of your music abroad, they submit the performance royalties they collect to ASCAP, and we send them on to you. We have distributions for your international performances in February, May, August and November. Click here for the exact distribution dates.

Each year, we distribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our members for international performances. Here are five ways to make sure you’re getting everything you deserve.

1. Register Your Music

In order to get you paid, we need to know who exactly we're supposed to pay! Register your music early on so we can circulate it to our sister societies, and they can start tracking it. Even if you have a co-writer or sub-publisher who has already registered your song with international PROs, make sure to register it with ASCAP, too. Register your music through your ASCAP Member Access account.

2. Submit Performance Claims for Your Live Performances Abroad

Our ASCAP OnStage program gets you paid when you perform your music at ASCAP-licensed venues in the US. Many (though not all) international societies have similar programs, so you can earn royalties when you play shows abroad, too.

For most types of music (with the exception of classical/concert music), you can send us info about your live performances abroad via a Member Services Inquiry in Member Access. Choose the Category “Performance Claims” and Topic “International Live Pop Concert Performance Claim.” Attach the dates, venue information and set lists for each of your international performances. You must submit these claims within a year of the performance. Any claims later than that may not be considered by the international society.

If you write concert/classical music (e.g. symphonies, choral and chamber music), submit performances of your music abroad with our online Performance Notification form. Make sure to upload a PDF of the program or a screenshot from the website that lists the program.

3. Submit International Ad Claims

When your work is used in an international advertisement or commercial, you will need to complete an Advertisement Claim Form. Send us a completed Advertisement Claim Form and mp3 of the source music via a Member Service Inquiry in your Member Access account. Use the category “Advertisement Claims” and topic “International Commercial Performance Notification.” You can find detailed instructions here.

Keep in mind that not every international society collects money for ads and commercials. If this is the case for your claim, we’ll let you know.

4. Review Your Royalty Statement

On the back of the letter that comes with your quarterly international statement, you’ll see a list of the international societies that sent royalties to us that quarter, and the performance period in which the music was used (these lists can also be found here). If you didn’t receive your expected royalties for performances from a certain time frame and a specific country, check that list. It’s possible that the performance in question will be covered in a future distribution.

If you have concerns about your international royalty statement, let us know as soon as you can. The earlier you tell us, the earlier we can resolve your concerns and get you paid.

5. Submit an Inquiry

If you have questions about a specific international performance, submit an inquiry via your Member Access account. Use the category “Statement and Payment Questions” and the topic “International Statement/Royalty Question.” Be sure to include detailed performance information.

When you submit your inquiry, include the country/territory of the performance and Work ID(s), plus the following info:

Radio: Station IDs and estimated air dates
TV: Film/program name and episode, station IDs/names, estimated air dates

BONUS TIP: Patience Is a Virtue!

Each international society submits royalties to ASCAP on a different schedule, depending on that society’s own distribution policies. We make every effort to submit any royalties we receive from these societies as quickly as possible.