From Disc Makers blog, Echoes…
Practical advice to earn you twice the royalties you think you’re owed
No musician can afford to miss out on a potential source of income. So if you’re a songwriter, and not a member of a Performance Rights Organizations (PRO) like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or SOCAN (Canada), you could be leaving money on the table. It’s not difficult to join one of these organizations, and as an independent, there are ways to enroll that allow you to maximize your royalties and double what you might think you’re eligible for.
Unfortunately, to understand PROs and what they can do for you, it’s important to understand how copyright works for music. So even though “brief” and “copyright” should probably never go into the same sentence, an overview to explain why PROs exist, how they pay songwriters, and how they are different from other organizations that collect money for musicians (like Harry Fox) is necessary.
Two copyrights in one
Let’s say you grab your guitar, hit record on your 1978-vintage tape recorder, and make up a new song. Congratulations, you now own two copyrights. One is the recording that you just made. The second is the new song. The song can be recorded again, written down as little black dots, performed live, covered, copied, put in a movie, or turned into a ringtone.