Karaoke DJ (KJ’s) and DJ’s – Who pays ASCAP / BMI / SESAC

21 08 2011

Performing rights organizations (PROS) are businesses designed to represent songwriters and publishers and their right to be compensated for having their music performed in public. The three US PROS are listed below along with estimated market shares.* When any public establishment plays music for the entertainment of patrons or spectators the artists whose music is being played are entitled to compensation. Owners of establishments playing the music are responsible even if they are hiring others to come in and play the music. The establishment collects the benefits of the music being played, thus they are responsible for the fees. Fees are based on type of music being played, how it is performed and the capacity of the facility where it is being played. There are minor exemptions for very small facilities playing music or television being broadcast on a station already paying fees, but the manner in which the broadcast is played is very limited and numerous criteria must be met.**
KJ’s or DJ’s can not pay fees for PROS. There is no program in place or contractual arrangement that allows such licensing.   Contracts have to be based on the facility and it’s size and all fees must come from the facility and match to entity listed on contracts. Satellite Radio, Piped in Music and Jukeboxes have many provider companies that have fees wrapped into their contracts. Establishments should verify this and check it in their agreements to assure they are covered.
ASCAP – the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 410,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. About 50% of US Market Share*. –See Frequently Asked Questions for more information: http://ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.aspx
BMI – Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed. About 45% of US Market Share* See Frequently Asked Questions for more information: http://www.bmi.com/faq
SESAC, Inc. – a performing rights organization with headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and London. About 5% of US Market Share.* *. –See Frequently Asked Questions for more information: http://www.sesac.com/Licensing/FAQsGeneral.aspx
** http://ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.aspx