What is ASCAP?

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ASCAP is short for American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. It is an organization of various composers, musicians, and lyricists across the US that aims to protect its members from copyrighted music or material. Through ASCAP, public distribution or use of copyrighted music is monitored for collection of certain fees called royalties. It is also through the ASCAP that people and public establishments like radio stations for example get licenses to play and/or use copyrighted music. For musicians and singers who wish to record a copyrighted song of an ASCAP member, he/she should also get a license from the organization and pay a certain fee.

The basic idea of forming the ASCAP organization is to protect its members from the illegal use of their musical work or composition. It also aims to give its members whatever is due to them in terms of royalties. For every performer or singer that records and distributes a certain song for example, part of the record sales will go to the composer or lyricist as part of his/her royalty fees.  Aside from the payment given to the ASCAP composer for making a particular song, he/she is also entitled to have a share in the earnings of the song in terms of record sales. This royalty payment scheme is imposed and monitored by ASCAP and is also applicable if a certain song is re-recorded and re-distributed for public consumption.

In the case of radio stations and establishments who wish to play copyrighted music to the public, they also need to coordinate with ASCAP their licenses. Part of ASCAP’s duty is to safeguard the illegal use and distribution of copyrighted music and through licensing requirements for radio stations and other establishments, music piracy can be avoided or at least minimized. The use of songs in public concerts and performances are also monitored under ASCAP and musicians must also pay certain fees and obtain the necessary licenses before they get to use copyrighted music from ASCAP members.

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