My ASCAP Membership

Frequently asked questions

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  • Joining ASCAP
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Am I eligible to join ASCAP?
You can join ASCAP as a writer if you've written or co-written music or lyrics for at least one musical work that is available to the public. It could be a song that you perform live or on a CD that you sell at your concerts, a song in a YouTube video, a digital download or sheet music - if it's out there, you're eligible to join. You can join ASCAP as a publisher if you (or your business, partnership, corporation, etc.) are actively engaged in the music publishing business, and assume the financial risk involved in publishing music. You are also eligible for a publisher membership if you are a writer and have not assigned your publishing rights to someone else. A publisher membership allows you to collect the publisher share of a song's performance royalties.
Where can I obtain an ASCAP application?
Applications for ASCAP writer and publisher memberships can be obtained on our website ( by clicking the "join" button. this will display a link for the writer and publisher applications. the processing fee for each application is $50.
I don't have a computer. Can you mail me an ASCAP application?
ASCAP applications are processed on-line. The ASCAP website can be accessed at a public library.
Can I become a writer member of ASCAP if I am already affiliated with another society as a writer?
You can only belong to one society at a time as a writer for licensing public performances in the United States; however, you can be a publisher at multiple societies. You can transfer as a writer to ASCAP from your current society, but you will need to contact your current society to obtain the appropriate information to make the switch.
I am a member of a band/group. Can my group join ASCAP?
Each member of the group must complete a separate writer application and each member of the group must meet the eligibility criteria. It is recommended that each member apply for a separate publisher membership; however, only one application needs to be submitted if the group chooses to join as a collective publisher member. If this is the case, the publisher membership must be structured as a partnership, corporation or LLC.
Are there any costs associated with ASCAP membership?
There is a one-time, $50 fee for each application submission. This fee is non-refundable, but ASCAP does not charge annual dues or fees.
Why does ASCAP charge an application fee?
There are administrative costs associated with new ASCAP members which reduce distribution revenue for existing members. To offset some of these costs, ASCAP implemented application fees.
I want to join ASCAP as a writer, but your competitors do not charge an application fee. Why should I join ASCAP instead?
While our competitors do not charge application fees for writers to join, ASCAP membership has significant value and these benefits greatly outweigh the nominal fee. Furthermore, our competitors typically charge a fee for publishing companies ($150-$250) that is greater than the collective costs of joining ASCAP as a writer and publisher.
If I join ASCAP as a writer and later want to join as a publisher, do I still have to pay the processing fee?
Writer and publisher memberships are separate and each application submitted is subject to the non-refundable application processing fee.
If I apply and am elected to ASCAP membership, but later change my mind, can I get my money back?
The application processing fee is non-refundable.
If I resign, do I get my money back?
The application processing fee is non-refundable.
Why is the fee non-refundable?
The fee is associated with the costs of processing the membership application and therefore cannot be returned.
I don't have a credit card to pay the application processing fee. Can I submit another form of payment?
If you don't have a US issued Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit or debit card, you must first supply ASCAP with another form of payment using the ASCAP Processing Fee Form. Upon receipt and processing of your payment you will be supplied with instructions to complete your application. The fee for processing a check, money order or foreign credit card payment is $75.
How much does it cost to become a member?
There is a one-time, $50 fee for submission of an application. This fee is non-refundable, but ASCAP does not charge annual dues or fees.
I do not have a valid US Social Security Number or I am a not a US citizen. Can I still join ASCAP?

You may join ASCAP if you do not have a valid US Social Security Number or are not a US citizen; however, additional income reporting documentation must be provided with your application. Please go to the IRS website ( to obtain a W8-BEN form. When you have completed the application please mail the original completed W8-BEN with your application number written on the top to:

Attn: Applications
7920 West Sunset Blvd.
Third Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90046

I want to join ASCAP as a publisher. Can you check if the publisher name I want to use is available?
The availability of the publisher name will be checked automatically by the ASCAP system prior to submission of your application. If the name is not available you will not be able to submit the application until you choose another available name.
Do I need to submit any music with the application?
How long does it take for me to hear back from ASCAP once I've submitted my application?
You will receive information from ASCAP regarding your online application immediately upon submission. If additional documentation is required to process your application please provide the information within 90 business days of submission. Upon receipt of this documentation your application will be processed within 10 business days.
I submitted my application several days ago but can't find my Application ID. Can you check the status?
We can check the status of your application without an Application ID; however, we will require the Social Security Number or TIN that you provided on your application to confirm your identity.
Why was my application declined?
If you completed the online application, the reason for ineligibility was sent via e-mail to the e-mail address provided in your application.
I received the e-mail that confirms that I've been elected as an ASCAP member. How do I register my music with ASCAP?
Title registrations are essential to the proper distribution of performance royalties and should be submitted to ASCAP once a musical work has been fully created. After you receive confirmation of your election to ASCAP membership, please allow five (5) business days before you attempt to register your works with ASCAP for the first time. Once this time has elapsed, ASCAP members should register their works through the Online Title Registration system. You may access Online Title Registration through the "Members" link on the ASCAP home page or the "Register a Work" link on your Member Access account. FAQs, a downloadable Title Registration Guide and a video tutorial are available for your reference. If you need additional assistance, please log onto your Member Access account and submit a Member Service Inquiry. Select the "My Catalog" Category and select the appropriate Topic.
What is Member Access?
Member Access is ASCAP's secure online web portal that provides you with access to your ASCAP information. Once you activate your Member Access account, you will have the ability to update personal details (e.g., address, bank account information, etc.), view and print the entitled party and share details of your Works, view and download ASCAP performance statements, register your works and electronically create and track service requests to ASCAP. Future online resources for ASCAP members will be provided via Member Access so activation of your account is highly recommended.
Can I register my music for copyright protection or get a bar code for my CD through ASCAP?
ASCAP does not register music for the purpose of copyright protection; this is the responsibility of the writer(s) and publisher(s) of any given work. You can register your music for copyright protection through the Library of Congress which can be reached at 202-707-3000 or on the web at For information on bar codes, please visit
I received an e-mail that confirms I've been elected as an ASCAP member, but my song was released before I became a member. Will I still receive public performance royalties?
Whether or not you receive royalties for performances of your work(s) that occurred before you became an ASCAP member will depend upon when the performance(s) of the work(s) occurred. As a newly elected writer member, you can receive royalties for surveyed performances that took place in the performance period covered by the distribution quarter in which you are elected. For writers, there is a time lag of approximately seven (7) to eight (8) months between performances and royalty processing. As in the case of writers, a newly elected publisher member can receive royalties for surveyed performances that took place in the performance period covered in the distribution quarter in which the publisher is elected. For publishers, there is a time lag of approximately six (6) months between performance and royalty processing. Please note that ASCAP ONLY distributes public performance royalties, not royalties associated with record sales.
I completed my application online almost twenty (20) days ago. I haven't heard back from ASCAP. What should I do?
If you completed an online application, you should have received an e-mail from ASCAP within fifteen (15) days of submitting your application regardless of whether your election to ASCAP membership was successful. Please check your spam filter on your e-mail account. If you still cannot locate the e-mail, please contact Member Services at 800-95-ASCAP.
I remember receiving the e-mail that confirmed my election to ASCAP membership, but I can't find it now. How can I get my ASCAP Member ID?
If you were elected to ASCAP membership, Member Services can confirm your Member ID; however, you will be asked to verify your identity by providing your Social Security Number or TIN.
I received the e-mail that confirms that I've been elected as a member. Can I make an appointment to speak with an ASCAP representative?
Before speaking with an ASCAP representative, we recommend you review the Member Benefits and Career Development pages on the ASCAP website. The links take you to workshops, showcases and support opportunities that can help you further your career. If you still wish to speak with someone, please contact ASCAP at 800-95-ASCAP or at one of the local Membership offices listed on our website.
I need the phone number to a company in the music business and I believe ASCAP can provide it. Can I call you for the number?

Unfortunately, we cannot disclose phone numbers for specific companies unless they have agreed to allow us to do so. The following companies have agreed to allow us to provide their phone numbers to prospective or current members:

AFTRA (American Federation of TV & Radio Artists): 212 532-0800
Harry Fox Agency: 212-834-0100
Songwriter's Guild: 201-867-7603
Trademark Office: 800-786-9199
U.S. Copyright Office: 202-707-5959/877 476-0778
U.S. Library of Congress: 202-707-5000

What is "Concert" Music?
Examples of music classified as "Concert" are: symphonic, chamber, choral, concert band/wind ensemble, electro-accoustic and opera.
Do I need an e-mail address to activate a Member Access account?
Yes. An e-mail adress is required for Member Access.
How do I activate a Member Access account?
To activate your Member Access Account go to and click on the Account Activation link to get started.
I need a Member ID to activate my Member Access account, where can I find it?
Your Member ID is the number used by ASCAP to uniquely identify you. Your Member ID can be found on your ASCAP Membership Card, an ASCAP Royalty Statement or by calling 1-800-95-ASCAP
Is there a fee to activate a Member Access account?
There is no fee to sign up for Member Access; it's free for all ASCAP members.
Who can activate a Member Access account?
Any current or resigned Writer or Publisher member can activate a Member Access account.
Why should I activate a Member Access account?
Member Access allows 24x7 access to ASCAP. change your address, submit an inquiry to Member Services, review your catalog of works, and download your statement in PDF Format.
How do I change my Member Access password?
To change your password, enter your username on the Member Access login page and click the "I forgot my password" link.
I activated my Member Access account but forgot my username, how can I find out what it is?
If you forgot your username for Member Access, please call 1-800-95-ASCAP.
Are the transactions I perform and data I view secure in Member Access?
Yes, ASCAP Member Access is a secure web portal with 128-bit encyrption.
Does ASCAP share my information with outside entities?
As a policy, ASCAP does not share information about its members without their expressed consent. During the account activation process, you can opt in to allow ASCAP to share your information with outside entities.
My computer is a Mac. Can I use Member Access?
Yes, Member Access is compatable with Mac's as well as PC's.
Which internet browsers does ASCAP recommend when using Member Access?
Member Access works best with the latest versions of Firefox or Chrome.
I just joined ASCAP, why can't I activate my Member Access account?
Member Access is a member only portal. When you first join ASCAP, your membership is pending approval. Upon election to membership, you can activate your Member Access account.
I used to have an ASCAP membership card but I lost it. Can I get a replacement?
ASCAP no longer offers membership cards. You can always find your ASCAP member ID by logging into Member Access.
In order to activate a Member Access account, I need to be an ASCAP member. How do I join?
To become an ASCAP member, please go to and follow the link to join.
What are direct and source licenses?

A direct license is any license agreement between an ASCAP member and a music user (for example, a radio station, TV network, website, live venue or background music service) granting the user the rights to perform publicly the member's music.

A source license is any license agreement between an ASCAP member and an entity that produces and supplies programs containing your music (for example, a TV production company), granting the right to authorize others (for example, a TV station) to perform publicly the member's music.

Do I have the right to license my works directly to others?
Yes. The rights you grant to ASCAP are nonexclusive. Nothing in your relationship with ASCAP restricts or interferes with your right to enter into a direct or source license.
What are my obligations to ASCAP if I enter into a direct or source license?

If you enter into a direct or source license, you must promptly notify ASCAP of:

  • The title of the work or works licensed.
  • The writer(s) and publisher(s) of the work(s).
  • The name and address of the licensee(s).
  • The time period for which the license will be in effect.
  • The territories, medium and venue covered by the license.

To properly notify ASCAP of a direct or source license, you must complete and submit the form titled "Notice of Direct/Source Licensing." This form is available for download and submission through Member Access. The Direct License Form can be downloaded from the Messages section of Member Access. Once in Messages, you can select Category: "Statement and Payment Questions" and Topic: "Direct Licensing – Domestic" or "Direct Licensing – International"

You should also attach to the Message a copy of the license (financial terms - such as the amount of the license fee - may be redacted).

What is the effect on my ASCAP royalties if I enter into a direct or source license?
As ASCAP cannot collect license fees for direct or source licensed performances, no royalties will be paid by ASCAP for these performances. If the direct or source license includes performances for periods for which ASCAP has already paid royalties because we were not aware that such a license had been issued, a debit will be made to your account with respect to such performances.
What should I consider if I am asked to enter into a direct or source license?

You should consider seeking the advice of a music attorney or business advisor before entering into a direct or source license.

You should attempt to obtain as much information as possible about when and how the music will be used and the license terms being offered to others. You may also wish to assess the importance of your specific works or catalog to the music user's business.

Keep in mind that while music users and program producers may offer up-front, lump-sum payments, it may be difficult to value or predict the future commercial success of your musical works.

There may also be instances in which a direct or source license might impact your ability to earn royalties from other music users. For example, if a TV or film producer acquires the performance rights to your music through an irrevocable license, or "buy-out" deal, you will not be able to receive public performance royalties when that show or film is sold or licensed to a downstream music user, or shown or broadcast in a foreign territory.

ASCAP cannot answer inquiries concerning payments for direct or source licensed performances.

ASCAP cannot audit the music user or program producer on your behalf.

ASCAP cannot make up the difference in performance royalties if your ASCAP royalties would have been greater than what you received under the direct or source license.

Although ASCAP cannot advise you on what terms you should seek in a direct or source license, ASCAP may be able to provide you with information on what you might earn in ASCAP royalties if we were to license those performances for you.

What if I am an ASCAP songwriter or composer and my music publisher enters into a direct or source license?
If your music publisher enters into a direct or source license, the music user or program producer may pay the publisher, not ASCAP, for performances of the licensed works. Your agreement with the publisher may determine whether you are entitled to a share of the royalties and whether or not any fees received by the publisher on your behalf are subject to recoupment. Typically, you reserve the right to receive the "writer's share" of your performance income directly from ASCAP. When a publisher licenses directly on your behalf, this may not be the case.
My relative was an ASCAP member or successor to a member and recently died. What do I do?
Please call 1-800-95ASCAP (1-800-952-7227) to speak with a representative from ASCAP’s Member Services department. We will guide you through the process of establishing a successor to the membership.
I am starting to do some estate planning. What should I do about my ASCAP royalties?
We recommend that you consult an experienced attorney to advise you as to your specific estate planning needs and to draw up the necessary papers. As a general matter, however, it is best to put your wishes in writing, including express provisions to deal with the disposition of ASCAP royalties.
Who will receive my membership interest after I die?
If you die without a Will, state laws of intestacy will dictate who receives your membership interest (subject, of course, to the relevant provisions of the Copyright Act). Therefore, if you wish to direct that your membership interest go to your spouse, your children, a trust, or other beneficiaries, you must prepare a Will or other appropriate estate planning documentation to set forth your wishes.
Can I designate a beneficiary to receive my royalties after I die?
Due to potential conflicts and the current state of the law, ASCAP cannot accept beneficiary forms. In order to ensure your wishes are followed, you should include your ASCAP royalties in your estate planning.
Can I assign my royalties during my lifetime?
A living ASCAP member’s request to assign his or her royalties must meet certain criteria to be permitted under ASCAP’s rules. Please consult the Royalties section of this webpage and the Compendium of ASCAP Rules and Regulations, available on our Governing Documents page.
Can my estate sell my membership rights and royalties?
Given the unique needs of the estates of writer members, ASCAP does permit the estate to sell or irrevocably assign the right to receive ASCAP writer royalties. ASCAP also permits living members to assign royalties irrevocably to a family member, living trust, or family-held company. Other rights of membership (such as the right to vote) are not assignable. If you are an heir or a successor to a deceased writer member and you are interested in selling or irrevocably assigning the deceased writer’s royalties, you may call our Member Services department (1-800-95ASCAP) or submit a Member Service inquiry via your Member Access account.
Can I make a bequest to ASCAP?
Bequests cannot be made to ASCAP directly, but you may make a bequest to The ASCAP Foundation, a tax-exempt public charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax law. The Foundation is separate from ASCAP with its own Board of Directors. Since 1975, The ASCAP Foundation has worked tirelessly to keep music in the schools and to nurture aspiring songwriters and composers. It is dedicated to nurturing the music talent of tomorrow, preserving the legacy of the past and sustaining the creative incentive for today's creators through a variety of educational, professional, and humanitarian programs. Making a bequest or transferring a successorship to The ASCAP Foundation are two ways you can honor your loved one while supporting a worthy charity. For more information on The ASCAP Foundation, please visit the website:

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