TuneCore has now formed a Songwriter Publishing Administration Services which it claims will by-pass traditional Performing Rights Societies (PROs) and speed payment to writers and artists. All this for a $49.99 set up fee plus 10% of the funds collected. Actually, the TuneCore website says that the $49.99 is a “special limited time offer.” I guess that means after the “limited time” the set up fee will increase. At the present time you must be a TuneCore distribution client to sign up for the new service. But TuneCore says plans are to make the service available to any songwriter.
Although it is not absolutely clear at the TuneCore website, it is my understanding that the new service is not intended to replace ASCAP, BMI and SESAC in the area of collection of performance fees from traditional radio, live performance venues, juke boxes, etc. TuneCore will be operating in collection from the online world, significantly, from digital streaming of music. This from the TuneCore website: “We are not replacing ASCAP, BMI, SESAC for collecting money from jukeboxes, radio, venues, etc. But we are going to step in where there is a lack of efficiency and effort to get songwriters paid. Artists can be members of ASCAP/BMI/SESAC and have TuneCore perform its service as well.” (Ahem . . . "Artists" may not join ASCAP/BMI/SESAC unless those artists are also songwriters or publishers.)
I am curious about how this will work in lieu of the traditional PROs membership agreements. For example, can you pick and choose what markets BMI will collect from and exclude others? Maybe. If any reader knows the legal contractual answer please let me know in the comments section. In the meantime, I will look for the answer myself.