I have listed myself as both Composer and Publisher with ASCAP because my music is self-published. That is to say, I find ensembles who might like my work, I sell it to them, they perform it, and ASCAP pays the full royalty to me. (If there is a lyricist, I split it with them.)

I'm looking into having my music properly published now.

I understand that the publishing company will offer me a certain percentage of sales in royalty - 10% seems to be about the going rate - but what happens with regard to ASCAP. Is the expectation that I list them with ASCAP as the publisher, and so 50% of performance royalties would go to them as well?


2 Answers 2


If your work is self-published your ASCAP royalties all go to you (possibly split with co-writers, lyricists, arrangers). Once your music is published the ASCAP royalties are also split with the publisher.
ASCAP royalties are paid on performances of your work (and sales of recordings). ASCAP has nothing to do with the royalties you get from the publisher on sales of sheet music of your work.

  • idk how this works in the US, or what agencies are responsible, but once you have your publishing organised, you also need to check out whether you need to be with the mechanical societies too. In the UK that would be PRS, MCPS & PPL at minimum. Heck knows what they all do exactly, but they all pay you money at the end of the year ;))
    – Tetsujin
    May 27, 2022 at 14:11

Hopefully this link will help. I do believe that ASCAP and other organizations don't take a fee from your royalty. They are not the publisher or distributor of your music. https://www.ascap.com/help/royalties-and-payment/payment/payment#:~:text=Most%20writers%20and%20all%20publishers,in%20a%20specific%20performance%20quarter.

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