As a songwriter, you are paid royalties by the one who plays your song every time. However, a songwriter cannot keep track of the times his song gets played; this is where BMI and ASCAP come to the purpose. BMI and ASCAP are performance rights organizations that protect the interests of all songwriters.
Most songwriters are confused if they’ve to register every song they create to these organizations. However, the song you create does not need to be registered with BMI or ASCAP. Although you have to provide the information to BMI or ASCAP, you’re good to go. BMI or ASCAP will only rely on the information you provide, and it won’t ask for a copy of your song.
You do not need to register with ASCAP and BMI. Registering all of your music with just one of the Performance Rights Organizations is preferable (PROs). Although you cannot register the same music with both PROs, you are permitted to register separate songs with both PROs. For instance, if you’re a BMI artist and you co-write a song with an ASCAP artist, the song may end up being registered with ASCAP, resulting in an unpleasant situation.
There are other PROs as well where a songwriter can register their songs. However, it is not compulsory to register. Once you provide the required information to BMI or ASCAP, you’ll be able to get your interests protected before releasing your song.