Which Performance Rights Agency should you choose as a writer? For the U.S., you have the choice between ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. You only choose one, but the one you choose is up to your tastes and how you feel the PRO fits with your style. And how you agree with the way they handle business. All three have an impressive list of songwriters as members.
It doesn’t matter which one you choose, but it’s important that you choose one and that you register your works with them. After/before you seek a copyright registration, but registering your songs means that the PRO has a database of your songs from which they can assign any royalty payments that may come your way. Many doors and career benefits will be opened.
If you choose to be the administrating publisher for your works, then find out the requirements for having a publisher membership and seek that. If you have a publisher membership, then register your songs under your publisher membership instead of your writer membership. This assures that the entire performance revenue stream is assigned to you or your company. As expected, the main criteria for joining as a publisher is to show evidence that you have had a song published. Find whatever opportunity that you can, say with an independent artist, to get a cut so you can apply for a publisher membership. Or, if you’re a solo artist, then providing info on your first solo CD project or EP or solo song will be the ticket.
If by chance you intend on helping other writers by being an administrating or exploitation publishing agent for them, be sure to sign up for a publisher membership with their PRO so you will receive the publisher’s share of performance royalties.