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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Registering Songs


mistakes registering songs music publishing
Kraftwerk enjoyed registering their songs while adorned in ultraviolet suits.

As soon as you’ve finished writing a song – and determined splits with any co-writers – your next port of call should be registering the song with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO). In the United States, songwriters can affiliate and register their songs with one of ASCAP, BMI or SESAC.

There’s a few common mistakes that artists tend to make when registering songs. Ryan Brodhead (Manager of Performance Rights Administration for Songtrust) sees these all too often. Take heed of his lessons!

1. Be sure to list any and all performers of the song.

2. Be sure to list any and all writers and/or publishers with their correct shares.

3. Be sure to list any alternate titles.

4. Be sure your writer/publisher account has current contact information.

5. Make sure samples are licensed/cleared properly.

6. Avoid naming your songs anything that’s hard to remember and not clear. E.g. Up 2 No Good Luv should be Up to No Good Love.

7. If you perform your songs live, report these using the various programs from ASCAP, BMI and SESAC.

If you’d prefer to leave this process to the experts, a publishing adminstrator can help.

For independent artists, Songtrust offers a seamless dashboard to register your songs with any US PRO. Moreover, we register your songs with the Harry Fox Agency (to collect mechanical and digital royalties), Music Reports (to collect digital royalties) and international societies – making sure you never miss out on any publishing royalties.

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26 thoughts on “7 Mistakes to Avoid When Registering Songs

  1. […] Mistakes To Avoid When Registering Songs Recently the Songtrust blog ran an excellent article regarding the 7 mistakes that writers make when registering theirs songs with a Performance Rights […]

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  5. Great post. I am going through some of these
    issues as well..

    1. Hopefully our posts can help you sort things out! Email us at if you have any questions.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on ascap.

  7. How you amend a registration you have completed the form with the wrong information? i.e. you forgot one co-writer!

    1. Hi Kay. You’ll have to reach out to your PRO to amend the information. IF you’re a Songtrust client, please email us at if you need to make changes to your registrations.

  8. Hi, when registering my artists’s music on BMI do I register it under his personal government name or his stage name?

    1. Hi Chase. Writers should register with their PRO using their full legal name. When you register each song, you can include the name of the performer.

      1. My legal name is Ben Neumann. But I go by Ben Travis on my music works. So I should keep my BMI account as my legal name, and register the work as by Ben Travis?

        Also, there’s another Ben Travis who’s a musician in my town as well, ironically. Could that be potentially confusing for BMI when they do their work?

        1. Hi Ben. You should affiliate with BMI using your legal name! They will validate that with your SSN. Then they will assign you an IPI#, which will serve as your “songwriter identification number,” so that there is no confusion with other writers who share a name with you. Best of luck!

  9. Can you register your works(songs) with BMI but have your publishing with ASCAP?

    1. Hi Clarence. You’ll want to affiliate your publishing entity at the same PRO where you are affiliated as a writer.

  10. Hello, I have registered a few songs with BMI.

    As I go through the process I am able to upload a
    recording of each song.

    So far, I have declined to do so.

    Is there an advantage to include a recording?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Louis. The advantage is not necessarily for BMI to have your actual audio recording, but the ISRC associated with the recording(s). They can use that to track “public performances” of your recordings on streaming services in order to collect and pay out the proper royalties from those uses. Best, Julia

  11. Hello –

    I recently joined SongTrust. I registered with ASCAP under my legal name. I also listed my alternate artist name under ASCAP. These are viewable in ASCAP’s online database.

    I would prefer to always use my artist name. It does have a different IPI Name Number assigned than my legal name. Is it OK to just always use my artist name in publishing agreements, registrations with SongTrust, etc?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Sasha. Welcome to Songtrust! If you have an IPI# associated with your artist name, you can use that name and IPI# for your registrations with Songtrust. Just be sure that you use the IPI# that matches whichever name you choose.

      1. Excellent. Thank you.

  12. I have been an ASCAP member as a writer for 12 years. Recently I created a publishing company through ASCAP but it seems an IPI number for this company has yet to be created. I have an IPI as a writer. Am I missing something?

    1. Hi there. It can take a few weeks for an IPI# to be generated (and listed on the public repertoire search). Check your Member Services account to see if an IPI# is listed there, and if not, reach out to ASCAP. They can make sure there aren’t any issues with your affiliation.

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