Performing Rights organizations such as BMI and ASCAP (SOCAN in Canada) collect and pay out the royalties for music used on radio, TV, film and live performances. Radio and TV stations can actually refuse to play music that does not list a performing rights affiliation, since part of their licensing agreement with the FCC (CRTC in Canada) requires that they pay royalties for all music that they broadcast. If you want to collect royalties for public performance of your music, join one of these organizations and list them in your author/publisher credits on your CD cover to serve notice to those playing your music. In the USA contact BMI www.bmi.com, ASCAP www.ascap.com. SESAC is by invitation only.
How to choose?
Chances are, the fee will help you decide. To join ASCAP as both a writer or publisher is free. To join BMI as a writer is also free, but to join as a publisher it costs $150 if you are an individual or $250 if you are a partnership, LLC, or a Corporation. If you write and publish your own songs, you WILL want to join as a publisher also, since that is 1/2 the royalties!
Remember to register your own original songs and CD with BMI/ASCAP. File title registration forms for each of your original songs appearing on the record so they can pay you for any radio airplay.