BMI breaks royalty collection record; cable and satellite lead all sources

bmiBroadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), a performing rights organization that collects and distributes music royalties on behalf of publishers and composers, announced record-breaking revenue and distribution for the fiscal year ended June 30. Revenue totaled $977-million, and royalty distributions were accounted at $840-million. BMI is a non-profit organization pledged to distribute at least 85% of its revenue to music rights-holders it represents.

BMI has been operating for 75 years. The press release carves out the past 10 years, noting that $8-billion was collected during that span, and $7.5-billion distributed to music creators.

BMI and competitor ASCAP, both non-profit agencies strictly regulated by the U.S. government, have advocated for the royalty rights of songwriters, composers, and publishers in a disruptive digital-music era. This year they have lived in a music-licensing spotlight as Congress scrutinizes how licensing works for broadcasters, streaming services, and cable/satellite platforms. Two congressional hearings this summer examined regulatory questions affecting both the creative side of music (songwriters represented by ASCAP and BMI) and the performing side (whose royalties are administered by SoundExchange).

Although online music services reside at the heart of ongoing discussions and debates about how music is licensed, and how much it should cost to use, two non-online distribution platforms — cable and satellite — lead the revenue growth achieved by BMI, according to the announcement.

CEO Michael O’Neill noted: “BMI has a well-earned reputation as a trusted broker between the creative community and businesses that perform music to enhance their customer experience.”

BMI has over 650,000 licensees, and claims to have processed over 500-billion copyright actions during the past year.

Brad Hill