BMI at GMIA, July 2012

This blog was researched and written by Cameron Roberts, Summer Intern.

As part of my summer internship, I went to a meeting hosted by the Georgia Music Industry Association (GMIA; ), and listened to BMI’s Atlanta representative, David Claassen, speak about the positive attributes of BMI as opposed to other Performance Rights Organizations (PRO), such as ASCAP and SEASAC.  PROs use various methods in order to collect and distribute royalties due to songwriters and music publishers and license the use of the work of songwriters to be played in public places.

BMI, Broadcast Music Incorporated, is one of the top three PROs in the modern music production world, but it has much to offer and is increasingly popular. BMI’s mission is to shed light on new songwriters, especially ones that have not been able to receive help or outreach by others. There are several factors that make BMI different from opposing PROS. For example, BMI has an open door policy and is able to give artists more of the royalties that is rightfully theirs. The range of progress spans from television, Internet, radio, satellite radio, and the latest edition; BMI Live. BMI Live is an app for the songwriters on the go so that they may receive their royalties as soon as possible.

Because many songwriters are using all their energy to create their music, BMI made the cost of becoming a member free.  The process to utilize the opportunities presented by BMI is rather simple. Once a songwriter has completed a song to the extent that it would go public in the exact state that it is in, the songwriter can log on to BMI’s website and fill out the necessary paperwork to register it for royalty collection. The steps are simple and fast. Once the appropriate steps have been taken, it is there in the archive safe and protected.

BMI has over 500,000 affiliate members. To show how appreciative BMI is to their loyal members, they present an award show every year for each genre of music. As awards, cash prizes are given out to songwriters for their charted songs. BMI also provides ample opportunities for songwriters to network. After all, networking is an essential component in the music industry.  In addition, BMI hosts parties and maintains an open door policy for songwriters to use their studio space for free. All that is required is an appointment and for the member to bring his or her own sound engineer. Therefore, the members are given various incentives with BMI that are not offered with other PROs.

Moreover, as radio is decreasing in popularity, other methods of music are rising, such as: Spotify, SoundCloud, and more. BMI is able to search through these various methods of digital music distribution and extract the royalties necessary. Also, BMI is one of the few PROs that is able to pull from the College Radio section.  Sound Exchange, another PRO established in 2000, has several of the same benefits of BMI, but it does not give royalties for public performance. BMI offers services to obtain royalties from all public performances, as long as the set lists are documented through the BMI website. Through BMI’s extensive technology, they are able to identify as efficiently as possible those who are paying and those who are not.

Although BMI is one of the newest companies to enter the songwriting PRO scene forming in 1939, they have proven to be protective, affordable, safe, and productive. Since songwriters often need help in order to advance in the music industry, BMI is a great way to begin the journey.


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