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BMI Hits a Revenue High

Music rights organization says revenue was boosted by 50% growth in digital revenue

“Beyond pleased.” That’s what Mike O’Neill, president/CEO of BMI, says about the organization’s revenue in its recently concluded fiscal year.

Broadcast Music Inc. said its revenue of $1.06 billion was the highest in its history. “The company also distributed and administered a record-breaking $931 million to its songwriters, composers and publishers, a 6% increase over last year. These results represent the most public performance revenue and royalty distributions by any music rights organization in the world.”

But O’Neill took the opportunity to gripe about the Justice Department’s stance on the current consent decree.

“The ability to provide our songwriters, composers and publishers with our largest royalty distributions to date proves that the current marketplace is working efficiently, a fact the DOJ has undermined with its recent interpretation of our consent decree.” He said the government’s interpretation of the consent decree will stifle creative freedom for songwriters and limit choices for music users. ASCAP and BMI are both pushing back on that issue.

BMI’s domestic revenue of $784 million included big gains for digital and general licensing. Digital revenue was $152 million, up 50%. “Numerous new agreements were signed throughout the year, notably a multi-year license with Pandora, as well as deals with Spotify, Apple Music, Microsoft, Sony’s PlayStation Video and Slacker, among others,” it stated.

General licensing includes fees from businesses like restaurants and fitness facilities.

“Revenue from all media licensing, including radio, television and cable and satellite entertainment, grew to $492 million, with cable and satellite entertainment accounting for the largest portion of BMI’s domestic revenue for the third consecutive year,” it reported.

It says it processed more than 1 trillion audio performances in the year.

A number of notable broadcasters past and present are on the BMI board including Virginia Hubbard Morris, Caroline Beasley, Amador Bustos, Dave Lougee, Catherine Hughes, Steven Newberry and Paul Karpowicz. Founded in 1939, BMI represents public performance rights in 10.5 million musical works created and owned by about 700,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers.