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BMI Reports Record Distributions

Says its licensing revenue from radio was down this year

BMI said it distributed a record amount of money to its songwriters, composers and publishers in its recently concluded fiscal year: $1.335 billion, up or 8% over the year before.

“In addition, BMI’s total domestic licensing revenue exceeded $1 billion for the first time, driven by phenomenal growth in the digital sector,” it said. “The company also continued to set revenue records, bringing in $1.409 billion, a 7% increase over last year.” (It will report a slightly different number based on new accounting guidelines for how to recognize revenue earned in one year but collected in another.)

President/CEO Mike O’Neill called it “a year marked by incredible challenges” but said “the power of music is stronger than ever.”

It said total domestic revenue was driven by a 47% increase in digital licensing revenue.

“Digital audiovisual services contributed greatly to the increase, thanks to new agreements with several FAST (free ad-supported TV) services, strong growth from subscription video-on-demand services including Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, and the proliferation of direct-to-streaming film premieres on services such as Apple, Amazon, YouTube and Fandango NOW, among others. The company also forged new licensing agreements including Fortnite, and renewed agreements with Spotify and Pandora, among others.”

But BMI reported declines in its media licensing and general licensing categories due to the pandemic.

“Total domestic media licensing revenue, comprised of cable and satellite, broadcast radio and television, posted an 11% decline from last year to $469 million.”

It said radio posted a $50 million decline year to year, “due to a combination of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on advertising and the one-time retroactive payment included in last year’s radio total that resulted from BMI’s rate court settlement with the industry.”