In the US, you need to register with a Performing Rights Organization (PROs) if you want to receive all your royalties according to the Music Copyright Laws. PROs are organizations that collect the money from the royalties and pay the artists. There are many different PROs in the US, such as BMI music, ASCAP and SESAC. As an artist, you need to know them to be able to choose the best one suited for your needs. Today, we are going to learn specifically what is BMI music and how it works.
What is BMI music?
BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) is one of the biggest Performing Rights Organizations in the US, along with ASCAP and SESAC music. If you know what is ASCAP or SESAC you probably already know a bit about how BMI music works. The company has represented composers, music publishers and songwriters for over 80 years. Like all the other PROs, it collects licensing fees from businesses that want to use music, such as television, radio stations and websites. The same goes for bars, hotels, restaurants, gyms and doctor’s office waiting rooms.However, these fees are not distributed to the artists right away. It’s the PROs duty to collect the money and then distribute it as royalties to the artists. Currently, BMI music represents more than 1.1 million artists and over 17 million musical works.
BMI Music and Royalties
In the music industry, there are different kinds of royalties that you can earn as a copyright owner. BMI and other PROs are responsible for collecting and distributing the performance royalties. That means that, as an artist and a copyright owner, you don’t have to keep track of where your music is being played. The PROs actually do that for you. If you hire BMI, it’ll be their job to pay you. So whenever someone plays your music on traditional radio stations, for example, you will receive performance royalties from BMI.
There are also some royalties that BMI music doesn’t collect, like when your music is streamed on services like Pandora. In this case, you will get “digital” performance royalties. This goes for services that don’t allow the users to directly choose the songs they want to listen to. BMI music does not collect these digital performance royalties. SoundExchange actually collects them. The same goes for music that is in sync with the images on TV. The company that wants to play your song needs to pay sync licensing fees, but BMI music doesn’t collect this kind of royalties.
If you are a composer of at least one song, you should probably consider joining BMI Music. That way, you will get all the royalties for the public performances of your music. You can also register as both songwriter and publisher of your own music, getting 100% of the royalties. Another great thing about BMI Music is that joining it as a songwriter is totally free, which is not true for some of the other PROs. Joining BMI as a publisher, however, requires a one-time fee of $150 for a company with just one person, and $250 for bigger publishing companies. BMI is a non-profit organization, and almost 90% of all the money it gets from licensing fees goes to the artists. BMI also works hard to ensure copyright protection, and makes sure that its artists are getting all their payments.
With BMI, you can also apply for direct deposit and avoid delay in your payments. You don’t have to wait for any checks to arrive, the money goes directly to your bank account. In addition, BMI Music members have discounts on music gear, educational programs and subscriptions.
In addition to knowing how PROs work, as an artist you should also understand how to copyright music. That’s important because even if you register your music with BMI, for example, the copyright is not guaranteed. Technically, the moment you finish composing your song it is automatically copyrighted. So there is actually not another mandatory step. However, we strongly recommend that you do register your music with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is a way to ensure your copyright protection, and make sure that you will have all the rights for your own music. To make finding your music easier, you should also get an ISRC code for every song. With Magroove, you can actually get your ISRC codes for free.
Do your research!
To receive all of your performance royalties, it’s vital that you register with a PRO, otherwise your money will not be claimed. Now that you know what are the advantages of working with BMI music, make sure to do your research about the other PROs. That way, you can make sure that you are making the right decision and choosing the one most suitable for you.
Collect your royalties with Magroove
Magroove is the best aggregator that you can partner to collect your royalties from digital streaming services. Magroove will get your music on all major platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Tidal, Shazam and much more. And all that for free, with no pre charges! You’ll also receive a website builder tool and some band merch to sell, which cuts a lot of work from your music promotion strategies.
See how to sign up here.