The Associate’s Two Cents- Artist Rights: Right! (Part 2)

Lady Gaga, a BMI-represented artist

In last week’s post, we discussed in detail the artist performance right’s organization, ASCAP, including how you as an artist can join.  Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) is like a sister organization to ASCAP as it also works on behalf of artists as an advocate and protector of their performance rights.  This post will discuss BMI, its function as a protector of artists’ rights and the advantages of becoming a member.

 

About BMI

ASCAP BMI imageEstablished more than 70 years ago, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) is a nonprofit artist performance rights organization. Like ASCAP, it helps to protect artists’ rights by creating and providing music licenses for businesses that play music for the public.  These licenses give the establishments the right to play the music without violating the artists’ rights. The organization then collects license fees from the organizations, on behalf of the artists and distributes these fees to artists as royalties.  In essence, everybody wins.  The business can legally play the music without the risk of being sued while the artist gets paid for his/her contribution.  BMI provides licenses to businesses such as music establishments, XM, Sirius, nightclubs, restaurants, live concerts and fitness clubs, among others.  BMI represents over 650,000 artists including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Lil’ Wayne and Mariah Carey, just to name a few.

Why Should I Join?

In addition to BMI being a long standing organization that has a history for representing all music genres, it has taken a solid position to advocate for artist rights on Capitol Hill.  Currently, BMI is steering a campaign to pass the Songwriter Equity Act.  This law provides that songwriters, music composers and publishers receive royalties based on updated rather than outdated copyright laws.  In other words, BMI is steering this campaign so that the law is updated in favor of its members– to help them receive the best royalty payments available to them.  BMI stands for advocacy in its purest form, by not only ensuring that the organization protects its artists’ performance rights but ensuring that the law protects its artists as well.  This is just one of the law-related missions that BMI is or has been a part of. In 2014 it issued a statement to the Department of Justice on behalf of the artist addressing issues such as digital rights and arbitration.  Joining BMI will not only protect your rights as an artist and put money back into your pocket in the form of royalties, but your membership will also support an organization that gives artists a voice in Washington.

How Do I Join?

BMI maintains a very comprehensive website that contains a wealth of information on the organization including more details on topics addressed in this post.   Joining BMI as a songwriter or publisher is totally free, and there are no annual dues to pay!  Click here for more information.

 

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