Why is BMI the Best PRO?
1- There’s no registration fee to join.
2- They make things easy for indie songwriters.
3- Like ASCAP, BMI operates on a non-profit-making basis.
How Does BMI Make Things Easy for Indie Songwriters?
If you self-publish a song, then BMI will pay you the publisher’s share of performance royalties automatically.
You don’t have to do ANYTHING.
You don’t even have to open a publisher’s account with them.
What If a Music Library Wants the Publisher’s Share?
If you sign a deal with a music library that wants to act as your publisher, they’ll register your songs with a PRO and include your information as the songwriter and their information as the publisher.
However, if the deal you signed with them is non-exclusive, you can register those same songs with BMI with no publishing information attached.
When the song is broadcasted, BMI will look at the information on the cue sheet to determine who should get paid.
If the library’s information is on there, it’ll mean the library got that placement for you and is entitled to the publisher’s share of performance royalties.
If only your information is on there, BMI will understand you acted as your own publisher and will pay you the publisher’s share of performance royalties.
Publisher’s share? Songwriter’s share?
How Do Performance Royalties Work Anyway?
Bars, stadiums, broadcasters, terrestrial radio stations pay licensing fees to Performance Rights Organizations based on the music they play in public.
Performance Rights Organizations like BMI, ASCAP and SESAC collect those fees and perform regular controls and checks to keep those venues and broadcasters honest.
Songwriters and Music Publishers are paid performance royalties by the PROs.
There’s more to music royalties than just performance royalties for songwriters and music publishers.
To learn more about music royalties, check out this post: Music Royalties (Who Gets Paid, Why, When and How)
What Does a PRO Do?
1- It sells public performance licenses to public venues like bars and stadia.
This license gives public venues the permission to play and perform other people’s music in public.
2- It collects cue sheets and royalties from broadcasters and live theatre venues.
These cue sheets list what songs were used, where they played, who wrote them and who published them.
3- It pays performance royalties to songwriters and publishers, based on the information they received from public venues, broadcasters and live theaters.
This system is imperfect and there are revenue leaks but Performance Rights Organizations around the world do their best to identify songs played or performed in public and pay songwriters and publishers accordingly.
What About Royalty-Free Music Libraries?
The royalty-free in royalty-free music library just means that someone who licenses a song on there doesn’t have to pay the library several times to use the same song.
The royalty-free in royalty-free library has got nothing to do with performance royalties paid out by Performing Rights Organizations like BMI.
If one of your song is played or performed in public – on TV or on the radio for example – the people who used your song in public must pay a fee to a PRO and you are entitled to performance royalties, which will be paid out to you by your PRO.
Even if the production company or broadcaster purchased a license on a royalty-free music library.
Unless you’ve transferred your music copyright to someone else altogether but that’s an entirely different story….
Need to Brush Up on Music Royalties and Copyrights?
Consider taking my 30 Day Music Admin Challenge 😉
It will walk you through everything you need to know about how to protect your songs, get them on Spotify and collect royalties.
Price goes up on January 21st….