BMI, Songwriter Battle Over Cue Sheets, Royalties Heats Up
BMI, Songwriter Battle Over Cue Sheets, Royalties Heats Up

In the year ended June 30, 2012, Broadcast Music, Inc. reported $898.8 million in revenue, a nearly 3.5% decline from the $931 million collected in the prior year. The organization attributed the decline to " settling a rate litigation" with terrestrial radio.

The settlement, announced in June, provided that BMI receives 1.7% of radio revenue less certain standard deductions but also included a $70.5 million credit adjustment for payments made by radio to BMI back in 2010 and 2011. Excluding the impact of the settlement's deductions, BMI reported that revenue would have been up 4%, which translates to about $969 million.

"BMI has weathered the economic storm remarkably well considering the negative conditions that have impacted many of our revenue sources," BMI President and CEO Del Bryant said in a statement. "Our performance in fiscal year 2012 under these difficult conditions is a testament to our prudent fiscal management and to our resolve to responsibly manage the copyrights and income entrusted to us by our publishers and songwriters."

During the recently completed year, BMI distributed $749.8 million in royalties, down 5.8% from the $796 million paid out in the prior year. "Even with the retroactive radio settlement and a challenging financial landscape, we have still been able to return nearly 84 cents of every dollar we have generated back to our publishers and songwriters," Bryant pointed out in a statement. "Our distributions to music publishers and songwriters have remained predictable and reliable."

For the first time, international revenues accounted for more than a third of BMI's total revenue, totaling $302 million, up 12% from the prior year, the organization pointed out. Other bright spots included an 8% increase to $108 million in general licensing revenue from physical establishments such as restaurants and nightclubs; and a 27% increase in digital revenue to $35 million. Digital revenue last year comprised 6% of domestic revenue primarily due to the rise in music use by BMI's 10,000 digital licensees.

BMI songwriters include Lady Gaga, Foster the People's Mark Foster, Maroon 5, Benny Blanco and Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and the Band Perry, while its composers include Mike Post and John Williams. In total, the organization claims 7.5 million copyrights.

In addition, BMI represents songwriters from other countries including Elton John (PRS), Sting (PRS), Eric Clapton (PRS), The Who (PRS), Alexandre Desplat (SACEM), to current chart toppers Adele (PRS), One Direction (PRS) and Gotye (APRA).

Going forward, BMI is predicting a return to revenue and royalty distribution growth, resuming its 20-year record of year-over-year increases, according to a statement from the organization.