BMI Keeps Record Streak Going With 7% Jumps in Revenue, Payouts

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Lil Nas X visits the Country Hits Radio studios on July 4, 2019 in London, England.

BMI is raking it in. A year after breaking records for collections and distributions, the performing rights org hit the repeat button on both markers again, reaching $1.283 billion in revenues and nearly $1.2 billion in payouts to writers and publishers over the fiscal year ended June 30.

The org’s $1.196 billion in total distributions includes domestic and international royalties, as well as royalties from direct deals that BMI administers on behalf of its publishers. Distributions from direct deals grew $9 million in the fiscal year for a total of $62 million.

The revenue tally represents a 7% increase over the previous year’s $1.13 billion, while the distributions record also amounts to a 7% bump over last year, when that figure was roughly $1.12 billion.

BMI's revenue collections breaks out to $943 million in domestic receipts and $340 million for international, 7% increases for both when compared to the previous fiscal year when domestic amounted to $880 million and foreign $319 million.

Domestic growth was driven by a $47 million increase in digital revenue, up 22% year-to-year for a total of $262 million, and aided by new deals and growth in the video-on-demand streaming market and in the bustling eFitness sector, driven by Peloton and Flywheel.

International revenue growth occurred in spite of a negative foreign exchange hit of $23 million caused by the strong dollar overseas, the organization said.

“BMI values the trust our affiliates place in us, and we are gratified to once again generate record revenues on their behalf,” said BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill. “Our achievements are a direct result of the unrivaled creativity of the songwriters and composers we represent and the worldwide popularity of their music.”

He added, “We always strive to do better, and we will continue to work hard to champion the rights of our creators and protect the value of their copyrights.”

General licensing, which includes the music heard in restaurants, bars and other businesses, along with other income, grew a record 8% to $169 million from the $156 million in the prior year. The company said it added approximately 16,500 businesses under its licensing system, up from the 15,000 it added the last fiscal year.

BMI declined to break out domestic revenue specifics for other media sources, namely television, radio, cable and satellite, as it has in year’s past. It did say cable and satellite generated the largest slice of domestic revenue at 30%, while TV and radio accounted for 24%. Digital encompasses 28% of domestic revenue, while general licensing represented 18% of the total pie.

BMI said its affiliate membership surpassed one million for the first time ever, with over 90,000 new songwriters — including Lil Nas X, Kendrick Lamar, Brandi Carlile — joining the org this year. The org added that 98% of the 2.9 trillion performances it processed during the fiscal year were digital.

BMI’s record results continues a back-and-forth with ASCAP, which reported $1.227 billion in revenue and $1.109 billion distributions in its most recent financial disclosure.


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