One half is designated for the songwriter(s), and the other half is designated for the publisher(s) or copyright holder(s). Learn more about how BMI pays royalties. If you do not have a publisher, you will also receive the publisher’s share as a writer.
BMI royalties are performing right royalties, which are earned when a musical work is performed publicly. Public performance occurs when a song is sung or played, recorded or live, on radio and television, as well as through other media such as the Internet, live concerts and programmed music services. BMI grants licenses to perform, use or broadcast music from its extensive repertoire to hundreds of thousands of users of music in public places, such as radio and tv stations, hotels, clubs, colleges, restaurants, stores, and more.
The “mechanical” right is the right to reproduce a piece of music onto CDs, DVDs, records or tapes. (Non-mechanical reproduction includes such things as making sheet music, for which royalties are paid by the publisher to the composer.)
When reproduction of music is made onto a soundtrack of a film or TV show, the reproduction is called “synchronization,” and the license that the TV or film producer needs to obtain is called a synchronization, or “sync,” license.
Mechanical royalties and synchronization fees are paid by record companies and film and TV producers directly to the copyright owner, usually the publisher, or his or her representative. The Harry Fox Agency, 601 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001, (212) 675-2707, harryfox.com, represents many U.S. publishers in granting mechanical and synchronization licenses and collecting fees for them from the record companies and producers who need them.
For an overview of how and when BMI pays royalties, check out “How We Pay Royalties” . This includes detailed, technical information; payment schedules and more.
BMI members can avoid any delay in receiving royalty payments by signing up for either Direct Deposit to their bank account or “The Card,” which allows songwriters and composers who do not currently have a bank account to enjoy the advantages of an ATM card for access to their BMI royalties.
Both Direct Deposit and “The Card” offer instant access to your royalty payments without the worry of waiting for checks to arrive, cashing them or misplacing them. When signing up for these benefits, you can also help us in our efforts to “go green” by choosing to receive your royalty statement electronically. Applications for these programs are available within Online Services.
First of all, congratulations! Now, you need to make sure your work is registered. As soon as a song is published and/or recorded, it should be registered with and reported to BMI. BMI’s ability to license and monitor the performances of a composition is dependent upon the accuracy and timeliness of this reported information. Without it, you may miss out on royalties.
Typically, a publisher will register songs for songwriters. Early registration of works will help prevent lost royalties, so make sure your songs are registered.
Someone from the family of the deceased or a designated heir must complete the BMI Estate Questionnaire that gives us the necessary information regarding individuals who may be eligible as beneficiaries of the copyright royalties that BMI distributes. For more information see the BMI Estates page.
If the check is less than 6 months old, it is still valid. However, if the check is over 6 months old, you should send the check back to BMI along with a written request to have it re-issued. Please send it to:
Broadcast Music Inc.
ATTN: Royalty Accounting
10 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203
Check Online Change of Address to confirm the address BMI has on file for your account is correct. If your address is incorrect please update your information. Please allow at least two weeks for your check to arrive. If you do not receive your check, please contact the BMI office nearest you or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the future you may want to consider direct deposit. If you are eligible to apply for online direct deposit you will see Direct Deposit in your applications menu when logged in. If you do not have that menu option please visit our forms page and download the “Direct Deposit Authorization” form.
It is at least nine months from the date of performance until the royalties generated for the performances are distributed. For more information please see our Royalty Policy Manual.
We are unable to offer direct deposit to non-US banks.
However, affiliates with non-US banks are eligible to receive payments through wire transfer or BMI’s cash card alternative “The Card”. Please note your bank may charge a fee to process wire transfer payments. You can request a wire transfer form by emailing International@bmi.com.