Dear Songwriters, Composers and Publishers,
We are pleased to take this opportunity to inform you about several important updates. The past months have been very active. The first development is that publishers, including Universal, Wixen Music, Sony/ATV and EMI, who withdrew from BMI the right to license certain digital transmissions in order to negotiate their own licenses for those uses, have returned licensing and royalty distribution authority to BMI for all categories of public performance uses. This decision will provide stability in the marketplace and offers an opportunity for BMI and music publishers to work more closely together to protect the value of copyright. In conjunction with this goal, BMI is looking to update and augment our long-standing Consent Decree to allow for the realities of today’s marketplace.
As always, we are fully engaged in the business of protecting and growing your public performance income. We are also active in Congress to set a level playing field for the valuation of your rights. The BMI team worked with a coalition of industry trade groups to draft and secure sponsorship for H.R. 4079, The Songwriter Equity Act. Introduced by Representative Doug Collins (GA-09) and joined by co-sponsors Rep. Blackburn (TN-7), Rep. Gerlach (PA-6) and Rep. Jeffries (NY-8), the bill’s purpose is to update two important provisions in the Copyright Act that could increase compensation for music creators. Specifically, the bill would allow our rate court to consider all relevant evidence, including sound recording royalty rates, when determining songwriter and publisher compensation; currently, the review of sound recording rates is prohibited by law. The second update to the current Copyright Act would adopt a fair-market “willing buyer/willing seller” rate standard for reproduction (mechanical) licenses. These much needed amendments will ensure that songwriting remains a viable profession.
Please note that this distribution includes the final retroactive payments for Hulu; future Hulu payments will reflect current distribution periods. It also includes payments for first quarter 2006 through fourth quarter 2012 for both HDNet and HDNet Movies, as well as retroactive payments for second quarter 2006 to second quarter 2012, for GSN (Game Show Network). We would also like you to note the rebranding of Fox Sports 1 (formerly known as Speed Channel) and 2 (previously Fuel TV) and the launch of FXX, a new cable network, all of which appear on your enclosed statement if you are receiving royalties from those entities. Additionally, at the end of last year we completed a new agreement for performances of BMI-licensed music used on YouTube through 2016. This deal stabilizes your royalties from one of the largest streaming properties on the planet.
As noted in our last letter and as a reminder, beginning with performances on and after January 1, 2014 (BMI’s September distribution), royalty payments for Local TV will be determined using rules similar to how Cable and Network TV are calculated. This includes utilizing Nielsen data to incorporate audience size into the calculation. Please see bmi.com for a full description.
As for BMI’s efforts to “go green,” although checks will still be mailed to those of you who do not have direct deposit, our September distribution will include paperless statements that can be accessed only through your online services account on bmi.com. Please make sure that you have updated all of your online information, including your email address, to take advantage of these convenient services. As a reminder, you can also access your 2013 tax statements online.
In closing, congratulations to our Oscar winners Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for their Best Original Song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen (Robert also joins the elite “EGOT” club - winning Emmy, GRAMMY, Oscar and Tony awards - with his Oscar win). Much deserved accolades also go to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers and Kacey Musgraves, all of whom received multiple trophies at the GRAMMYs, and to all of our other GRAMMY winners. Congratulations also go out to our BMI Latin Award Winners: Carlos Vives, recipient of the President’s Award; Espinoza Paz, who was awarded Latin Songwriter of the Year; Roberto Tapia, who won Latin Song of the Year for “Mirando Al Cielo” and SONY/ATV Music Publishing, who took the trophy for Latin Publisher of the Year.
We hope you enjoy the onset of spring and we look forward to providing you with more updates in June.
Chief Executive Officer