Dear Songwriter, Composer and Publisher,
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and your new year is off to a great start. 2017 was a truly remarkable year for your music, which experienced incredible global popularity. As a result, BMI was able to achieve record-breaking royalty distributions for you, exceeding $1 billion, while championing your rights and the increasing value of your creative work. On behalf of the entire BMI team, we are excited for your ongoing success in 2018 and are committed to working hard on your behalf every day to safeguard the profession of songwriting.
To that end, I’d like to share important news about BMI’s advocacy efforts. In a massive victory for songwriters, composers, music publishers and the entire industry, last month the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and affirmed BMI’s lower court victory. The Second Circuit agreed with Judge Stanton’s 2016 decision that the BMI consent decree allows for the long-standing practice of fractional licensing. With this favorable ruling, we are turning our focus once again to our original goals of updating BMI’s decades-old consent decree and modernizing music licensing to protect and grow the value of your music.
On the legislative front, December also saw the introduction in the House of the Music Modernization Act of 2017. This proposed legislation, initiated by Congressmen Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), results from months of collaboration between BMI and other organizations representing songwriters, composers, and publishers, as well as the music user community. The bill, designed to establish a more level playing field so that American music creators can receive fair market value for their work, would modernize two key portions of U.S. Copyright Law: On the mechanical licensing side, the bill would create a blanket-licensing model and establish a Mechanical Licensing Collective to administer mechanical rights and maintain a database of mechanical rightsholders. On the performing rights side, the legislation would change the current rate court system to allow for a random assignment of judges and would permit rate court judges to consider all relevant market evidence when determining compensation for the performance of a musical work. Introduction of this bill is a significant first step forward in modernizing music licensing. BMI looks forward to continuing to work with all of the interested parties in order to gain broader support and, we hope, ultimate passage of the legislation.
In this distribution, we are pleased to include retroactive royalty payments for Netflix, covering performances that occurred during the years 2013 through 2016, and for Crackle performances in 2016. Just a reminder, if you sign up for direct deposit you will receive your royalty payments quicker and there are no paper checks to worry about!
On the awards front, kudos to all of our GRAMMY nominees, as well as our Golden Globe winner, composer Alexandre Desplat (SACEM), who took home Best Original Score for his outstanding work in The Shape of Water. Congratulations also go out to the BMI songwriters who won CMA Awards.
During BMI’s London Awards, we were proud to honor Jay Kay with our President’s Award, Ed Sheeran (PRS) with Song of the Year for “Love Yourself,” and MØ (KODA), Jamie Scott (PRS) and Ed Sheeran with our Dance Award for “Cold Water.” We were also happy to salute our talented songwriters and publishers at BMI’s Country Awards in November, where we named Bob DiPiero BMI’s newest Icon, as well as Song of the Year winners, busbee and Nate Cyphert for “H.O.L.Y.,” Songwriter of the Year, Ross Copperman, for all of his top-performed songs, and Publisher of the Year, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville. Also during the evening, we were privileged to recognize country superstar Keith Urban with BMI’s Champion Award for his philanthropic efforts supporting music education and the next generation of songwriters.
As always, thank you for entrusting your music to BMI. We can’t wait to hear what you create next. Here’s to making 2018 another record year!
President and Chief Executive Officer