I hope this letter finds you well and creatively inspired. It’s been a busy quarter and I’m excited to kick off the summer season with good news to report on many fronts.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its formal review of the BMI and ASCAP consent decrees and called for a public comment period through July 10. We anticipated this step and see it as a welcome opportunity, as it means the DOJ is focusing its attention on whether the outdated rules that govern music licensing are still working in today’s world. BMI has been championing the need to modernize music licensing for years, so we’re encouraged by this news. You may recall that BMI and ASCAP already issued an open letter with a proposed solution that would benefit everyone involved, and importantly, protect songwriters and composers. We strongly believe that gradually moving towards a free market is the best way for you to be rewarded for your creative work while minimizing disruption to the marketplace that could ultimately harm your interests. In the near future, we’ll be reaching out to urge you to take action on this vital issue and make your voice known to the DOJ. Thank you in advance for your support and we’ll keep you updated as developments occur.
On the Music Modernization Act (MMA) front, the U.S. Copyright Office is evaluating two proposals from industry groups looking to serve as the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), as mandated by the MMA. The Office is expected to make its decision by July 8. Among other responsibilities, the MLC will administer the newly established blanket mechanical license and distribute unclaimed royalties for streamed music to their rightful copyright owners. Again, we’ll share more information as it becomes available.
I’m also excited to introduce a new bonus that BMI is implementing for the most-played songs on SiriusXM® Satellite Radio. Writers, composers and publishers of the most-performed works across all SiriusXM® channels will be eligible for this bonus based on a number of factors, including performance counts and the number of channels on which a song is performed. The bonus will be paid on a quarterly basis starting with this distribution. This new value system builds on BMI’s bonuses for digital and traditional radio performances and is another way for us to recognize our affiliates’ success. Further detail is available in our Royalty Policy Manual.
In addition, we’re pleased to report that BMI has executed a licensing agreement with Facebook, which covers performances on that social media platform, as well as Instagram and Oculus. This distribution includes first-time royalty payments for these sources from 2015. Over the next year, BMI will continue to distribute royalties from these sources for 2016 through the present. Note: BMI’s agreement only covers repertoire that is not otherwise directly licensed with Facebook. Moreover, this distribution includes payments for Amazon Unlimited, iHeart Digital and Peloton for all of 2018, as well as for cable performances on the YES Network, from first quarter 2016 through fourth quarter 2018. Please remember to sign up for direct deposit to receive your royalties quickly and safely.
Once again, we have many talented affiliates to congratulate this quarter. BMI’s Pop Awards was a very special night where we were delighted to celebrate all our winners, including Sting, whose timeless hit “Every Breath You Take” was named the new most-performed song in BMI’s repertoire; Martin Bandier, the first publishing executive to be named a BMI Icon; and Imagine Dragons, who won the BMI President’s Award for their exceptional creative and humanitarian efforts. In addition, we were honored to recognize all of BMI’s Film, TV & Visual Media Award winners, with a special salute to BMI Icon Terence Blanchard for his exemplary contributions to film music, as well as our Classic Contribution Award recipient, influential composer and arranger William Ross. Kudos also go to our very talented BMI Christian Award winners, Student Composer Award winners, ACM Award and Tony Award recipients, as well as our legendary 2019 Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees, Dallas Austin, Tom T. Hall and John Prine, along with Halsey, who received the prestigious Hal David Starlight Award.
I look forward to sharing more updates as our dynamic industry continues to thrive. Have a great summer!
President and Chief Executive Officer