Dear Songwriter, Composer and Publisher,
I hope this letter finds you well. We are certainly living through unprecedented and heartbreaking times, on many levels. We recently witnessed the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, along with the groundswell of emotion and powerful protests taking place across the nation. Please know that BMI stands with the Black community and strongly supports the movement for change that has gripped the world’s attention. To that end, I recently held a company-wide meeting and outlined BMI’s plans for enacting real and meaningful change. You can learn more about the actionable steps BMI is taking here, and please continue to check our website and social media platforms for updates. Throughout history, music has always played an important part in getting us through tough times, and now more than ever, we deeply appreciate how your music is bringing the country together.
All of us are also dealing with a worldwide pandemic that has upended our lives. At BMI, we continue to be inspired by the ways you’re staying creative during this difficult period, from remote collaboration to live streaming performances and far beyond. As you keep creating, I want to reassure you that BMI is with you every step of the way. While this distribution was scheduled for June 19, we’re pleased to deliver your royalties early this quarter, as we did in March.
In addition, BMI has been advocating in other ways to protect your livelihood. Earlier this spring, several songwriting organizations signed a BMI-led letter to Congress asking that they include assistance for music creators in pandemic relief legislation they were working on. They heard our call and on March 27, the CARES Act was signed into law, which offers relief to songwriters and composers who are independent contractors, sole proprietors, or self-employed, and makes them eligible for small business loans, including the Paycheck Protection Program, emergency grants, and unemployment insurance. We also created the BMI Resource Center, which provides comprehensive information on additional ways to receive financial help; we hope you find it a useful destination. In addition, BMI joined with other PROs to create a special fund as part of the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund to specifically support songwriters and composers impacted by the pandemic. Please know it is a top priority for us to help ease your financial hardship and we will continue our efforts in this regard.
On the Licensing front, we have an update pertaining to the radio industry since our last letter. The Court approved BMI’s settlement with the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC), finalizing our multi-year deal for the 2017-2021 period. I’m also happy to report that we are entering into new digital audiovisual licensing agreements with Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Peacock, and will continue to license new services as they launch.
BMI’s Licensing department has been very active this quarter in other ways as well. Last month, BMI partnered with several leading local radio broadcasters for a special concert called “A Salute to the Songwriters,” benefiting the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. Co-hosted by Luke Bryan, the three-hour commercial-free broadcast aired on over 100 stations across the nation and featured some of our incredible country songwriters telling the stories behind their hits.
BMI also helped support the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, inviting several songwriters to perform as part of a virtual telethon that raised more than $100,000 for bar and restaurant workers in that state who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Many thanks to our songwriters who participated and helped give back to an industry that has supported the creative community over the years through their music licensing fees.
In addition to your usual royalties, this distribution includes some first-time digital payments. As for the new agreements mentioned above, please note that we will distribute on Disney+ for the first time in September of 2020, while first payments on the others will happen in 2021. We also look forward to delivering retroactive radio payments to you in the beginning of 2021. Although our June distribution is early, those who receive their checks by mail may have a longer wait time than usual for postal delivery, due to current circumstances. To avoid a wait next quarter, we strongly urge you to sign up for Direct Deposit.
Finally, while we couldn’t gather in person, we were thrilled to honor all our BMI Latin Award winners with a special online celebration, saluting Edgar Barrera, who wrote the Regional Mexican Song of the Year, “No Te Contaron Mal”; Gaby Music, Ozuna, Vicente Saavedra and Jorden “Pardison Fontaine” Thorpe who wrote the Contemporary Latin Song of the Year, “Taki Taki”; Regional Mexican Songwriter of the Year, Geovani Cabrera; Contemporary Latin Songwriter of the Year, Gaby Music; and Latin Publisher of the Year, SONY/ATV Music Publishing. Congratulations also go out to our talented young Student Composer Award winners.
Next, we look forward to virtually celebrating BMI’s Film, TV & Visual Media Award recipients, our Pop Award winners, and our Trailblazers of Gospel honorees. And, of course, we excitedly anticipate being able to honor our outstanding music creators in person in 2021! For now, be well, take care, and have a great summer.
President and Chief Executive Officer