Dear Songwriter, Composer and Publisher,
Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful, safe and healthy holiday season. Here at BMI, we’re kicking off 2021 excited for the possibilities ahead, inspired by your incredible creativity and talent, and invigorated to continue to advocate on your behalf to protect your livelihood. It’s been a busy quarter and I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few key updates.
To start, this afternoon at 1pm EST Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, will discuss the results of the DOJ’s two-year review of the BMI and ASCAP consent decrees. I will have an update for our affiliates on the outcome. Please visit this link later this afternoon where my update will appear.
We ended 2020 on a good note with the successful launch of the initial phase of Songview, a new data platform that provides a combined view of copyright information for over 20 million musical works in the BMI and ASCAP repertoires. This innovative technology platform offers the industry greater data transparency, featuring an accurate and reliable breakdown of song ownership shares, along with other important information. You can learn more about this comprehensive project here.
As we’ve been sharing since last spring, we expected to feel the financial effects of the pandemic at the start of 2021. This is the distribution where we are starting to see the impact, as businesses across the board have been facing challenges during these unprecedented times. We anticipate that our March and June distributions will also be affected. Knowing this was coming allowed us to plan, and the BMI team has worked tirelessly to take steps to minimize the financial impact on you.
First, this distribution includes additional royalties attributable to the performance years 2017-2019 produced by the settlement agreement between BMI and the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) in spring of 2020. This agreement marked the successful conclusion of years-long litigation between BMI and the radio industry, resulting in all licensed stations retroactively paying additional license fees for the three-year period mentioned above. Any songwriter or publisher eligible to receive these retroactive payments will find them noted in the radio section of their royalty statement. Second, while certain categories of this distribution have been impacted, digital sector music services and audiovisual platforms saw stability, and in some cases growth, due to an increase of digital service subscribers and more streaming than usual.
Additionally, I’m excited to share that BMI will be introducing a new distribution schedule one year from now to better serve our songwriters, composers and publishers. Starting in 2022, our quarterly distributions will be evenly spaced apart every three months so that there is one distribution per calendar quarter, each February, May, August and November. Moreover, payments will be slightly accelerated, meaning you will see royalties about one month faster from performance to payment than you do now. On average, you will see associated royalty payments six months after performances.
In order to transition to this new schedule in 2022, BMI will include a fifth distribution this year in November of 2021. Note, we will not be spreading out four quarters of royalties over five payments; rather, this one-time additional distribution will consist of royalties for performances in second quarter 2021, which would typically have been paid out in January of 2022. Our hope is that this additional distribution maximizes your 2021 royalties during this difficult time. Looking ahead, please know that BMI is doing everything we can to mitigate the situation for our creative community.
In Company news, last fall the BMI Board of Directors elected Caroline Beasley, CEO of Beasley Media Group, LLC as BMI’s new Chairman of the Board. Caroline is dedicated to BMI’s mission and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role. The Board also extended my contract as President and CEO through the end of 2026, and I’m honored to continue to have the privilege of serving such an extraordinary family of music creators and copyright owners.
As you know, BMI is committed to driving meaningful change in our communities while continuing our efforts to be a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. To that end, I’m grateful that legendary Gospel songwriter and artist BeBe Winans will act as a consultant and personal advisor to me to lend his guidance and perspective as BMI continues this important work.
Finally, we have many affiliates to congratulate this quarter. I encourage you to visit our special online BMI London and Country Award celebrations that honor our outstanding winners and feature exclusive video messages, sensational performances, memorable photos and more. Additionally, we salute our exceptional CMA Award winners, Latin GRAMMY winners, 2021 GRAMMY nominees and Ivors Composer Award winners.
Moving forward, we are optimistic for the fresh start this year brings and excited for the phenomenal new music you will create next. Thank you for your continued trust.
President and Chief Executive Officer