One half is designated for the songwriter(s), and the other half is designated for the publisher(s) or copyright holder(s). Learn more about how BMI pays royalties. If you do not have a publisher, you will also receive the publisher’s share as a writer.
BMI conducts music showcases nationwide and offers a variety of professional development seminars, but we cannot get your songs placed on the radio. Publishers, labels, managers and other outside executives may help you find new outlets for your work, but as a performing right organization, BMI’s focus is fair payment and copyright protection for our songwriters, composers and music publishers.
First of all, congratulations! Now, you need to make sure your work is registered. As soon as a song is published and/or recorded, it should be registered with and reported to BMI. BMI’s ability to license and monitor the performances of a composition is dependent upon the accuracy and timeliness of this reported information. Without it, you may miss out on royalties.
Typically, a publisher will register songs for songwriters. Early registration of works will help prevent lost royalties, so make sure your songs are registered.
Your composition is copyrighted automatically when the work is “created,” which the law defines as being “fixed” in a copy or a recording for the first time. The registration of your copyright is recommended, but not required. BMI does not copyright works for you.
If you wish to copyright your works, which we recommend, visit copyright.gov.
Although your song is technically copyrighted as soon as you finish writing it, it’s still a good idea to register that copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering a song with BMI will only allow you to receive performance royalties if that song gets performed; it does not give you protection under copyright law.
Cue sheets are the primary means by which performing rights organizations track the use of music in films and TV. Without cue sheets, it would be nearly impossible for such composers and publishers to be compensated for their work.
On “official” remixes, meaning the new work has been commissioned by, or otherwise approved by, the creators/rights owners of the original work, yes, BMI does pay performance royalties. An “official” remix usually involves a DJ/producer, and, to the extent that there is a sufficient amount of new creative elements in the remix, it will typically be considered a derivative work. The label, artist, publishers, writers, and individual(s) involved in creating the remix will agree on what the royalty splits will be for the remix, which requires a new BMI registration to reflect the agreed royalty splits.
On an “unofficial” remix, meaning the remix was done without the consent of the creators/rights owners of the original work and the creator of the remix, no, BMI does not pay performance royalties to the individual(s) involved in creating the remix, because it is an unauthorized derivative work. “Unofficial” remixes should not be registered with BMI as a new work.