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BMI Member FAQs

« Back to FAQs What is a public performance of music and what is the “Performing Right”?

A “public performance” of music is defined in U.S. copyright law to include any music played outside a normal circle of friends and family that occurs in any public place. A public performance also occurs when music is transmitted to the public, via radio, TV broadcasts, digital service providers, and any other means. Songwriters, composers, and music publishers have the exclusive right to play their music publicly and to authorize others to do so under the copyright law. This is known as the “Performing Right.” This right was designed to enable and encourage music creators to receive compensation for the music they create. BMI only licenses performing rights and does not license mechanical or synchronization rights. For more information on performing rights, click here.

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