Do you have questions about the use of music in your business? Please review the FAQ’s below or contact a BMI representative for additional assistance.
Q: Our event is in a facility that has a BMI Music License. Is it covered under their agreement?
No. When a facility, such as a hotel or convention center, leases space to an outside organization for any of its meetings, conventions, trade shows or expositions, the facility’s BMI Music License does not cover music used at those events. More specifically, the BMI hotel license does not include leased areas of the hotel where meetings, conventions or trade shows take place. Even though the hotel may supply the music to any of the meeting or convention areas, the presenter of the event is still responsible for licensing the music, whether performed live or recorded.
Q: Who is responsible: the individual exhibitor or the organization presenting the event?
Your organization, as the presenter, is responsible for all music used within the scope of the event. Such an exhibitor’s use of music takes place in the context of your or your affiliate’s trade show or exposition, and because exhibitors have applied to be part of the event and paid a fee to be involved, their presence and all aspects of their exhibit benefit your organization or the organizations that you represent. That includes, of course, any use of music whether in slide presentations, videos, or through sound equipment. Even if the event or your or your affiliates’ organizations are non-profit, this responsibility still applies because admissions are sold and participants pay to be part of the trade show or exposition.
Q: Our event is not open to the general public. Are we exempt?
No. Even though your event is open only to members of your industry, you must secure a BMI Music License. The United States Copyright Law defines a public place as any place where persons outside of "a normal circle of family and friends" are gathered. In other words, even though your event is closed to the general public, the members of your industry, in attendance, do form a public. They are not an informal gathering of family and friends. So, exhibitor booths, general stage presentations, cocktail parties and banquets, as well as other ambient music use, require the appropriate music licensing.
Q: What are synchronization rights and how are they different from mechanical rights and performing rights?
Synchronization rights are rights granted by copyright owners to those wishing to synchronize their musical compositions to visual images on film or tape. This type of musical performance is often employed by trade show vendors to enhance the presentation of their products.
If a trade show vendor employs synchronization – by presenting a video, for example – he or she must also obtain performance rights to perform that synchronized music for the public (meeting, convention, trade show, or exposition attendees).
Synchronization rights should not be confused with mechanical rights. Mechanical rights are granted by a music publisher, usually to a record company, to record and release a specific composition at an agreed-upon fee for each unit manufactured and sold.
Q: How is our fee determined?
The Minimum Fee
Each year, the minimum fee will be adjusted based on the percentage increase or decrease of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rounded off to the nearest $5.00.
Number of Attendees
Each year, BMI will ask you to report the number of attendees at your trade show(s). Your total annual fee (if above the minimum fee) is based on a rate per attendee that is also adjusted based on the percentage increase or decrease of the CPI, rounded off to the nearest penny. Attendee count is based on the following scenarios:
- Where live, recorded and/or audio-visual music is played anywhere on the exhibit floor (including in exhibitor booths): The number of attendees equals the total number of persons registered at the trade show/convention.
- Where no live, recorded and/or audio-visual music is performed on the exhibit floor, or where no exhibit floor exists but music is performed at other functions of the meeting, convention, trade show or exposition: The number of attendees is the total attendance at each function held at which music is performed, with the number not to exceed the total registered attendance.
In all cases, total attendance (used to calculate the fee) never amounts to more than the total persons registered to attend the entire meeting, convention, trade show or exposition.
How You Will Be Billed
You will pay the minimum annual fee at the beginning of the term of the agreement. Then, within 30 days of the agreement renewal date, you will report and pay (if applicable) the remainder of your fee, which is based on the total number of registered persons for all events.
For example, your calculation would look like this:
Per Attendee Fee x Total Registered Attendees minus the Minimum Fee paid = Balance due BMI.
Billing will take place annually, based on attendance figures you provide us on your BMI Report Form. Initial agreement date and anniversary dates fall on the first of each calendar year.
Download This License
Complete this license and return by:
Customer Service: 1-877-264-2137
Licensing Assistance: 1-888-689-5264
10 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203