Revenues increased $55.5 million, or 9.7%, over the prior year. The performing rights organization distributed royalties of more than $533 million, the largest distribution to BMI's songwriters, composers and music publishers in the company's history. Royalties increased by $50.6 million or 10.5 percent from the previous year. The substantial increase was made possible by the company's continued focus on cost reduction and its aggressive adoption of new state-of-the-art business tools, which brought BMI's overhead down to 15.1 percent.
"Our revenue increase was especially remarkable in economic times that have kept other major copyright companies in BMI's sector to zero growth or negative year-on-year results," said Preston. Significant licensing agreements signed during the year included final agreements with HBO and Cinemax, including all of their multiplex networks; agreements with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for both radio and television affiliates; and important revenue increases from eating-and-drinking establishments and mobile entertainment (ringtones) providers.
BMI's recently announced ten-year $1.6 billion accord for new blanket and per program agreements with the radio industry contributed to the results. However, the substantial increases negotiated by BMI in the deal apply to future years' license payments from 2004 through 2006.
BMI's Executive Vice President Del Bryant told the Board "the licensing success is a direct reflection of the continued strength of the BMI repertoire." Among the multi-platinum megastars whose works BMI licensed during the year include Eminem, R. Kelly, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, The Neptunes, Irv Gotti, The Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain and Toby Keith. The company's legendary strength in film and television music continued in 2003 with music in blockbusters including "Matrix Reloaded," "X2: X-Men United," and "Finding Nemo." During the fall 2002/2003-television season, BMI composers had music in 80 percent of the ten top-rated primetime series.
BMI's highly visible success made an impression on three of today's most successful stars: Christina Aguilera, Michelle Branch and Pink - who elected to leave their former society and affiliate with BMI.
The company's foreign revenue chalked up an increase of more than 13 percent over the prior year to a total of $137.7 million, despite a difficult year in foreign markets.
"BMI is strategically well prepared to maximize the opportunities presented in this very challenging period in our industry," said Preston. "I believe this to be, for BMI, a time of unprecedented opportunity."
BMI's fiscal year covers the period July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2003.
Representing more than 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers with a repertoire of 4.5 million musical works from around the world, BMI licenses more than half the music performed in America. Founded in 1939, BMI operates on a non-profit basis, paying 85% of revenue collected to copyright owners.