BMI ended its fiscal year on June 30 once again breaking revenue records with $1.283 billion, up 7% over the previous year. BMI also distributed and administered $1.196 billion to its songwriters, composers and publishers, its highest distributions ever, and a 7% or $78 million increase over last year. These results mark the most reported public performance revenues and highest royalty distributions of any music rights organization in the world.
In making the announcement, BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill, said, “BMI values the trust our affiliates place in us, and we are gratified to once again generate record revenues on their behalf. Our achievements are a direct result of the unrivaled creativity of the songwriters and composers we represent and the worldwide popularity of their music.” O’Neill added, “We always strive to do better, and we will continue to work hard to champion the rights of our creators and protect the value of their copyrights.”
The $1.196 billion in total distributions includes domestic and international royalties, as well as royalties from direct deals that BMI administers on behalf of its publishers. Distributions from direct deals grew $9 million in FY ‘19 for a total of $62 million, holding steady at 5% of BMI’s total distributions.
The company achieved these milestones while maintaining its record-low overhead rate. When factoring in the impact of direct deal administration, BMI continues to distribute nearly 90 cents of every dollar directly back to its songwriters, composers and publishers.
BMI’s total domestic revenue, encompassing digital, media and general licensing, topped out at $943 million, a $63 million, or 7%, increase. That growth was driven by a $47 million increase in digital revenue, up 22% year-to-year for a total of $262 million. New deals with the growing video-on-demand streaming market, including Twitch and Amazon Channels, as well as new licensees in the eFitness market, such as Peloton and Flywheel, helped drive that success.
General licensing, which is generated from businesses like bars and restaurants, hotels and fitness centers, along with other income, also posted record results of $169 million, an 8% gain year-to-year, representing 18% of BMI’s domestic revenue pie. The company added approximately 16,500 new businesses to its growing portfolio in this sector.
Revenue from cable and satellite sources once again generated the largest portion of BMI’s domestic revenue at 30%, while traditional radio and television accounted for 24% of the overall domestic total. Notably, BMI’s digital revenue has now grown to encompass 28% of the company’s total domestic revenue portfolio and is now the second biggest contributor to that total.
BMI’s international revenue also reached an all-time high of $340 million, an increase of $21 million, or 7% over the previous year. The strength of BMI’s repertoire of film, television and songs helped the company achieve these record results in spite of a negative foreign exchange hit of $23 million caused by the strengthening dollar overseas.
In addition, BMI saw its affiliate membership surpass one million for the first time ever, with over 90,000 new songwriters, composers and publishers joining the organization this year. Notable new signings included Lil Nas X, Kendrick Lamar, Brandi Carlile, Willie Colón, and Sarah Schachner, among others, while agreements were extended with Imagine Dragons, Eminem, Shakira, John Legend, Harry Gregson-Williams, Eric Church, P!nk, Rihanna, Ben Decter, J Balvin, Hozier, Halsey, Horacio Palencia, and many more.
BMI processed 2.19 trillion performances in FY ‘19, a 29% increase over last year. Of that total, 98% were digital performances, reinforcing the critical need for fair compensation for songwriters, whose musical contributions provide the very foundation of the streaming services’ businesses.