Play Live, Get Paid: BMI Live Pays Performing Songwriters for Gigs

Posted in News on March 7, 2012
Photo: Erika Goldring

As thousands of bands flock to Austin for the annual South by Southwest music festival next week, performing right organization BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) urges all BMI-registered artists to go to and sign up for BMI Live.

Now in its second year, BMI Live pays royalties to songwriters for live performances in bars, clubs, restaurants and other music venues. Since its launch, the groundbreaking program has distributed tens of thousands of dollars to BMI writers. In the coming year, BMI hopes to significantly increase royalty distribution and participation.

“When songwriters perform their songs in a venue, it is a public performance that is eligible for performance royalties,” said Mike O’Neill, BMI Senior Vice President of Repertoire and Licensing. “BMI Live was developed to ensure these songwriters receive the payments that are rightfully theirs.”

An innovative tool to increase royalty distribution to artists who perform their own original work, BMI Live utilizes digital and mobile technology to pay songwriters at all levels. For participating artists who face the tough, and at times hand-to-mouth, day-to-day realities of touring bands and performing songwriters, BMI Live has provided welcome additional income.

“The bands and solo performers playing in Austin next week are some of the hardest working and most promising new songwriters in the world,” said O’Neill. “The financial support offered by BMI Live could help them continue to develop their craft and their careers. In turn, their participation and feedback will help us grow and improve BMI Live.”

To sign up for BMI Live, songwriters should log into the BMI Live section of and register their set lists, with the date and venue where they performed. They will then be eligible for quarterly royalty payments for the public performance of their original songs and compositions. For Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users, BMI Live can be accessed from the BMI Mobile app, while Android users will find BMI Live on the BMI Mobile website. BMI Live’s mobile platforms offer all the same services that are available online via laptop and desktop computers.

Songwriters who have not yet affiliated with BMI should first go to to register their songs with BMI. In keeping with its longstanding open door policy, there is no charge to affiliate or register songs with BMI, and all songwriters are welcome and encouraged to join.

For more information on BMI Live, visit


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