BMI Took a $60 Million hit due to Covid, but still made a shit ton of money

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

Broadcasting Media Incorporated (BMI) suffered an estimated $60 million loss due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But they still generated $1.311 billion in revenue, a $28 million increase from 2019. BMI claims they distributed 94% of their revenue to their members. The main reason for their loss was a drop in licensing revenue from businesses. But they made up for these losses with higher revenue from radio and digital licenses.

Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) is one the biggest performing rights organisation in the United States. It collects license fees from businesses that use music on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes royalties to their members. Just like most businesses this year, they lost a significant amount of money due to the COVID-19 pandemic, about $60 million. But they still managed to generated $1.311 billion in revenue, a $28 million increase from 2019 and distributed 94% of these revenues to their members.

A big part of BMI's $60 million estimated loss is due to the organisation seeing a dip in revenue from licenses to places that play music for their customers, like bars, clubs, music venues, clothing stores and other businesses. The general licensing and “other income”, which include these licenses, was $130 million this year, a dip of $39 million (23%) compared to the 2019 fiscal year.

BMI managed to make up for their COVID-19 losses due to a growth in radio and digital licenses. In the US alone, radio revenue for this fiscal year was $155 million, which is a $27 million (21%) increase compared to last year. Digital revenue saw a $42 million (16%) uptake in the US, reaching $304 million. That is approximately one-third of BMI's US income, meaning digital income outperformed all other categories for the very first time.

BMI cited an early 2020 settlement with the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) as one of the factors for its increase in radio revenues. The agreement will retro-actively reward BMI millions in licensing costs from the years 2017-2020 and will run till the end of 2021.

Another reason for BMI’s surprisingly well fiscal year, is the rise in revenue from video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. People spend more time using video streaming services this year, in part because everyone was sitting at home. BMI receives royalties for the music used in many of the films, series and documentaries you can find online.

BMI’s membership base grew with 10% this year with almost 100.000 new artists, songwriters and publishers joining the organisation. New members include Chance the Rapper, Tame Impala, H.E.R and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.


Source: Music Row