Broadcast Music Incorporated

Broadcast Music, Incorporated (BMI) is a US performing rights organization. It collects license fees on behalf of its songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed.


BMI was founded by radio executives in 1939 to provide competition in the field of performing rights, to assure royalty payments to writers and publishers of music not represented by the existing performing right organizations, and to provide an alternative source of licensing for all music users. The company was established as competition for ASCAP, which had dominated the music-licensing industries for decades.

BMI was the first performing rights organization in the United States to represent songwriters of blues, country, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, folk, Latin, and ultimately, rock and roll. During the 1940s and 1950s, BMI was the primary licensing organization for Country artists and R&B artists, while ASCAP centered on more established Pop artists. Also during this time, BMI expanded its repertoire of classical music and now represents the majority of the members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters and the winners of 29 Pulitzer Prizes for Music.


A non-profit making entity, BMI issues licenses to users of music, including:

  • television and radio stations and networks;
  • new media, including the Internet and mobile technologies such as podcasts, ringtones and ringbacks;
  • satellite audio services like XM and Sirius;
  • nightclubs, discos, hotels, bars, and restaurants;
  • symphony orchestras, concert bands, and classical chamber music ensembles;
  • digital jukeboxes;
  • live concerts.

BMI tracks public performances 6.5 million works and collects and distributes licensing revenues for those performances as royalties to over 350,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers it represents, and thousands of creators around the world who have chosen BMI for representation in the U.S.

BMI annually hosts award shows for the purpose of giving awards to songwriters.

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