Broadcast Music Inc., better known as BMI, is one of the main performing rights organizations in the world. It is also the company that is in charge of giving you the license to play the music they represent at your business. BMI has been around since 1939, when ASCAP pushed to double license fees to the radio industry and the companies decided to part ways. BMI’s aim is to redistribute the earnings from the music to its rightful owners: the artists that create it.
Why do I need a BMI license?
BMI represents 15 million musical works and over 1 million composers, songwriters, and music publishers from all over the world. Many well-known artists have added their songs to the BMI catalog, from Ed Sheeran to John Legend. What this means is if you play any of their songs in your business, you will require a license from BMI, otherwise you would be facing fines for up to thousands of dollars per song played.
How much does a BMI music license cost?
The average BMI music license for a business costs between $400 and $250 per year, a number that can go up to $2000 depending on the size of the business and the number of locations. The cost also depends on whether the business is a bar (a much higher fee) or a retail shop (a lower fee).
However, the cost of this license does not cover all the music of your business unless you are planning on only playing songs or artists covered in the BMI catalog. If you are going to play music from outside the BMI catalog you would need licenses from other performing rights organizations to fill the gaps that a BMI license does not cover.
ASCAP vs BMI license
The difference between an ASCAP and a BMI license is mainly that they represent different singers and songwriters. An artist can choose which organization represents their work. Both licenses are paid separately and in order to have a varied music stream you will need both licenses.
The smart solution
Instead of paying a series of individual licenses separately, you can choose instead to have SoundMachine do all the work for you. We cover all the licenses needed to play ASCAP, BMI, GMR, and SESAC music, for as low as $31.95 per month. You can just import your own playlists from Spotify to SoundMachine and you are safe to play all the music you want in your business legally. You can try SoundMachine for a free month by just clicking here.