BMI comments on temporary radio agreement


Radio stations will see the fee reduction from a temporary music license agreement reflected in their BMI monthly billing for January, the performing right organization told RBR-TVBR. Under the temporary deal announced last week, music license fees for radio will be reduced by 7% until a court sets a rate, retroactive to the start of 2010.

The Radio Music Licensing Committee was at an impasse in rate-setting negotiations with both ASCAP and BMI. So, the parties have all now agreed to temporary rates until the court acts.

“We’ve been negotiating with the RMLC for some time,” said Mike O’Neill, BMI Senior Vice President, Licensing. “Unfortunately, we did not agree on a permanent final fees nor suitable interim fees.  To ensure the continued flow of revenue to our affiliates and to ease the administrative burden on stations, we arrived at this provisional discount. ASCAP had already agreed to this provisional discount with the RMLC and we decided to accept this discounted fee until the BMI rate court sets a proper interim rate.”

Unlike ASCAP, BMI is not making any statement about what it expects the outcome of the rate court proceeding to be. Rather than any reduction from the 2009 rates, ASCAP insists that there should be an increase.

For its part, BMI is saying that the rights holders it represents deserve to be fairly compensated by radio. “Throughout our discussions we were hopeful that BMI and the radio industry could reach an arms-length agreement on a new multi-year license covering all uses of BMI music, both over the air and digital,” said Del Bryant, President and CEO of BMI. “The radio industry’s use of music has been increasing steadily, especially as the result of digital technologies. Although we understand there is downward pressure on radio industry revenues, it still is important that BMI songwriters, composers and music publishers are fairly compensated by radio broadcasters who use music to drive their business,” he concluded.