BMI Is Selling: What This Means for Songwriters

By: Jordan Bromley
– Billboard

Manatt Entertainment Leader Jordan Bromley wrote an article for Billboard on how the sale of music licensing giant BMI’s interests may affect songwriters.  

Since the announcement of BMI’s sale to a shareholder group assembled by private equity firm New Mountain Capital, songwriter advocacy groups and music attorneys have voiced questions and consternation about the transparency of the sale and if songwriters who are unhappy about the sale would be given a window to leave. Bromley discussed the questions that songwriters and their representatives need answers to, including: 

  1. What does the sale mean? The formerly not-for-profit BMI has now turned into a for-profit organization and has sold to a private equity company. The concern surrounding this sale is that BMI’s revenue growth has typically been passed onto the songwriters and publishers involved, and turning to a for-profit model will result in revenue going to shareholders.  
  2. How does this compare with artists’ other options? BMI’s goal is that the sale won’t negatively affect writers and publishers, but it’s not a guarantee.  
  3. Do BMI writers share in the sale proceeds? In response to mounting pressure from advocacy groups, BMI said $100 million will be shared with its affiliates, but it will be up to BMI to determine who gets it and how much. The rest of the estimated $1 billion goes to BMI’s shareholders. 

Billboard subscribers can read the full article here.



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