It’s no secret these are tough times for the music industry. Musicians, labels and songwriters alike are struggling to make ends meet in a devastating financial climate that’s only made worse by the accessibility of illegal downloads. But the minds behind performing rights organization BMI introduced a program last week designed to help. BMI Live allows performing songwriters to submit their set lists from live performances and actually get paid for it. With the tagline “From soundcheck to royalty check,” Live promises to pay out royalties to both headliners and opening acts.
In a press release from the company, BMI Senior Vice President of Repertoire and Licensing Mike O’Neill says the program will help musicians at all stages in their careers, regardless of the size of the stage they are on. “Small venues and clubs are the lifeblood for songwriters and bands,” he explains. “These venues support live, local music as well as touring artists, and are the cradle of tomorrow’s stars. We’re committed to helping songwriters get paid for their music in these venues, which provide a vital stage for their music.”
Royalty payments have always been a classic “rich get richer” scenario, with BMI and other performing rights organizations writing big checks to artists who already garner significant radio play. While smaller acts have always been able to register with BMI, the new initiative should help them to actually reap the benefits offered by the organization.
According to BMI, the Live program is as easy as five simple steps: Join, Login, Perform, Report, Get Paid. It sounds easy, and it is. Artists will be able to enter their performance information as frequently or infrequently as they wish, and payments will be doled out quarterly beginning in June 2011. There’s even an incentive for eco-friendly artists: BMI says it will offer direct deposit into artists’ accounts, and will issue paperless bank statements.
If you’re looking for more info about BMI Live, check out the program’s Web site here.