Publishing BMI Live

Published on October 20th, 2012 | by Hugh Hession


Getting paid to play through BMI Live

If you’re a working musician, then you’ve probably seen the ASCAP and BMI stickers from time to time, posted in various places within the venues you play. This gives you some indication that venues are actually paying their general license dues which permits performances (whether it be through a jukebox, DJ or band) of all songs in each of the PRO’s (performing right’s organization) catalogs, including your own!

The catch? The typical indie band never sees a dime of the licensing money collected.

The reason, is that this type of license is not a monitored area. Usually, the PRO’s place their focus on the top 200 grossing tours and the associated venues. And, to really get your blood boiling (ready for this?), all the venue licensing collected from the lower end (bars, civic centers, auditoriums and promoters) goes directly to all the top music stars! You, Mr. and Mrs. Indie Artist, get zilch.

At least BMI set out to level the playing field a bit with a program called BMI Live. Now, you have the ability (even as an indie) to report your performances during a 6-month span to BMI and have the potential to get paid royalties for those performances. Pretty cool stuff. Thing is, the majority of artists we talk to, don’t know anything about the program!

Getting paid through the service is not a “for sure” thing (is it ever in this business?). I mean, there are things to take into consideration like the type of venues you are playing in, the frequency you play original material and other factors. You have to be a registered member of BMI to benefit.

You can also access BMI Live with your phone through their mobile service.

It’s tough enough to get paid anything substantial through live shows. Why cut yourself off from a potential income source?

Check out the BMI Live video.

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About the Author

owns and operates Emerging Artists Entertainment Marketing & Consulting, LLC - a company devoted to cultivating aspiring music artists, He is also the head of Hession Entertainment Group, LLC (artist management) and the Music Industry Liaison for the artist discovery site, TalentWatch ( He has over 25 years experience in the music business as a performer, composer, producer and artist manager. Hugh holds a BA in Marketing and is a professional member of NARIP and a voting member of The Recording Academy. He often speaks at seminars and workshops on artist development.

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