How Much Does a BMI License Cost?
A BMI license allows you the permission to play music signed to a BMI Label. Under this label, popular artists, such as the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Lady Gaga and classic soundtracks from film and TV, are included. If a band or single artist writes a hit song, the song is often played over and over again and can be heard in almost any setting. Anytime these songs are played, the artist receives a cut of the profits, known as a “royalty.”
How much is it?
- The cost of a BMI license will depend on the type of business requesting it, how it’s going to be used and the size of the business. On average, plan on spending anywhere from $200 to as much as $25,000 for annual licensing fees.
- For something as simple as on hold music over the phone, plan on spending $200 to $400 for a smaller office with less than 50 people. The larger the business gets, the more you may have to pay.
- Most of the time, these organizations are going to charge based on the amount of the square footage of your establishment. For instance, a bar owner on this thread claimed that BMI wanted $10,000 per year for his bar that took up 10,000 square feet.
- All of the information that you want to obtain regarding BMI license can be found on their website. It would help you save a lot of time an effort if you visit their site and find all of the rates that they offer since they can be very detailed depending on the package for which you are looking. For example, a BMI license fee is different from a bar inside a theme park and mall compared to those outside an establishment. The fee would also differ depending on the number of establishments under the same organization.
- A perfect example for computing a BMI license is a bar that is not part of a bigger organization and that owns more than 7 other bars. You will need to specify if the music is playing from a radio, television, or if it is playing live. The price range for the annual licensing fess for this type of establishment can range anywhere from $4000 to $10,000. The cost can still increase, however, and it still will depend on the information that you will provide to BMI based on the structure of your organization and the way the music is played in your establishment.
What is going to be included?
- When you obtain a BMI license, you can expect to obtain legal authorization to play copyrighted music within your establishment. This license will also protect you from paying penalties due to copyright infringement. BMI currently has millions of songs from which you can choose.
What are the extra costs?
- If you happen to pay late and the payment has been due for more than 30 days, BMI will charge at least $25 for each unpaid check that they have in their possession.
- Remember, your license will have to be renewed annually to keep it active.
Tips to know:
- If you plan on playing music in your establishments that is related to BMI, you are required to obtain a license. This is to help musicians get what they deserve since it is not easy to put out great music to which your patrons to listen.
- BMI and the professional music industry tends to have a very bad reputation. If possible, consider signing up for something such as XMSirius Radio or playing indpendent music. There is no reason to spend thousands every year just to play music.
- If you want to get a license, make sure that you deal with the company directly. There are many reports out there of people and businesses getting ripped off by people claiming to be part of the company.
How can I save money?
- When you are trying to obtain a BMI license, it would be a good idea to get the help of someone from the company. It would not hurt to ask them what they think the best package for your establishment would be.
- By paying your bill early, BMI offers discounts up to 10% off your bill. You could even pay in full for the entire year and receive a discount.
- Skip paying the BMI royalties and think of something unique. Offer to play local banks or royalty free music. 99% of the time, your customers really do not care what is playing on the radio.