Formed in 1939 as a non-profit-making performing right organization, BMI was the first to offer representation to songwriters of blues, country, jazz, r&b, gospel, folk, Latin and, ultimately, rock & roll.
BMI was founded by radio executives to provide competition in the field of performing rights, to assure royalty payments to writers and publishers of music not represented by the existing performing right organization and to provide an alternative source of licensing for all music users.
BMI’s history coincides with one of the most vibrant, evolving and challenging periods in music history. As popular music has moved from big-band to rock & roll and hip-hop, and formats have evolved from 78 and 33 1/3-rpm vinyl records to compact discs, MP3s and beyond, BMI has worked on behalf of its members to maintain a leadership position not only in the United States, but worldwide.
Underlying everything BMI does is its philosophy: an open-door policy that welcomes songwriters, composers and music publishers of all disciplines, and helps them develop both the creative and business skills crucial to a career in music.
If you’re a songwriter or composer and have written songs that have the potential to be used on radio, television, the Internet, in restaurants and or any of the thousands of other businesses that use music, you need performing right representation, which will ensure that you get paid when any of those businesses plays your song.
Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the global leader in rights management, processes almost 100 billion copyright transactions annually, providing a vital link between music-content creators and the businesses that use that music.
A recognized leader and innovator in harnessing new technologies to expedite transactions, BMI licenses a broad range of businesses, including radio; broadcast, cable and satellite television; bars and restaurants; performance venues; websites and mobile media, among others. Find out more about BMI, music licensing and the transactional tools available to licensees in our licensing section.