BMI SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT!
October 22, 2009
I’ve been with BMI for almost half-a-century as a writer, a friend of the organization for 30 years when I was GPM of Warner Brothers music, and CEO of Irving-Almo music. And when I opened my own publishing company, my late friend, Ron Anton a senior V.P. at BMI, named it…WayneArt Music.
I’ve steered hundreds and hundreds of writers to BMI because I thought it was the best of the performance societies, but then I became outraged a few royalty periods ago when BMI started withholding monies from songwriters if they earned less than $250 in that quarter. I bitched about it on my blog and urged my songwriting pals not to take this lying down!
About a month ago when I got a check from BMI for $115, for a song I wrote 40 years ago, I felt proud that I might have been able to help in a small way to change the practice affecting thousands and thousands of songwriters who need every penny they could get their hands on…after all songwriters have always been on the bottom of the music business ladder.
Then got dozens of e-mails from my readers who offered praise, scorn, and conflicting information about what was going on at BMI. I guess it was my ego that stopped me from going directly to the company and finding out for myself. I was afraid of dealing with people I didn’t know, who didn’t realize that I am a legend in my own mind, expecting a certain level of respect.
Then while dealing with BMI on an unrelated matter, I was contacted by Phil Graham, a senior VP at BMI who once worked closely with the late Ron Anton.
I have been following your blog recently, with growing concern about the exchange of misinformation about BMI’s royalty payment policies. In an effort to provide accurate information, let me begin by listing several ways in which BMI writers are paid that I believe responds to the many concerns you have posted, and have been posted by others in your blog:
BMI writers have had available for many years the ability to receive payments on the day of the royalty distribution electronically, either through direct deposit with one’s bank, or through an industry leading initiative we call “The Card from BMI”… essentially an ATM card that draws money from an account into which BMI deposits royalties. The forms to set up these kinds of payment facilities are available on bmi.com and thousands of writers have already taken advantage of these methods. However, if a writer does want a check we will make payment in that form if requested through one of our Writer/ Publisher offices for amounts over $2.
As part of BMI’s “Green initiative” two years ago, we made a decision to mail out royalty checks only once a year for writers who earned $250 or less. It appears that the check you recently received was our annual royalty payment. We send out thousands of these annual checks for very small amounts… some of them as small as $2 to any writer who has earnings from BMI the prior year. Let me emphasize that this annual check in no way prevents any writer from receiving their royalties each quarter as outlined above. It has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars each year that reduces our overhead and increases the overall distribution. It is one of the efficiency measures BMI has put into place to bring our overhead rate down to approximately 12%… among the lowest of any copyright organization in the world.
I would be happy to talk over all of these matters in person with you, either on the phone or… even better… during an in person visit. I would also be pleased to personally set up an appointment for you with one of our senior writer publisher relations executives in our offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta, or Miami.
BMI Senior Vice President
Writer – Publisher Relations
Thank you Phil, that clarifies a lot for me and I’m sure many of my readers. I also feel comfortable working with you and your staff…sorta’ like the old days. If we have any further questions I’ll contact you.
Regards, Artie http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/thank-you-for-one-million-hits/
EXTRA!!!CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE NOMINEES TO THE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME!
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