October 1, 2009


As a long time member of BMI, I became outraged a few royalty periods ago when the performance society started withholding monies from songwriters if they earned less than $250. After bitching about it on my blog and urging my songwriting pals not to take this lying down, BMI seems to have changed its policy!

Last week I got a check from BMI for $115 for a song I wrote 40 years ago, and I felt proud that I was able to help in a small way to change their ridiculous practice that was probably created by some low management bean counter. You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to figure out that millions of dollars were being illegally withheld from thousands and thousands of people who need every penny they could get their hands on., people who have always been on the bottom of the music business ladder.

I’ve always been a songwriter’s advocate, and many times I sided with the writer against my own company if I thought they were being treated unfairly. This included the time I started the ball rolling to get Brian Wilson millions of dollars from Irving-Almo music, who bought his catalog from his father, who didn’t properly compensate his son.

Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss are good people, and when they saw that Brian had been wronged they stepped up and did the right thing. I know Del Bryant, CEO of BMI, who’s a good and decent man, and I assume he stepped up and did the right thing with his trusting membership.

Then a skeptical music publishing friend of mine, who prefers to remain anonymous, asked, “What if they paid you under the minimum just to shut you up and didn’t give anyone else the same consideration?”

Now BMI wouldn’t do that…would they?

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne



  1. Barry Osalncer Says:

    Artie I am sure you saved BMI from lossing writers and publishers from moving to ASCAP. By the way what is are feelings about ASCAP…Any dirty tricks coming from them? Asking because I am about to finish a album with a new band and will be picking one of the two BMI or ASCAP in the next month.
    Barry O

  2. Amin EL Says:

    Interesting article Artie,
    You’re right, the artist certainly needs every dime
    especially within this uncertain digital environment.
    Big Black (Ray Daniel), a close friend and mentor of mine has often mentioned to me the past problems he has had as a member of BMI. Maybe now after reaching the seasoned age of 72, he’ll recieve proper royalty compensation.


  3. David Spinozza Says:

    Thanks Artie,

    I just received two checks from BMI. Both of them were under $250. Together they were worth about $300. One as a writer and one as a publisher.
    I guess the two separate entities would’ve allowed them not to send either check.

    Thanks for your diligence.

    David Spinozza

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