Digital Licensing Overview
BMI Makes It Simple to Connect Your Digital Business to Millions of Licensed Songs
General Website Performance Agreement
The General Website Music Performance Agreement typically applies to a commercial entity that has the potential to generate revenues from operating a website or mobile application but is not considered a Music Service, as defined under the Music Service tab. Some possible sources of revenue may be non-music related subscription fees,
E-commerce, advertising, or sponsorships.
The Corporate Image Performance Agreement applies if the primary function of your website and/or mobile application is to promote your business or corporate brand, or generate little or no direct revenue. The Corporate Image License has a rate based on traffic to pages on your website.
The Promotional Music Clips agreement applies to services that play only a portion, or samples, of songs (not full song performances) in order to promote the sale of recordings, and/or the related artists, or as used in movie trailers.
The Non-Commercial Performance Agreement is offered to any bona fide 501(C)(3) Not-For-Profit Organizations, churches, schools, or other related charitable organizations, but are not considered a Music Service as defined under the Music Service tab. The Non-Commercial License has a rate based on traffic to pages on your website to cover the performance of BMI music on the service. Churches can click here for more information on digital licensing.
The Music Services License is offered to websites, mobile applications, or services (or subsections thereof), whose central focus is the transmission of audio and/or audio-visual material comprising predominantly feature uses of music (e.g., music-formatted radio, on-demand transmissions of music recordings or music videos, live concerts), as opposed to programming with background or incidental and/or occasional feature uses of music (e.g., news/talk radio, situational comedies, feature films).
Audio Visual (AV)
The Audio Visual Services License applies to websites and applications that offer pure play audio-visual programming and generate (or have the potential to generate) revenues. There are many variations of audio-visual programming including, but not limited to; Television, Film, Documentaries, Fitness Services, Music Education/Instruction, Gaming, Sports/News/Talk, and Social-Based apps. BMI has licenses to cover performance licensing for all types of audio-visual services.
Podcast & Misc.
If you have not found a license format that applies to your service or you are unsure what license may apply, please click on the “Get Started” button below and provide us with some information about your service. We will review and let you know what BMI music performance license is needed, if any.
Trusted by thousands of top businesses
Do I need a license?
A “performing right” is granted by the U.S. Copyright Act to owners of musical works to license those works for public performance.
Digital Licensing FAQs
Yes. Your BMI performance license covers the use of over 18.7 million musical works from BMI’s award-winning catalog for both livestreamed and on demand content.
Yes. All online uses of BMI’s musical works require a performance license, whether or not revenue is generated.
Many websites and/or mobile applications base their business on the use of music, while others offer it as an adjunct or compliment to the rest of the content on their service. BMI offers several licensing options in recognition of the diverse and evolving nature of digital businesses. The different rate calculations make sure that a reasonable value is placed on your particular use of music. Learn more about the five different categories of digital licensing here.
Each digital license agreement has an annual minimum fee. This fee for 2021 is $385.00 and is recoupable against any fees calculated up to that amount. Any fees above the minimum are dependent upon a variety of factors including, but not necessarily limited to, business type, revenues, and traffic (please see section 4 of the applicable license type for more details). You will submit Financial Report forms will determine the appropriate fee per each reporting period.
The minimum fee is due upon execution of the agreement, and due by January 31 on a yearly basis thereafter. Financial Reports must be filed either annually or quarterly. Annual Financial Reports are due by March 31st of each calendar year. Quarterly Financial Reports are due at the end of each quarter (i.e. March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, December 31st). When the fee exceeds the annual minimum fee amount already paid for the year being reported, then any additional payments will be due at that time.
The term of this license generally is the date of execution through Dec. 31st of the same year and continuing on a year-to-year basis thereafter. Either party has the option to terminate the agreement at the end of the year, beginning with the end of the year the license was executed, upon 60 days prior written notice.
Your BMI license covers the public performance of BMI music which is made available on a website and/or mobile application either owned, operated or controlled by the licensee and delivered to end users from the URL(s) and/or mobile applications which are listed on the license. Please remember that this license does not cover the transmission of music made available on a website and/or mobile application not listed under your agreement.
Gross Revenues include revenues generated from advertising, sponsorship, subscriptions, transactional purchases, donations, commissions from third party transactions, the fair market value of goods and services received in lieu of cash consideration (trade and barter), and proprietary software. The revenues that you may generate from the sale of physical pre-recorded music product are not included in Gross Revenues under the Agreement. Commissions received from third party transactions, however, must be reported as Gross Revenues.
A page impression is a transfer request for a single page. Page impressions sometimes known as page views, not hits, are the preferred counting method for site-traffic estimates and measurements. Impressions are the number of times a page is requested by the visitor’s browser. A music page is a web page with any links to audio, or multimedia files, which contain music. It can also be a page that has music playing upon the loading of the page. A Music Page Impression is a transfer request for a single Music Page.
Separate financial and music use reports, and separate payments including minimum fee payments, are necessary for each of your website and/or mobile application listed on Exhibit A of your Agreement. Websites and applications on various platforms (iOS, Android, Roku, etc.) with the same functionality are treated as a single service for purposes of payments and reporting. Your company only has to sign one Agreement, regardless of how many websites and/or mobile applications you own or control unless any of those fall under a different license type. Spaces are provided for each URL or application name in the license agreement and attachments (extensions) will be provided if new sites and/or application names are added.
Under the terms of the license agreement, you are required to submit separate annual or quarterly financial reports that contain a summary of your revenue and/or usage, as well as quarterly music use reports detailing the actual content (audio, video) performed within your service.
In order to distribute performance royalties to the songwriters and publishers whose music you use, BMI will ask for information pertaining to the performances of music on your service. You will be asked to identify the music (by song titles, artists, etc.) which are or were available on your service, and to submit statistics that show the performance volume of such music.
U.S. Copyright Law provides that to “perform” a work “publicly” means to recite, render, play, dance, or act it, either directly or by means of any device or process…(1) at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered; or (2) to transmit or otherwise communicate a performance or display of the work to a place specified by clause (3) or to the public by means of any device or process, whether the members of the public are capable of receiving the performance or display receive it in the same place or in separate places and at the same time or at different times.
A BMI music performance license grants businesses the right to publicly perform BMI affiliated music. With one agreement, BMI provides unlimited access to over 18.7 million musical works by more than 1.1 million BMI-affiliated songwriters, composers, and music publishers. A website and/or mobile application that publicly performs music can save time and money by signing an agreement with BMI, rather than negotiating individual agreements with each writer and/or music publisher whose music they wish to use. BMI offers flexible licensing options for websites and/or mobile applications that take into consideration the diverse and evolving nature of business models on the Internet. On behalf of our affiliated songwriters, composers and music publishers, BMI licenses all types of business, including websites, to publicly perform the over 18.7 million works in the BMI repertoire.
Musical compositions, like other intellectual property, belong to their creators. U.S. Copyright Law grants certain exclusive rights to copyright owners, including the right to publicly perform and the right to authorize others to publicly perform the work. Websites that publicly perform music must obtain a license from the copyright owner or their representative. Songwriters and publishers affiliate with a performing rights organization like BMI which, on behalf of these affiliated writers and publishers, provides license agreements for all types of businesses. With more than 900,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and a repertoire of 14 million musical works, a BMI license is an economical and efficient way to obtain the right to publicly perform BMI music.
BMI music includes some of the most popular and widely played music in the world. More than half of all of the music played on U.S. radio is licensed by BMI. Your BMI license allows you to efficiently and effectively use all of this music for a relatively low fee. Music content is one of the driving forces behind the explosive growth of the Internet. As technological capabilities continue to improve, sound and video are becoming seamlessly integrated with web content. As a result, music can be an integral component of any successful business model in cyberspace. The web will depend on music in much the same way that radio and television rely on music for programming and content. On the web, music can bring even more added value as consumers become more actively involved in the content experience.
BMI serves thousands of customers who use music as an integral part of their businesses. In addition to websites and/or mobile applications, our customers include radio stations, local television stations, cable networks and systems, television networks, telephone video-on-demand program packagers, as well as a wide variety of commercial businesses ranging from hotels and restaurants to background music services, nightclubs, shopping malls and health clubs. BMI helps its customers efficiently and effectively use the power of BMI music.
BMI represents over 18.7 million musical works by 1.1 million songwriters, composers and publishers from across the musical spectrum. Our catalog includes musical works written by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Dolly Parton, Miles Davis, Babyface, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon and Elton John just to name a few. BMI TV, film, theater and classical composers are equally successful. BMI legends such as Mike Post of “NYPD Blue,” fame or Ed Kalehoff, who wrote the opening for “Monday Night Football,” Charlie Fox, who penned numerous TV hits, including “Happy Days,” and WG Snuffy Walden, whose first big theme was for “ThirtySomething” are a small sample of the composers represented by BMI. BMI also represents the primary composers of many of the top grossing films of all time, including E.T., Jurassic Park, Star Wars, which were scored by John Williams, and “The Lion King,” with songs by Elton John and Tim Rice. For a complete of BMI featured musical works, you can refer to the song title database on the homepage of bmi.com.
Your license fees go back to the songwriters, composers and music publishers who create the music you are playing. BMI operates as a not-for-profit organization. All monies received, less operating expenses, are paid to songwriters, composers, and publishers in the form of royalties. Last year nearly 90% of every dollar BMI generated was returned to the creative community. Your BMI license fees enable the songwriters whose music you play to keep doing what they do best: writing more music to help make your website and/or mobile application a more frequently visited destination with compelling and entertaining content.
In order to better meet the needs of the digital business community and support new and emerging businesses and business models, we have instituted a choice of rates in our licensing models to reflect the diverse nature of the medium. We also strive to encourage the use of BMI music as these new business models emerge. We believe that the web should not be silent. We are committed to making sure that music is a large part of the development and maturation of the internet.
Even though there may be many artists represented on your service that are not known to the general public, they may be performing music in the BMI catalogue. There may also be artists that are represented on your service who are BMI affiliated songwriters. Unsigned artists and artists signed to independent labels who write their own songs benefit greatly from the income generated from performance royalties. If your business is deriving revenue from the performance of music, then the songwriters and music publishers should be compensated for their creative contribution to your business.
Songwriters only receive a fraction of their compensation from revenue generated by the sales of the recording, and often split that fraction with co-writers and publishers. Many songwriter’s livelihoods depend on the money they receive from public performance royalties collected by BMI. In fact as much as 75% of a songwriter’s compensation can be from the performance royalty from radio, TV, cable networks and commercial establishments. The greatest hits of the 60s and 70s are still some of today’s most widely played songs. Because of the amount of airplay that occurs over the years, the public performance royalty becomes a critical component of the songwriter’s income. Many talented songwriters depend on the public performance revenues they receive through BMI to make their living.
There is no exemption for 30 seconds or less under U.S. Copyright Law. Record companies may permit such uses by certain businesses for the purpose of promoting album sales. Remember, however, that record companies derive most of their revenue from sales; BMI songwriters and publishers, on the other hand, depend heavily on income from public performance royalties.
In addition to the performing rights organizations that represent the writers and publishers of the musical works that you use on your website and/or mobile application, you may need to contact the record companies and/or the RIAA through their licensing organization SoundExchange works.