Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) has begun notifying the 10,000 radio stations and broadcast groups that license its music about the new terms of its agreement with the radio industry. Under a settlement to the four-year old dispute between the Radio Music License Committee and BMI, broadcasters will pay more for the music they use from its repertoire for the period that covers January 2017 through December 2021. The agreement calls for stations to pay 1.78% of their annual gross revenue for on-air spins, less a standard deduction of 12%. That’s a modest increase compared to the 1.7% rate under the previous deal and higher than the 1.4% rate the radio industry had initially proposed in 2016.
Salem CEO Ed Atsinger, who chairs the RMLC, says the rate is “in line” with what the industry has paid to ASCAP and BMI for decades. “While the RMLC certainly would have preferred to report a rate decrease,” he said in a letter to broadcasters, “during the course of negotiations, BMI was able to substantiate that its affiliates’ radio spin share had increased relative to ASCAP’s.” He also said pointed out the two agreed to maintain a sliding scale based on station revenue, which will be especially helpful in the current business climate. “The percentage-of-revenue license structure means that fees will adjust along with station revenues during these uncertain economic times,” said Atsinger.