Friday, June 14, 2013

BMI: The Bridge between Music Creators and the Businesses that Use Music

Louisiana Restaurant Association members receive a 20 percent discount of music licensing fees by paying online.

There is no doubt that music is one of the quickest and easiest ways for restaurants to establish atmosphere and ambiance. But what many restaurant owners and managers have long known is now being supported by research: Music not only establishes ambiance, it also serves as a powerful tool for driving profits.

According to the Gallup Organization, one restaurant study revealed that low-tempo music can increase per dinner party bar sales 40.9 percent, and that patrons stay 24 percent longer when slow tempo music is played. Restaurant Management Magazine reported on a test titled "The Influence of Background Music on Restaurant Patrons," which revealed sales increased 11.6 percent when up-tempo music was played during lunch. Sales increased 15.7 percent when slower tempo music was played during dinner.

Music branding—the process of compiling playlists to suit an establishment’s brand and positioning--has become an increasingly popular consulting service, with a host of companies advising establishments on the right soundtrack to drive real business results, strengthen customer loyalty and enhance the dining experience.

To facilitate and simplify the process of licensing music for their members, more and more restaurant associations are partnering with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)—and availing members of discounts as high as 20 percent off licensing fees. Founded in 1939, BMI is a performing rights organization. BMI represents more than 550,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 7.5 million musical works. The company provides licenses for more than 650,000 businesses that publicly perform music, and distributes the fees it generates as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

A "public performance" of music is defined in the U.S. copyright law to include any music played outside a normal circle of friends and family. Songwriters, composers, and music publishers have the exclusive right to play their music publicly and to authorize others to do so under the copyright law. This is known as the performing right.

For every dollar collected, 85 cents goes right back out the door as royalties to BMI’s songwriters, composers and music publishers, whose right to ownership of their songs is granted by Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

In order to make the process of licensing the work of so many songwriters and music publishers as simple and affordable as possible, BMI provides businesses with a blanket license. The BMI blanket license is an affordable and fair way for business owners who use music to comply with copyright laws, and grants unlimited access to the more than 7.5 million songs written by BMI songwriters, composers and publishers, often for less than a dollar a day. More than half of the businesses that BMI licenses pay the minimum licensing fee of about 91 cents per day. For those businesses that who are not on the minimum rate, the average cost is about $2 per day. 
The factors that determine the cost of a license include the amount of music used, occupancy and square footage. Often, this information is provided by the businesses themselves. Most business owners who utilize music contact BMI directly, registering and making payments online at They recognize that a music license is a small cost of doing business, and that the profits that music generates are immeasurably greater than the cost of a license.
The vast majority of the songwriters that find a home with BMI are not household names—they are not even performers. They are writers—the smallest of small businesses—and the royalties they receive from the public use of their work is a critical part of their income. The quarterly payments they earn reach every state in the country, and go right back into the communities where they live.
As a free-to-join organization with an open door-policy for all songwriters, BMI seeks to be a bridge between the music creators we represent and the businesses who wish to use their songs to drive profits. BMI representatives are available to answer any questions about the process of licensing music, and are happy to discuss the substantial discounts available to state restaurant association members.
For more information, please visit  or call (888) 869-5264.

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