BMI has filed against the North American Concert Promoters Association (NACPA) in the U.S. Rate Court. The performing rights organization says it has been negotiating with NACPA for five years to agree on new rates when BMI member songs are performed publicly.
BMI wants to increase what its members receive when their songs are performed live and bring its rates more inline with what is being paid by other societies. BMI has reportedly filed a petition in federal rate court to seek resolution.
“The music created by songwriters and composers and enjoyed by American music fans is the backbone of the live concert industry, yet the rate paid to BMI for the use of its affiliates’ music vastly undervalues that contribution,” BMI Licensing & Creative EVP Mike Steinberg said in a statement. “We have spent nearly five years attempting to finalize new rates with NACPA that more closely align with the higher rates NACPA members have already agreed to pay to other PROs, both internationally and in the US.
“Instead, NACPA is attempting to shortchange BMI affiliates and rely on outdated rates that do not reflect the evolution of the music industry or take in to account the expanded revenue streams that result from the performances of BMI music. We believe we have a compelling case and look forward to presenting our positions to the court.”
BMI and NACPA first negotiated a rate in 1997 that covered the range between 1998 and 2004, according to Billboard, with live concerts with paid admission with less than 10,000 capacity paying .3 percent of gross ticket revenue and, above that, .15 percent. The rates were extended through 2006 and renewed on one-year terms through 2013.
BMI claims that other PROS like SOCAN and Global Music Rights have negotiated higher royalty rates for songwriters as money generated from live music has increased, Billboard said.
NACPA attorney Benjamin Marks issued the following response to Billboard: “BMI is seeking a massive, unprecedented and unjustified increase in the royalty rate paid by NACPA members for the right to publicly perform the compositions in BMI’s repertory. BMI’s rate proposal is patently unreasonable. NACPA members are committed to paying a reasonable and fair rate for the public performance of all copyrighted compositions and they will not be bullied by BMI’s demands or its commencement of a rate court proceeding.”