Criticism and commentary on southern gospel music
A day in the life of a BMI exec on collection rounds.
David Bruce Murray wrote:
There are a couple of places where PROs can be over-reaching. One type of store that PROs don’t attempt to make collections is music stores that sell CDs. They play music for profit, too, but songwriters and artists want the music played in those types of situations where CDs are being sold.
Some store sell more than just music, though. PROs still want to collect from Wal-Mart, for example, because the music department is such a small part of the store.
Unfortunately, this affects smaller stores as well.
When I worked in Christian retail, we were advised (in workshops at Gospel Music Week and at the Christian Booksellers Association) to rearrange the speakers in the store so they were only positioned over the section where we sold CDs. Otherwise, BMI, etc. might come after us and demand that we pay a performance license.
This was really a stupid technicality, because:
1. At that time, the store was so small that customers could still hear the music everywhere they shopped.
2. Someone who was shopping for a book or a bible often heard a song playing and came to the counter asking to purchase the CD.
Corporate types, though, will often cut off their own noses out of spite for their face. You’d think they’d ere on the side of selling more CDs. The publisher/songwriter now gets 9.1 cents per CD sold vs. a much smaller cut from a played performance.
Posted 11 Aug 2010 at 10:38 am ¶
Casual Observer wrote:
Does anyone know if Gospel concert promoters or artists have to pay BMI or ASCAP fees? I’m assuming that if a concert was in a church and not ticketed they would not have to pay. But what about the Gaither Homecoming concerts held in civic arenas and other such venues? Seems like any ticketed Gospel concert would be subject to the same fees that a bar or restaurant would be subject to. Hmm….
Posted 12 Aug 2010 at 8:40 pm ¶
Casual — I believe it’s the venue that has to pay, not the promoter. So, if the concert is at a college auditorium or civic arena, whether it’s country, rock, gospel, or whatever, the venue has to pay a license. I don’t know how the PRO would know how to split that money, unless someone is keeping track of each song performed.
Each PRO probably has some formula, perhaps based more on radio airplay than anything else. I’d guess, if I played a sold-out concert of all my own songs, at a 5,000 seat auditorium, but never received any airplay, I’d probably still never see any BMI money.
Posted 13 Aug 2010 at 11:32 am ¶
I have no idea how BMI splits the money but pormoters are supposed to be the ones with a licensing fee and pay BMI. There is a minimum fee paid each year and a formula for paying BMI based on the gross ticket sales/size of venue, etc. They also is a formula for love offering events. Most Churches and a lot of promoters don’t pay the fees so the songwriters are just out the money that they should have gotten.
Posted 17 Aug 2010 at 8:08 pm ¶
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