BMI in deals with MSN, Yahoo!

BMI in deals with MSN, Yahoo! – Applications

Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), a performing rights group that recently won the right to secure royalty payments from radio stations that stream its content over the Internet, said that it has signed long-term music licensing agreements with MSN Music and Yahoo.

After payment and performance data is received, fees collected from performances on MSN and Yahoo sites will be distributed as royalties to the songwriters, composers and music publishers BMI represents. There are approximately 4.5 million songs and musical works in the BMI canon, including work from around 350,000 artists. The agreements will cover all public performances of all the works.

“We are happy that we have been able to arrive at equitable agreements that help to build the Internet as a legitimate venue for the performance of BMI music. Since we signed the industry’s first music performance agreement for the Web in 1995, we have focused on creating agreements that work for our licensees, songwriters and publishers alike,” said Richard Conlon, vice president of marketing and business development in media licensing for BMI. “These most recent agreements underscore our dedication and that of our licensees to developing the digital music market.”

The agreement comes a day after the announcement that broadcasters and the recording industry reached a tentative settlement over whether or not broadcasters should pay royalties when they play their stations’ programming online. Terms of the deal were not made public.

The agreements also demonstrate the importance of artist compensation, an area that has been controversial over the past two years, with sites like Napster and Gnutella offering users access to millions of songs for free. Although the legal battle was long, record companies and artists have, for the most part, been victorious. There has since been an effort to ‘do it legally’, resulting in a number of sites that do just that.

The announcement from BMI comes in the middle of a month that has been dominated by rollouts of music subscription services, and other music destination plays. Yahoo announced its Music portal, branded with and powered by LAUNCH media, a company it absorbed last June for $12 million in cash.

Listen.com has already rolled out Rhapsody, and RealNetworks Inc. and America Online have already debuted their incarnations of MusicNet.

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