BMI is founded by a group of radio industry leaders meeting in September at the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention in Chicago. The move is prompted by ASCAP requesting to double license fees to the radio industry in a new five-year contract. The founding meeting is chaired by NAB President Neville Miller. The BMI business plan is presented by brilliant young CBS lawyer Sydney Kaye, a leading authority on copyright. The Kaye blueprint proposes that broadcasters purchase BMI stock to provide seed money for the new organization. Kaye secures a charter for BMI from the state of New York, effective October 14, 1939. On February 15, Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) opens offices at 580 5th Ave. in New York City.
Competing against the strongly established ASCAP, BMI sought out artists that ASCAP tended to overlook or ignore. BMI also purchased the rights to numerous catalogs held by independent publishers or whose ASCAP contracts were about to expire. To attract newer writers, BMI proposed to compensate songwriters and publishers on the basis of a fixed fee per performance, as opposed to ASCAP's two-tier system which discriminated against less-established songwriters. Thus, despite its original motivation regarding radio station royalties and its focus on radio station revenues vs artist revenues, BMI became the first performing rights organization in the United States to represent songwriters of blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel (black genres, performers, and writers that ASCAP did not want to represent), country, folk, Latin, and—ultimately—rock and roll.
During the 1940s and 1950s, BMI was the primary licensing organization for Country artists and R&B artists, while ASCAP centered on more established Pop artists. Also during this time, BMI expanded its repertoire of classical music, and now represents the majority of the members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters and the winners of 31 Pulitzer Prizes for Music. In July 2017, BMI renewed long-term partnership with C3 Presents, the world's largest music festival producers.
BMI annually hosts award shows that honor the songwriters, composers and music publishers of the year's most-performed songs in the BMI catalogue. BMI Award shows include the BMI Latin Awards, BMI Pop Awards, BMI Film/TV Awards, BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, BMI London Awards, BMI Country Awards, BMI Christian Awards, and the BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Honors.
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According to en.wikipedia; www.bmi.com.