Historic Achievement: BMI Paid $1 Billion in Music Royalties

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Khalid on  NBC's "The Tonight Show". He is one of BMI's thousands of members. Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC
The music licensing agency BMI reached $1 billion in revenue one year earlier than the company's chief executive Michael O' Neill, predicted in 2015. The preforming rights organization whose thousands of members include Frank Ocean, Chris Brown and SZA, announced that it distributed $1.02 billion in royalties during its previous fiscal calendar year, which ended back in June.

Revenue returns at BMI have grew over the last 10 years as tech giants such as Spotify, Google Play, and Apple Music changed the patterns on how Music Fans consume music. As record sales fell, the "preforming rights" licensed by BMI, ASCAP and others greatly benefited by the increased popularity of streaming services.

BMI, processed close to 1.4 trillion performances, up 40 percent from the year before, and 1.35 trillion of that total were digital according to the organization.

Federal regulators monitors both the BMI and ASCAP and last year, the justice Department ordered the two groups to make changes to their licensing procedures. BMI challenged that interpretation in the court and won, but the government appealed the case in May.

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