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US music-licensing organisation BMI switched to a for-profit business model in October 2022. It said the strategy would help it to be “even more competitive in the future… We found that the old model stifled us in terms of investing in BMI, and investing for the future”.

Since then, rumours have re-emerged that BMI may be up for sale, with Reuters reporting in July that the for-profit switch may have made it more appealing to potential buyers.

Now a group of organisations representing songwriters have written to BMI boss Mike O’Neill with some pointed questions.

Billboard published the letter, which was signed by Songwriters of North America, Black Music Action Coalition, Artist Rights Alliance, Music Artists Coalition and SAG-AFTRA.

“BMI does not own copyrights or other assets; it is a licensing entity for copyrights owned by songwriters and, by extension, publishers. Songwriters have a right to understand these decisions and how it impacts us,” they wrote.

“As advocacy organizations representing songwriters, we have questions about the impact of a proposed transaction on our songwriter members.”

There followed 24 questions focusing on BMI’s profits; proceeds from any sale; and how BMI would operate after a sale – zeroing in on how songwriters would benefit (or suffer) from the changes.

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