Music Business Roundup: BMI’s Record-Breaking Year, U2 Backlash, and Clear Channel Rebrands


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Each week on Songwriter U, Songspace recaps the top stories in the world of music business. Here’s everything you need to know from the week ending on September 19th.

BMI Reports Record Revenue

Performance rights organizations continue to operate in an environment of uncertain digital trends and regulation, but the money keeps coming in. Last week BMI announced record high revenue, around $977 million for the fiscal year ending in June of 2014. That’s up 3.2% from 2013, with cable and satellite revenue (36.3%) out earning TV and radio royalties (35.7%) for the first time in history. BMI collects royalties for over 650,000 US songwriters and publishers.

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U2 and Apple Face Backlash

After the band’s announcement that their latest album was immediately available to over 500 million iTunes users’ accounts, there was a serious backlash – enough to force Apple to publicly explain how users could remove the media from their accounts. Despite the negative press criticizing a lack of privacy, both parties are likely satisfied with the fact that the album has reportedly been played by over 33 million users. Apple and U2 are continue to push their relationship in the news cycle, as they have just announced they are working together to form a new file format that will be “irresistibly exciting” and includes features such as interactive visuals, photography, and lyrics.

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Clear Channel Rebrands as iHeartMedia

If you’ve listened to radio, it’s likely you’ve been marketed iHeartRadio.  Originally a digital radio brand for broadcast behemoth Clear Channel, the service has been successful enough for the parent company to take it’s name. Clear Channel announced last week it will now go by the name iHeartMedia, reflecting the growing importance the digital iHeartRadio to the radio industry. With competition from services like Spotify and Pandora, the company sees the iHeartRadio brand and suite of apps as the future of the business.

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