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Old 02-13-2005, 12:02 AM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
What royalty fees does a radio station pay?

I was always curious how much a radio station pays for royalties to play a song.
Is it 3 cents 30 cents or $5.00?

Just curious.....
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Old 02-13-2005, 12:20 AM
ouryL ouryL is offline
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Originally Posted by Dandmb50
I was always curious how much a radio station pays for royalties to play a song.
Is it 3 cents 30 cents or $5.00?

Just curious.....
They pay ASCAP and BMI a blanket license fee.
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Old 02-13-2005, 03:15 AM
Hometownboy Hometownboy is offline
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Also Sesac.

In days of yore, there was the dreaded week of BMI logging on an annual basis at radio stations. The station would have to record every single bit of music it played. All the songs, and all the background music used in commercials as well. (Which sound library, which cut).

I used to delight in finding the most obscure, one-hit wonder composers to play, figuring that whatever was recorded at our little station was mulitiplied by some factor in determining royalties paid.

I'm not sure if they even do that anymore, but it was common during the 1960s to the mid-1980s, at least.

These days, where a satellite DJ in Chicago and his or her tightly controlled playlist can be heard on hundreds of stations simultaneously, the playlist is probably emailed in to BMI.

The argument by the licensing agencies was that we radio stations were using the composers' music to lure listeners and sell the sponsors' ads to the resulting audience.

The feeling among broadcasters was that the composers should be paying us, since no one would buy their records -- much less even be aware of their existance -- if we hadn't exposed them to the public.
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Old 02-13-2005, 07:31 AM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
so it seems I was right it's about 3 cents to 12 cents each time they play a song but is it ever complicated formula.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:40 AM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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As has been pointed out, radio stations don't pay per song; they pay a blanket fee each year to each of the major composers' organizations, who, in turn, distributes royalty payments according to their own formula. It is true that each song played only generates a few cents' income to the composer. For a huge hit (or even an "oldie" that still gets a lot of airplay), though, that can translate into some real money. Even for smaller, less-known acts, if enough stations play their stuff, they can get at least something for their efforts.

As for the dreaded BMI log week, that gives us the opportunity to play music we really like, since we want those composers to get their money. (Yes, BMI still has log weeks. They suck, because they want information that sometimes isn't readily available.) Some DJs use that as a rationale to produce shows featuring their personal favorites.

I think we pay $250 each to BMI and ASCAP per year, and I'm not sure we do anything with SESAC. This amount varies based on the station, though.

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