We often write about issues concerning the royalties paid by radio stations for their various uses of music. It is not just paying the royalties that are important, but stations must also observe all of all the other obligations under each of their license agreements. The Radio Music License Committee asked us to remind commercial radio stations of one of those obligations – the requirement that commercial radio operators report their prior year’s annual station revenues to the Performing Rights Organizations – ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. As commercial radio stations pay their royalties to these organizations based on a percentage of the revenues earned by the station, the PROs need this information to compute the royalties that are owed. Because of the importance of the information, there are penalties in each of the license agreements for stations that don’t timely report their income. The deadline for reporting the revenue under the agreements with each of the three PROs is April 1, 2024, so stations need to report this information in the next two months. Note that GMR, which is not subject to antitrust restraints and does not license commercial radio under uniform agreements and procedures worked out with RMLC as do the other PROs, may use metrics other than revenue to set its royalties and may not have this same revenue reporting obligation – check your individual agreement with GMR as to required reporting obligations.
The revenue information for ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is reported through online portals that each host. All of these portals are now open for the reporting of last year’s revenue. SESAC’s online reporting portal is available here, ASCAP’s is here, and BMI’s portal can be found here. If broadcasters have any problems accessing the portals, they should contact their representatives at the PROs – not the RMLC as it has no control over any of these portals. The deadline is coming up in just two months, so stations should submit the information now rather than risk forgetting and incurring the penalties for late reporting.