BMI Enters Podcasting Realm, Focuses on Unsigned Acts

The podcasting groundswell continues to grow, with rights licensing agency BMI the latest to enter the fray.

The new podcast series, called “See It Hear First,” features works from a slate of unsigned artists, including Jetpack, Astaire, somedaynew and Brendan James. The podcasts are geared towards the A&R crowd, and will be available on the BMI site and pushed through regular email blasts.

The move is part of a larger podcasting initiative from BMI. Recently, the company unveiled a blanket licensing scheme for public performance podcasts, offering one component of an overall licensing solution. Other licensing options are expected in the near future, with BMI senior VP of writer/publisher relations Phil Graham pointing to a first-mover culture. “BMI was the first music company with
a web site, the first to license music on the web, and the first to make data from its entire catalog of more than 4.5 million compositions
available on the Web. The podcast is a logical next step.” But despite those efforts, a BMI licensing solution is just one part of the picture,
with most labels still hesitant to embrace the format. For now, that makes music podcasting an uncertain legal play, leaving big players like MySpace, KCRW and the BBC on the sidelines.