Here’s some potentially good news for independent touring artists. After operating somewhat under the radar, both BMI and ASCAP have made a big push in allowing songwriter artists to collect income from live performance of their work. While income from live public performance is of course implicit in the rights that BMI, ASCAP and SESAC collect, as a practical matter the organizations historically only have only paid this income to major artists performing at major venues. According to an article in the Tennessean a week or so ago, technological innovations now allow the performing rights organizations to direct some of this income to smaller acts who report their performances correctly.
The BMI system is called BMI Live, ASCAP’s is called Onstage and SESAC has a program called Live Performance Notification System.
I don’t think there is any data on how much a small or mid-range artist could generate from these programs, but it would be foolish not to investigate them. One doesn’t want to leave money on the table. It is great to see technology being used to assist songwriters and performers for once.