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12 Steps to Music Licensing with BMI

Written by: Milena Jackson

So, if you are starting from the very very beginning it's going to be more than 12 steps! If you have not yet found a distributer for your music you will need to do that first.

Here is a link for more information about music distribution

Otherwise, if you are ready keep trucking through! Remember that the visuals in this article are only visual references that you can refer to as you are on the live BMI site you will not be able to click any of the images of buttons in this article they are only meant as a visual aid.

1. Go to and create a free account as a Creator

2. After you have signed up, Login to your account.

3. After logging in select “Works Registration” from the left menu

4. You will then come to a “In Process Works” page then click “Add New Work”

5. Then you will be lead through BMI "5 steps" for this process

6. Unless you have work written to be performed and licensed for a live orchestra (hover over the question mark icon for details) you will choose “other genres”

7. Then click the "add work info button". When adding work, add one song at a time. Do not add an entire albums, EP, or collection. You will have the opportunity to list the details of the song and whether it belongs to an album etc.

8. After clicking the “Add Work Info” button on the BMI site you will be prompted to add details of the song. You can hover over the question mark icons for each entry (not here but in the site) and it will give you further details.

9. In Step 2 of 5 "Other Works" you will be asked 2 questions. Remember, to use the question mark icons if you are not sure how to answer.

10. Step 3 of 5 "Publishers & Writers" will ask if you have a publisher and the writer of the song (if you publish your own music then you do not have a publisher and the answer is no) then it will ask you to add a writer(s).

If you do not have some one publishing you under their record label then you select no and enter the song writer details. Monetary shares need to equal 200%. So if there is only 1 writer they get allocated the 200%. Remember hover over the question marks on the site!

I feel like it's time to share BMI contact info with you! I have asked them questions through email and they got back with me within 24 hours and were very helpful!

E-mail: Fax: 615-401-5420 Phone: 615-401-2000 Mailing: 10 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203 – Attn: Research and Works Maintenance

11. Step 4 of 5 is "Artists and Recording" In this area you can add the Artist(s) that will be performing the song

Enter the name of the Artist(s) this could be individuals or a band name.

Next it will ask you about the recording and if the work was created for TV film, or music library. If it was not, then check "no" and click "Add Recording"

You will then be prompted to an information input box about the recording.

Under Type/Format choose whether the song was recorded to an Album, EP, or Single.

An Album is 7 songs or more than 30 min of music

An EP is 4 to 4- 6 songs 30 minutes or less of music

A Single 1-3 songs under 10 minutes each

The Recording Title is the name of the Album, EP, or Single. It is not the name of the song unless the song is the same name as the Album, EP, or Single.

There is also going to be a question here about the song's catalog number... this will be given to you by your distributer. You will also be able to set up your record label through your distributer. Here is a link for more information about that process.

12. Finally the step 5 the Summary! We are done, well except for the other songs for your album that you will need to do the same process for!

This area will allow you to review the info you have entered and each “step” has an “edit” option in which you can go back and make changes and save them before you submit your work.

After you have reviewed the summary, check the box and submit. You will be asked to confirm your submission then you will be given the opportunity to “copy” your work if you need to make additional song entries to the album, EP, or single. When you “copy” the work it keeps all the data you have entered then you would just replace each song's details.

I hope this has helped shed some light on the process of licensing your music!

BMI also produced this helpful video that will walk you through all the steps too!


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