Attention DJ’s and Producers: Get Paid for Live Performances

When you play at gigs, such as clubs or lounges, you may be entitled to unclaimed money for your performances. 

So if you have performed songs, by DJ’ing at a club or anywhere else in the last 6 months, you may be entitled to money with your name on it. 

Let me explain…

Bars and Clubs pay Performing Rights Organizations (PRO) to play music in public. Performing Rights Organizations collect royalties from parties who wish to use copyrighted works publicly in locations such as shopping and dining venues or even clubs. 

Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) is one of the three United States Performing Rights Organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC, who collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those whose works have been performed.  BMI’s job is to follow up with businesses and make sure they are paying licensing fees to play music.

In fact, in 2013, BMI collected close to a billion dollars in licensing fees and distributed more than $800 million dollars in royalties. 

When your song is played, on the radio, online, in a bar or pretty much anywhere in public, you should get paid. 

And the same goes for your gigs. When you play at a gig, such as a club or a restaurant, you should get paid for those performances. 


BMI Live is a new program that allows performing DJs and songwriters to input which songs they have played at performance and get paid for it. 

Both headliners and opening acts may input their song information and you can enter your performance information as often as you would like. 

BMI Live distributions occur quarterly. To be eligible for royalty payments under BMI Live, a performance must be considered a “public performance” that is covered by existing BMI licenses.

Non-eligible performances which will not be considered for royalty payment include, but are not limited to:

  • Wedding receptions, birthday parties, anniversary parties, etc.
  • Internet performances.
  • Performances during religious services.
  • Face-to-face teaching activities at educational institutions.
  • Performances to students in elementary schools.
  • State or County fairs.
  • Private house concerts.
  • Live classical music performances.
  • Performances of public domain music.
  • Live radio or TV performances.



First thing you should do is to join BMI here:

Performance setlists can be entered online by logging onto BMI Online Services from a desktop computer or through the BMI Mobile App for Apple and Android phones. 

All you need to do is log into your BMI account and click the BMI Live link. Only the performing songwriter can enter performance details in BMI Live. 

When you enter setlists for BMI Live performances, you must enter the performance day and time, setlist and venue information.

When entering a new performance, just click “Add cover song to your setlist” to select a cover song from the BMI Live database of cover songs.

You can enter your performance information as often as you’d like. You will be able to enter dates for up to 2 quarters prior to the current quarter. 



According to BMI’s Live’s FAQ (, rates per performance each quarter are determined by “a combination of the number of performances reported during the payment period and the general licensing fees available for distribution for BMI Live performances.”

Since the amount of the license fees collected by BMI changes from quarter to quarter, the royalty rate for BMI Live likewise will vary from quarter to quarter. For more information on BMI and royalties see How We Pay Royalties (



Join BMI and collect on your unclaimed money that you are definitely entitled to. You should always consult with a music lawyer to help answer your questions. 


Did you know or not know about BMI Live? Let us know!

Sam Mollaei, Esq., Music Lawyer, from Mollaei Law can be reached @ (818) 925-0002 or by visiting