What do the Rolling Stones, McDonald’s and Nike all have in common? Other than worldwide recognition, they also posses iconic logos. Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI)—one of the three major performing rights organizations—understands the importance of that branding, and has decided to begin a new campaign designed to express the concept of value for songwriters and music publishers. As Richard Conlon, Senior Vice President of BMI, explains, “BMI has repositioned itself in the marketplace on an ongoing basis [in the last 75 years] and we’ve had a number of campaigns over the years that have refocused us and the market on what we do. This campaign [expresses] what we’re up to [in the music industry] and how we’re building economies for music and for songwriters and music publishers with the rest of the world.”
Along with a new logo, the campaign will include three new slogans: Write On; Powered By; and Valuing Music Since 1939. The new visual identity will be used for marketing purposes.
Conlon and company spent nearly 18 months reaching out to development firms, focus groups and BMI songwriters to perfect the logo you now see here. “When we started working through this campaign, writers were talking about how we support their spark of creativity.”
Continues Conlon, “We said, ‘let’s take the light that was shining on the stand on our very first logo and let’s shine the light outward and include the spark of creativity into our visual presentation of the company.”
While some may argue that keeping a logo consistent is essential to branding, BMI’s Senior VP counters by explaining the importance of a positioning strategy. “[BMI’s previous logo] has been in market for about 20 years,” he explains. “Our goal is to really help challenge perceptions about what performing rights organizations do. It’s really easy to have a business that’s been around for nearly 75 years get painted into a box, [with people thinking] ‘oh well they only do this.’ One of our goals on the campaign is to point up capabilities and how we add value to markets.”
BMI unveiled its new brand and logo at MIDEM (the yearly music technology tradeshow/conference in Cannes, France) earlier this year. BMI also secured a spot on the back cover of Billboard’s first issue of the publication’s own rebranding campaign… That spot was no coincidence. “We were the first ones at the cash register saying, ‘I want that back cover.’ Here were two industry stalwarts: a new Billboard logo on the front cover and a new BMI logo on the back.”
BMI has had quite the résumé of successful acts since 1939. Recently, its members celebrated several Grammy nominations and awards at the 2013 show, including fun., the Black Keys, Frank Ocean and Kanye West, to name a few.
By Andy Mesecher