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Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) collection

 Collection 0483-MMC
The collection consists of 536 audio tapes (7 inch reel to reel), 2 scrapbooks, and 3 boxes of photographs from the annual BMI banquet. The recordings date from 1951-1957 and were created at clinics held across the country.


  • 1951-1957

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.


536 Tape Reels

2 Items (Oversize box)

1.5 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) Is primarily a music rights management organization, collecting license fees for the use of recorded music and distributing royalty payments to the artists. It was founded in 1939 by the National Association of Broadcasters and, for many years, provided additional customer services such as market research, promotional ideas, script services, orchestrations, and complete programs.

During the 1950s, BMI organized clinics at multiple locations throughout the United States and Canada that provided opportunities for radio personnel to exchange new ideas on local programming. This decade was a transitional period for commercial radio with the decline of network radio and the rise of television. Clinic participants would share their experience in developing local station personalities, types of music available on recordings, the importance of local community involvement and news coverage, programming for various demographics, improvement of public service programs, and best practices for program and station promotion.

Eventually, television program managers were also attending clinics to share their successes and failures. During the peak year in 1956, there were 42 BMI program clinics held across the country. The clinics were suspended in 1958.


There was no discernible arrangement to the tapes. Numbers were assigned at some point in the past for each clinic and this number scheme has been retained to organize the tapes. Material is arranged by this number.

The photographs and scrapbooks are arranged chronologically.

The collection has been arranged in three series.
Series 1
Program Clinic audio tapes
Series 2
Series 3

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

Custodial History

The BMI tapes, photographs, and scrapbooks were donated to the Broadcast Pioneers Library (BPL) sometime prior to 1969. When the BPL was donated to the Libary of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland in 1994 the BMI materials were part of the original donation.
Guide to the Broadcast Music Industry (BMI) collection
In Progress
Finding aid created by Joanne Archer and James Baxter
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742