Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) functions much like its competitor ASCAP, collecting royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers from radio and other outlets. But unlike ASCAP, which is owned by its songwriters and publishers, BMI is owned by broadcasters, the same people they license for royalties.
Shady, right? Still, its been ahead of the curve when it comes to representing black musicians, and today its artists include the majority of top-selling hip hop artists. The weirdness of these dynamics were on full display at BMIs Urban Awards show September 10 in New York. Held at Lincoln Centers jazz hall, the evenings co-host was BMI CEO Del Bryant, whose tightly-buttoned suit, weird tan and strained attempts at street banter routinely caused a huge room of cocktailed-up rappers, producers and music industry types (one of whom was rocking a Gumby haircut) to fall into awkward silences.
Still, it was a pretty good party, as would be any event featuring George Clinton stalking the red carpet in a full-length white coat, pink tie and a Carlton Fisk-era White Sox cap. There to be honored with a lifetime achievement award, he was asked by People magazine how much thought hed given to his outfit (None!) and who he looked up to in the music industry (Him! he said, pointing at a blue-mohawked Sly Stone, standing nearby). Clinton imparted to us that he has a house in Atlanta, and splits his time between here and Tallahassee, Florida.
Otherwise Atlanta was predictably well-represented; presenter Keri Hilson was salivated upon by Bryant, while Polow Da Don shared the co-producer of the year award with Kanye West. (Song of the year somehow went to No Air.) The Clinton tribute performance was led off by Cee-Lo, who wore a sparkly-silver jacket and covered One Nation Under A Groove. Janelle Monae hit the stage shortly thereafter in a black tux to Flashlight, doing her show-stopping dancing robot trying to do the Human, in the words of the Village Voices Rob Harvilla.
Headliners Gipp, Big Boi and Dallas Austin ran through a medley of Clinton faves, Austin looking particularly ecstatic with his keytar and rainbow boa around his neck. The place exploded, and for a moment it was easy to forget the corrupt and self-sabotaging nature of the music business.
(Photo courtesy Ben Westhoff)
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…
That was January of 2007, and they are 21 now, so I'm guessing 14?