BMI Drums Up D.C. Role For Collins


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some 100 years ago, Michael Collins was a largely household name, in reference to a revolutionary leader in Ireland.

Today, a leader of the same name is joining one of the nation’s top performance rights groups for a role that will see this Michael Collins also seeking to sway politicians into crafting legislation deemed favorable by his organization.

BMI (formally known as Broadcast Music, Inc.) has hired longtime political strategist and a former staffer to Sen. Tom Udall as its VP/Government Relations. He starts his new role on Monday and will be D.C. based, reporting to BMI President/CEO Mike O’Neill.

From the Nation’s Capital, Michael Collins will be responsible for leading BMI’s efforts “to protect the rights of its songwriters, composers and music publishers at all levels of government.”

This includes oversight of the company’s Political Action Committee, which uses funds to persuade Congress on pushing legislation favorable to BMI members, and BMI’s lobbying efforts across the U.S.

The timing of Collins’ appointment comes just weeks after Congress’ passage of the Music Modernization Act, and as a California Federal appellate court denied a request for a rehearing by CBS Corporation of its August decision reversing a lower court’s ruling that a remastered version of a pre-1972 recording constitutes a wholly new work — thus shielding it from potential state-based royalty payments to the copyright holders.

O’Neill said, “We are excited to have a seasoned strategist like Michael leading the charge on our affiliates’ behalf. Michael’s experience and reputation within the industry will serve BMI well as we continue to champion the rights of our songwriters, composers and publishers and ensure that the art of songwriting remains a viable profession for many years to come.”

Collins joins BMI from D.C. lobbying firm Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas, where he helped Fortune 500 companies, trade associations and coalitions navigate both chambers of Congress and the Executive Branch.

Before that, Collins spent over 15 years working on Capitol Hill for Senator Udall (D-N. Mex.), holding a number of positions within the Senator’s office. He began his career as an intern in then-Congressman Udall’s office in the House of Representatives, rising to the position of Legislative Director. Collins held that same role when Udall was elected to the Senate in 2008 and was promoted to the Senator’s Chief of Staff four years later.

“The impact of technology on the delivery and consumption of music has been transformative, and I’m thrilled to be joining BMI at such a dynamic and exciting time in the industry,” Collins said. “The decisions made in Washington have a lasting and critical impact on creators, and I’m looking forward to working hard and building on BMI’s successful advocacy efforts to protect the rights of its songwriters, composers and music publishers in the digital age.”