Department of Justice Revisits 1941 Music-Licensing Rules

The Department of Justice will soon ask for public input on the status of two legal agreements that have been the foundation of music licensing since 1941, said sources. Advocates of overhauling the rules said that artists are harmed, earning less in the digital age. Those who believe the regulations should stay in place counter that the rules have created a stable marketplace. The review of these music licensing rules comes as the DOJ revisits consent decrees written decades ago for several different industries. Continue reading Department of Justice Revisits 1941 Music-Licensing Rules

President Trump Signs the Music Modernization Act into Law

At a White House, President Trump signed the Music Modernization Act in a ceremony that was scaled back due to Trump’s monitoring of Hurricane Michael in Florida. The bipartisan act lets songwriters and artists be compensated for pre-1972 recordings, and gives them increased pay for works played on streaming services. In attendance were Kid Rock, the Doobie Brothers guitarist Jeff Baxter, MercyMe, The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Craig Morgan, John Rich, and Sam Moore. Numerous trade organizations celebrated the new legislation. Continue reading President Trump Signs the Music Modernization Act into Law

Music Modernization Act Passed in Senate, Returns to House

Following the House of Representatives passage of the Music Modernization Act in April, the U.S. Senate also gave its unanimous consent on September 18. The bill was renamed after Republican Utah senator Orrin Hatch, also a songwriter, scheduled to retire at the end of his term this year. With the Senate passage, the bill will return to the House to get approval for all the changes made to achieve Senate approval. If and when the House approves, the bill will go to President Donald Trump to become law. Continue reading Music Modernization Act Passed in Senate, Returns to House

Music Modernization Act Could Impact Copyright, Licensing

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the Music Modernization Act, which updates music copyright law for the digital age. Tech companies, music publishers, songwriters, musicians and radio broadcasters cooperated to put together the bill, after years of proposing unsuccessful legislation. With this bill closing some of the flaws of past laws, music publishers and streaming services will likely end the constant wrangling and expensive lawsuits that have bedeviled the digital music industry. Continue reading Music Modernization Act Could Impact Copyright, Licensing

Songwriters, Music Publishers Get More in Streaming Royalties

The National Music Publishers’ Association raised music streaming royalties for songwriters and music publishers by more than 40 percent in an attempt to resolve a conflict between them and the streaming services, including those from Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify. The Copyright Royalty Board now requires those services to pay the aggrieved parties 15.1 percent of their revenue, up from a previous 10.5 percent. Songwriters and music publishers will now receive $1 for every $3.82 the recording labels receive. Continue reading Songwriters, Music Publishers Get More in Streaming Royalties

Pandora Ends Long Fight with ASCAP, BMI Over Royalty Rates

Pandora Media has ended its ongoing legal battles with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) over royalty rights, without disclosing the details of their new licensing agreement. Pandora previously licensed both performing-rights group’s catalogs based on rates that had been determined by the U.S. District Court in Manhattan that sets music royalty fees when the parties can’t agree. ASCAP and BMI currently represent a combined collection of 20 million songs. Continue reading Pandora Ends Long Fight with ASCAP, BMI Over Royalty Rates

Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Pandora Media and Sony/ATV announced a multiyear licensing deal yesterday that brings the companies together to provide better rates for artists while allowing Pandora to “benefit from greater rate certainty” that could also help “add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time.” The direct licensing deal arrives as the music industry prepares for potential changes regarding federal regulation of songwriting rights. Sony/ATV is the world’s biggest music publisher with songwriting rights to thousands of artists, including the Beatles and Taylor Swift. Continue reading Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Court Win for Google Books Could Impact Film, TV and Music

In the latest page of Google’s decade-long saga to scan the world’s books and make them searchable, the company won a case that decided in its favor and against the Authors Guild, on whose behalf the Motion Picture Association of America and the music licensing organization ASCAP filed amicus briefs. The October 16 ruling by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit means that writers cannot stop Google from adding their books to Google’s 20-million book library, which the Court calls “non-infringing fair uses.” Continue reading Court Win for Google Books Could Impact Film, TV and Music

ASCAP Turns to Streaming Services for Collection of Royalties

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) reported having its best year to date in 2014. The not-for-profit performance-rights organization, which collects royalties on behalf of over 500,000 musical artists and more than 10 million songs, collected a little over $1 billion in revenue for 2014. ASCAP said that it had improved its efforts in identifying songs being played via streaming services and in return created opportunities to pay more artists for their work. Continue reading ASCAP Turns to Streaming Services for Collection of Royalties

ASCAP and BMI Push For More Flexibility in Music Licensing

The Justice Department announced this week that it will review the regulatory agreements created in 1941 that govern ASCAP and BMI. It is likely that, as a result, a lobbying fight will surge between technology giants like Pandora and Google against music companies and songwriter groups. If changes to the regulatory agreements are not made, major music publishers, including Sony/ATV and Universal, may withdraw from ASCAP and BMI.  Continue reading ASCAP and BMI Push For More Flexibility in Music Licensing

Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

In somewhat anticlimactic fashion, the lengthy, dramatic battle regarding what digital music service Pandora should pay ASCAP ended Friday when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Pandora should continue to pay the performing rights organization what it has been paying through 2015. Pandora had argued that it should pay less than the current 1.85 percent of revenue, while ASCAP had argued for an escalating rate structure that would require Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of revenue for 2013 and 3 percent in 2015. Continue reading Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

Pandora Lawsuit Could Impact Music Industry’s Royalty Model

For the past 73 years, the Justice Department has governed licensing organizations ASCAP and BMI to ensure songwriters receive fair royalty rates when their songs are played. Now Pandora is taking on ASCAP in a trial over royalty payments that is being carefully followed by the publishing industry. Music publishers including Sony/ATV and Universal are calling for an overhaul of the system, while tech firms are claiming that publishers are attempting to skirt federal rules designed to protect them.

Continue reading Pandora Lawsuit Could Impact Music Industry’s Royalty Model

Federal Court Rules Pandora Can License Music for Streaming

Pandora Media, provider of streaming online music, won a legal victory on Tuesday in its ongoing battle with the music industry involving licensing and royalties. A federal court ruled that the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers cannot stop Pandora from licensing all the music in their catalog. The service’s attempts to reduce its costs have made it a target in the music industry, but the larger effect of the ruling remains unclear. Continue reading Federal Court Rules Pandora Can License Music for Streaming

Audiam Finds New Ways to Pay Indie Musicians via YouTube

“Love Doctor,” a two-minute acid jazz instrumental is used in about 1,500 YouTube videos that do not pay for the rights to do so. The composer, Scott Schreer, has been working with New York startup Audiam in an effort to share in the advertising revenue associated with the videos. While serving as the Audiam test case, “Love Doctor” and Schreer’s library of 1,700 songs are generating about $30,000 per month for their use on the video site. Continue reading Audiam Finds New Ways to Pay Indie Musicians via YouTube

Music Publishing Turmoil: BMI Files Lawsuit Against Pandora

Music licensing giant Broadcast Music Inc. filed a suit yesterday against online music service Pandora at the U.S. Southern District Federal Court in New York. BMI has ended negotiations for publishing rates and is now seeking a determination of rates for a blanket license that covers all music streamed on Pandora. The filing follows Pandora’s controversial attempt to pay lower publishing rates by acquiring a South Dakota terrestrial radio station, in order to become eligible for the blanket license fee. Continue reading Music Publishing Turmoil: BMI Files Lawsuit Against Pandora