Spotify Appeals Copyright Rate Hike, Songwriters Respond

Spotify, the streaming music leader with 87 million global subscribers, is appealing the Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 decision to raise songwriters’ pay rate by 44 percent over the next five years. Spotify is joined in this unprecedented move by Amazon, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora. Artists are furious, especially since Spotify portrayed itself as being on the side of creatives. Those appealing the Board’s decision say they’re against its complex rules. Apple is the sole company who stands to benefit from the fray. Continue reading Spotify Appeals Copyright Rate Hike, Songwriters Respond

Tech Companies Appeal an Increase in Songwriter Royalties

Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon have joined forces to appeal a decision of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) they believe “harms both music licensees and copyright owners.” In separate filings, the companies are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision regarding “recently issued … U.S. mechanical statutory rates” that they said “raises serious procedural and substantive concerns.” With the rule as it stands, songwriters would receive a 44 percent increase in payments. Proponents suggest the rule is necessary for songwriters in a digital age. Continue reading Tech Companies Appeal an Increase in Songwriter Royalties

U.S. Rights Groups Propose Website-Blocking to Halt Piracy

Blocking piracy sites became controversial in the U.S. with SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which although it had support of both parties and dozens of government, consumer and union organizations, was seen as a threat to free speech. A second proposal (PIPA) also met fierce resistance, culminating in a widespread service blackout by Google, the English Wikipedia and 7,000 other smaller websites. Both bills were shelved, but now, the issue is being raised in the U.S. due to success in website-blocking in Europe. Continue reading U.S. Rights Groups Propose Website-Blocking to Halt Piracy

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

Spotify, Music Publishers Settle Mechanical Licensing Dispute

Spotify and the National Music Publishers’ Association settled a long-standing licensing dispute, although neither will reveal details. Sources say Spotify will pay between $16 million to $25 million in royalties that are owed but unpaid, as well as a $5 million penalty. In exchange, the publishers will not file copyright infringement claims. The suit hinges on a rule governing mechanical licensing rights that dates back to player-piano rolls. In the digital world, the rule is just one that’s made legal licensing complex. Continue reading Spotify, Music Publishers Settle Mechanical Licensing Dispute

SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

SoundCloud, which has mixed music and community for eight years, now boasts 150 million registered users who have uploaded over 100 million tracks and clips. Such artists as Prince, Snoop Dogg, Beyoncé and Drake have used the platform to release special tracks, remixes and promos. But as SoundCloud transitions from a free service with unlicensed content to one that licenses content and shares revenue, it teeters between two different creative models and the potential of a major breakthrough or bust. Continue reading SoundCloud Signs Warner, Grows Mix of Music and Social Media

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

YouTube Multi-Channel Network Sued By Music Association

The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has filed a lawsuit against Fullscreen, a multi-channel network of popular YouTube channels. The association claims that the company is using unlicensed music in its videos. Fullscreen serves more than 10,000 YouTube channels, including channels owned by Nintendo, Pepsi and Lexus. At the same time, the NMPA is forming an agreement in principle with Maker Studios for music licensing. Continue reading YouTube Multi-Channel Network Sued By Music Association

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