Warning: this is not a Valentine’s Day post. No rainbows, no butterflies, no chocolate-covered hearts. Sorry.
The morning after another (surprise!) snowstorm in New York City, here I am glaring — with one eye — at faint reflections that vaguely resemble Latin letters across my laptop screen. To be clear, a “one-eyed romantic pirate” was not exactly the image I was aiming for on Valentine’s Day. Yet, after endless hours of staring at the flickering screen, my left eye has decided to take a well-deserved vacation. Hence the pirate eyepatch.
If Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, the Eagles’ Don Henley, Deadmau5, Sting and other top songwriters have their way, the U.S. won’t change copyright laws to “strip” them of their right to refuse mashups, remixes and sampling of their songs. “I already have to allow other artists to record my songs without permission,” they wrote in individual letters to the Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month. “Allowing them to materially change my songs or recordings without my permission is taking it a step too far.”
Last year, American Idol winner Phillip Phillips released the song “Gone, Gone, Gone” from his debut album The World from the Side of the Moon. The song went to #1 on the Adult Alternative and Adult Contemporary charts and peaked at #24 on Billboard’s pop song chart, the Hot 100. For Gregg Wattenberg, one of three credited co-writers of “Gone, Gone, Gone,” the song’s chart performance was of particular interest because it translated indirectly into cash.
Future of Music Coalition (FMC) adds another case study to its ongoing Artist Revenue Streams project. The study looks at the financials of a background vocalist based on “income from her work as a session musician and background vocalist only – both in the studio and live on tour.” The importance of “mailbox money” aka residuals are revealed as is the role of unions in negotiating and administering royalty agreements
Dave Lamb was on tour in Houston with his folk duo Brown Bird when he found himself struggling just to get through a song. He’d been feeling fatigued for several shows, but this time seemed serious. He and MorganEve Swain, his partner in the Rhode Island-based group, went to a hospital, and Lamb was eventually diagnosed with leukemia. He didn’t have health insurance.
This week Pandora negotiated directly with Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the largest music publishers, to acquire continued use of UMPG recordings in its streaming stations. BMI recently won a court judgment against Pandora, which allowed its client publishing companies (like UMPG) to escape the government-set “consent decree,” which provides a blanket usage license to listening outlets like Pandora. Pandora normally sticks with government-set rates, but was nudged onto the direct-negotiating path by that surprising court decision. Read more.
A federal appeals court decision this week could have serious consequences for people who listen to music online. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s rules on what’s known as network neutrality. Those rules banned Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon from slowing or blocking some websites and allowing speedier access to others. Potentially, the ruling means your Internet company could block access to SPIN. Or Spotify. Or any other website.
The music industry is preparing for changes on the House Judiciary Committee, as Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) is set to leave.
Watt, ranking member of the Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property, was confirmed as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency earlier this month and is set to assume his new role on Jan. 6.
According to committee procedure, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) is next in line for Watt’s ranking member spot on the intellectual property subcommittee, should he want the position.
On today’s Your Call, we’ll talk about how the Internet continues to change the music economy. Because of services like Spotify, Pandora and YouTube, musicians are constantly looking for new ways to make a living. How do these services compensate musicians? As for touring, even musicians who have a solid fan base say it’s difficult to get the number of bookings they need to earn a living. So how are independent musicians surviving? It’s Your Call, with Rose Aguilar, and you.
Guests include Kristin Thomson, consultant for the nonprofit Future of Music Coalition. She is co-director of FMC’s Artist Revenue Streams research project, a study examining how US-based musicians’ revenue streams are changing, and why.