WASHINGTON, D.C.— There were moments Tuesday during the annual Future of Music Summit where the conversation about revenue in the digital music industry sounded like a scrum over crumbs, a desperate fight over an increasingly shrinking pie.
“There is so much competition for so much music, and it’s all so devalued,” said one exasperated music entrepreneur, Rodney Whittenberg. He was one of hundreds of musicians, executives, attorneys, policy makers and journalists who attended the conference, presented by the advocacy group the Future of Music Coalition. […]
[…] Casey Rae, deputy director of the musicians advocacy group The Future of Music Coalition, said he’s all for new approaches that pay artists directly rather than funneling money into the “black hole” of major-record-label accounting. But he was still skeptical of Rdio’s offer, which he saw as mainly a public relations effort.
He argued that there’s a finite number of fans an artist can deliver to Rdio, so there’s only so much an artist can hope to make from the new system. But those customers can deliver far more in value to the service than Rdio will ever pay to the artist who recruited them, Rae-Hunter said. read more
[…]Lowery’s concerns are mostly shared by Casey Rae, co-director of the Future of Music Coalition. But their preferred solutions are pretty different.
For Lowery, the solution is advocating and creating the environment for an ethical Internet. For Rae and the rest of the FMC, it’s more about creating much easier access to music - so easy, in fact, that the desire to use illegal file sharing will be greatly reduced.”We believe artists should be paid for their work,” Rae explained, and that’s the environment his organization is trying to set up. read more
[…]Universal told the Journal the E.U.’s approval “will benefit the artistic community and music industry” and that Universal is glad it will hold onto more than two-thirds of EMI’s global business. But IMPALA, a trade group representing European independent record labels, protested that the required sell-offs wouldn’t be enough to limit Universal’s increasing grip on the market. Casey Rae, deputy director of the U.S. nonprofit Future of Music Coalition, told Politico that “there’s not really going to be any number of divestitures that will make this a groovy deal.” Somewhere, someone at General Electric, the majority owner of Universal-owning (and now EMI-owning) Vivendi, a French media conglomerate, is chanting “swag.”
[…]Artists are also worried about the merger’s consequences. “It’s all totally stacked against the creator,” said Casey Rae-Hunter, who heads the Future of Music Coalition, an organization representing independent and unsigned musicians. “And the Universal-EMI merger gives them even more leverage to do really scary things.”
[…]”This was supposed to look a lot different,” said Rae-Hunter, who also runs the tiny, independent record label Lux Eterna and records as The Contrarian.
“We were supposed to not just solve the access problem about reaching new audiences, but also to monetize that activity in a way in which 99 percent of that activity was not captured by the major labels,” Rae-Hunter said. “But we see now that the majors still dictate the terms.”[…]
[…]“The major labels are incredibly good at extracting maximum value from whatever they touch, and with only three left, they’ll be able to dictate the terms of the digital marketplace in ways we’ll be feeling for years to come,” said Casey Rae, deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, a national nonprofit that opposes the deal.
“It’s always been conventional wisdom that if the EU accepted this deal, that the United States would mirror that,” Rae said. “But there’s not really going to be any number of divestitures that will make this a groovy deal.
Meteoric transformations in the creation and distribution of music over the past ten years have drastically changed this landscape. New technologies like digital music stores, streaming services and webcasting stations have greatly reduced the cost barriers to the distribution and sale of music, and a vast array of new platforms and technologies — from blogs to Bandcamp to Twitter — now help musicians connect directly with fans. Subsequently, it’s easier than ever for musicians to retain control of their creative output and to benefit more directly when their music is performed, licensed or purchased. […]
Many musicians have also voiced opposition to the deal, arguing that existing record label contracts are stacked against artists — and will likely remain so absent significant changes in the digital marketplace. On average, musicians only receive $23.40 out of every $1,000 in music sales under the current system.
The American Antitrust Institute, the Consumer Federation of America and the Future of Music Coalition — a group representing independent and unsigned musicians — are all opposed to the deal.
[…}A good starting point to understanding how the interactive streaming services pay publishing royalties is this article from The Future of Music Coalition. Boiled down to basics, interactive streaming services pay a mechanical royalty rate of 10.5% on the revenue they generate, MINUS any amounts for performance royalties. In other words, services like Rhapsody and Spotify are subject to both a mechanical and performance royalty, but the entire compensation for songwriters and publishers from any limited download or interactive streaming site is “capped” at 10.5% of the site’s revenue.