Welcome to Part Two of FMC’s look at transparency and why it matters to musicians and composers. In Part One, we described three different types of transparency, and outlined why each matters to anyone who wants to get paid in the digital age:
1. structural transparency: how different services function and how they compensate artists
2. rates and revenue transparency: how money is split, who gets paid what and why
3. repertoire transparency: readily available ownership information to facilitate more efficient licensing and accuracy in payment
Today, we’re going to look at a current hot topic—direct deals for performance rights in music publishing—as a case study.
Music publishing is perhaps the most complex and little understood sectors in the music business. Most folks grasp that record labels own so-called “master recordings,” but many don’t realize there’s a whole ‘nother copyright in music. read more
The interests of EMI’s publishing arm may not necessarily be those of the songwriters it represents. As it is now, ASCAP takes a fee from payments it collects, then distributes the rest of the money equally between songwriter and publisher. Casey Rae-Hunter, of the nonprofit advocacy group Future of Music Coalition, says the big music publishers don’t have the same obligations to songwriters that ASCAP does to those same people, its members.
“What is EMI’s responsibility to the songwriters who are part of their publishing empire, and can we trust that this company is going to honor the 50-50 split that songwriters have worked out and honored over the years?” Hunter asks.
Let's get out our time machine and set the coordinates for 2013. Why that date? Because that's when a lot of creators will see copyrights that they signed away in 1978 revert back to them.
This is a big deal for musicians and songwriters who decades ago assigned their rights to a label or a publisher. With their songs back under their control, artists could license them directly to TV and movies, re-release albums on their own imprints, or even re-transfer their stuff to a label or publisher in a more lucrative deal. read more