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.
You may have heard that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating potential anticompetitive behavior by major music publishers and Performing Rights Organizations (PROs), which collect and distribute royalties to songwriters and publishers for the performance of musical compositions. These “blanket licenses” are made possible by DOJconsent decrees and cover all forms of broadcast as well as concert venues or other establishments that publicly perform music (think bars or restaurants).
Make no mistake, PROs are crucially important to songwriters. They provide leverage to artists who wouldn’t otherwise have it in rate negotiations with music services; they pay their songwriter members directly under fair splits (50-50 between artist and publisher); and they allow music to be efficiently licensed to AM/FM, Internet and satellite radio, which means listeners have more opportunities to hear music, and songwriters have more opportunities to get paid.
Future of Music Coalition submitted the following comments to the United States Copyright Office in its Notice of Inquiry on the Music Licensing Study. We examine the state of music licensing in America, and how the current regime impacts musicians, songwriters and independent labels.
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Representative Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the Songwriter Equity Act, a bill meant to level the playing field for songwriters, composers and publishers for the use of their work.
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director for Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians.
“It is clear that songwriter and composer compensation is crucial to the health of the entire music ecosystem. Too often, songwriters are overlooked in the pitched debates about new business models and rightsholder royalties. Today’s legislation is important to focusing the conversation on those creators whose talents help power the music marketplace. read more
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
This post authored by FMC communications intern Olivia Brown
Metadata. Sounds like a android with irony issues. But it’s actually important to musicians and composers.
So what is it? Metadata is information that lives with every file on your computer. Through a mix of words and numbers, metadata describes files so that they can be managed by both the user and the system. In the case of a music file, metadata refers to the tags associated with a particular piece of music — such as the artist, album name, year of release, etc. These tags are definitely useful for the listener in keeping track of a digital collection. For artists, it’s about tracking for downloads and plays, which can ensure timely and accurate compensation.
Unfortunately, not all systems to organize metadata are created equal. Non-rock artists, especially jazz and classical musicians, have borne the brunt of some of the most poorly organized metadata out there. This is largely because the new business models are often developed with only popular music in mind.
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
Washington, D.C.— Future of Music Coalition has issued the following statement from Executive Director Ann Chaitovitz about the Copyright Royalty Board’s October 2 rate setting decision, which sets the compulsory mechanical rate at $0.091 per song for physical sales and digital downloads and $0.24 for mastertones. read more