The Internet Radio Rate Wars continued this week, as performing rights organziation (PRO) ASCAP squared off against Internet radio giant Pandora in a federal court. The outcome could determine how royalty rates are set for PROs, webcasters, songwriters and publishers well into the future.
Last week, SoundExchange, the non-profit entity that collects and distributes digital performance royalties announced its plans to send out more frequent payments to eligible artists and labels. In the past payments were sent quarterly, but beginning this month payments will be deposited monthly.
As SoundExchange President and CEOMichael Huppe said, “By making performance royalties available sooner, we are making it easier for recording artists and record labels to focus on creating the music we all enjoy.”
This might sound like a minor accounting tweak. But for middle-class recording artists and struggling indie labels, it could be massively helpful. Here’s why.
I’d love to tell you that I’ve explored every single feature on the newly-launched Beats Music streaming service, but I’ve pretty much been stuck on the Mojo Magazine-curated “New Psych Revolution” and “BritFolk Treasures” playlists. read more
Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
-Johnny Rotten, January 14, 1978
January 14, 1978 was the last official gig by a band many would consider the original punk act: the Sex Pistols. That day was a disappointment for fans of unbridled rock ‘n’ roll. And today—Jan 14, 2014—is likewise a letdown for musicians and everyone else who uses the Internet.
Earlier this morning, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s rules meant to keep the internet open to free expression, entrepreneurship and innovation. By overturning the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, the court in one fell swoop undid almost a decade of YOUR efforts to preserve a level online playing field.
Remember that little thing called net neutrality that FMC and our musician and independent label pals have been talking about for years? Well, this week AT&T made a move that underscores why this principle is so important to creators.
2013 brought no shortage of excellent books about music-related topics, and as FMC’s communications associate, I try to pick up as many as I can. While there’s more on my reading pile I haven’t managed to find time for yet (Morrissey’s autobiography, John Nathan Anderson’s Radio’s Digital Dillemma: Broadcasting in the Twentieth Century, and Ed Piskor’s Hip-Hop Family Tree among them), these titles are among my favorites. Seek them out at your local independent bookseller!
Another year, another white-knuckle thrill ride in the world of music policy. There was so much going on in 2013 that if you blinked, you’d be in danger of being clobbered by the next development. And that’s just on the legislative, executive and federal agency side—we could (and might!) compile a separate list of marketplace and legal developments.
Below is an instant replay of some of 2013’s biggest policy episodes. Order does not connote rank, but feel free to debate it anyway…
Post by FMC co-founder and consultant Kristin Thomson
As we approach the end of 2013, it’s time to reflect on the good times had… at this year’s rock shows.
2013 was particularly special for me. Two of my favorite bands EVAR—Rocket from the Crypt and My Bloody Valentine—were out playing live shows, and I made it a point to see RFTC as often as humanly possible.
The Beastie Boys’ recent battle with upstart toy company GoldieBlox is one of the most contentious copyright conflicts in recent memory. Although many of us thought the episode was winding to a close, it now looks like this was premature: last week, the Beastie Boys filed their defense and counterclaims in a California federal court. Here’s a recap of the story so far.
First, GoldieBlox created an online advertisement titled “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & The Beastie Boys” that used the 1986 Beasties hit “Girls”—a song which expressed juvenile sexist attitudes, possibly with satiric intent. The GoldieBlox ad changed the song’s sophomoric lyrics to mock the way toys are typically marketed to girls, while promoting products that cultivate girls’ interest in physics & engineering. The video went viral, earning widespread media attention and racking up millions of views.
Yesterday, on-demand music streaming service Spotifydid something pretty big by explaining in detail how it calculates and pays out royalties to rightsholders. With so many music industry pundits and practitioners in a tizzy about the economics of streaming, this move can be generally seen as positive. But as always, the devil is in the details.
It is certainly significant that Spotify took this step—probably long overdue—and we hope that it serves to increase the standard of transparency across the digital music sector. When a market leader like Spotify makes this kind of move, it can be a spur to other players to follow suit. However, it doesn’t really change much in terms of artist leverage on streaming on-demand services, nor does it impact most musicians and songwriters’ bottom lines. We spend a great deal of time considering this stuff—in fact, our own Kristin Thomson recently wrote a post for Music Think Tank about ways to make streaming music more viable for artists. (And if you need a primer on how the money flows on a variety of music platforms, check out these handy charts.)