And just as there are more avenues for consumers to pay for creative work, there are more ways to be compensated for making that work. Think of that signature flourish of 2000s-era television artistry: the exquisitely curated (and usually obscure) song that signals the transition from final shot to the rolling credits. Having a track featured during the credits of ‘‘Girls’’ or ‘‘Breaking Bad’’ or ‘‘True Blood’’ can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to a songwriter. (Before that point, the idea of licensing a popular song for the credits of a television series was almost unheard-of.) Video-game budgets pay for actors, composers, writers and song licenses.
To vastly oversimplify, there are typically four stops in a revenue chain. (For more specific details about how particular revenue streams work, see the Future of Music Coalition’s series of charts here.) Consumers pay a service, the service pays labels/publishers, each label/publisher pays its musicians. But each step of this chain is shrouded in some form of obfuscation. Consumers see a sticker price on the service—their $10 or $15 or $20 a month—but revenue also goes into the services from advertising, and services can be cross-subsidized by their parent companies’ other businesses. read more
Kristin Thomson is a co-founder of the non-profit, The Future of Music Coalition, which among other things has conducted studies about how musicians earn revenue. Back in the 90s she played in the indie-band Tsunami, and co-ran the DC label Simple Machines, which put out records for Ida, and Dave Grohl’s Pocketwatch, plus they distributed “The Mechanic’s Guide”, a DIY handbook for independent labels that was way, way ahead of its time.
The idea of so-called compulsory licensing has been getting attention lately, because songwriters feel they’re being underpaid for their work. But having compulsory licensing makes the music business more efficient and serves a social good, according to Casey Rae of the Future of Music Coalition. “After all, what would the world be like if Patsy Cline had never recorded ‘Crazy’ by Willie Nelson,” he writes in a blog post.
The Technology Policy Institute has confirmed participants for the 2015 Aspen Forum breakout sessions. The three informal, off-the-record breakout sessions will cover the pertinent topics of music licensing, intellectual property and competition policy, and unlicensed spectrum. The Aspen Forum is scheduled for August 16 – 18 and registration can still be performed online.
The session, “Music Licensing: Moving to the Digital Era” will be moderated by Michael Smith, Technology Policy Institute Senior Adjunct Fellow and Professor of Information Systems and Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University. Participants include: read more
In this episode of the Music Business Podcast, we talk with Casey Rae, who is the CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit research, education, and advocacy organization for musicians. We talk to Rae about the need for transparency amongst streaming companies and why it’s important to artists.
There are a number of reasons for the inaccessibility of this information, one of which is the frequent sale of individual works and entire catalogs and the infrequent recordation of these sales. Further, in recent years there has been a proliferation, particularly in pop music, of songs with many writers, each of whom generally owns a share of the work, making it difficult for potential licensees without great knowledge of music licensing to determine whose permission they need for a certain use. The Future of Music Coalition illustrated this point using a hit song by Flo Rida that had 13 writers who were represented by a total of 17 publishers.
With the many headlines that have been seen over the past couple years regarding streaming services and artist revenue-related topics, even the casual music fan and average U.S. citizen may have begun to wonder what is going on behind-the-scenes of the music business as it relates to these topics. […]
Kristin Thomson, the Co-Director of the US-based non-profit Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams research project, has shared her perspective as representative of FMC which has covered the measure in depth: read more
“Is there any limit to Taylor Swift’s power?” Tim Lordan asks.
It’s just before 1 p.m. this past Friday, and Lordan — the executive director of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee — is moderating a Capitol Hill panel discussion on the public policy of music streaming. With just hours to go before the weekend, he’s assembled a group of experts to answer a playful and provocative question: between Swift and Congress, who has a greater effect on the streaming industry?