Central music rights database would benefit songwriters

Tim DuBoisToday – in America and globally – the multi-billion-dollar music industry is mired in a Rubik’s Cube of rights administration and royalty payment systems. The current massive multiplayer infrastructure does not serve songwriters, record companies, digital services or consumers.

But what if Congress could ensure that music creators are paid more without increasing music users’ royalty costs? Imagine infringement risks reduced without diminishing creators’ rights. We – an award-winning songwriter and a longtime digital music advocate – believe these benefits are possible, and even probable, if music ownership data is effectively and efficiently collected, validated and utilized by industry stakeholders.

Source: Central music rights database would benefit songwriters

Commission’s digital single market turns one and has a big seven months ahead 

Under its digital single market plans, the European Commission has so far proposed a crowd-pleasing new law to allow people to use digital content subscriptions like Netflix when they travel to other EU countries. The executive also came out with proposals to reform online contracts and open the 700 MHz spectrum band for mobile internet and outlined non-legislative measures to make industrial manufacturing more digital.

Paul Meller, spokesman for tech industry association DigitalEurope, said the digital single market plans are “far more ambitious than any previous Commission efforts in this area”.

But there could be dramatic twists ahead: the executive’s announcements, still planned for later this year, are some of the most controversial ones in the strategy.

Source: Commission’s digital single market turns one and has a big seven months ahead – EurActiv.com

In Possible Threat to Must-Carry, GAO Says Broadcast License Phase-out Feasible 

The General Accountability Office has concluded that phasing out cable and satellite statutory licenses for the retransmission of broadcast content “may be feasible for most” participants, and the U.S. Copyright Office agreed. Must-carry rules could be threatened as a result.

GAO also said that increasing the individual negotiations could lead to broadcast “blackouts,” already a complaint by cable operators over retrans negotiations with blanket licenses. It would make sense that the more individual negotiations required, the more potential for disagreement and disruption, though some content providers argue there would also be more opportunity for a marketplace-set rate on their content rather than a government-set blanket license they argue is artificially low.

Source: In Possible Threat to Must-Carry, GAO Says Broadcast License Phase-out Feasible | Broadcasting & Cable

ASCAP Payout to Industry Falls by $16m, Despite Revenue Growth

US licensing body ASCAP collected more than $1bn for the second year in a row in 2015 – but paid out some $16.1m less to songwriters and publishers.

As a result, the collection society’s overall cost-to-income ratio moved in the wrong direction for rights-holders – despite its expenses actually dropping in the year.

Total receipts at ASCAP last year hit $1.015bn, up 1.3% on the $1.002bn collected in 2014. However, 2015 saw distributions of $867.4m to ASCAP’s 560,000 members in the US and around the world.

Source: Music Business Worldwide

Welcome to the RightsTech Revolution

Digital-handConcurrent Media Strategies, LLC, publisher of the Concurrent Media blog, and Digital Media Wire, Inc., producers of Digital Entertainment World and the New York Media Festival, among other conferences, today announced the official launch of RightsTech, a new forum — blog, newsletter, conferences — for cross-industry global collaboration focused on furthering technology innovation around rights management and licensing across multiple media verticals.

The inaugural RightsTech Summit will be held July 26 at the the Japan Society in New York City. The newsletter, which you can subscribe to here, will keep you up to date on all the news and conversation around the emerging RightsTech ecosystem. This blog will be an evolving platform for discussion and debate among the various stakeholders.

Universal Music Group is ‘Out of Contract’ with YouTube – Sources

money-protest-power-fist-biz-2015-billboard-650Universal Music Group is locked in a chilly negotiation period with YouTube, as the major’s long-running licensing deal with Google’s platform switches to a rolling deal.

MBW understands that UMG’s licensing agreement with YouTube expired earlier this year, and currently seems a fair way off being re-signed. UMG has now been rolling on a month-to-month contract with YouTube for most of 2016, and is believed to have put together both an ‘on YouTube’ strategy and an ‘off YouTube’ strategy – the latter very much an ‘in case of emergency’ fallback. (And not a bad negotiating tool, of course.)

Both Sony and Warner’s deals with YouTube are also due to end in the coming months, MBW understands.

Source: Music Business Worldwide

A Turning Point For Digital Sports Rights

Twitter was not the highest bidder, and according to re/Code, paid less than $10M for the package, a minuscule amount compared to other rights deals.This last note is somewhat surprising news, considering the NFL’s history of ignoring all factors aside from money when making large-scale decisions (think: Thursday Night Football, European expansion). But in this deal, the NFL should be commended for choosing a partner that fits its long-term growth strategy better than its short-term pocketbook.

Here’s why:

In order for live-streaming on a digital platform to have any impact in the fragmented media landscape, it needs to create a totally unique viewer experience. If Amazon or Yahoo offer simple re-broadcasts of the games on their websites, what incentive do viewers have to tune into Amazon/Yahoo instead of CBS/NBC?

Source: The Cauldron

Songwriters Strike a Discordant Note Over Control of Their Music

Knowledge@Wharton: Set the backdrop as to how this decree came into play and why the U.S. Justice Department is looking to make this change.

Lawrence Gelburd: Let’s start with copyright. When you’re part of a team that writes a song, or maybe you’re the sole songwriter, you initially have a set of copyrights and there are multiple rights. One is to have the song performed on the radio. There are mechanical license rights. So you own the right to say, “You can make a physical copy,” like a CD or an LP, and sell it. You also have sync license.

So you have the right as the copyright owner to give someone who’s making a film or a motion picture access to use your song legally in conjunction with that picture.

There are also grand rights for theatrical performances and print rights.This copyright that you own is a set of rights, one of which is the right for performing rights organizations like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. They collect money, for example, from terrestrial radio, so that’s their focus. And they have strength in numbers. ASCAP has almost a half-million members, and BMI is quite large as well.

Source: Knowledge@Wharton

Streaming Deal Between ABC, Warner Bros. Signals Change for SVOD Rights

In the trench war between TV networks and streaming services over series stacking rights, ABC has broken through enemy lines.

On March 18, the network announced a deal with Warner Bros. Television that will make all in-season episodes of any future series from the studio available on ABC digital platforms. Networks tend to stack five rolling episodes for most shows.

The ABC-Warner Bros. deal acknowledges the continued shift toward time-shifted viewing and binge watching.It also gives ABC a victory over the digital competition — in particular Netflix. The streaming service has asserted often that it will not pay top dollar for shows that don’t come with exclusivity, making it difficult for networks to secure stacking rights.

Source: Variety

Music Reports Launches New Tool to Begin Solving ‘The Database Problem’

Music Reports has launched an unnamed rights administration platform aimed at clearing up publishing information for the millions of songs, largely from independent artists, that are digitally distributed through platforms like CD Baby and TuneCore.

Music Reports estimates 500,000-750,000 new recordings are released on streaming services every month; the company hopes to ensure that the publishing data on these songs is registered, up-to-date, and can be matched against commercially released master recordings.

Since most digital distributors don’t provide publishing information when placing music on streaming services, when the publishers and songwriters are not known those works are directed to a rights administration system, where songwriters or their publishers can claim those songs, allowing for publishing payments to be made.

Source: Billboard

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