Have you ever used ASCAP’s ACE Title Search? We did, just the other day. A friend was trying to contact the publishers of an almost-but-not-quite public domain ditty to obtain permission to use the work in an original stage play. Unsurprisingly, he had no idea where to go to find this information. We cruised over to the ASCAP site and entered in the song title. It didn’t take long to find a match, and more importantly, the work had publisher contact information. Victory!
If only it were that easy across the board. read more
Post co-authored by FMC policy intern Bryce Cashman
A new bill has been introduced in the US House of Representatives that we hope will have a positive impact on the music community. On March 19, 2015, Reps. Joe Crowley(D-NY) and Tom Rooney (R-FL) introduced the Allocation for Music Producers Act (AMP, H.R. 1457)—legislation that would make it easier for producers to receive a percentage of digital performance royalties. read more
Since May 2013, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet has undertaken a comprehensive review of the entire Copyright Act, including many issues of importance to musicians and songwriters. But the Act is not the only regulatory structure that impacts how creators are compensated.
Google Ventures’ new London arm is making its first investment by leading a $60 million Series C funding round for Kobalt, a music rights management services firm that could help the next Taylor Swift build wealth.
Casey Rae, Georgetown University communications professor and CEO of the Future of Music Coalition, said Kobalt has “demonstrated leadership around how the music industry can function with greater efficiency and transparency.” read more
This article is second in a series of guest posts exploring the streaming issue from multiple angles, with a focus on how independent players are impacted. For another take, check out this post from Joe Steinhardt, owner of independent label Don Giovanni Records.read more
It’s pretty weird when you think about it: when you hear “I Will Always Love You” performed by Whitney Houston on AM/FM radio in the US, neither the Houston estate nor her label get paid. But songwriter Dolly Parton does receive compensation, along with her publisher. We love Dolly a ton, but this seems unfair. That’s because it is.
Things look much different in the rest of the world, where performers, labels, songwriters and publishers ALL get paid for radio play. Consider how certain genres of music—like jazz and r&b—are powered by performances. “Respect,” belted out by Aretha Franklin. “My Favorite Things” as interpreted by the great John Coltrane. Yet due to a weird loophole in US law that exempts radio stations from paying performers or labels, countless American artists have been unable to collect money owed to them for airplay here and abroad. The problem is particularly acute for performers who aren’t in a position to tour, such as older, so-called “legacy” artists. When it comes down to it, the lack of a public performance right for over-the-air broadcasting amounts to the government giving away music to the rest of the world for free.
These are exciting times at FMC. After 15 years at the intersection of music, technology, policy and law, we’ve taken some bold steps to better serve you well into the future.
As musicians, songwriters, managers, indie publishers and labels ourselves, we know that it’s a challenge to stay on top of the many issues that are reshaping music. But with so much happening in the policy arena and the marketplace, this is a crucial time for artists and their teams to get involved. In FMC’s next next phase, we’ll be coming up with new and innovative ways to help you crack the code of an evolving industry. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss an opportunity. read more
A 2013 online survey by the Future of Music Coalition and the Artists’ Health Insurance Resource Center found that 43 percent of American artists - from musicians to dancers and visual artists - lack health insurance. Most musicians can’t live off the money they make playing music and take part-time jobs. The Johnny Brenda’s staff is “full of musicians” working part time in the kitchen and behind the bar, and serving tables, Mungan said.
Today, the United States Copyright Office released Copyright and the Music Marketplace, the result of last year’s Music Licensing Study—a project that combined roundtables in various cities with opportunities for written comments from stakeholders and the public. (FMC participated in the roundtables and official docket; see our initial comments here; reply comments here.)
There’s so much in the 245-page report that it’s impossible to offer a full breakdown of the recommendations in a single blog post. In fact, we’re still making our way through it, but the Executive Summary provides an overview of many of the key provisions. We certainly respect the effort it took to produce such a detailed report, and commend Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante for taking the initiative with such a thorny and complex issue set.
by Kevin Erickson, Communications & Outreach Manager
This week, cellist and composer Zoë Keatingwrote an eloquent and impassioned blog post wrestling with the question of whether she should participate in YouTube’s new Music Key subscription service under terms she finds objectionable. By any estimation, Zoë is a savvy observer of the industry and a DIY success story. With regard to YouTube, Zoë took issue with several provisions of the contract presented to her, including the requirement that she make her entire back catalog available in the new service. She also raised questions about the company’s negotiation style. The post clearly struck a nerve and has been widely discussed.
Zoë’s post is well worth reading. Here are some additional things you should know to really understand the full picture: