February 13, 2015 marked another milestone for free expression and compeition online, as the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new rules on net neutrality were officially published in the Federal Register, after being adopted in a 3/2 vote by the FCC on February 26. Despite widespread public support for these policies including countless musicians and a strong majority of the 4 million comments submitted, net neutrality opponents in congress haven’t given up without a fight, with ISPs introducing lawsuits in the courts and some in congress introucing measures to slow or block the new rules, resulting in the five grueling congressional hearings at which FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered a forceful defense of his proposed rules.
The most recent attempt to stop net neutrality also landed on April 13, as Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced a new resolution in the house, calling for an expedited review of the FCC’s recently proposed net neutrality rules. In effect, the resolution seeks to enact a fast-tract repeal the FCC’s proposed rule—known now as the Open Internet Order—which requires internet service providers (ISPs) to afford consumers open and accessible networks, free from content-based discrimination, and reclassifies broadband internet service under a “common carrier” framework. These rules, based in Title II of the Communications Act, are important for all musicians and independent labels alike who rely on the internet as a level playing field to reach audiences and promote their work.
On Monday, April 13, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN.), John Conyers Jr. (D-MI.), and Ted Deutch (D-FL.) introduced the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015—a bill that, if passed, would accomplish a handful of things. The centerpiece of the legislation is the establishment of a public performance right for AM/FM radio. This would mean that performers and labels would be able to receive compensation for terrestrial radio airplay, a right that already exists in the rest of the developed world. read more
When you read about music industry issues in the news, does it feel like it’s connected to your life? Do you see yourself reflected or hear your concerns included? These questions were on my mind most recently last week, as rapper Jay Z was joined by a crowded stage of pop superstars to roll out the music streaming service Tidal. It’s something I think about every time a big music news story bubbles up. read more
Rumors are flying around about the US Department of Justice (DOJ) potentially changing the rules that govern how performing rights organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI negotiate, collect and distribute publisher and songwriter royalties. read more
With the summer concert season not far away, event promoters and music fans alike face a growing challenge—the state of online ticket sales for live events. Fans are increasingly boxed out when tickets go on sale, and venues will often sell out to audiences that paid much more than the original price because they were forced to buy their tickets on the secondary market, through sites like StubHub or Craigslist. Essentially, it seems harder and harder for fans to access face-value tickets for certain types of events.read more
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
No other group can say that. And we’re not done yet.
Future of Music Coalition and our artist allies understand that change is inevitable. The difference is that we want change to equal progress. And not just for a handful of giant corporations whose business interests aren’t always aligned with artists or fans.
We are in this together.
We fight for musicians. We stand with fans. We are the Future of Music.
Post co-authored by FMC policy intern Bryce Cashman
Add another point to the artist rights scoreboard: Village People songwriter/performer Victor Willis has succeeded in reclaiming a 50 percent stake the ownership of classic songs that he co-wrote, including the indelible disco smash “Y.M.C.A.” read more
Followers of our work over the past 15 years know that we’ve always taken a stand against against payola—the practice of well-heeled music companies giving cash or other enticements to big broadcasters in exchange for radio airplay. Technically, this practice is only illegal if it is not disclosed over the airwaves when the paid-for music is played. But over the years, the broadcasting conglomerates have found workarounds. Most recently, they established a system of so-called “independent promoters” who would funnel cash or other goodies to broadcasters without the major labels ever dirtying their hands. (Our Payola Education Guide offers a great overview of this pernicious practice.) read more