[…]Universal told the Journal the E.U.’s approval “will benefit the artistic community and music industry” and that Universal is glad it will hold onto more than two-thirds of EMI’s global business. But IMPALA, a trade group representing European independent record labels, protested that the required sell-offs wouldn’t be enough to limit Universal’s increasing grip on the market. Casey Rae, deputy director of the U.S. nonprofit Future of Music Coalition, told Politico that “there’s not really going to be any number of divestitures that will make this a groovy deal.” Somewhere, someone at General Electric, the majority owner of Universal-owning (and now EMI-owning) Vivendi, a French media conglomerate, is chanting “swag.”
Meteoric transformations in the creation and distribution of music over the past ten years have drastically changed this landscape. New technologies like digital music stores, streaming services and webcasting stations have greatly reduced the cost barriers to the distribution and sale of music, and a vast array of new platforms and technologies — from blogs to Bandcamp to Twitter — now help musicians connect directly with fans. Subsequently, it’s easier than ever for musicians to retain control of their creative output and to benefit more directly when their music is performed, licensed or purchased. […]
Many musicians have also voiced opposition to the deal, arguing that existing record label contracts are stacked against artists — and will likely remain so absent significant changes in the digital marketplace. On average, musicians only receive $23.40 out of every $1,000 in music sales under the current system.
The American Antitrust Institute, the Consumer Federation of America and the Future of Music Coalition — a group representing independent and unsigned musicians — are all opposed to the deal.
[…]“The major labels are incredibly good at extracting maximum value from whatever they touch, and with only three left, they’ll be able to dictate the terms of the digital marketplace in ways we’ll be feeling for years to come,” said Casey Rae, deputy director of the Future of Music Coalition, a national nonprofit that opposes the deal.
“It’s always been conventional wisdom that if the EU accepted this deal, that the United States would mirror that,” Rae said. “But there’s not really going to be any number of divestitures that will make this a groovy deal.
[…}A good starting point to understanding how the interactive streaming services pay publishing royalties is this article from The Future of Music Coalition. Boiled down to basics, interactive streaming services pay a mechanical royalty rate of 10.5% on the revenue they generate, MINUS any amounts for performance royalties. In other words, services like Rhapsody and Spotify are subject to both a mechanical and performance royalty, but the entire compensation for songwriters and publishers from any limited download or interactive streaming site is “capped” at 10.5% of the site’s revenue.
[…]In the words of Lissa Rosenthal, Executive Director, the FMC, “works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work and where fans can find the music they want. We do this through a combination of original research, advocacy, and educational programming. This means that we wrestle with a whole host of issues that impact musicians and their livelihoods—everything from access to affordable health insurance, to reforming laws so musicians can earn royalties from broadcast radio; from freedom of expression to guarding against consolidation in media ownership.
For decades, broadcasters have enjoyed an exemption that allows them to not pay performers and labels when they terrestrially broadcast music. This hardly makes sense, especially compared to digital services like Pandora or Sirius XM, which pay not only songwriters and composers, but also performers and sound copyright owners. This is why the recent deal struck between broadcasting behemoth Clear Channel and Big Machine Records to pay out for “terrestrial” spins seems so significant. read more
Has technology leveled the playing field to a point that musicians can do it all themselves? And an even more critical question, should they try to do it themselves? What are the net effects of teammates and partnerships on musicians’ earning capacity? This article examines data collected through the Artist Revenue Streams project to better understand the impact – and tradeoffs – associated with musicians, income and teammates. […]