On November 20, 2015, Future of Music Coalition filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division in their request for comments on the matter of “fractional licensing” of musical works for public performance. This inquiry is part of the DOJ’s examination of the ASCAP / BMI consent decrees, which could result in a change to the rules that govern how songs are licensed to all forms of radio.
Chief, Litigation III Section
U.S. Department of Justice
450 5th Street NW, Suite 4000
Washington, DC 20001
To David C. Kully, Chief, Litigation III Section:
Future of Music Coalition (FMC) appreciates the opportunity to submit the following comments regarding the Antitrust Consent Decrees for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Our views on the issue of 100 percent licensing are informed by consultation with the vocational songwriters, performing songwriters and independent publishers who comprise our community. read more
According to Billboard magazine, “25” is expected to sell more than 1 million units in North America in its first week, and will very likely be the biggest album release of 2015.
Casey Rae, chief executive of Future of Music Coalition, told the New York Times that Adele’s decision to withhold the new album on streaming for a certain period of time was sending a “strong signal to other artists.” However, in reality not all artists are able to make those same choices, he added.
by Kelsey Butterworth, Policy Intern and Kevin Erickson, Communications & Outreach Manager
As of November 1, enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare) is once again open, which means it’s a counterintuitively exciting time to be an artist without medical insurance. The ACA does what its name implies, and for musicians lacking coverage, it can be a critical step in leading a long and productive life. read more
Panelists at the Future of Music Policy Summit’s “Cracking the Streaming Code” explained that the current pro-rata model incentivizes clicks, which favors big-name artists rather than those with a smaller but devoted fan base. The pro-rata system counts the total number of clicks in a given period, then divides the subscriber fees proportionately based on artists’ total clicks. If a subscriber pays $10 per month to use a streaming service and exclusively listens to a non-mainstream band, most of that money goes to other artists that get more clicks.
Apple and Google have both launched paid platforms for music streaming, which allows unlimited, on-demand selection of songs online.
“If Adele decides to not have her music on streaming for a certain period of time, that is going to send a strong signal to other artists”, said Casey Rae, chief executive of the Future of Music Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group. The 30-second format helps ensure that users don’t get bored with the songs, but it also has a nifty legal function: It sharply reduces royalty fees Facebook has to pay.
“If Adele decides to not have her music on streaming for a certain period of time, that is going to send a strong signal to other artists,” said Casey Rae, chief executive of the Future of Music Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group. “In reality, not all artists are able to make those same choices.”
With her last album, “21,” released in early 2011, Adele scored the kind of blockbuster success that the industry had all but written off as extinct. It sold about 30 million copies around the world, making it one of the most popular releases in decades; in the United States, a majority of its 11 million sales were on CD. read more
In response to this article, the Future of Music Coalition (FMC)—a D.C.-based nonprofit group championing musicians and their rights to fair compensation—posted an extensive critique, faulting Johnson’s article on several points. In particular, FMC objects that, by using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) to support his conclusion about the rise of musicians in the U.S., Johnson overlooked key limitations and definitional issues associated with the dataset. Similarly, FMC maintains that his findings about musicians’ incomes do not reveal how those incomes are distributed, and how the distribution pattern has changed over time. read more
Through their success, these three women have also accumulated a rare level of power in the industry, allowing them to take risks over how their music is released and consumed, and the rest of the business has taken notice.
“If Adele decides to not have her music on streaming for a certain period of time, that is going to send a strong signal to other artists,” said Casey Rae, chief executive of the Future of Music Coalition, an artists-advocacy group. “In reality, not all artists are able to make those same choices.”
In order for ASCAP and BMI to effectively compete with SESAC and to most efficiently service their members, their licensees and the general public, the Consent Decrees need modification. First, ASCAP and BMI must be permitted to allow the partial withdrawal of rights by its members, particularly its publisher members. The Consent Decrees have to date been construed to allow publisher members to either use ASCAP or BMI for ALL of their performance rights or for NONE. See Broadcast Music, Inc. V. Pandora Media, Inc. 13 CIV. 4037 (LLS), 2013 WL 6697788 (S.D.N.Y. Dec 19, 2013); see also ASCAP-BMI Consent DecreesFuture of Music Coalition (October 3, 2014).
WASHINGTON — After years of hanging their heads or sitting on the sidelines as disruptive digital forces chipped away at the music industry’s bottom line, working-class musicians and songwriters are starting to embrace the power of banding together and agitating for change, whether it’s engaging lawmakers to influence policy or joining coalitions that will fight for their interests. At the Future of Music Coaltion’s 15th annual Music Policy Summit here, the unofficial theme that emerged was a need to organize and rally to bring about real changes in the way musicians and songwriters are compensated in an evolving industry. read more