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Songwriter groups want downloads classified as public performance

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 19 Sep 2009 3:14 User comments (6)

Songwriter groups want downloads classified as public performance ASCAP and BMI, the two major US agencies that collect music performance royalties, are pushing to establish new royalties from online music and video stores. They want to begin collecting a performance royalty for downloads of songs and videos that include music.
The proposed new royalties are intended to address the trend of reduced public performances, such as radio and television broadcasts.

Of course it's not as though songwriters aren't already getting paid for downloads. They receive a mechanical royalty each time a song is downloaded and a synchronization fee if their composition is used in a TV show or movie.

In other words it works like CD and DVD sales.

The added royalties would essentially charge consumers twice. Once to cover the distribution and then again for the right to play the file.

John Potter, Executive Director of the Digital Media Association (DiMA) told CNet "This is a turf battle. They are saying, 'The songwriters aren't getting paid.' Baloney. Songwriters are getting paid. They're paid sync rights and (mechanical) rights. They aren't getting paid for the public performance in a download because there is no public performance in a download."

DiMA's position is shared by many other organizations, including Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), the Entertainment Marketing Association (EMA), and the Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA).

So far lawmakers and the courts also back the position that there is no performance to collect royalties on.

Performance royalty collectors are also looking to charge each time a 30 second preview clip, frequently used to sell music in online stores, is played.

This seems like a particularly bad idea since it would discourage services like iTunes from offering previews, potentially resulting in a lot of lost sales.

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6 user comments

119.9.2009 4:11

Wow!!! They are doing everything they can now to nickel and dime the consumers and online business.

219.9.2009 4:51

No, they are doing everything they can to destroy the music business as it is, and I applaud them for it. At the rate they are going, all of the big dinosaurs will die, and their fake pop-BS-bands will die with them. This is not accidental, they saw what happened when fees were raised for radio stations...the staions stated playing a lot less music (they even mention this in the article). So now they want to increase the cost of promoting music to the point that no one can afford to do it. This will result in a huge drop in sales, which will result in higher prices that will force the last of their market away. Before long the only people buying CDs will be the ones that upload them to pirate sites.

Of course, it won't last...soon enough, the small companies will come along, and allow people to advertise their product for them...then the music industry will esentialy restart back to where it was in the early days of MTV.

320.9.2009 14:46
atomicxl
Inactive

Wanting a royalty for previews is kinda stupid and shooting yourself in the foot.

Wanting a performance royalty for a music download is pretty anti-common sense imo. I can understand if it's for a stream, but a download seems like a pretty clear cut mechanical royalty situation.

The video one seems kinda stupid as well unless it's a streamed video or a download that's not your music video, but features your music in it.

As far as the guy above me... lol. "fake pop bs bands" have been around ever since bands started becoming popular. It's here to stay. They can always turn a profit because they are pop, meaning they are popular and people buy their music.

420.9.2009 22:45

Originally posted by atomicxl:
Wanting a royalty for previews is kinda stupid and shooting yourself in the foot.

Wanting a performance royalty for a music download is pretty anti-common sense imo. I can understand if it's for a stream, but a download seems like a pretty clear cut mechanical royalty situation.

The video one seems kinda stupid as well unless it's a streamed video or a download that's not your music video, but features your music in it.

Agreed. Song writers have certain legal royalities. The 2 most common ones are Mechanical and Performance. Mechanical royalties are from the sale of a cd/dvd/download. Performance is when someone (like a big club) plays your music for their patrons.

Song writers can't have it both ways... either they have their mechanical royalties OR performance.... not both.

522.9.2009 3:37

Quote:
Song writers have certain legal royalities. The 2 most common ones are Mechanical and Performance. Mechanical royalties are from the sale of a cd/dvd/download. Performance is when someone (like a big club) plays your music for their patrons.

Song writers can't have it both ways... either they have their mechanical royalties OR performance.... not both.
Written by someone who half-understands what he is saying. Of course songwriters can collect both performance and mechanical royalties, as well they should.

If a song is played on the radio the songwriter gets paid (albeit a very small amount). That radio station makes money by playing that song - they charge for advertising. People listen to the radio station to hear the music, NOT the ads. If the songwriter didn't get paid then he is essentially given free support to the products being hawked on that station, while the station collects money from the advertiser. The draw that gets people to listen to those endless mattress ads is the MUSIC!

Mechanical royalties are completely separate. There are many songs that do not get radio play, yet people buy CDs (mechanical reproductions) of those songs. Do you honestly believe that people buy CDs because of the plastic and cardboard packaging? No, they buy it for the MUSIC! Should the record companies be allowed to sell reproductions of a songwriter's work without compensating him? Of course not.

As far as the first comment - those nickels and dimes are what adds up to pay a songwriter's rent. You bet they are scrapping for every penny these days, especially since mechanical royalties are shrinking at a precipitous rate as more and more people are grabbing music digitally with no compensation whatsoever going to the creators of that music.

Gee I'd like everything for free too. Mind if I grab that ham sandwich out of your fridge? :)

622.9.2009 5:11

Originally posted by Ribbs:
Gee I'd like everything for free too. Mind if I grab that ham sandwich out of your fridge? :)
If you think you can stomach that rotten, moldy thing...then you can have it =)

The fact is that these writers are already getting paid for the downloads...they just want to get paid twice. An MP3 is just a low quality rip of a CD...and CDs don't pay the writer twice, so why should MP3's pay the writer twice?

I'm not saying that terrible pop bands will ever die...all I am hoping for is a world where these fake-pop-bands create themselves, with their own music...not where the members are selected by a record company based on appearance, and where their only job is to dance around and lipsync to someone else's music. This is why the first beatles albums are still popular, and the first new kids on the block albums are forgotten.


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