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RIAA seeks lower royalties for music publishers and songwriters

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 10 Dec 2006 15:31 User comments (28)

RIAA seeks lower royalties for music publishers and songwriters The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has put itself on the war path with a huge part of the music industry by seeking that a panel of copyright judges lower the rate its members pay music publishers and songwriters in royalties. The trade group that has filed thousands of lawsuits against file sharers in the United States portrays itself as a protector of artists' livelihood.
The RIAA claims the the current rate is "out of touch with reality" and believes it is time for the government to step in. The rate hasn't been adjusted by government since 1981, leaving the music publishers, songwriters and the labels to strike their own deals. As part of reasoning behind the action, the trade group claims that the music industry has undergone fundamental changes.

"While record companies and music publishers were able to agree on royalty rates during that 25-year period, the assumptions on which those decisions were based have changed beyond recognition," the RIAA said. The group said that during the period of time when piracy was "devastating" the record industry, revenue for music publishers rose with the emergence and success of innovative services such as mobile phone ringtone services.

"Mechanical royalties currently are out of whack with historical and international rates," RIAA executive VP and general counsel Steven Marks said. "We hope the judges will restore the proper balance by reducing the rate and moving to a more flexible percentage rate structure so that record companies can continue to create the sound recordings that drive revenues for music publishers."

The Hollywood Reporter

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28 user comments

110.12.2006 16:25

Wow the RIAA must have alot of legal bills to pay to cut the little man out of money. But i thought the RIAA was tryin to help the artists/ songwriters/ publishers and so on. Looks like the RIAA is cuttin everyone out of the big picture. I guess the RIAA is really out of there mind.

210.12.2006 16:39

Here's an even better idea RIAA, Cut yourself out of the picture, so innocent people stop getting sued AND the artists who actually create the music get paid for what they are doing. I would rather see every cent that i pay towards a cd go to the artist and the few production people that make the cd and its packaging look pretty, rather than the organizations like this and other huge record label companies. Even if this does succeed, i dont think we will see any price cuts on cds or online music like we should if the royalties are cut.. Looks like the RIAA is beginning to show their true colors (like we didnt see what they were up to all along...)

310.12.2006 17:15

:O a reason for artists to hate the RIAA!

410.12.2006 17:44

The Man at work.

510.12.2006 17:54

This is really odd considering the royalties paid to music artists are relatively minute. The only thing in this picture that is "out of touch with reality" is the Recording Industry Association of America.

610.12.2006 19:50

Oh this is going to get good now......I imagine quite a few songwriters are going to tell the RIAA to go f**k themselves. =]

711.12.2006 3:49

Hmmmm ... Maybe the RIAA is trying to pay down the national debt? Let's think about that one for a moment .... Nahhhh .... just f***ing greedy as always.

811.12.2006 5:50

My goodness. Is there anyone left they haven't pissed off? "Waaah... I can't afford my new Benz this month... Waaah..." What a bunch of jerks. I can just see the next one: "We think everyone should have a meter on their car radio and have to pay per song played. The money goes straight to us of course..."

911.12.2006 6:32

That's a load of c-r-a-p.

Originally posted by b18bek9:
But i thought the RIAA was tryin to help the artists/ songwriters/ publishers and so on.
Are you really surprised? I'm not. Everything is piracy to these people. It won't be long before operating a computer is considered piracy. :(
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Dec 2006 @ 6:32

1011.12.2006 6:41

As a further thought .... Wonder how many of the RIAA members / employees actally "PAY" for their media? ;) Maybe we should all start following the 'trails' they leave behind at their ISP's , etc !!!!!! If anyone wants to start this investigation... I'll be among the first to volunteer/help out :)

1111.12.2006 7:37

What in the world is up with the RIAA?! The word "monopoly" immediately popped into my mind when reading this. Not only is the RIAA suing everyone and their grandmothers but now they want to pay their artists--which they would not exist without--less money? How can any one legitimately say they like or agree with the RIAA? All I have to say is RIAApe all around!

1211.12.2006 7:47

BTW, did everyone see that last week Warner Music's boss admitted that his children were caught downloading music illegally? Check out this link: You would think under normal circumstances, there would be a lawsuit at hand but his responce: "I’m fairly certain that they’ve suffered the consequences.” What does that mean?! "That's it JR., i'm cutting your allowance down to $500. Bad pirate!"

1311.12.2006 7:48

What exactly does the RIAA do for anybody anyway? Is there one positive function they do? Nice business ya got there; take money from artists and sue for money from customers. Holy Crap!

1411.12.2006 7:49

Hoho... RIAA, as well as Microsoft, are making total asses of themselves. But they won't die just because of that. They have enough money and have bought or extorted enough influence to plague us for years. MS has many rivals to their own product, so they will wither if they stop lying and bullying. RIAA doesn't need to worry - they get taxpayers' money to keep them alive. What is needed is a company that would forget about CDs, DRM, etc. and aim directly for the NEW consumers, those abhorred by RIAA: MP3/whatever player owners, etc. And NO DRM. None of it does anything more than hinder portability, anyway. It SHOULD work. Consumers would actually purchase the right to listen with no strings attached (and would be glad to act against wannabe puppeteers), and the ease of distribution, and absence of any costs associated with copyright enforcement (just as it used to be not that long ago - and yet they sold well) would allow for VERY low prices (per track or album) and very high royalties (in percentage) to the songwriters. It should work... once it has gained momentum. Initial costs (advertising, etc) would be staggering, that is to be expected. But, it would deprive true thieves (who want to own, but never pay), and DRM dorks (who want everyone to own nothing, but pay nonetheless) of their most common excuses. And as for "trying out before buying", there should be freely available encodes with _rapidly_ decreasing quality. That is enough to know both what the track contains, and its quality, without deriving full pleasure from listening. I know it's very idealistic. But no more so than anyone else's ideas. Especially RIAA's.

1511.12.2006 8:22

I read somewhere that it works out to around either $0.025 per song, or per CD, that will go to the artists, if this is approved. Which would, very much literally, mean that piracy could not hurt them at all. Even if you download a CD with 10 songs, you could send them a quarter for their effort. Meanwhile, the music labels would be making a full dollar per CD. About 35 times more, for doing literally nothing. So long, rich performers. You'll make more money being indy and selling your stuff over the internet.

1611.12.2006 10:05

Quote: seeking that a panel of copyright judges lower the rate...
A PANEL OF JUDGES???? I don't see why they can't negotiate on thier own.... Why should the judges tell the publishers & songwriters what they can charge for their creative work? When you go to court, you never know what's going to happen. Maybe the judges will increase the royalities!
I read somewhere that it works out to around either $0.025 per song, or per CD, that will go to the artists
. That would be $25,000 for selling one million CDs... You can see from the mansions, cars, girls, gold, and drugs, that the successful artitst are making MUCH more than that! It's my understanding that the standard deal is about $1.00 per CD. But, there is a catch... They "loan" the artist the money for studio time, making the video, and maybe some promotion. The artist might get a small cash advance too. If the CD doesn't sell enough to "break-even" (most CD's don't), the arist doesn't have to pay back the company, but they never collect any royalties. The record company doesn't make any money either. (The company has to make-up the money on successful artists.)

1711.12.2006 12:36

looks like the RIAA will be the reason for TOTAL Anarchy in the USA.. RIAA needs to take a chill pill and relize that they are making more money that most of world combined. when will it be about the music again and not about the money. stopped buying music for 3 years since all the new stuff is about money cars girls and drugs or sex c-mon the bands need to start making better songs them just maybe we will start buying it again. for every action there is a reaction. (( Action=music artist started to care about the money witch let to there songs sucking ReAction= regular people stoped paying for the original and resorted to P2P )) the bands are to blame too not just the RIAA i wont pay for utter garabe

1811.12.2006 13:32

DVDdoug: The vast majority of money artists acquire comes from touring, not CD sales.

1911.12.2006 14:28

the RIAA is a anti consumer and anti artist organization it needs to go quickly into that dark night....

2011.12.2006 16:12

I they eat their own young?

2111.12.2006 16:17

rosedog yes,it is the corperate way after all.

2212.12.2006 12:27

oofRome said it. I'll say it again. "out of touch with reality" "out of whack" OUT OF THEIR MINDS. All they (the RIAA) need to do now is announce a substantial increase in the percentage they charge their "clients" (the record labels) and they will have succeeded in their quest to PISS OFF EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, well, America anyway...

2317.12.2006 0:18

so let me get this right, the RIAA says publishers, songwriters, etc are MAKING money while the industry is supposedly being DEVASTATED by piracy? I thought they were saying before this that EVERYONE in the industry was loosing money because of piracy? If they are making money, imagine what they could make if they would stop the lawsuits and clean up their image instead of being jealous that they, a big company, cant make anything when a songwriter and publisher can. You know what I say? "On to isohunt for the top 500 rock songs of all time!"

2418.12.2006 12:48

This is just the studios figuring to screw their artists some more. RIAA knows there has been hundreds of lawsuits over the non-payment of royalties to the artists by the studios. If the studios think they can get away with not paying one cent, they will try it. This goes for the movie industry as well. One of the main reasons that artists try to get a big block of cash up front before doing any work is because of the studio's reputation of shorting the artists. To repeat what has already been said here, How can the studios say that the artists are making so much money from royalties if the same studios are saying that piracy is cutting so deep into the studio's sales. This just doesn't add up.......

2521.12.2006 10:50

Saw this editorial in the San Fran Examiner. These are the sorts of artists/musicians that are affected by these measures: Digital Technology Can Help Music John Colleton, The Examiner Dec 21, 2006 SAN FRANCISCO - As the front man for a rock band, I just don’t get why I should have to worry about Congress making my job harder. But I do worry, because now — in addition to having concerns with booking gigs, cutting demos and touring incessantly — I have the government, prodded by the big record labels, trying to limit the ways my music can be heard. Let me explain. Because my band isn’t well-known, we rely on creative and innovative ways to get people to listen to our sound. Affordable, off-the-shelf recording equipment gives us the ability to create and mix our own tracks without having to schedule expensive studio time at professional facilities. But more important, the Internet has given us a unique opportunity to reach out to an infinite number of potential fans and labels. Web sites such as MySpace and YouTube give us the chance to upload our music and even videos. Every day, tens of thousands of people go to these sites and others like them, looking for the next hot band. Internet word-of-mouth and viral marketing have the ability to drive new fans to a group’s Web site where songs can be legally downloaded and CDs purchased directly. For bands such as mine that are starting out and trying to rise above the fray, this is the only way to grow a fan base quickly and even make a living. We don’t even need a contract with a major recording label. Sounds great, right? But these new digital possibilities are also the root of the problem, because major record labels feel threatened by them. So they’re trying to get their friends in Congress to limit and restrict these new technologies. The labels like the way things have always been, where only a small fraction of the very talented groups performing professionally ever get a recording deal and access to a broad audience. Even though this model limits the variety of music and art that can be out there, the record labels want to keep it this way, because they make a killing on theses contracts. The independent music model, using new digital technologies, doesn’t compute with their antiquated business model. But what they don’t understand is that their business can only flourish with our success. The greater variety of up-and-coming artists there are out there, the more they benefit from helping them get to the next level. For example, in the 1980s the only way many artists could be heard was to record mix tapes and distribute them to friends. Many artists in hip-hop made a name for themselves before they were even signed through their success on the street. The labels should recognize that we’re at a similar point in music history. Digital technology can help their businesses — not hurt them. Satellite radio is a great example of how new technologies have opened people — and even business — to more possibility and opportunity. Subscribe, and listen commercial-free to hundreds of bands, DJs and others that would otherwise never be heard from. Just because it’s not played by your favorite FM station or on MTV, doesn’t mean that there isn’t talent out there worth hearing. The best part is satellite radio lets us test our sound on air virtually free of charge. This is a stark contrast to the large majority of those bands that are lucky enough to land a recording contract, yet are paid a modest advance against sales, and never actually sell enough CDs to recoup the label’s investment. These groups often quickly fade from sight. New technologies offer hope and huge opportunity for new artists. I hope a label picks us up and signs us to a deal. I hope we get booked on more and more tours across the country. I hope we make a name for ourselves and our music is heard by our fans everywhere. I worry, though, that our dreams will never be realized because along with the financial burdens of starting up a band, we’re fighting a lobbying campaign from the record labels. Artistic freedom is at risk and it needs to be protected. Johnnie Colleton is a singer, guitarist and songwriter for the San Francisco-based band The Bonedrivers and member of the Digital Freedom Campaign.

2621.12.2006 13:21

What is somewhat humorous about this is that it is history repeating itself for the third go around.... In the eastern states, way back when movies and music recording first started, Edison tried to control the market, after all, it was his invention, wasn't it ?? Other people started studios and Edison began losing marketing control. For a while, it was a free for all in the entertainment business then, the underworld began to muscle in. Managers of theaters and sheet music stores were threatened and sometimes attacked if they didn't buy movies and music from specific distributors or studios. many times stores and theaters were damaged to prove a point. Around 1911, studios began to migrate to Hollywood. They came here to regain the freedom that was lost working on the east coast. This was short lived because not only did they, themselves start to control the market, the mobs followed them and was pushing for control. Between the gangsters and the studios, all phases of the entertainment industry from creation to distribution to final sales was under control. Actors and artists were also under iron clad contracts that gave the studios complete control over their lives and work. Do something wrong and you don't work in the industry anymore... Some years before, around 1919, a group of actors formed their own studio, United Artists, in order to regain their freedom, but, because of costs and other hindrances, they were bought out by another studio. In the fifties, it was strongly rumored that Frank Sinatra got his start because of mob intervention. TV scared the hell out of them. One of the main reasons for going digital now is they can control the media or so they believe. The entertainment 'system' has kept it's hold more or less on movies and music till the advent of the internet. What they are doing now is no different than what they have done in the past. Control, control, control.........

2727.12.2006 20:13

RIAA/MPAA = Mafia nuf said

2828.12.2006 3:56

dufas *taking on beast wars megatrons voice* and with the advent of DRM the battle for control begins again anew.....yyyeeeesssssssss

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