A final settlement agreement has been set on a long-running legal dispute between the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) and Global Music Rights (GMR). In 2016, GMR filed a suit alleging unfair payment of songwriters. The RMLC represents the interests of around 10,000 commercial radio stations, and as of April 1, 2022, will have entered long-term licenses with GMR in order to settle the dispute.
The MLC seeks songwriter candidates to be considered for seats on its Board of Directors, Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, and Dispute Resolution Committee. They must be professional songwriters who retain and license mechanical rights for songs they have written.
Amazon’s spending on video and music content in 2021 hit $13 billion, up around 18%, according to its annual SEC filing. The expenses include licensing and production costs as well as costs associated with digital subscriptions and sold or rented content.
In this newsletter:
- Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights and Commercial Radio Body Settle Long-Running Legal Dispute
- The MLC Seeking Suggestions for Songwriter Candidates for Seats on Board of Directors and Pair of Advisory Committees
- Amazon Spent $13 Billion on Film, TV and Music Content in 2021, Up 18%
- PPL Sets New Annual Record for Its International Collections
- Songwriters Hit Back at Chris Brown and Drake’s “haughty claims” in Song-Theft Dispute
- Spotify CEO Hints HiFi Tier Delay is Related to Licensing Issues
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - February 11, 2022
Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights and Commercial Radio Body Settle Long-Running Legal Dispute
The Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) and Irving Azoff’s performing rights society Global Music Rights (GMR) have reached a final agreement to settle their long-running legal dispute. GMR filed a suit – alleging unfair payment of songwriters – in US federal court in 2016 against the RMLC, which represents the interests of some 10,000 commercial radio stations. According to this week’s announcement, the agreement reached between the two parties includes a majority of commercial radio stations entering long-term licenses with GMR. The settlement agreement is now final, and the licenses that radio stations signed will begin on April 1, 2022. As of that date, stations without a license from GMR will no longer be permitted to publicly perform songs within the GMR repertory.
The MLC Seeking Suggestions for Songwriter Candidates for Seats on Board of Directors and Pair of Advisory Committees
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) is now seeking suggestions for songwriter candidates to be considered for seats on its Board of Directors, Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee, and Dispute Resolution Committee. Candidates must be professional songwriters who retain and license mechanical rights for songs they have written. The Unclaimed Royalties Oversight Committee recommends to the Board policies and procedures related to the distribution of unclaimed accrued royalties. The Dispute Resolution Committee recommends to the Board policies and procedures for the processing of royalties related to works that are subject to disputes over ownership. Board and committee members sit for three-year terms and may be reelected.
Amazon Spent $13 Billion on Film, TV and Music Content in 2021, Up 18%
Amazon’s costs for video and music content last year hit $13 billion, up around 18%, representing a slowdown from its spending binge in 2020. The ecommerce giant disclosed total video and music expenses for 2021 in its annual SEC filing. The company also announced a rate hike for its Prime membership program in the U.S., which is rising from $119 to $139 per year (up 17%). Total video and music expense includes licensing and production costs associated with content offered on Prime Videos, and costs associated with digital subscriptions and sold or rented content. “We obtain video content, inclusive of episodic television and movies, and music content for customers through licensing agreements that have a wide range of licensing provisions including both fixed and variable payment schedules,” Amazon noted in the 10-K filing.
PPL Sets New Annual Record for Its International Collections
UK collecting society PPL has set another record: £94m ($127.4m) of international collections in 2021, which was up 9.4% year-on-year. The company said that its work around improving recordings metadata and identifying usage of music helped it to grow those collections, along with partnerships with fellow societies around the world. Last year’s haul takes PPL’s total of international neighboring rights collections to nearly £700m since its international service launched in 2006.
Songwriters Hit Back at Chris Brown and Drake’s “haughty claims” in Song-Theft Dispute
The songwriters who have accused Chris Brown and Drake of ripping off one of their tracks on the 2019 hit “No Guidance” have hit back in a new legal filing. Singer Braindon Cooper and producer Timothy Valentine sued Brown and Drake last year, claiming that “No Guidance” ripped off their 2016 track “I Love Your Dress”. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs said that “in addition to containing similar beat patterns, the melody and lyrics used in the chorus/hook of ‘No Guidance’ – ‘you got it, girl; you got it’ – are so strikingly similar to those used in the chorus of ‘I Love Your Dress’ that they cannot be purely coincidental”. Brown and Drake’s legal reps tried to dismiss the lawsuit In a legal filing last month, but a new legal filing from Cooper and Valentine this week counters that motion.
Spotify CEO Hints HiFi Tier Delay is Related to Licensing Issues
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has hinted that the delay of the streaming service’s HiFi subscription tier is related to licensing issues. Speaking to analysts and investors during Spotify’s quarterly and annual earnings release, Ek stated that the company doesn’t have much to share about its plans for the HiFi tier, but noted discussions were ongoing. “Many of the features that we talk about and especially that’s related to music ends up into licensing,” Ek told investors. “So I can’t really announce any specifics on this other than to say that we’re in constant dialogue with our partners to bring this to market.”
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