“There is a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968
The Mechanical Licensing Collective submitted its proposal to the Copyright Royalty Board this week, outlining the structure of the collective and the funding required to carry out the statutory demands of the Music Modernization Act, ahead of its official launch in 2021. The proposed start-up assessment is $37.25 million, and according to the law, it will be wholly paid by the digital services. An annual assessment will start at $29 million in 2021 when the collective starts its blanket licensing operations.
An amendment to the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees is being requested by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to allow publishers to selectively withdraw digital rights from blanket licenses. This could give songwriters and publishers higher all-in royalties, including performance rights in direct digital deals, while allowing the publishers to remain in the blanket license for the general licensing of performance rights to retail outlets, bars, hotels, etc.
YouTube is making a few changes to how it calculates its YouTube Music charts and “24-hour debut” records by excluding paid advertising views after a recent controversy when Sony Music India claimed that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour debut records. Later on, the artist revealed in an Instagram story that paid ads had played a prominent role in the first-day performance of his video. The company’s blog post further stated, “Artists will now be ranked based on view counts from organic plays...Videos eligible for YouTube’s 24-hour debut record are those with the highest views from organic sources within the first 24 hours of the video’s public release.”
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - September 20, 2019
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) and designated by the US Copyright Office, has submitted its proposal to the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) outlining the structure of the collective and the funding required to carry out the statutory demands of the bill. By January 1, 2021, the MLC must be able to administer the new nationwide blanket license system for mechanical rights, operate a transparent database, match copyright ownership to usage on streaming platforms, and pay songwriters and publishers. This will be funded by the digital services, who will be able to receive blanket licenses through the MLC. The funding will be made through an “administrative assessment” on the digital services, which the judges at the Copyright Royalty Board are tasked with setting in an amount sufficient to cover the MLC’s total costs. The proposed start-up assessment is $37.25 million, with an annual assessment starting at $29 million in 2021, when it starts its blanket licensing operations. The law stipulates that the assessment will be wholly paid by the digital services. The CRB rules provide for a written response by the digital services, a written reply by the MLC, and then a hearing with live testimony, which is currently scheduled for February 2020. The CRB ruling will be due by July 2020.
The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to amend the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees in order to allow publishers to selectively withdraw digital rights from blanket licenses. Songwriter groups added that they also want publishers and performance rights organizations to declare their commitment to the principle that all music creators have the right to choose the PRO that will represent them. The benefit of partial withdrawal could give songwriters and publishers higher all-in royalties, including performance rights in direct digital deals, while allowing the publishers to remain in the blanket license for the general licensing of performance rights to retail outlets, bars, hotels, etc. In other parts of the world outside of the US, music creators have the “sacrosanct” exclusive right to assign their performance rights to the PRO of their choosing. The Society of Composers & Lyricists (SCL) said, “We'd like to see [that advantage] codified in any revision of the consent decree.” ASCAP and BMI both write in their comments that their current proposals does not allow or contemplate partial withdrawals by music publishers. However, the two PROs state that they are continuing to study the issue and consult with industry stakeholders.
YouTube is deciding to exclude paid advertising views when it calculates its YouTube Music charts and its “24-hour debut” records. The change follows a recent controversy when Sony Music India claimed that artist Badshah had broken YouTube’s 24-hour-debut records, before it emerged that paid ads had played a role in his milestone. “Artists will now be ranked based on view counts from organic plays,” announced YouTube in a blog post this week. It continued, “Videos eligible for YouTube’s 24-hour debut record are those with the highest views from organic sources within the first 24 hours of the video’s public release. This includes direct links to the video, search results, external sites that embed the video and YouTube features like the homepage, watch next and Trending.” Badshah’s “record” was announced in a press release sent out by Sony Music India on July 11. It was described as a “viral sensation” that had reached 75 million views in its first 24 hours, beating the previous record of 74.6 million views for BTS’ “Boy With Luv” featuring Halsey. However, doubts were raised in India about the milestone as Badshah revealed in an Instagram story later that paid ads had played a prominent role in the first-day performance of his video.
Music publishers requested an amended complaint in New York federal court against exercise bike startup Peloton this past Thursday that would include new co-plaintiffs and add more than 1,200 musical works that the company is alleged to have infringed in workout videos. The amount of requested damages, as a result, has doubled from $150 million in the original filing to now more than $300 million. Peloton is currently planning to raise $500 million via an IPO these days, and has sold hundreds of thousands of bikes to consumers since launching in 2012. However, its difficulty to obtain proper synchronization licenses is identified as a risk factor in its S-1, the registration statement that lays out its business plans for public investors. Peloton asserted counterclaims in court, alleging that the music publishers have violated antitrust law. The music publishers deny any collusion and say that each of the publishers reached independent decisions to forgo any comprehensive licensing deal and sue Peloton for infringement. A judge has yet to rule on the pending dismissal motion.
Amazon Music is now the first of the three major streaming services to offer high-definition sound with the launch of Amazon Music HD. The service offers recordings that are encoded with FLAC (free lossless audio codec, which means they can be compressed without a loss in quality) with more than 50 million songs in High Definition, and millions of songs in Ultra High Definition, which it claims is the highest quality streaming audio available. Amazon Music HD is available for $12.99 per month for Amazon Prime members and $14.99 per month for customers, or an additional $5 per month for current subscribers on individual or Family Plans. The service is available to stream in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan. Those that are new can receive a 90-day free trial, and current subscribers can test Amazon Music HD at no additional cost for 90 days at amazon.com/music/unlimited/hd. Tidal, Deezer, and French service Qobuz, have all offered high-quality audio for years. However, Amazon Music is the first of the three top streaming services to offer this option. According to the company’s research, Amazon Music VP Steve Boom tells Variety that the three options that are most important to users of music streaming services are catalog, ease of use, and sound quality. The HD service offers more than 50 million lossless HD songs, with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1kHz (CD quality). Ultra HD comes with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz. Download options are also available.
According to the latest RIAA Mid-Year 2019 Latin Music Revenue report, Latin music’s digital footprint in the US is driving a 13.5% rise in total revenue as recording acts “gain in critical recognition,” says RIAA president Mitch Glazier. In addition, streaming represents 95% of the genre’s market. The success of streaming for the Latin music market led to a growth of 17% for a total revenue (retail) of $220 million. Paid subscriptions through platforms like Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music Unlimited, represented a 25% increase to $146 million, revenue for two-thirds of the Latin music streaming market in the first half of 2019. On-demand, ad-supported streams from services such as YouTube, Vevo, and the free version of Spotify, only grew 4% and brought in $44 million, according to the report. Companies providing distributions and payments in Latin music such as SoundExchange were up 5%, accounting for $30 million.
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- Linkin Park's "Numb" breaks record as the most watched rock music video on YouTube.
- P!nk drops an official video of her reflective pop ballad, "Hurts 2B Human".
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