Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter. Today, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on an exceptional individual, Rene Merideth, the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Exploration Group, who is now stepping into the spotlight as a candidate for the Vice President position at the esteemed California Copyright Conference (CCC).

Rene Merideth's journey in the realm of publishing administration has been nothing short of remarkable. As the co-founder and COO of Exploration Group, Rene has been instrumental in establishing the company as a trailblazer in the field, providing comprehensive copyright management solutions for creators and rights holders. Her deep understanding of the intricate world of copyrights, coupled with her strategic vision, has led to the successful administration of countless publishing catalogs and the facilitation of fair and equitable compensation for creators.

Now, with an unwavering commitment to furthering the interests of the creative community, Rene has taken up the challenge of running for the Vice President position at the CCC. Drawing on her extensive industry knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for copyright advocacy, Rene aims to play a pivotal role in shaping policies and initiatives that support and protect the rights of creators.

We encourage you to closely follow Rene Merideth's campaign and join her in her mission to champion the rights of creators within the California Copyright Conference. Together, we can create an environment that fosters innovation, protects intellectual property, and ensures a thriving publishing industry.

In this newsletter:

Legendary vocalist Tina Turner has passed away at age 83 after a battle with a long illness.

ASCAP and BMI have teamed up to form a joint task force aimed at addressing fraudulent activities associated with musical works within the collective management ecosystem.

The Copyright Royalty Board issued a determination over Phonorecords III, increasing royalties yearly during five years, from 11.4 percent to 15.1 percent of service revenue by the end of 2022.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - May 26, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

Rock ‘n’ Roll Trailblazer Tina Turner Dies at 83

Legendary vocalist Tina Turner has passed away after a battle with a long illness, her publicist confirms. She was aged 83. “Tina Turner, the ‘Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ has died peacefully today at the age of 83 after a long illness in her home in Kusnacht near Zurich, Switzerland,” her spokesperson confirmed. “With her, the world loses a music legend and a role model.” Tina Turner, whose gritty vocals and fierce, sizzling performances powered two iconic music careers —as one-half of husband-and-wife duo Ike & Tina Turner and later internationally revered solo star — has died, her rep confirmed to Billboard on Wednesday (May 24). The eight-time Grammy Award winner was 83. A statement announcing her death was also posted to her Instagram account. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Tina Turner. With her music and her boundless passion for life, she enchanted millions of fans around the world and inspired the stars of tomorrow,” read the caption. “Today we say goodbye to a dear friend who leaves us all her greatest work: her music. All our heartfelt compassion goes out to her family. Tina, we will miss you dearly.”

ASCAP, BMI Form Joint Task Force to Combat Fraud in Music Industry

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), two performing rights organizations operating in the US, have teamed up to form a joint task force aimed at addressing fraudulent activities associated with musical works within the collective management ecosystem. The alliance builds upon the two parties’ SONGVIEW collaboration, launched in December 2020, to provide detailed copyright information, including reconciled ownership shares and administration shares of music licensed in the US. The newly formed task force comprises a diverse team of copyright, technical, distribution, legal, business, and product experts from both ASCAP and BMI. This cross-functional team will work towards identifying and preventing fraudulent and erroneous activities related to the registration of musical works, aiming to mitigate financial losses and operational inefficiencies. The task force will focus on maintaining data integrity within the high volume of registration requests, enhancing identity verification and validation protocols, and addressing other pertinent areas. The team will also raise awareness about suspicious activities and schemes, and collaborate with global partners to exchange best practices and non-sensitive information.

Copyright Royalty Board Confirms Songwriter Mechanical Royalty Rates for 2018-2022

The Copyright Royalty Board issued a determination on Tuesday (May 23) over Phonorecords III — U.S. songwriters’ and publishers’ mechanical royalty rates for 2018 to 2022. The ruling increases royalties yearly during those five years, from 11.4 percent to 15.1 percent of service revenue by the end of 2022. Further, the determination affirmed key requests from streaming services during their appeal, limiting royalties based on total content cost (TCC) and reinstating a rate ceiling into the formula. The full document is restricted from public view, but an appendix to the ruling containing the regulations covered in the document was released to the public on Wednesday (May 24). Streaming services utilize a complex and multi-faceted formula to calculate how much is owed to songwriters and publishers, depending on numerous considerations. Many of those elements were revealed before the release of the appendix, so the determination further cements that information. Overall, insiders have described it as a mixed bag; some stipulations favor the interests of the musicians, while others favor streaming services. “We are pleased the court finally has confirmed the result of Phono 3, a case which was decided in 2018. This initial remand decision upholds the 15.1 percent headline rate increase we fought for,” says National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) President & CEO David Israelite. “However, the length of time we have waited for this decision proves the Copyright Royalty Board system is woefully flawed. Now songwriters have some certainty about their rates, and we will ensure they receive the hundreds of millions of dollars that digital streaming companies owe them during this adjustment period.” Proceedings to determine how to pay publishers and songwriters for U.S. mechanical royalties during 2018-2022 began over five years ago. A CRB determination in 2018 set the headline rate increasing from 10.5 percent of a streamer’s revenue in 2018 to 15.1 percent in 2022 while increasing subscriber count calculations for discounted family (1.5 times) and student plans (0.5 times.)

IFPI welcomes new European Commission report on copyright regimes around the world

The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has welcomed a new report from the European Commission which identifies issues and concerns with the way intellectual property rights are structured and enforced in various countries. Published every other year, the EC says that its EU Priority Countries Report aims to identify countries outside the European Union “in which the state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement – both online and offline – gives rise to the greatest level of concern”. The ‘priority countries’ identified in the report are “not necessarily those where intellectual property rights protection and enforcement are the most problematic in absolute terms but rather those where such deficiencies are deemed to cause the greatest economic harm to EU interests”. The report is similar to the Special 301 Report put together by the US government, the most recent edition of which was published last month. Both reports make China a high priority, noting that – while there have been definite improvements in the Chinese intellectual property regime in recent years – more needs to be done. Commenting on the EC report, the IFPI notes that some of the concerns it has raised are highlighted, including “the absence of effective performance rights in practice in Indonesia and South Korea, alongside ongoing issues such as the problematic Section 31D statutory license in India”. In terms of positives highlighted in the new report, the IFPI notes that the EC “recognises the progress made in Nigeria in adopting the new Copyright Act. While there are still some concerns around the practical enforcement of rights in Nigeria, the act should help improve the protection of online content whilst strengthening the enforcement of copyright in the local digital environment”. “Similarly, whilst still highlighting Brazil’s ongoing failure to ratify the World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties, it recognises the positive developments made around enforcement in the country over the last twelve months”.

BMI is Developing a ‘Performing Rights Infrastructure’ in UAE with Music Nation

BMI partners with Music Nation to develop a “world-class performing rights infrastructure” in the United Arab Emirates. Music Nation, a UAE-based music rights management organization, has partnered with BMI, a global leader in performing rights management, to establish a world-class music licensing and royalty distribution infrastructure based in the United Arab Emirates. This endeavor aims to protect the rights of music creators and compensate them for the public performances of their work while also helping to develop and nurture the next generation of songwriters and composers in the region. The companies are to begin building and implementing new infrastructure and initiating the process of licensing in the UAE, with offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The new partnership between Music Nation and BMI is part of a larger initiative to create a thriving music ecosystem within the UAE to elevate the region’s music industry. This initiative provides a crucial foundation in demonstrating that writing and composing music can be a viable career and that music creators and publishers, local and international, will be compensated for the use of their work. “Through recent legislation, the UAE’s leadership has paved the way for creatives to build rewarding careers in music. Building a state-of-the-art music licensing infrastructure is critical to delivering on the nation’s vision and our initiative to ignite the UAE’s music economy,” says Rasha Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairwoman of Music Nation.

Random Ramblings

  • There are now 120,000 new tracks hitting music streaming services each day.
  • The virtual artists backed by some of the world's biggest entertainment companies.
  • Dispelling the utopian dream: the complex reality of music royalties.
  • Tina Turner's journey from abuse to music superstardom.
  • They won’t play a Lady-O on Country Radio: Examining back-to-back plays by gender, race and sexual orientation.

Who is Exploration?

Exploration is proud to be the company of choice to administer much of the world’s most important media. We rely on advanced technology and a competent, full-time staff of 70+ people to help our clients and partners better control their data and collect their money.

We wrote a free book on how the music business works.

To see who is collecting your royalties, request a free copyright audit.