Pandora’s founding CEO Tim Westergren, who returned to the top job just last year, intends to step down as the streaming service’s leader in the near future. According to Recode, which cites “people familiar” with the plans, Westergren won’t go anywhere until a replacement has been found and is in place.
Marty Bandier has raised a good question–why are songwriters not accorded proper credit on digital services? Services that often don’t even have a field for songwriter credits in their incoming metadata. This is particularly interesting in the compulsory license context where these rights of attribution–or “moral rights”–are protected by the Berne Convention to a large extent and are expressly acknowledged in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Songwriters are forced to license to users who fail to accord them credit for their works….
[Editor Charlie sez: Remember when the government set the price of mechanical royalties at $0.02 in 1909 and “forgot” to raise it until 1978? And then–in 1978–started giving songwriters increases based on inflation (Consumer Price Index) with no compensation for the government’s past mistakes? Gee, thanks government. If they’d given inflation adjustments in 1909, minimum statutory would be at least $0.50. And then they froze the $0.091 minimum statutory rate again in 2009 when inflation has been about 14% since then. Gee, thanks again government. And why do they call it “minimum” statutory rate as if anyone is getting paid more than statutory when the reality is songwriters almost always get paid less than statutory? Big thank you to ASCAP and the songwriter delegation, you can tweet support to #standwithsongwriters!]
SONGWRITERS TO CALL FOR REFORMS TO OUTDATED MUSIC LICENSING REGULATIONS DURING ASCAP “STAND WITH SONGWRITERS” ADVOCACY DAY ON APRIL 26
Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, Rob Thomas, Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Ledisi, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and other award-winning American songwriters ask Congress to support updates for the modern music economy
WASHINGTON, DC—APRIL 25, 2016— Joining together as some of the most heavily-regulated small business owners in the country to fight for vital reforms to decades-old federal music licensing regulations, award-winning songwriters and composers from various music genres will be in Washington, DC tomorrow, April 26, to meet with elected officials as part of the annual American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.
“Songwriters are the foundation of this nation’s thriving music industry. But even though our music is being used more and more, it seems to be valued less and less, thanks to antiquated regulations. In fact, it takes one million streams of a song across the top music streaming services for a songwriter to earn about $170 on average. Even people who write hit songs are struggling to get by in this new music economy,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning songwriter. “The fact is U.S. music licensing regulations are out of step with how people consume music today, and with how the rest of the world works. If millions of people around the world are streaming your song, you should be fairly compensated for it.”
Today, three-fourths of U.S. songwriter income streams are subject to regulation by the federal government, hindering songwriters’ ability to negotiate fair market rates for their work. This is unlike any other creative industry, including books, television, film, video games and art, where the free market decides the value of copyrighted works. In their meetings on Capitol Hill, ASCAP members will discuss these and other challenges facing songwriters in the digital music age and urge policymakers from across the political spectrum to update the outdated and overreaching federal regulations that govern how songwriters collectively license their work.
When it comes to specific legislative reforms, ASCAP members will emphasize the need for periodic review of ASCAP’s 76-year-old antitrust consent decree with the Department of Justice to ensure it encourages, rather than hinders, more vigorous competition in the marketplace. They will also underscore the critical importance of improving the outdated and inefficient rate court system with a faster, less expensive process for dispute-resolution and rate-setting.
The meetings will follow tonight’s “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress, sponsored by The ASCAP Foundation. The event features performances by popular ASCAP members who will be introduced by Members of Congress, including: Peter Frampton & Gordon Kennedy (“Baby I Love Your Way” & “Change the World”); Rob Thomas (of Matchbox Twenty) (“Smooth”); Eric Bazilian & Rob Hyman (of The Hooters) (“One of Us” & “Time After Time”); Ledisi (“Pieces of Me”); Raul Midón (“Keep on Hoping”); and ASCAP Foundation Award-winning young jazz composer, singer and musician Camille Thurman.
The delegation of ASCAP members participating in tomorrow’s Congressional office visits will include: Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, Rob Thomas, Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Ledisi, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
After visiting Capitol Hill, where we spent the entire time speaking to policymakers about the importance of copyright to the creative communities, we are gravely concerned.
Last month, in a positive step for creatives, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.), along with 29 co-sponsors, introduced the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (H.R. 1695). Last week, the bill passed the House Judiciary Committee with a virtually unprecedented, bipartisan, 27-1 vote….
However, there are some politicians with deep relationships to those who benefit from a weak copyright system that are casting partisan aspersions in an attempt to sabotage the bill. This ignores that members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, in both the House and Senate, have been working on this issue for years, including under the last Administration.
The Copyright Office’s role is far more than a ministerial one intended to serve the collection needs of the Library of Congress. While some may have you believe that the Copyright Office does little more than administer the registration and recordation systems, this is patently false. The Office plays the critical role of advisor to Congress and the Executive Branch on copyright law and policy – meaning that the Office is the in-house expert on legislation that can deeply affect the job stability of more than 5.5 million hardworking Americans.
To be sure, the Library of Congress has a mission of national importance. But that mission gives it a particular view of copyright that differs from the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office is charged with effectuating the constitutionally enshrined notion that protecting creatives’ rights over how their content is disseminated promotes the creation and wide distribution of knowledge and creativity, to everyone’s benefit. It is no secret that libraries have a vested interest in loosening copyright laws to reduce their cost to access and distribute copyrighted works. The current structure, which makes the Register of Copyrights a subordinate officer within the Library, prevents the Copyright Office from working in the best interests of the creative industry and the public at large.
A funny but true short video from Crunch Digital that documents how app developers deal with music licensing!
“Spotify says they can’t turn a profit because they have to pay artists too much. But the owner of Spotify is worth $310 million,” says singer-songwriter with a derisive laugh.
“I mean, let’s be honest,” says Morgan, who performs at The Lost Church on Saturday night. “If musicians know how to do anything, its how to count!”
Since 2013, when his heated e-mail exchange with Pandora CEO Tim Westergrin over performers’ royalties was shared in the Huffington Postand went viral (huff.to/2kRzXto), Morgan has become at least as well known for his activism on behalf of other musicians as for his own recorded music.
But Morgan’s subsequent founding of the #IRespectMusic campaign, public speaking at music industry events, and extensive lobbying of congress in support of the “Fair Play Fair Pay Act” and “Songwriters Equity Act” are natural outgrowths of a personal ethos that’s been integral to Morgan’s career since early on.
Louise Goffin knows something about songwriting factories, being the child of two legendary Brill Building songsmiths. But on Grammy weekend, she was taking part in a different kind of musical production line, as about 80 teenage girls cranked out lyrics in a conference room at The Huntington in San Marino, Calif.
Sitting under a balloon that marked her as one of 13 professional singer/songwriters who would put music to and perform some of the girls’ songs, Goffin hunkered down with one aspirant after another, helping them figure out which lines from their sometimes epic lyric sheets might make for a chorus.
The Saturday afternoon event is an annual highlight for WriteGirl, a charitable organization that puts on monthly mentoring workshops to help teen girls who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and underserved communities find their voices.