@MattBoone29: Death of the American Songwriter

Follow Ghost Town Troubadors on Twitter @ghosttowntroubs and visit their website at www.ghosttowntroubadors.com (h/t to David Lowery for the link)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – Raising awareness of the struggles of American songwriters, the Ghost Town Troubadours played an intimate show Monday night at the Fox Theater.

The group is comprised of four hit songwriters who, while talented musicians in their own right, have spent much of their careers writing for other artists.

Their two-week tour from Nashville, Tennessee to Los Angeles comes amidst a major shakeup in the music industry as it shifts from selling songs to streaming them.

That new business model has created many issues when it comes to licensing music and how artists and songwriters get paid.

Because of this, the United States’ two main performing rights organizations, BMI and ASCAP, requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) change parts of a consent decree that was first issued in 1941.

The two-year review ended on Aug. 4, with the DOJ denying the request.

The ruling was a blow to songwriters, who receive fractions of a penny each time one of their songs is played through a streaming service such as Pandora or Spotify.

“We’re the only trade industry in America that’s governed. Our rate is set by the government,” said Aaron Benward, a songwriter and member of the Ghost Town Troubadours.

The Troubadours, which include Benward, Danny Myrick, Regie Hamm and Travis Howard, decided to do something about it, embarking on a two-week tour, stopping at a city each night to play a show. Their mission was to share not only their music, but also their stories.

Read the post on Bakersfield Now

@musicrow: Texas Governor Objects To DOJ Ruling On Fractionalized Licensing

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has formally asked the Department of Justice to reconsider its recent decision regarding consent decrees and fractional licensing.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch dated Aug. 29, Gov. Abbott wrote to express his disagreement.

He wrote, in part, “The Texas Music Office is housed within my office and is charged by law with promoting the Texas music industry. As the head of that office, I must object to the DOJ’s position in these cases, which is both legally flawed and threatens to harm the music industry in Texas. I respectfully request that the DOJ reconsider its position.”

Read the post on Music Row

hypebot: Texas Governor Greg Abbott Urges U.S. DOJ To Reconsider Changes To PRO Licensing Model

With so many unhappy with the Department of Justice‘s recent alteration to the Performing Rights Organization licensing model, Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently sent a letter to Attorney General Lynch urging reconsideration of the decision.

Read the post on Hypebot

Gadi Oron: Dept. of Justice’s New Decision Could Wreak Havoc on International Rights: Op-Ed

The August 4th decision by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) not to modernize the consent decrees that govern performing rights societies ASCAP and BMI, and its plans to force a “full-work” licensing model into the market, are the equivalent of an earthquake for the global music community, and most of all for songwriters. It opens a new era full of uncertainty for the music industry.

CISAC, which regroups 239 societies from 123 countries, including ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and AMRA in the United States, has been monitoring the evolution of the licensing ecosystem in the US with much concern. Because of the size of the US market and its influence in the world, any changes in the way our US members operate has consequences for sister societies, songwriters and music publishers worldwide.

We had high hopes that the DoJ would have taken these factors into account and come up with solutions to ensure a better, more efficient licensing system in the US in its two-year review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. Yet for some reason the much-needed reform of the US licensing landscape took a wrong turn at the expense of creators, music publishers and their societies.

Read the post on Billboard

@GTP_Updates: White House Kept Close Tabs on FTC Google Antitrust Probe

Aide met twice with company’s antitrust counsel in final weeks of investigation.

“Obviously, lots of interest here at the WH.”

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White House internet advisor R. David Edelman

Newly-uncovered emails show the White House was closely tracking the outcome of the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust probe of Google, with an official contacting Google’s lobbyist shortly before the agency’s decision to settle the case.

Despite assurances by the White House that it didn’t discuss the law-enforcement matter with Google, emails show the White House’s internet advisor, R. David Edelman, contacted a Google lobbyist, Johanna Shelton, in advance of the FTC announcement in January 2013.

344d20ad00000578-3595166-image-a-35_1463505561675Google White House Lobbyist Johanna Shelton

The White House aide requested Google’s talking points and hinted at the high-level engagement on the issue. “I hear big news coming momentarily,” he wrote, adding: “Obviously, lots of interest here at the WH.”

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The Obama White House has long maintained it stayed out of the FTC’s Google investigation and respected the agency’s independence. After The Wall Street Journal detailed a flurry of White House meetings with Google executives preceding the settlement, a White House spokesperson said the FTC was “an independent agency and we respect their independent decision making.”

“Our staff is cognizant that it is inappropriate to discuss issues relating to regulatory enforcement,” she added.

However, the new emails show a White House aide discussed the FTC’s decision ahead of its announcement and informed the target of the investigation that the White House was closely monitoring the outcome. They add to a pattern of engagement with Google by White House officials in the lead-up to the settlement, including repeated meetings with Google’s antitrust lawyers in the final stretch of the probe.

The meetings came on the heels of President Obama’s successful re-election campaign in which Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt had played an important role. The White House also met repeatedly with top FTC officials during that period.

Edelman was an important and highly sympathetic conduit between Google and the White House, emails and meeting records show. Data compiled by the Google Transparency Project show that Edelman met with Google officials in the White House on at least 18 different occasions between 2012 and 2015, second only to President Obama and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. His emails show he also met repeatedly with Google lobbyists at coffee shops dotted around Washington DC.

Read the post on Google Transparency Project.