@HeleneMuddiman: Founding SONA Member, Top Composer Breaks Ranks to Support the AMLC — Here’s Her Statement

[After Zoe Keating’s important post on how unrepresented songwriters are ill-served by the “consensus” mechanical licensing collective as proposed, SONA member Hélène Muddiman breaks ranks and makes an impassioned plea for fairness out of concern for the reportedly billion dollar black box that is becoming an increasing focus.]

Time is running out!

This is a truly momentous time in the history of music copyright.

Fellow composers and songwriters, and those who rely upon us for their living, our Digital Mechanical Royalties are about to be collected by a new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC).  There are billions of dollars at stake already, and billions more as the future moves towards on-demand streaming platforms where mechanical royalties become big business.

It’s confusing, because not everyone may realize that there are two submissions vying for the job of the MLC, which will collect and distribute these billions of dollars.

The NMPA-led application actually calls itself ‘The MLC,’ but it is not yet the MLC.  The Copyright Office is asking for comments to help it decide whether to appoint the indie-led submission instead, called the AMLC (or American Mechanical Licensing Collective).

The Copyright Office could very well choose the AMLC if creators from around the world send in their comments to influence the decision before April 22nd (please use this link: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=COLC-2018-0011-0001).

Read the post on Digital Music News

Must Read Post by @zoecello on the MLC Selection: Unrepresented songwriters deserve to be heard

I took a few years away from artist advocacy (after my husband died of cancer) but recently I feel called to get involved again and I’ve joined the board of the American Mechanical Licensing Collective.

I’m not being paid to do this and I’m not on anyone’s payroll — I’m a single mom who makes a living as a recording artist and I hardly even have time to even write this — but I feel compelled to speak out because time is short and I don’t see anyone else doing it. I’ve always advocated for under-represented artists and done what I can to shine a light on the friction and roadblocks that we face in earning a living from our music. My interest in joining the AMLC is to get royalties to the people who earned them, as transparently and efficiently as possible.

This is wonky stuff but bear with me

Read the post on Medium

As best we can tell from the outside looking in, this chart has the dates for key events in the critical path to launch for the Mechancial Licesing Collective as required by the Music Modernization Act–the “Countdown to Modernity.”

This chart is a work in progress, and if anyone sees anything wrong in it or something that should be clarified or corrected, please let us know.  It should be considered a draft, but we hope that it will solidify over the next few weeks.

To our knowlege, no one else has published a chart like this.  The main takeaway from this chart should be the clock is ticking and time is going by.  Our prediction?  Time will become the MLC’s biggest enemy, if that hasn’t already happened in the drafting of the Music Modernization Act.  What we don’t see in the MMA is any discussion of what happens if a deadline is blown for whatever reason.

But mark your calendars–we see the first key date as January 7, 2019.  That’s 64 days from now and holidays count.

ARTIST RIGHTS WATCH
COUNTDOWN TO MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE LAUNCH
WEEK 4

KEY DATES SCHEDULE FROM ENACTMENT DATE (10/11/18)

TO LICENSE AVAILABILITY DATE (1/1/21)

EVENT ACCCOMPLISHED WHO OWNS? TIME EXPIRED   BEFORE LAD TIME REMAINS TO LAD
REQUEST FILING TO BE MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  1/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 90 DAYS 726 days
DESIGNATION OF MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days
FORMATION OF MLC NONPROFIT STATUS UNKNOWN MLC 4 weeks 112 weeks and 5 days
SUBSTITUTION OF BLANKET LICENSE FOR ALL EXISTING COMPULSORY LICENSES AUTOMATIC 1/1/2021 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 789 days
MLC BUDGET STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/DLC/CRJ 112 weeks and 5 days
INITIATE ASSESSMENT PROCEEDING w/CRJs [MUST COMMENCE NO LATER THAN 7/7/2019]

STATUS UNKNOWN

MLC/DLC/CRJ 271 days 545 days
ASSESSMENT RULING [PUBLISHED IN FR NO LATER THAN 7/7/2020] MLC/DLC/CRJ 637 days 179 days
APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT RULING 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION OF ASSESSMENT RULING MLC/DLC/CRJ/ DCCOA 667 days 149 days
MLC BUSINESS PLAN STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
ANNOUNCED BOARD NOMINEES STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC 90 DAYS 726 days
APPOINTED BOARD STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
APPOINTED DLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days
ENGAGED VENDORS STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC 90 DAYS 726 days
PAID VENDORS STATUS UNKNOWN (ASSUME 7/7/2020 IF NO APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT) MLC 270 days 545 days
ANNOUNCEMENT OF DATA STANDARDS STATUS UNKNOWN MLC/DLC
REGULATIONS* STATUS UNKNOWN CO
COMMENTS AND REPLY COMMENTS ON REGULATIONS STATUS UNKNOWN Songwriters and Publishers
EXPLANATION OF OPERATIONS: HOW TO REGISTER WITH MLC AND COST OF REGISTRATION STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
REGISTRATION START DATE STATUS UNKNOWN

 

MLC=Mechanical Licensing Collective

DLC=Digital Licensee Coordinator

CRJ=Copyright Royalty Judges

DCCOA=District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals

CO=Copyright Office

LAD=License Availability Date

*Topic areas to be updated as announced

via COUNTDOWN TO MODERNITY (11/5/18)–The Progress to Production Chart for the Mechanical Licensing Collective — Music Technology Policy

@MikeHuppe: SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe Statement on Music Modernization Act

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC – September 18, 2018 – The SoundExchange family of music creators today applauded the long-awaited passage of the comprehensive Music Modernization Act by the U.S. Senate. SoundExchange issued the following statement from President and CEO Michael Huppe:

“The future of the music industry got brighter today. Creators of music moved one step closer to getting paid more fairly. And industry forces that fought to maintain an unfair and harmful status quo were rebuffed. Now, SoundExchange’s 170,000-member community has just one word for the House of Representatives: Encore.”

“The Music Modernization Act proves what can happen when constructive industry leaders work together towards a greater good. The SoundExchange community joined a historic coalition of artists, labels, songwriters, music publishers, streaming services, performance rights organizations, producers, engineers and unions. The outcome of this collaboration is a law that sets a new framework to guide the future of the music industry. There are still issues regarding creator fairness that we need to address, but today we celebrate a new era of cooperation and progress across the industry.”

SoundExchange will monitor the progress of the Music Modernization Act. Follow updates on our Twitter handle @SoundExchange.

@MikeHuppe: Bringing MMA Across the Finish Line

[From the SoundExchange blog]

by Michael Huppe, President and CEO, SoundExchange

The Music Modernization Act (MMA) now has the support of 76 Senators. As it nears the finish line, SiriusXM is going door-to-door in the Senate in a last-ditch effort to block the MMA, a bill backed by an historic coalition of thousands of music creators, songwriters, producers, labels, publishers and digital music services—all of whom have been working for years to get Congress to reform music licensing laws.

For longtime advocates, it will come as no surprise that SiriusXM is trying to scuttle the MMA at the last minute. This is, after all, precisely what they did 20+ years ago when Congress first enacted legislation giving performers the right to be compensated when digital services use their music. Back then, Sirius stepped in during the final throes of the legislative process to argue that having to pay for music—their primary product—could “disrupt” their nascent business plans. They argued for a special royalty rate–one that effectively forced artists to subsidize their business and gave them a competitive advantage against other companies.  That special treatment has gone on for over two decades ago now. We don’t think such a sweetheart deal was justified back then; but it’s indefensible now.

Once separate companies, SiriusXM is now the sole satellite radio company in the U.S. It generates revenue well over $5 billion annually, the huge majority of which comes from its more than 32 million subscribers. To put that into context, U.S. wholesale revenue for the entire record industry was $5.9 billion in 2017. Yes, a single company, SiriusXM, makes nearly as much from subscribers in the United States as all record labels and artists combined make from all sources.

Make no mistake about it: SiriusXM would not have a business without recorded music. And yet, SiriusXM has profited for decades by getting music at a special market distorting rate set under a different standard than all its thousands of internet radio competitors. Specifically, the rates set for internet radio are established under a “willing-buyer/willing seller” standard – another way of saying artists and labels are supposed to be paid a fair market rate for their recordings. When setting satellite radio rates, by contrast, the government can – and has – set rates lower than fair market value based on four amorphous policy factors. The impact is not academic: the lower rate standard has cost creators billions of dollars over the last 20 years.

Multi-billion dollar companies should not be subsidized by musicians – and all competing streaming platforms should play by the same rules.

Seems obvious right? It is, and that’s one of the reasons the Music Modernization Act passed the House of Representatives unanimously (as in 415-0; think on that for minute) and is on the verge of passage in the Senate.

The music community is united around the MMA because it ensures fair treatment for music creators and a level playing field for digital radio services. It is a win-win, and the compromises SiriusXM has proposed are inconsistent with the principles upon which the bill is centered. We look forward to the Senate moving this bill — and with it all of music — forward.

@ArtistRightsNow/Content Creators Coalition Open Letter to Senator @RonWyden on Passing the CLASSICS Act

September 17, 2018

Dear Senator Wyden,

Being a musician isn’t easy. We spend months on tour, play late night shows, and spend hours, even days, on end in the recording studio. We sacrifice time with our families and money that could be made in more lucrative, stable jobs. While certainly not an easy decision, we make these sacrifices freely, because this is what we love to do. We don’t ask for special treatment or undue assistance.

All we ask is that you have our back.

The CLASSICS Act, incorporated in the Music Modernization Act, gives elderly artists what they deserve – what they’ve earned. It’s an injustice that just because someone’s career began before 1972, they don’t earn money the same way that other artists do.

Aging artists who recorded music prior to the 1972 cutoff are suffering. They’ve worked decades, making the sacrifices that we all do, only to be robbed when it harms them the most. They’re not asking for a handout, just for the income they’ve earned.

The CLASSICS Act fixes this, eliminating the arbitrary 1972 cutoff. Not only does it make things fairer, it will help older artists in retirement who are struggling without regular income. Millions of seniors in the US live in poverty – we should be working to cut that number, not exacerbating the crisis.

The overall Music Modernization Act would benefit music creators of all ages across the country and provide certainty to digital services. That’s why an unprecedented coalition of songwriters and publishers, record labels and performers, and digital services has joined together to support the bill.

Oregon is home to thousands of musicians of all ages who are counting on you. Support us by supporting the CLASSICS Act as part of the Music Modernization Act.

Amber Sweeney | Bruce Fife | Carrie Brownstein | Corin Tucker

Janet Weiss  | Kathy Foster | k.d. lang | Laura Veirs

Maggie Vail | Neko Case | Peter Buck | Scott McCaughey

Sam Coomes | Scott Magee | Ural Thomas | Westin Glass

@DigitalMusicNws: Major Publishers Will Receive an Estimated $1.5 Billion In the First Year [From Hoffa Clause] After the Music Modernization Act Passes, Sources Say

[Editor Charlie sez: The return of the “Hoffa clause”]

Major music publishers are expected to reap a massive and near-immediate windfall if the Music Modernization Act (MMA) passes into law, according to sources.  But critics say that this unclaimed money doesn’t belong to them.

As the Music Modernization Act moves closer to a final vote in the Senate, critics are pointing to language in the bill that could unfairly benefit major music publishers.

Specifically, major publishers like Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner/ Chappell Music, and others stand to gain an estimated in $1.5 billion in unclaimed mechanical royalties within the first year of the bill’s passage, according to details shared by sources close to the legislation.

Earlier, controversy surrounded a clause that would distribute unclaimed mechanical royalties after just three years, based on existing marketshare.  As part of the MMA’s payout process, streaming plays that are reported but not claimed will sit in an unmatched pile administered by the Mechanical Licensing Collective, or MLC, which would be created by the Music Modernization Act.

Effectively, that means that the MMA will distribute unclaimed royalties to publishers that do not actually own the copyrights.

Read the post on Digital Music News