New US Streaming Law Aids Musicians’ Rights and Payments


(Glenn Fleishman) #1

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/2018/10/23/new-us-streaming-law-aids-musicians-rights-and-payments/

The Music Modernization Act just signed into US law brings consistency to the rights of musicians and songwriters. More musicians will be paid, especially those who recorded songs decades ago or longer.


(Steve Nicholson) #2

From your article in The Magazine I clicked over to The National Jukebox and was bummed to see that it requires Flash for playback. I wonder what it’ll take to get that updated.


(Matt McCaffrey) #3

I’m wondering how this act is going to affect one particular kind of streaming.

I just finished working at a church where we live-streamed the worship service on YouTube. We purchased a “streaming license” from CCLI, one of several clearinghouse organizations that covers religious music copyright clearances. Their business model is to obtain non-exclusive licenses for a huge block of music typically used in worship, sell a reproduction or performance license to an individual congregation based on the number of people who are typically present to hear the performance, and then pay royalties back to the rights holders.

There were issues:

  • There will always be works that are not in their catalog.
  • YouTube music streaming is an adventure in itself. The monitoring software that YouTube uses can be gamed by publishers who claim ownership and monetize an entire video because they publish a contemporary medley or arrangement of a piece that has been in the public domain for hundreds of years. The appeals process is structured to protect the publisher’s claim, not the user’s.
  • We were not sure how much of our annual licensing fee actually went back out as royalties. I suspect it was a very small fraction.

I’m wondering if the MMA is going to have an effect on the church licensing business. Particularly, will the Mechanical Licensing Collective supersede or transform licensing for this purpose?


(Glenn Fleishman) #4

I’ve met the person behind it, Gene DeAnna, the head of the audio section of the Library of Congress, and tried to contact him for a recent article I was writing. Unfortunately, didn’t get a reply. He may have retired! But the LOC will be able to revamp that for 2022 at least.


(Glenn Fleishman) #5

Super complicated! I’m not sure entirely how it will be changed, because it doesn’t really affect performance licenses. It mostly streamlines large streaming companies arrangements for paying royalties. For digital downloads, all the pieces were already in place, including a process to pay for mechanical rights. But with streaming, it seems like streaming services obtained music from all sorts of sources — digital downloads were licensed individually from record labels and individual artists, while the streaming companies seem to have an awful lot of songs that they don’t know who to pay for (or didn’t pay for pre-1972 recordings in some, but not all cases!)


#6

Why do I care about this? I subscribe to Tidbits for Apple information. If I cared to know about musicians’ problems (which I don’t) there are many other places I could look.


(Dennis Swaney) #7

You should care because it will result in Apple having to increase pricing for Apple Music, and tracks sold on iTunes.


#8

Pervis

    October 29

Why do I care about this? I subscribe to Tidbits for Apple information. If I cared to know about musicians’ problems (which I don’t) there are many other places I could look.

I subscribe to TidBITS and participate in this list because I’m interested in Apple hardware, software, services and its myriad of strategies, revenue streams, and impact within the global market and society.

Apple is in the music and entertainment business and they are one of the most influential and largest music and entertainment firms in the world. iPod and ITunes were critical to the company’s recovery from severe financial distress and near death, and greatly contributed to the development and tremendous success of iPhone, iPad and Beats/EarPods. Music and iTunes are a major contributor to Apple’s services business, which has become a rapidly mushrooming revenue stream and will also factor in to not so secret streaming video business.

Apple has always tried its best to position itself as a supporter of musicians and composers in an industry that has a reputation for fleecing artists whenever possible and to the maximum extent. Because musician’s rights are so critical to Apple they recently launched a music publishing business:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/apple-music-launches-global-publishing-business-to-attract-songwriters-w520896

And I I strongly suspect that I’m not the only person on this list that likes to listen to music.


#9

Fair enough. Apple is also exploring getting into the car business. May we now look forward to articles about the automotive industry? I strongly suspect that I’m not the only person on this list who drives a car :grinning: And since Apple is getting into the content business, may we also look forward to articles about celebrities?

There are probably two degrees of separation between any topic and Apple. The more Tidbits loses it’s focus on the technical aspects of Apple hardware and software, the more it loses it’s unique selling proposition. For me, anyway.

I guard my Inbox so that it doesn’t become a drag on productivity. I’m sure Mr. Fleishman’s article was well written but it’s not the content I expect to find in Tidbits (although I find a disappointing trend in Tidbits lately to add just such peripheral and verbose filler).


#10

So might inflation, the world economy, tariff wars, and politics. A fundamental axiom of marketing is “Price is unrelated to cost”. Then again, although I listen to music, I don’t use Apple Music nor buy tracks on iTunes.


(Adam Engst) #11

TidBITS has covered issues of general Internet or technology interest since the very first days, nearly 29 years ago, and as others have said, this is relevant because of Apple’s significant foray into streaming with Apple Music. Services (including Apple Music) is a large and ever-growing percentage of Apple’s revenues, so major US legislation that might affect it is relevant.

Obviously, events dictate some of our coverage, but in general, there has been no change in the kinds of things we cover. Well, apart from our new focus on “peripheral and verbose filler,” which we believe is where the future of Internet journalism lies. :slight_smile:

Apparently, it was John Lydgate who said: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."


(Richard Rettke) #12

I like the broad width and depth of Tidbits coverage. For me, many of the article are not applicable. I frequently do learn things from article which I thought I had no interest in, but if I’m busy, I use the grocery store approach. I only read the ones that appear to be of interest and leave the rest ‘on the shelf’.


#13

“Target Marketing” is “pleasing some of the people all of the time”. From your comments, your Target Market seems to be people with too much time on their hands :grinning:

Perhaps you are right and that is the future of internet journalism. Not only the future, but the present. It has spawned a whole new workforce of, dare I call them “journalists”, who build click-bait articles around Google adWords (not that I am saying you do).


(Dennis Swaney) #14

Even if you don’t use Apple Music or iTunes, it will STILL affect you through the music to which you listen or buy; of course, only music pirates will probably be unaffected.


#15

Pervis

    October 30

MMTalker:

Apple is in the music and entertainment business and they are one of the most influential and largest music and entertainment firms in the world.

Fair enough. Apple is also exploring getting into the car business. May we now look forward to articles about the automotive industry? I strongly suspect that I’m not the only person on this list who drives a car :grinning:

Though there have been mentions of Apple’s efforts in autonomous vehicle research, TidBITS focuses on actual products and services, so they’ve remained mentions to date. There have been many discussions on this list, and as I worked on automotive accounts in advertising for decades, I am very interested and opened my big big blabby mouth about it quite a bit.

And since Apple is getting into the content business, may we also look forward to articles about celebrities?

I just finished streaming today’s product presentation. I am totally floored about the new Mini, MacBook Air and iPad Pro, I was also impressed by Lana Del Ray’s performance and all the artists that were mentioned and flashed on the screen by the various presenters. And years ago there was discussion about the “Think Different” celebrities.

There has been brief mention of Ophra, Shonda Rhimes, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Damien Chazelle on the list, along with bits about other big names who are busily spending the $2 billion Apple budgeted for content development this year. It’s rumored that the ante will up to $4 billion next year. But I sincerely doubt TidBITS is going to get into competitive bidding with People, Hello, Access Hollywood, etc. over paparazzi photos or videos. Adam, please correct me if I an wrong.

There are probably two degrees of separation between any topic and Apple. The more Tidbits loses it’s focus on the technical aspects of Apple hardware and software, the more it loses it’s unique selling proposition. For me, anyway.

Not for me, and if Apple had remained just a hardware and software they might not have survived.

I guard my Inbox so that it doesn’t become a drag on productivity. I’m sure Mr. Fleishman’s article was well written but it’s not the content I expect to find in Tidbits (although I find a disappointing trend in Tidbits lately to add just such peripheral and verbose filler).

I’m very OCD about my inbox. I’m not at all interested in Nisus Writer or Crash Plan, though I do understand many TidBITS are. So I just ignore what I’m not concerned about and move on to articles I am. I have been a devoted reader of, and subscriber to, The New York Times since I was in the 6th grade, but I have never read every article in even a single issue. And what I consider verbose filler, including sports, is not considered such by others.


#17

I doubt it. Price is set by willingness to pay. I doubt retailers and distributors are going to alter their pricing strategies for what will probably amount to fractions of a cent on a title given the negative price elasticity of demand. They already make obscene profits. Besides, it has been claimed that the simplicity inherent in the new law will result in net savings for them… and I doubt they will be passing them along :smile: The media corporations will probably be the biggest beneficiaries followed by some crumbs for the artists.

I deny both the implied allegation and the alligator. :crocodile:


#18

Pervis

    October 30

romad:
Even if you don’t use Apple Music or iTunes, it will STILL affect you through the music to which you listen or buy

I doubt it. Price is set by willingness to pay. I doubt retailers and distributors are going to alter their pricing strategies for what will probably amount to fractions of a cent on a title given the negative price elasticity of demand.

Apple didn’t spend billions to buy Beats because they wanted the headphone line, which they could have imitated for a lot less money, they wanted Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and their streaming service. Sales of individual items of audio content, be they spoken word or music, had been decreasing rapidly month over month for years, and they continue to do so. Sales of streaming subscriptions overtook individual album purchases last year:

https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/04/on-demand-streaming-now-accounts-for-the-majority-of-audio-consumption-says-nielsen/

Vinyl sales have upturned, but not enough to make a negligible impact on overall music sales, let alone the profits for composers or artists. And that’s what the new act is all about…especially compensation for streaming content of oldies that were not fairly covered under regulations passed in the pre-streaming dark ages.

They already make obscene profits.

Big stars like Gaga might, but the vast majority of artists don’t. And if Apple were making mega profits off of iTunes, they would have broken the numbers out in quarterly results. Instead, they lump them in with services, like they do with Music. iTunes sold iPods, iPhones, Macs and iPads. When Spotify started making a serious dent in iTunes, Apple bought Beats and the guaranteed services of talent magnets and production magnates.

Spotify never made a penny in profits and most probably never will. Apple, with its diversified lines of products and services, has been raking in a mint for years.

Besides, it has been claimed that the simplicity inherent in the new law will result in net savings for them… and I doubt they will be passing them along :smile: The media corporations will probably be the biggest beneficiaries followed by some crumbs for the artists.

Glenn’s excellent article clearly explains why this is not true. Please read it if you haven’t already done so.


(Michael Gillman) #19

Dear Pervis
If someone posts something you’re not interested in please learn how to scroll. Please start your own list and then you can tailor it to your interests.