We asked our friends over at Songtrust to compile a monthly round up of everything that happened this April in the wide world of music publishing. They are the experts in the subject — Songtrust works tirelessly to simplify royalty collection for artists — so it’s only best if you get it straight from the source! Without further ado, here’s our Music Publishing News Round Up for April.
ASCAP’s record high domestic revenue in 2015
ASCAP’s annual report announced that the performing rights society reached a record high domestic revenue. This increase, up $61 million from 2014, resulted in a 6.2% increase in domestic royalties paid out to songwriter and publisher members. The society gained some top writers such as Fetty Wap and Kelsea Ballerini, and existing ASCAP writers penned hits that topped 18 separate Billboard year-end charts, such as The Weeknd’s “Earned It” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.”
David Lowery files motion asking Spotify for transparency in communications
David Lowery has filed a motion to compel Spotify to turn over all communications regarding its forthcoming publishing settlement. The motion concerns the lack of access to the agreement reached between Spotify and the NMPA, as that may allow the streaming service to make misleading statements informing songwriters about their options for protecting their rights. Mona Z Hanna, one of the attorneys on the matter, says, “we are hopeful that this motion will allow for greater transparency… so that the putative class can be in a position to determine the… fairness of the proposed agreement.”
Facebook attempting to tackle copyright infringement with new tool
At Facebook’s annual F8 Conference it announced the launch of its new Rights Manager tool. The tool is similar to YouTube’s Content ID, as it enables rightsholders to manage, monitor, and protect copyrighted video content uploaded to the site. The focus is currently more on tackling copyright infringement rather than monetizing user-uploaded content, but the social network is expanding its current tests to share ad revenues with rightsholders.
Reformations for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Music’s creative community is seeking reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions. Section 512 of the Act dictates how a digital service provider like YouTube is protected from copyright infringement by its users, and how it must deal with any infringement that does occur. Creators, rightsholders, and the people who represent them have long been unhappy with the Act, particularly the “notice and take down” process which is inefficient in the age of the internet, where content can easily be reuploaded.
Universal and Ole pull catalogs from ASCAP
Universal Music Publishing Group and Canadian publisher Ole are in the process of pulling their production music catalogs from ASCAP. Universal has moved its catalog to SESAC so far, meaning that ASCAP writers on works in that catalog will receive performance royalty payments administered by SESAC, though it has left its BMI catalog in place. Ole CEO Robert Ott acknowledged the repertoire move, saying that they did not single out ASCAP but “the ability of most PROs to negotiate for clean data, accurately allocate these monies, and process the sheer data involved has not kept pace.”
MCPS opens up to bids to revamp business operations
The UK’s MCPS is accepting pitches from third parties to administer its business rather than its 20-year-long partner, PRS for Music. Admin services that may bid include Kobalt’s AMRA and US society SESAC, as well as continental societies and tech companies. Jane Dyball, CEO of MCPS’ parent company MPA Group of Companies said, “in a fast-moving, data-driven environment, it is essential that we find the best back-office solution via a competitive tender so that we can be more responsive to the needs of our members and our customers.”
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Songtrust provides a technology platform that enables independent songwriters, artists, publishers, distributors, managers, and other music industry professionals to collect their publishing royalties worldwide. Our industry-leading online solutions simplify music rights management, including the administration of music publishing assets, performing rights, and digital licensing. Songtrust helps collect the royalties you’ve earned from airplay, streams, and live performances around the world with simple one-stop registration, no legal headaches, and all while maintaining 100% ownership of your copyrights.