I’m an Indie Music Publisher. Please Don’t Let Them Put Me Out of Business…

The following guest post comes from Monica Corton of indie publisher Next Decade Entertainment.       

crumplethis

quotationmarksI recently read an exchange on Forbes.com involving the Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA) leader Gary Shapiro, who asserted music publishers (through our trade organization, NMPA) are working to convince Congress that our issues are, “more important than the interests of artists, musicians, innovators and ordinary people.”

David Israelite (President of the NMPA) set the record straight, but I feel the need to remind everyone that songwriters and many music publishers are indeed small businesses run by “ordinary people.”

Companies represented by CEA are doing their best to run us out of business.

Next Decade Entertainment, as a music publisher, represents songwriters… the people that actually write the songs you know and love. We have three full time employees, a handful of consultants and interns.

We are not to be confused with the record companies who represent the artists who sing the fabulous songs that are written by our songwriters. People often confuse these two very separate rights… the song vs. the artist’s recording of the song.

I explain this distinction because music publishers, unlike record companies, are subject to government oversight when it comes to making licenses, specifically mechanical licenses (audio-only uses like a CD, digital download, streaming uses) with tech companies (Apple, Amazon, Google, etc.) and others. That’s right, the government tells us what we can be paid for all mechanical licenses.

monicacorton2

Every five years, the NMPA negotiates on behalf of music publishers and our songwriting partners through the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), the government oversight group, to fight for that mechanical rate.

The explosive growth of internet-based music platforms has significantly intensified our CRB efforts and brought an army of groups wanting to pay songwriters less (Apple, Amazon, Google, etc.).  The internet has also led an enormous amount of people to download music for free (often illegally).

Rates related to streaming music online are so low that no one can make a living from them.

As the consumer market shifts from buying physical product and digital downloads to streaming music, songwriters and music publishers’ income has done a precipitous deep dive. Like most independent music publishers, we are successful but struggling under the weight of the attack by those who oppose us.

If you are starting to see the “David vs. Goliath” story here… you are correct.

The music publishing industry goes in front of this CRB panel as one entity advocating for a fair mechanical rate on behalf of thousands of songwriters and publishers against a massive army of corporations bent on making sure it is as low as possible.

Yet, some portray music publishers as over-reaching (just consider Pandora’s constant complaint that publishers charge to much).

In fact, these million dollar companies are significantly impairing our music publishing businesses.

We, independent music publishers and songwriters, are people who need to feed our families, finance a home and send our kids to college; ordinary people trying to make a living. At the end of the day, we love music.  We want to enable songwriters to provide the world with the best music. In all the debating, one simple fact is being forgotten.  Songwriters are the backbone of the musicbusiness. There is NO recording by an artist until a songwriter has written a hit song to make their voice shine.

 

It’s time to recognize the importance and value of small businesses – Next Decade Entertainment and hundreds of others like us.  Yes, our livelihood depends on it, but so does the fate of American music. quotation-marks2

121 Responses

  1. jw
    jw

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of online streaming sites can really afford to pay much more than what they’re paying. What’s being argued seems tantamount to, “Don’t play our music unless you can reach this certain profitability threshold, as defined by the very mature terrestrial radio industry.” And it’s not clear that internet radio is ever going to consistently reach that threshold. And so where do you go from there? Does putting these internet radio websites out of business really put food on the table for songwriters?
    It’s not quite as simple as “pay us what’s fair” when there’s a limited amount of revenue. Additionally, publishers took a huge hit from a la carte downloading, same as everyone else. A lot of folks were making their living writing non-hits on hit records, now that’s not possible. So it’s not necessarily fair to try to make up for that & to try & scrape a living together out of ad supported internet radio.

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “it doesn’t seem like a lot of online streaming sites can really afford to pay much more than what they’re paying”
      Then they’ll have to find a new business model, won’t they?
      I hear there’s a lot of cash in touring these days. T-shirts would be another possibility.

      Reply
      • Art
        Art

        Touring and T-shirts? This is a joke right? Watch Pete Townsend on the Daily Show (both clips, the second one talks about touring).http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-october-8-2012/pete-townshend
        If people really think that music should be free and stop purchasing it then before long the only music recorded will be by trust funded rich kids (lot of songs about angst and the oppression of entitlement), middle aged lawyers (vanity projects about taking life by it’s horns), church funded Xian rock and gospel and the ever decreasing circle of kids TV fueled pop stars (songs about nothing, or even worse, soft porn manuals for pre teens by ‘role models’ like Nikki Minaj.)
        Woopdeedoo.But I guess the culture of a nation reflects it’s values.

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “Touring and T-shirts?”
          Dear Art, what I say is that the streaming sites need to find a new business model, if they can’t afford to pay more than what they’re paying today.
          I’m sure you’ll agree that touring & t-shirts are relevant suggestions.

          Reply
          • Art
            Art

            Did you watch the clips I posted? As Townsend points out touring is expensive not a cure all. Some music fits the road model well, rock/jam/roots bands (especially young bands without kids and mortgages), solo singer-songwriters but if you’re a solo artist who needs to pay session musicians, or in a genre with less venues in less markets, an electronic muscian, a classical composer, a big band with a lot of moutsh to feed for example touring is not really a means to make a living. Also touring constantly makes raising children hard, dealign with old and sick parents or one’s own health issues, so although musicians have always been troubadours of sorts it’s not good if this is the only way to survive.
            T-Shirts? Yes merch is important and can be an additional income stream. But muscians make music not T-shirts, hats, underwear etc..and also merch only really makes money for major acts, unfortunately people forget that most of the music created is not by the handful of pop stars who take most of the oxygen..

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Oh dear, oh dear… 🙂
            I’m just saying that Spotify and the other parasites have to find a new business model if this one isn’t working.
            And I’m sure that a lot of people will pay to see Daniel Ek — live or printed on a fancy shirt.

        • Monica Corton
          Monica Corton

          Songwriters do not tour or sell t-shirts…they write songs. That is the sole source of their income from music unless they are also artists which is not really the case for thousands of songwriters.

          Reply
          • Monica Corton
            Monica Corton

            I responded about the touring and t-shirts because this is a common response by people who think that we (music publishers and songwriters) should stop complaining about dwindling mechanical income and just tour more and sell more t-shirts. That is a preposturous response to a songwriter who is not an artist and does not tour or sell t-shirts. Honestly, we as a music industry, have done a poor job explaining how it all works and so I feel like this is an oppotunity to discuss business structure in this forum.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “That is a preposturous response to a songwriter who is not an artist and does not tour or sell t-shirts”
            Um yes, but it came from a songwriter who does not tour or sell t-shirts.
            And it was aimed at the streaming sites you seem to support…

          • Monica Corton
            Monica Corton

            If a songwriter suggested the “just sell t-shirts and tour argument”, it goes to my point that we have done a lousy job educating our own songwriters on how the publishing business works. I have thought this many times in seeing other newbie writers espouse giving their music away for free. The devaluation of music starts when our own people creating it do not understand the fundamentals of the business aspects. It’s another big problem.

          • Jackson

            Hilarious. Reading comprehension not a strong suit here, I gather.

            The suggestion was not that musicians seek t-shirt and touring revenue, but that the bigwigs looking to cash out on stock options from sites like spotify and pandora (google and iTunes) not put the burden of their unworkable model by ginning down the current fees, part of which is paid to the artists and their support (music pubs, distribs, etc.), but seek to make up their shortfall the same place the industry has been telling musicians to make up their shortfall: T-shirts and touring.

            Now, No fan of the arrangement the artist gets out of that fee and don’t mind seeing the sharks getting a cut. (and no, not saying legit help are all sharks, but sharks do abound…) But it’s not as if the cut on the sharks goes to the artist. In the end, cutting the fee to help spotify, et al, hurts the artist probably most.

  2. Sherry Heyl
    Sherry Heyl

    You are right about the need to find new business models, but maybe it is the Music Publishers that need to be thinking of new business models. Technology has continued and will continue to disrupt business models. You are wasting time and energy trying to hold on to the way things have always been done, especially if the demand shifts. The demand for the way music is discovered and enjoyed has definitely shifted and that is going to impact the music publishers in the same way it has disrupted so many others. Streaming music is not going away and consumers will ont pay more than what they are willing to pay now. The songwriters who re-write the rules for how they are compensated, in the same way the innovators of sites like Pandora and Spotify have re-written the rules, will get to stay in business as song writters.
    Technology will always be disruptive. The innovation comes in the new business models.

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “Streaming music is not going away”
      Oh, but it is!
      Ask Taylor Swift, Adele, Coldplay, Deadmau5, Rihanna…
      “The innovation comes in the new business models.”
      Absolutely — here’s the new one:
      Sell your music!

      Reply
    • Monica
      Monica

      Sheryl…you clearly do not work in the music business. The music publishers have been at the forefront of developing business models in all new technologies from the dawn the Copyright Act. It started with player pianos, progressed to vinyl, 8-track, cassettes, CDs, digital downloads and now streaming. We aren’t discouraging the growth of new businesses, we welcome it and want to be a part of it. That’s how we sustain our companies over time. I don’t want streaming to go away, I want the royalty to increase for publishers so it bares some proportional parity with the master royalty and I want more people to become subscribers to streaming services so that there is a cash pool for the streaming service to work for all the parties who are involved.

      Reply
    • i got it
      i got it

      i got your joke immediately. funny.

      (he’s repeating the phrase endlessly thrown at musicians by the freetards: go tour! sell tshirts! its a new world, deal with it! change your business model! new century! etc.)
      good one. ima reuse it…

      Reply
    • Monica Corton
      Monica Corton

      Streaming sites have plenty of money from investors. Pandora’s “problem” is with their business model. They are paying the labels about 5x more in licensing fees for the master rights and the labels also own a part of their business so Pandora never complains about how much they are paying the labels in licensing because they are in bed with the major labels. In addition, Pandora does not charge enough for their subscription to sustain their business model so they can license the necessary music. Despite all of this, they have been recording profits. So…here I am, correcting you because you are wrong. It’s not about a profitablity threshold, it’s about compensation for the rights being licensed on some kind of an equitable scale to music publishers. Right now, that scale is tipped totally to the labels in streaming licensing. I repeat, there is NO master without a song being written first. The licensing for the publishing right should be on par with the master right. I’m not compairing streaming radio to terrestrial radio, if more people were paying for subscriptions in the streaming world, the model might actually work, but there aren’t enough subscribers. We aren’t trying to put them out of business, it’s the opposite, they are putting us out of business by a lack of equitable compensation as music users move to streaming sources….did you read my article?

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        You may want to know that jw and Casey are our local pro-pirates/pro-streamers who rarely lose an opportunity to defend copyright crime.

        Reply
        • jw
          jw

          I don’t support piracy. You know & I know it. It’s almost as if your gleeful ignorance is just a schtick to make the anti-piracy crowd look like asses.
          If that’s the case, it’s working.

          Reply
      • Monica Corton
        Monica Corton

        Facts Matter….I was referring to the big streaming services which I did not make clear. They all do seem to be making money and getting a lot of it from investors. As far as investors, I was referring to the investors at Pandora and Spotify who seem to be keeping those businesses in good stead.
        Why isn’t Pandora suing the labels over fees if they are so unhappy with them? They are suing ASCAP right now and most of their press is heavily about how high music publishing royalties are for them, meanwhile they are making money with a bad business model. If Spotify can charge $10 a month, why can’t Pandora?
        I would like to suggest that any new business that wants to launch in music does not have to license every song that was ever written. That model is insane. If you have a good business idea and it is music related, you should pick the top songs you think can launch the service and go negotiate direct deals with publishers. A music publisher can license the performance, mechanical, synchronization and print licensing directly. Part of what has been happening is the tech people seem to think they need all or nothing for their music licensing. I think we have a lot of these all music services, but we don’t have really creative new tech products with targeted music uses. What I am suggesting is a system like what Guitar Hero and Rock Band did…they chose specific music that fit their games and went directly to the publishers to license it. As the popularity of their games gained momentum, they added songs to their libraries. I always make this suggestion to supervisors of indie films. If you only have a certain budget to pay for licensing, then figure out what rights you actually need, limit the term of the license and add options into the license for extended rights or services that you want to option in the future. That is how you could get VC people interested…if you showed them you had secured a licensing model that will cover your liability and also give you a good shot of proving your product/service works. I would even consider consulting someone through that process. We used to do music supervision work for film, TV and Broadway. See credits at http://www.nextdecade-ent.com.
        What we have right now is a log jam…tech people aren’t really communicating with the music community and the music communty doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of communicating with the tech community. We need to get that dialogue going on a much better path for the health of both industries.
        I guess I think $.01 -.02 would be fair for streaming right now with an escalating scale over time for the publisher steaming royalty. Right now, the rate is like $.0001 after you do the math. On the master side, I’m not sure what to say because that is an open negotiation. The labels have no regulation on this and they have not been kind to creating a good business model for the digital companies. We fight with them all the time just like the tech industry does…it’s a love/hate thing between publishers and labels. I do think a seasoned music supervisor and clearance person would be in a better position to help a tech company negotiate rates than some of the people that have been doing it thus far. You need someone with business relationships with the music companies to plead your case. I have seen a few seasoned people take on this process but not nearly enough. The Gaming people seem to have figured out they need a good music clearance company and they use them.
        My fight is really with companies who license my music not the labels. I cannot control what the labels do with the masters they own that include my songs. I will tell you that for film, TV and advertising licensing, I do work with our partner labels on quotes. We really try to meet the needs of the production. It is something I think that has been totally lacking from the conversation when it comes to the digital world. I’m not sure how it got this bad, but my guess is desperation from all parties as the business was changing faster than we could all catch up. Piracy has also played a huge factor in the desperation for all concerned parties.
        I’m sorry for my inaccuracy in my response. I do confuse these things and I’m not on the master side. I read all these articles on digital and I live in my publishing world watching our income crash and I get emotional. I hate having to send my writers statements that don’t reflect what they used to make and I have been sitting here in my office trying to figure out how we can make this all work. I’ve been wanting to speak out for a while, but kept waiting…waiting for some kind of successful model, waiting for my trade organizations to start publicaly telling the story for indie people, waiting for some glimmer of hope that things were starting to work out. But…my silence and that of my colleagues has only made our story get lost or terribly twisted. Thanks for your candor and furthering for the discussion.

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          $.01-$.02 for a publishing royalty per stream? Lets just stop right there. That is crazy talk. Do you have any idea how much they would have to charge per month to give publishers that kind of money? They would lose all their subscribers because no one is going to pay that much.

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “$.01-$.02 for a publishing royalty per stream?”
            Yes, that sounds reasonable.
            “They would lose all their subscribers because no one is going to pay that much.”
            Then I guess they just have to die.

          • nypbbob
            nypbbob

            Reports are Funn networks will be paying $.03 to $.05 per stream compared to a tenth of a penny.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            You really don’t have to repeat that anymore…
            Spotify & the rest would die in an instant if it were true.

          • Funn
            Funn

            Funn is going to represent both indies and labels. The founders had originally developed the business model ten years ago but because the industry was against new technology and only concerned about recouping money from illegal P2P’s, it made no sense to launch sooner.
            The reports are true. Funn is going to do the following:
            1- Internet Radio: Payments will be around $.03 to $.05. Funn wants to pay on average, $96.00+ per year, per user. As it stands now, Pandora and Spotify pay roughly $7.00. THIS APPLIES TO INDIE AND ALL LABELS.
            2- Music Video’s: A Justin Bieber video was viewed over 170,000,000 times yet he was paid less than a million. Funn is going to pay at a bare minimum $17,000,000 for the same amount of views.
            3- Perpetual Sync: This is an area where the music industry has totally failed. How many user generated videos are on You Tube that are using a copyrighted song? Funn will allow user generated content on Funn only if users sync a song from Funn’s library. These video’s will be paid as described in #2.
            Make no mistake. Funn is not about a technology. Its about giving control back to all parties. Its about making everyone happy for once. And again, its taken ten years to put in motion.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            Are you going to say that when Apple releases their radio streaming product? They are negotiating rates lower than even Pandora pays and without the DMCA restrictions.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            No company has done more to support artists than Apple, and I use their entire product & service circle in my work, all the way from creating to distribution.
            But we still have to see where they’re going post-Jobs, so the answer to your question could be ‘yes’.

          • Monica Corton
            Monica Corton

            Visitor….can you show us the math to prove why it would be so unreasonable for the streaming rate to be $.01 -$.02 per stream?

          • Jeff Robinson
            Jeff Robinson

            Hey, if Obama gets rid of the penny as he is talking about doing, then I’d like to lobby for increments of nickels as pay-outs for streaming royalties and over-the-air broadcast royalties.
            How would Pandora or Spotfy pay out thousandths of a nickel? Or rather, wouldn’t that equate to more?

        • Jose Luis Zagazeta Vinatea
          Jose Luis Zagazeta Vinatea

          —> My fight is really with companies who license my music not the labels. I cannot control what the labels do with the masters they own that include my songs. I will tell you that for film, TV and advertising licensing, I do work with our partner labels on quotes.

          Hi Monica, try to use this tunesat.com you will have a detailed information concerning uses of your compositions

          Cheers,

          Jose Luis
          Musicxip.com

          Reply
    • Facts matter
      Facts matter

      Just to set the record straight: Streaming services don’t have “plenty of money from investors”. The fact is, there are no professional investors willing to do anything but smile and say “good luck” (VC-speak for “fuck-off”) if you are trying to raise money for a music-related business that requires licensing. When you respond to this statement, please just include the name of at least one investor willing to invest in a business that requires music licensing.
      “The labels own part of their business”–Pandora is not owned by the labels. Spotify has some label ownership, but not Pandora.
      “Pandora never complains about how much they are paying the labels”–Wtf? Pandora constantly complains that licensing fees are too high . . for master recordings and publishing.
      Contrary to your characterization, any new music service, no matter what size, is the small-fry in the discussion, and has at least a 90% mortality rate. As has been pointed out by DMN, publishers like Sony and Universal have the ability to shut down new services. It remains to be seen whether they will do it yet, but it is possible.
      Music licensing is a complex issue. To characterize it as anything else misrepresents reality. There are three rights holders that each feel entitled to 70% of the gross revenue because without their part of the right, there would be no music. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, music does not sell itself. If there is no money left for retailers, retailers will just sell something else.
      To cut to the chase, can you please state the amount you think is a “fair” price for for a non-interactive service playing one song to one person? And of that amount, how much should go to the master recording owner and how much should go to the publisher? Also, please state how, as a publisher, you are able to get the master recording owner to accept anything less than 70% of gross, because, if you can’t, your fight is not with streaming services, it is with master recording owners.

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      Pandora is not recording profits. Employees are selling out their stocks because the company is losing too much money to sustain itself.

      Reply
    • jw
      jw

      The idea that these companies are profitable & that there’s money that’s up for grabs is kind of ridiculous. Pandora posted $2m in profits Q3, but lost $20m in Q1, & will probably end up losing more than $23m over the course of the fiscal year. That’s not what a profitable company looks like.
      The problem here is that publishers & labels are playing tug-of-war over the same revenue, only the labels have all of the leverage. So of course the deals skew towards them… they kept Spotify at the negotiating table for several years. Personally, I think it’s bologna that the labels are able to negotiate up front payments & equity based on their catalog, which doesn’t trickle down to the artists. Labels should only legally be allowed to make money in partnership with artists, in my opinion. So I’m not necessarily objecting to your premise, that certain parties aren’t getting a fair cut, I’m just saying that it’s not as easy as adjusting rates & everyone’s happy, a greater realignment has to occur.
      But publishers/songwriters are always going to get the short end of the stick just because there’s more supply than demand. And quality… well the music industry has been selling mp3s for almost a decade. There are more important things to the labels than the quality of the music.

      Reply
      • Monica Corton
        Monica Corton

        JW…we are starting to agree here…I believe the artists should be rising up against the labels too and demanding a share of these massive advances. Maybe if the artists were more intereactive with their labels regarding digital licensing, the labels could be held in check a little more. I think this movement would have to start with the heavy hitter artists who should work together on this and then they would set the standard for the lesser known artists.
        I think publishers are getting leverage. This pull out by Sony/ATV, Universal Music Pub, Warner/Chappell and BMG/Chrysalis for all digital rights licensing at ASCAP and BMI is a big first step. The majors and BMG have pulled out to get around the limitations of ASCAP and BMI’s Consent Decree. If all goes as planned, they will negotiate a higher rate for digital licensing and then that rate will set the market standard for the ASCAP and BMI rate court which can then affect the indie publishers.

        Reply
    • Jeff Robinson
      Jeff Robinson

      “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of online streaming sites can really afford to pay much more than what they’re paying. What’s being argued seems tantamount to, “Don’t play our music unless you can reach this certain profitability threshold, as defined by the very mature terrestrial radio industry.” And it’s not clear that internet radio is ever going to consistently reach that threshold. And so where do you go from there? Does putting these internet radio websites out of business really put food on the table for songwriters?”

      Absolutely. Venture capitalists should be able to rape an industry to try and turn a profit.
      Two things:
      1. Treat internet streaming EXACTLY like over-the-air broadcast radio with regard to rates. IF it puts internet broadcasters out of business, then let the market dictate that they had a shitty business model.
      2. Pass legislation for over-the-air broadcast radio to pay a performance royalty so that performers can now begin earning money for airplay at the same rate as publishers have for decades.
      3. Re-regulate radio ownership restrictions by undoing the Telecom Act of 1996 and through doing so, negate the effects of the ‘chain buy’ major label payola that equates to NTR for broadcasters.
      4. Create a regional chart system for broadcasters allowing for myriad musicians/bands/acts to chart in their territory and perhaps graduate up to a National Chart system for those deemed best by regional broadcasters.
      5. Have the FCC actually begin performing duties they are tasked with such as actually reviewing their rules every two years as they are supposed to and thereby enforcing them.

      Reply
      • Casey
        Casey

        Unfortunately the FCC has given up on radio. They do nothing to combat interference. They do nothing to combat stations not serving the communities as their licenses require. They don’t care about conslidation. They do nothing to help dying AM stations or roll back antiquated rulings on SW or expanding the FM band. Radio in America is doomed. All they care about now is clearing up spectrum to sell to wireless companies. There is much better money in that.

        Reply
    • nypbbob
      nypbbob

      Not really.
      Many are using business models that are ad related and unfortunately those ads are worthless–> meaning they make next to nothing on each ad impression. As far as paid subscriptions you can only spread out $8 per month so far.

      Reply
  3. Ghost of Rick Ross
    Ghost of Rick Ross

    Publishers and writers are dispensible. Ifyou’re not writing that song someone else will which is exactly why pandora is trying to squeeze you. Because they can, that’s why.

    Reply
      • Ghost of Rick Ross
        Ghost of Rick Ross

        except they HAVE been profitable, more than one quarter. do they want to be profitable? That would mean gunning it on ads and compromising their free experience (answer = NO)

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          You have to realize Pandora’s primary competition is terrestrial radio, which costs consumers nothing. You can’t charge for a service when your main competition is free. This puts Pandora in a bind. At this point it is a race to outlive Clear Channel.

          Reply
          • Jeff Robinson
            Jeff Robinson

            They are competing against a ‘free model’ and can’t compete. Wall Street calls it something like ‘Analog dollars, digital dimes and mobile pennies’.
            Somewhere between dimes and pennies is Pandora, Spotify and others. How a company with that much financial input can’t put together a stronger sales force is beyond me. Then again, the most frequently posted job at terrestrial radio is for entry-level sales people. Since when did a sales job become the same as interning?

          • Jackson

            I pay for satellite radio because over air radio generally sucks.

    • Monica Corton
      Monica Corton

      Ghost of Rick Ross…music publishers are not dispensable. Songwriters need good business people to help them navigate through all the portholes to collect their income and to have the connections to get them licensing in TV, film and advertising. There is a lot of knowledge necessary to successfully license one’s music. It is not really in the best interest of a songwriter to have to do all of that and write songs. Honestly, not many songwriters possess both creative and business skills. The more creative a songwriter, often the worse they are a business issues. Creative people think with a different part of their brain and the best combination is when they focus on writing great songs and we music publishers focus on finding many licensing opportunities for them. Sure…many people write songs, but there are a ton of bad songs. That’s why the business changed from people wanting to buy an entire album of one artist to cherry picking songs off the album. That’s because the art of good songwriting is very special and not held by many gifted people. We also have lost the whole development process. The music biz professionals who used to help develop songwriting have either been summarily fired, their companies have been sold or they left the business because they saw the writing on the wall. We are at a cross roads right now…we have to fix the music business ecosystem now before too much of it gets destroyed.

      Reply
  4. Casey
    Casey

    Things change. The sooner songwriters/publishers understand they are not the only ones with jobs in limbo, the better off they will be. Yes, the internet has made a massive impact in their bottomline. It has also made a big impact in other businesses. From retail to print media to even the Post Office. Technology changes everything.
    I’m sorry. I really am. I love small businesses and I love music. But pointing fingers and begging for mercy isn’t going to accomplish anything. Eventually yes, enough begging the right people might get higher rates from Pandora or Spotify. But they are not the real threats. They are simply the middlemen, and broke ones at that. The real threats are people. The general public. People do not want CDs anymore. And soon they won’t want downloads anymore. People go with the flow, and the flow is pointing toward the cloud. Technology is moving us away from ownership and toward a model where we simply access resources, like Spotify. And people don’t want to pay anything for this technology. The idea of consuming only what you can afford is dying in our society. Our society is teaching us that we deserve everything and our wallets are telling us we shouldn’t have to pay more for it. That’s the enemy. Streaming companies cannot ultimately pay songwriters/publishers more if people are not willing to pay for it. People are not willing to pay more for Spotify. Many people are not willing to pay anything for Pandora. But one way or another, the world will move more and more toward streaming. Nothing is going to change that. It is only a matter of time before Apple goes full force into streaming. Even the president has embraced streaming. It is time to get out of denial.

    Reply
    • Central Scrutinizer
      Central Scrutinizer

      Casey, you sound very calm and philosophical today.
      I agree with what you are saying. Buying music is a thing of the past and streaming is how all music will be delivered in the near future. 5 to 10 years at most. Music streaming business models may change but payouts are NOT going to get better for songwriters or performers.
      Recorded music has nearly reached zero value.
      Depressing for musicians and songwriters. And a bit depressing for consumers who will get what they pay.

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “the internet has made a massive impact in their bottomline. It has also made a big impact in other businesses. From retail to print media to even the Post Office.”
      Um yes — what would I rather do without:
      Mozart and McCartney or the… the Post Office?

      Reply
      • Casey
        Casey

        Your answer should very much be the Post Office unless you completely live under a rock and have absolutely no idea how much our entire economy depends on it.

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “Your answer should very much be the Post Office”
          Casey, now you really have to enlighten us:
          Exactly why are you here if you think the Post Office is more important than Mozart? 🙂

          Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “the world will move more and more toward streaming”
      Many would have agreed with you until a few years ago. But that was then, as they say…
      Here’s what you don’t understand:
      Right holders accepted streaming back then for one reason only: Mainstream piracy.
      And what are we witnessing right now?
      The first internationally coordinated and total war against mainstream piracy — ever!
      Don’t think for a second that any right holder will give her/his work away if we manage to diminish mainstream piracy.
      So here is the New Business Model:
      Sell your music!

      Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          Casey, you have to understand that the times are changing and a new war is going on.
          To the right, you have the criminals:
          Most are young, with little to no education and very few economical/technological resources. Their sole incentive is to get away with stealing.
          To the left, you have for the first time ever almost every single government in the world, all the legislators, several highly influental industries, a rapidly growing number of ISPs plus of course the art organizations. Most individuals are well educated, have good networks plus lots of economical/technological resources. Among their motives are justice, politics, profits, human rights, protections of the arts, etc. This side is supported by a clear majority of the population who not only want to punish illegal uploaders but also illegal downloaders.
          Here are some of the first results from this new war:
          3 Strikes/Hadopi/similar initiatives/blocked piracy sites in Europe… 6 Strikes in the US (starting right now; check CCI for information) … Long prison sentences and $20K fines in Japan… Fines in New Zealand… Fines and computer confiscation in Russia… Lots of lockers & torrent sites shut down after the fall of MegaUpload… Pirate Bay facing their worst problems ever right now… Growing pressure on credit card companies and others to cut pirate sites off!
          Now, please explain
          1) Why do you think the criminals are going to win the war?
          2) Why would any right holder choose to give her/his work away if the criminals lose the war?

          Reply
          • Casey
            Casey

            This isn’t a matter of piracy/criminals. That can be dealt with. It is a matter of how legal music consumption is changing. The writing is on the walls. Apple is building massive data centers. They are not building them to waste money. They are building them for their cloud and streaming services. All forms of entertainment are moving to a cloud/streaming model.

            An all you can eat streaming model can be a happy ending for artists and songwriters alike. But it is undervalued and simply raising the price will not fix that. This is an uphill battle against consumer mindset, not streaming companies or piracy.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “This isn’t a matter of piracy/criminals”
            Yes, it is a matter of piracy — and piracy only!
            Let me repeat my question:
            Why would a songwriter give her work away in a world without mainstream piracy?
            Exactly what would motivate her?
            Bear in mind that the race to the bottom would be over. She wouldn’t have to compete with free anymore. Fans would have to buy her music if they wanted it.
            So are we talking about some sort of altruism here, or what?

          • Casey
            Casey

            People are hard to please. Yes, she could force people to buy her music if they want it. But ultimately she might find herself out of a job when people decide they would rather stream someone elses music instead of buying hers. That’s the problem. She pretty much has no choice.

          • Visitor
            Visitor

            “But ultimately she might find herself out of a job when people decide they would rather stream someone elses music instead of buying hers.”
            Nonsense!
            Here is what happens in the real world when people can’t stream an album they want, such as Taylor Swift’s Red:
            They buy the album, Casey!
            People could have streamed her competitors all day long instead. But they didn’t. They wanted her album and they couldn’t stream it — so they bought it.
            It sold a mindblowing 1.2 million copies during the first week.
            Nobody have done that since 2002!

          • Monica Corton
            Monica Corton

            Casey…I never said songwriters and music publishers are not the only ones losing out…that was not the topic of my article. I have been in the business for over two decades and have seen countless friends lose their music business jobs from label employees to producers, engineers, touring musicians, my classical compatriots, side musicians… absolutely no one is safe anymore…the whole music business ecosystem is in major trouble right now. That’s why I decided to speak out because we have not been vocal enough. We are the 99% of the music business that are sorting out all of this change. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the recession, but it also has to do with a complete change in how people value music and the extensive consolidation of the music business as a whole. I am all for a busines shift in the way people PURCHASE their music. If they want their cloud and everything to be streamed…great…but there has to be some kind of sustainable business model or the creative people you know and love will not be able to work on their craft and write songs. It is a lot of work to write good songs and get them successsfully released. This is what people just don’t get…that song you hear on the radio is literally the work of probably at least 50+ people from start to finish. Here are some of those people…the songwriter(s), the artist, the producer, the engineer, the mixer, the mastering company, the recording studio, the record label and all the people that work there, the attorneys (for the artist, for the label, for the producers, for the engineers etc), the session artists/side musicians, the promo people and the publicist. I know I’m forgetting some others, but as you can see it is a calvary of people. Now, that has different degrees if you are a major label artist or an indie artist, but that’s what it takes to break a song.

  5. CaseyFMC
    CaseyFMC

    It’s a good thing when smaller publishers make their viewpoints known. They’re a great example of how the music ecosystem isn’t monolithic. The forced narrative is always “big greedy content companies vs. sinister tech at scale). The reality also included “mom and pop publishers and undercapitalized startups.” Until people recognize this, they’ll continue to talk past one another.

    Reply
  6. Visitor
    Visitor

    “We, independent music publishers and songwriters, are people who need to feed our families, finance a home and send our kids to college; ordinary people trying to make a living. At the end of the day, we love music. We want to enable songwriters to provide the world with the best music. In all the debating, one simple fact is being forgotten. Songwriters are the backbone of the musicbusiness. There is NO recording by an artist until a songwriter has written a hit song to make their voice shine.”
    This is the absolute truth.
    And the only way to make sure that the next Mozart and the next Beatles will be able to write music is to do our best to stop mainstream piracy.

    Reply
  7. Mmmm
    Mmmm

    Another short sighted view of streaming. Streaming music is the furure. Everytime somebody listens to your song, you get paid. This has never happened before. EVERY TIME for THE REST OF TIME. The publishers that control the most popular songs will do very well out of this, it will just take time.

    Reply
    • Monica Corton
      Monica Corton

      Mmmm…you are missing my point, I’m not against streaming…I’m against not being paid for the streaming in any kind of an equitable way. If Spotify had a 10 million person subscriber base, then yes…it would be much better. Let me give you some real examples here…I just got a statement for streaming uses of one of my hit songs that has 20,433 streams and I was paid $10.75 for that. If that same song had been digitally downloaded 20,433 times, I would have been paid $1,859.40. Does that put this all in perspective for you? You explain to me how my songwriter is supposed to live on that kind of financial difference when 20,433 people actually listened to his song but all he received for that was $10.75. I agree, if 2,000,000 people had listened to his song via streaming, the royalty would be better, but that still probably wouldn’t equal $1,859.40 from the digital downloads and that was 2 MILLION people streaming it. Something has got to give here because that just is not a sustainable business model for songwriters.

      Reply
        • Monica Corton
          Monica Corton

          Mmmmm, we control a little over 5,000 copyrights but most of our writers are very prominant and they include multi-genre styles like classic rock, trance/electronica, dance, children’s music, standards, R&B, television themes, rap, hip-hop, roots, Broadway, country and more. I used to work a lot in heavy metal…I’ve worked in almost every facet of the music business with every community. My college training is classical and I started working in classical at the beginning of my career.

          Reply
      • hippydog
        hippydog

        Quote “I just got a statement for streaming uses of one of my hit songs that has 20,433 streams and I was paid $10.75 for that. If that same song had been digitally downloaded 20,433 times, I would have been paid $1,859.40. Does that put this all in perspective for you?”
        Not really..
        to truly get a perspective I would also need to know how much you got paid if your song was played 20,433 times on FM Radio..

        Reply
        • fact check
          fact check

          What you want to know is how much she would get if the song was played once on a terrestrial radio station and 20,433 people were listening. That’s apples to apples.

          Reply
          • hippydog
            hippydog

            Quote “20,433 people were listening.”
            CORRECT! thank you for catching that!, this topic has been talked about enough times I should have noticed that before I hit post..

      • Monica Corton
        Monica Corton

        hippy dog…I can’t tell you that because the performances on terrestrial radio differ by broadcaster…bigger broadcasters in bigger cities pay different blanket licenses than smaller broadcasters in smaller cities. The rights sound like they are equivalent to you, but the way they are licensed and paid is different from the digital world. That’s why the comparison has to be done the way that I explained originally.

        Reply
        • hippydog
          hippydog

          QUOTE :”The rights sound like they are equivalent to you, but the way they are licensed and paid is different from the digital world.”
          Im very aware that there is no direct equivilance between FM radio and digital streaming..
          and not because its mathematically impossible to compare the two, but because things are very convoluted and NOT transparent (which entails a lot of guess) and most of the “guessing” is on the terrestrial radio side.
          Quote “That’s why the comparison has to be done the way that I explained originally.”
          but then your entire arguement falls flat. Because comparing a download to a stream is nonsensical.. two different formats..
          If you start messaging the numbers to make them equal (EG comparing them by possible listens) you CAN come up with a bit of a comparison BUT YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING WITH FM RADIO. (avg it out, etc etc)
          Why is having terrestrial radio included in these “numbers” important?
          Because one of the first questions people will ask is..
          Does Radio pay more, the same, or less then digital streaming?
          How much is the difference?

          Reply
          • Monica Corton
            Monica Corton

            The difference in performance income from terrestrial radio vs streaming Internet radio is massive. The problem is the way that money is calulated for terrestrial is completely different than digital. If I had to put a figure on it, I would say we receive at a minimum 10 times more from terrestrial radio performances than we do from streaming Internet performances and I think that really is low. The problem is terrestrial radio is licensed as a blanket (meaning the broadcaster pays a fee for the year based on the size of their potential distribution audience (New York City pays much more than Albany, NY) and then that annual fee is allocated to songs during the year as the station tells ASCAP, BMI and SESAC what songs they actually played over the course of the year. The volume of money in the terrestrial sphere is such a bigger pool of money it is hard to even think of it in comparison to digital radio.

      • Visitor
        Visitor

        But people only download a song once. People can stream the same song dozens of times. Especially if they put the song in a playlist and listen to that playlist in the gym or car on a regular basis. Some people stream internet radio 8 hours a day at work which can really add up.

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “But people only download a song once. People can stream the same song dozens of times.”
          Sure — but they have to do so 141 times (or more) before it makes sense.
          And now you’re going to tell me about all the songs you’ve heard at least 141 times, sigh…

          Reply
          • Visitor
            Visitor

            I am not sure where you get the 141 figure. Are you figuring this from the artist or publisher perspective? Either way it would take many plays. But alas, that is not my point. My point is you can’t compare streams to downloads. They are not the same.

    • Visitor
      Visitor

      Just a small point but you seem to be working on the assumption that 20,433 streams is 20,433 missed sales. In reality you probably had a smaller number of people listening to the track more than once. I think it’s important to be clear on that otherwise you compound the problem.
      It is also important to remember that if you create something that lasts you will receieve a payout forever through streaming. The download/CD sales are a one off payment.
      Time will tell which is more valuable but the more support streaming services get, the greater their number of subscribers will be, the more money there is to go around for everybody.

      Reply
  8. AnAmusedGeek
    AnAmusedGeek

    It really sounds like a big piece of the problem is Internet advertising rates are too small to sustain streaming at the same level traditional ads. have supported tterrestrial radio.
    Question is how do you get the rates high enough that everyone can make a fair living?

    Reply
    • Monica Corton
      Monica Corton

      AnAmusedGeek…when you figure that one out…let us all know, we are all looking for a solution. We are also looking for transparency in accounting on the advertising from digital companies (likeGoogle/YouTube) who are supposed to be cutting us in on the advertising dollars they are generating. Right now, indie publishers have no way of checking that out.

      Reply
        • nypbbob
          nypbbob

          Doubt it. There’s no spam. Rather than trying to show how smart you may or may not be, do the research, ask questions and help make a difference. There’s a reason why things have been done they way they have. At least we know the founders of Funn have worked the better part of the past ten years to make a difference for everybody involved. You?
          Kudos to the guys at Funn. Your post is just one of the many reasons’ why we support them.
          Have a wonderful day!
          🙂

          Reply
  9. AnAmusedGeek
    AnAmusedGeek

    Monica – You brought up an interesting point, namely “how people VALUE music has changed”
    Has any sort of non-confrontational education campaign been tried? Maybe a concerted effort to put a face to all the ‘lil guys’ in the music biz?
    Part of why open source works is people donating and showing support for projects. I would have thought that would apply to music fans as well. But things like ‘1000 true fans’ never seem to work. Maybe its requires an industry wideush to educate people?

    Reply
  10. Rudolph Bunsworth
    Rudolph Bunsworth

    Ms. Corton,

    The CEA is going to continue lobbying for its own interests, which are not aligned with those of your industry. You note that your industry has its own trade association – the NMPA, but do you help fund and support this organization so that it can effectively respond to the mischaracterizations presented by the CEA? Perhaps you make some small gesture, but are you doing enough?

    Also, do you invest in any new talent, or do you simply administrate and collect on established works? Insofar as we are supposed to empathize with your position, are we lamenting the compromised livelihood of those in the autumn of existence, or the muted voices and unwritten songs of the actual Next Decade?

    My impression of your company is that it conducts itself like most businesses; it’s intensely focused on its own budget and bottom line, and is unwilling to make serious contributions to bodies representing the collective well-being. You’re a little guy – obviously you don’t stand a chance on your own.

    “The music publishing industry goes in front of this CRB panel as one entity advocating for a fair mechanical rate of behalf of thousands of songwriters and publishers against a massive army of corporations bent on making sure it is as low as possible.”

    Can you not build a massive army? That’s a rhetorical question; I do not think that you can. This is because, unfortunately, the music industry has demonstrated an inability to collaborate in any meaningful way. Publishers have only adversarial relationships – with PRO’s, with each other, with record labels, and now with technology companies.

    I think everything you said about the technology companies is fair and accurate, and I applaud your blog post. However, I wouldn’t expect anything to come of it. You see the Viking ships on the horizon, but you cry out for mercy instead of sharpening your battle axe. You must stand against, as you say, a massive army – what else can confront a massive army except another massive army? (Perhaps with superior technology and training a small army can confront a massive army – see Pizarro at Cajamarca, but this is clearly not the case here). Sharpen your axe and ride from village to village calling out for confederation. Or, prepare to continue keening whilst the pillaging proceeds unabated.

    Reply
    • Monca Corton
      Monca Corton

      Rudolf Bunsworth….I do support the NMPA and our company is a member and has been since it was started in 1990. Our predecessor company was also a member. I think I’m doing a lot but the publishing industry does not have the bucks to support the kind of lobbying that say CEA with it’s huge corporate members has to fund their efforts.
      We do invest in new talent. I’m very proud of our new talent. My latest signing is the Martha Redbone Roots Project. Please check out their album THE GARDEN OF LOVE: SONGS OF WILLIAM BLAKE.
      I do not share your pessimism. I think we are just beginning to start setting up business models for digital licensing. I’m involved in a new project that is joining the indie publishers of North America to speak out. We do have tons of heart, great songwriters and people love our songs. When I say “our” I mean that of my company and my colleagues’ companies. I think we all realize that we need to start speaking out on mass. The interest people have taken in this little piece in DMN shows me that people want to talk and learn about the issues involved in music publishing licensing so I’m hopeful that the more we speak, the more we can work to solve these matters.

      Reply
  11. hippydog
    hippydog

    Quote “he music publishing industry goes in front of this CRB panel as one entity advocating for a fair mechanical rate ”
    OK. So what would you suggest as a ‘fair mechanical rate?’

    Reply
  12. Tod
    Tod

    Monica, great to see you engaging in discussion. A quick question. If royalties were to end, would you ask for higher up front charges for your services?
    (And please avoid answering by saying that you and all other publishers would stop writing music – this is like saying waiters and waitresses wouldn’t exist if tips weren’t apart of the job)

    Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      “If royalties were to end, would you ask for higher up front charges for your services?”
      That would be the end of songwriting.
      The songwriter who sells 3 copies to his Mom and the guy who writes the next Yesterday would receive similar fees…

      Reply
      • Tod
        Tod

        Visitor, I was hoping we could avoid that false dilemma. Waiters and waitresses wouldn’t vanish either. I’ve already pointed out where your “Yesterday” example fails and is shortsighted in a prior post.
        Monica, care to engage?

        Reply
        • Visitor
          Visitor

          “I’ve already pointed out where your “Yesterday” example fails and is shortsighted in a prior post”
          No, you actually failed to do that.
          But again, it’s cool that you’re open about your anti-copyright beliefs.
          I just don’t agree with them…

          Reply
          • Tod
            Tod

            Visitor, The failure to understand a point is a bit different than failing to make a point. Again, there’s no reason to assume the two songwriters would receive similar fees. Your example mischaracterizes how value, prices, etc. work.
            The current environment, one of royalties and wage controls, deters artists from approaching returns for their services in different (and possibly better) ways.
            Yes, I am open to alternatives. Dismissing that workable alternatives could exist without discussion is something I don’t agree with…

    • Monica Corton
      Monica Corton

      Tod….royalties are not going to end…that is how mechanical royalties are structured by the government. We do have buyout licening in synch and print licensing where producers of film and TV come to us and tell us all the rights they want and pay one large upfront fee for all of those rights. In print, usually this happens when an author prints lyrics in book and we do a buyout license for that right based on projected sales.
      I would never say that we would stop creating music as a negotiating point, that’s silly.

      Reply
      • Tod
        Tod

        Monica, Thanks for the reply!
        “…royalties are not going to end” Things propped up by government end all the time. So I can’t agree with you there. Historically, controlled prices (which is what a royalty is) come and go and they commonly have negative short term and long term effects.
        The idea of a license buy out is interesting, but the settled upon price is still bound or influenced by today’s price controls (royalty rates). So I assume these buy out rates are higher or lower than a price that might come about as a result of demand (and/or they can deter an exchange from happening altogether).
        If the rate is artificially higher, the consumer suffers. If the rate is artificially lower (or non-existent as a result of distorted price signals), the artist suffers.
        So I see no net benefit with the current environment of fixed and controlled wages/prices. And this, in my opinion, is a major component of a failed business model. Who’s really putting you out of business?
        “I would never say that we would stop creating music as a negotiating point, that’s silly.“ I find it silly as well. But I had to mention it to try to avoid the kind of detours that Visitor set up..

        Reply
      • Tod
        Tod

        Another question(s) if you have the time..
        What might be some costs involved to the artist (in terms of time, risk, money, legal, etc.) of these license buy outs and how do they compare to non-buy out negotiations.
        Would you say there are lower costs (again, in terms of time, risk, money, legal, etc.) associated with license buy outs versus the alternatives?
        As Visitor noted above, I am open about my beliefs, so my questioning might seem like I’m just probing for an answer of my liking. But what I’m really after is insights into how artists might lower their costs, which is commonly a component of a successful business model.
        Artists are also consumers, and artificially inflated prices/costs can hurt them as well.

        Reply
  13. Yves Villeneuve
    Yves Villeneuve

    Labels and Publishers have to negotiate their share of the pie (70%) or it should be set by qualified judges. I assume Labels have a higher cost structure therefore receive a greater share of the pie. I also assume Publishers are as profitable as Labels in net terms based on current sharing ratios.

    My issue is that a stream is a stream is a stream…

    Regardless if it is from a free, paid or hybrid subscription or if it is from an interactive or non-interactive service.

    My guess is that Metallica got this deal from Spotify IE a stream is a stream is a stream. Therefore, kudos to them.

    What should be the statuory rate for any stream?

    Average price for a song: 0.99 roughly
    Minimum Pay Rate = 70%
    Realistic average number of listens per song per person: 75
    Statutory rate for any stream (free, paid, hybrid, interactive or non-interactive) = .99 X 70% / 75 = .00924 (nearly one penny)

    This rough penny would be shared between the Labels and Publishers who then pay performers and songwriters.

    Please don’t tell me that a stream is not a stream is not a stream. The consumer decides on how they wish to pay for a stream through its preferred mode of consumption, interactive or non-interactive service. Most often, I prefer consuming music in a free, non-interactive way but that doesn’t mean the Music Industry thus Creators should be paid less.

    Again, I stress, a stream is a stream is a stream.

    Reply
    • Casey
      Casey

      Actually, I am leaning toward agreeing with you for once. It shouldn’t matter how the stream was consumed.

      However, I still strongly believe current music should be put on a higher pay scale for streaming than catalog music. That would give artists and songwriters who have little or no previously released music the boost they need to start their careers at the time when they really need it. As of right now, everything is worth the same in streaming. And should it really be? In other similar industries it isn’t. And it seems to be working well for them.

      Reply
    • Visitor
      Visitor

      I would also agree that a simple and fair rate would work, but other sources would also have to be included in the same rate..
      IE: Terrestrial radio, also needs to be included in the rate simplification, maybe even TV and movies?
      A listen is a listen is a listen 🙂

      Reply
  14. nypbbob
    nypbbob

    Don’t fear. Funn Networks is opening soon and has pledged to all of us that Indie artists will be making money they have never seen before. As a matter of fact rumors are circulating that indies will be paid the same as other popular artists. (20+ times more than pandora and spotify pay, ten to twenty times more on music videos and they are also launching a perpetual sync license platform)
    Our reasearch thus far shows they are in fact putting it all together. So far they have 3,000+ indies on board waiting for launch.

    Reply
    • Yves Villeneuve
      Yves Villeneuve

      I don’t know if you represent the indies or the major labels. The latter tend to carry alot of cynicism toward the indies and demand too much respect, in my opinion.

      My proposition would be a minimum statutory rate with a non-compulsory license. If the majors have the clout to negotiate a higher rate then good for them.

      I for one, won’t offer my music blindfolded to Spotify and similar services, while the majors siphon off my fair share of the stream revenues. For example, Spotify pays commission but don’t reveal the commission rate. If someone wants to do business with a blindfold, it is their prerogative, but not mine. Don’t forget, the majors have a stake in Spotify therefore have the influence to keep the indies blindfolded so they may pick their pockets clean unsuspectingly and unceremoniously.

      At least on iTunes, I know exactly what I get paid, know what are my retail prices, and through my aggregator have the option to set prices when competing effectively against popular major label song and album prices. These benefits are not available on streaming sites. Good luck.

      Reply
      • Visitor
        Visitor

        “on iTunes, I know exactly what I get paid, know what are my retail prices, and through my aggregator have the option to set prices when competing effectively against popular major label song and album prices. These benefits are not available on streaming sites.”
        That’s why selling music is the future! And the future begins as soon as we have diminished mainstream piracy.
        So that’s where our focus should be.
        Anything else is a waste time.

        Reply
      • Funn
        Funn

        Funn is going to represent both indies and labels. The founders had originally developed the business model ten years ago but because the industry was against new technology and only concerned about recooping money from illegal P2P’s, it made no sense to launch sooner.
        The reports are true. Funn is going to do the following:
        1- Internet Radio: Payments will be around $.03 to $.05. Funn wants to pay on average, $96.00+ per year, per user. As it stands now, Pandora and Spotify pay roughly $7.00. THIS APPLIES TO INDIE AND ALL LABELS.
        2- Music Video’s: A Justin Bieber video was viewed over 170,000,000 times yet he was paid less than a million. Funn is going to pay at a bare minimum $17,000,000 for the same amount of views.
        3- Perpetual Sync: How many user generated videos are on You Tube that are using a copyrighted song? Funn will allow user generated content on Funn only if users sync a song from Funn’s library. These video’s will be paid as described in #2.
        Make no mistake. Funn is not about a technology. Its about giving control back to all parties. Its about making everyone happy for once. And again, its taken ten years to put in motion.
        Just wait till everyone see’s what Funn has in store for TV Everywhere!

        Reply
  15. L
    L

    I heard it explained with this analogy:
    Let’s say there was a cab company that wanted to dominate the cab industry and decided to sell ads but charge no fare to the riders, then they realized they could not make a profit that way………. so they go to congress to petition them to lower the price of gasoline.
    It doesnt work that way. It is not the fault of the songwriters that those companies cannot present a profitable business model.

    Reply
      • Reality
        Reality

        In many areas of the United States there are monopoly markets for taxi services with government controlled entry and protection. Due to the failures of these monopolized markets, there emerged what is known as “gypsy cabs,” cabs without certain taxi licenses or monopoly privileges. In areas that those with monopoly privileges did not operate in and deemed unprofitable, gypsy cabs operated in, profited, and flourished.
        It was the monopolists who failed to satisfy consumers with adequate levels of services and it was the monopolists who went back to the government to acquire more monopoly privileges.

        Reply
  16. Glacial Concepts
    Glacial Concepts

    Monica,
    For many years now, publishers have recieved roylaties from Terrestrial Radio, while master owners have not.

    Do you advocate for terrestrial radio paying equal royalties to master rightsholders as they do publishers?

    Reply
    • Monia Corton
      Monia Corton

      Yes, I whole heartedly advocate a performance royalty for artists as long as it does not reduce the publisher/writer performance royalty and there is no reason why it should. This is a right that European songwriters/publishers have had for decades and they will not pay our US artists this royalty because we do not have parity in the US for their European artists to receive the same performance royalty in the US.
      FYI, we also do not have a publisher or artist performance royalty in movie theaters which is something that Europe has had for decades. We receive a lot of money from theaterical foreign performances, but have never had that right here. There are a lot of areas where our copyright law is inferior to other countries and this effects US writers greatly because our music is heard everywhere in the world…and I mean everywhere.
      I travel a lot …the most random place I heard Michael Jackson was in a private polo club in the mountains just outside of Santiago, Chile. I’m sitting there enjoying a lovely lunch with my newfound friends from Chile who were kind enough to treat me to this magnificent experience and we are chatting in my broken Spanish….and suddenly…”Beat It” comes on. I start to giggle and the Chileans are looking at me like I’m crazy…so I explain that I can’t believe I am in this random hidden enclave in the middle of Chile and I’m listening to Michael Jackson! This starts a huge conversation about all the US artists they know and love. It’s a pretty amazing thing to be in a foreign place and know how much America influences the musical tastes of the world. This also happened to me in Bhutan and Nepal…the last places on the planet where you would imagine American music has made a splash. That’s why this digital world licensing is so critical. We are setting up a whole new industry right now and the stakes are very high.

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  17. StarvingArtist
    StarvingArtist

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t streaming services and us artists free to negotiate between each other any mechanical rate we wish? The default rate is set by the government, but a music streaming service could ask me to waive the streaming royalty and I could legally enter into that agreement, no? Or I could demand that the streaming service pay me more, 10 cents per stream, could I not? Ultimately it’s my deicision if my music is being streamed at a fair rate?

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  18. B. Hollis

    I remember paying $1.00 for 45 RPM vinyl records 30 years ago, and you got two songs for that buck. Why are they still charging .99cents to download a song 30 years later?. Yes, I agree they need to do something about the prices. Music business is tough, and the work starts after the song is written. Writing is the easy part, its all the work after that makes .99 cents look like peanuts.

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