A Proposal to Vastly Simplify Music Licensing In the United States…

This is what a massive, 245 page recommendation from the US Copyright Office boils down to.






24 Responses

  1. Name2

    So under the new framework, a public performance right on terrestrial radio is newly established, and it’s administered by… SoundExchange.


    • Chris H

      I’m not comfortable with that, if it is an exclusive. That right should be administered by several groups, ala the performance societies. One or more of those options should also be non-profits.

  2. Remi Swierczek

    Scrap it all!

    Just tag any music in the air (office, car, restaurant, bar or the elevator) regardless of source Pandora, Spotify, any radio station and sell it. Elevator, with today technology is a perfect music store.

    You like it? You want to live it again? Well display will not tell you what it is unless you PAY!
    Standard full display for all tunes part of you legal/certified playlist.

    Sell anything at any place! Pay to song writer, artist, remix artist, Pandora, any radio station, any TV station, film producer, Shazam, Soundhound in proper proportion from every tune sold at just 39¢ per click!

    We have to control and enrich less than 50 music and lyric ID services to make it work and kill 80% of privacy at the same time. Simple if not primitive.

    • Name2

      You like it? You want to live it again? Well display will not tell you what it is unless you PAY!

      Part of your super-secret and daily-alluded-to plan is making people pay just to know what song they just heard???

      Strange that investors aren’t beating a path to your door.

      • Remi Swierczek

        Primitive and oddball ideas are rarely understood by the best!

        Sorry, I cannot tackle it on my own, but I am confident it will go my way.

        “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.
        ― Albert Einstein

        I assume you know Einstein, guy below also has better credibility than me and same point of view:

        “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
        To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

        Buckminster Fuller

        Sorry, SCANDINAVIAN proven business model or rather experiment is DEAD!
        Time to roll up the sleeves and create logical $100B music industry.

        Dear Mr. Lucian Grange,
        You have been named the most POWERFUL MAN in music industry.
        I challenge you to wake-up, grab obvious to a blind man resources and deliver $100B music industry by 2020.
        Start to manage your goodwill or or QUIT.

  3. Me2

    Performance right for AM/FM/Pandora is long overdue in the US. Elegant Neanderthals, welcome to the 21st.

    • Remi Swierczek

      Radio is the best place for music discovery and with Shazams at our fingertips should be converted to music store. It would be unproductive to implement old European rules when technology allows for normal MARKET.

    • Versus


      Either proper radio payment will come at last, or it will become irrelevant as AM/FM radio dies out.

  4. Anonymous

    Can anyone explain the difference between “Market Oriented Standard (willing standard willing buyer)” and “Rates Negotiated on the Open Market”? Those sound exactly the same to me.

    • Other Chris H

      On this chart “Market Oriented Standard (willing standard willing buyer)” refers to the market concept that the Copyright Royalty Board uses to determine the statutory rates. They try to figure out what a fair market value would be, and then apply that as the statutory rate to all licenses of that type. “Rates Negotiated on the Open Market” means actual direct negotiations for licenses in cases where statutory rates do not apply, e.g. an artist and songwriter (or their representative label/publisher) would negotiate directly with a film studio for a synch license to use a song in a movie.

      • Remi Swierczek

        In my world, artist or label could pay to put new tune to film or the advertisement.

        Discovery based acquisition would bring instant cash to both, regardless of the caliber or the fame of the artist.

        The only criteria for success would be the quality of the tune exposed to millions!

    • Name2

      Yay! A world without Google, Android, YouTube, terrestrial radio, and streaming services.

      But on the upside you’ll get a check for 75 cents instead of 24 cents.

      A fair trade-off, definitely.

    • John

      The PROs turn into MROs – meaning they can license more than just the public performances of works, they can license reproduction rights (mechanicals, etc.). The GMRO is a general MRO that can collect if the work is not associated with a MRO (similar to SoundExchange).

  5. Steven corn

    While this proposal gives more powers to rights owners to negotit certain rate, it does little to nothing to make it simplere for new music-based companies to launch. If more publishers are allowed to withdraw digital rights from either interactive or noninteractive services (or both), it will become incredibly difficult to launch another service like YouTube or Spotify legally.

    Interactive services already deal with a willing buyer/willing seller process. So you may ask why exclude publishers in the same process. There are many reasons. But the best one that comes to mind is that most songs now are co-published by several publishers and rights move around quickly in the publishing world with administrators coming and going. In the world of masters, it is very rare that there are more thn one licensor for a given recording.

    What happens when a song is co-pubbed by a major and an indie. Could there be two rates applied to each publisher due to the difference in negotiating strength?

    So while the flow chart is a bit simpler, I’m not sure that it would be as beneficial as it first appears.

    • Tim


      All this is based on the rule that any publishers who withdraw must provide certain data (ISRC, ISWC, etc.) regarding their songs, so that they can 1) be easily identified for payment and 2) be easily identified for negotiations. It will be way, way, easier to find who owns a song (or in the alternative, just pay the GMRO).

      And yes, the chart is simple, and there are details to work out, but it is at least an idea that merits more discussion.

  6. Musicservices4less

    Steve, you make some good points. But at this early stage we must applaud what is happening at the Copyright Office regulations and proposals for statutory change. In other words, there is finally a recognition at the regulatory level that the ‘balance’ between internet tech delivery of music development has shifted too far in its favor and is now significantly detrimental to the livelihood of creators of music and those that control and administer the copyrights. This will require the intervention of the government, most likely at both the statutory and regulatory levels, to balance the playing field.

    The tech side and ISP side of the ‘balance’ has shown to be unwilling to change. The profit mindset and venture capital propping up of losing business models caused this.

    You and I have reviewed in detail the completely one-sided royalty calculation provisions in the various streaming/online agreements most of which, if not all, cannot be negotiated under the old standby line “if we do it for you, we have to do it for everybody.” The result being screw everybody.

    The issues you raise are valid and need to be addressed but change in the monetary/negotiating power and ability to say “no” must be implemented. And it is mainly in the “no” area that we need government intervention otherwise it may be misused by those that the changes are intended to protect.

    Let the discussions begin.


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