Songwriters Declare War On Their Own Publishers…

doginfighting

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To the American Music Publishing Community,

We are an international alliance of songwriter and composer organizations representing tens of thousands of music creators throughout the world, many of whom have created musical works in which you claim rights. We recently reached out to your trade organization, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), hoping the Association would agree to have a discussion with us regarding unilateral withdrawal by publishers of rights and repertoire from the performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI.

While the discussion we requested was well within the bounds of applicable competition laws, the response we received from the NMPA was disappointing.  In a letter from NMPA’s General Counsel, we were told that the talks we were seeking would be “inappropriate” and would “prove fruitless”. Because we believe there is still much to be gained from an open dialogue with publishers, we are reaching out to each of you directly seeking immediate discussion between our communities.

It is a matter of public record that some music publishers have announced they are considering withdrawing rights and repertoire from ASCAP and BMI, and licensing those rights directly to users.

These statements assume that publishers possess the legal authority to make such a unilateral withdrawal of works and rights on behalf of music creators and their families, without exception. We disagree.

While our organisations support the exploration of all opportunities that might increase royalty rates for music creators and publishers, we feel strongly that the songwriters, composers and others we represent maintain their right to decide who collects and administers performing rights royalties on their behalf.  Further, we feel that any direct performance licenses negotiated by publishers require complete transparency concerning both the full terms of any direct licensing arrangement, and complete information necessary to determine the royalties each music creator is owed.

Again, we are reaching out to discuss how we can work together for our mutual benefit.

As an interim step, however, to preserve the rights of the songwriters, composers and heirs that we represent, this letter shall serve as formal notification on their behalf that each reserves the right to oppose any claims relating to alleged publisher authority to unilaterally withdraw rights and repertoire from the PROs, unless such reservations are specifically waived in writing by an individual creator. In no event should silence by any music creator represented by the members of this alliance be construed as acquiescence or waiver.

Signed,

Rick Carnes, Songwriters Guild of America (SGA)
International Council of Music Creators (CIAM)
Music Creators North America (MCNA)
European Composers and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA)
Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL)
Songwriter’s Association of Canada (SAC)
Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)
Latin American Composers and Authors Alliance (PACSA)
Société Professionelle des Auteurs et des Compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)
Pan-African Composers and Songwriter Alliance (PACSA)

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Image: Thomas Au, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

25 Responses

  1. go girl!

    Holy crap! Look at the Songwriters’ Guild actually going to bat for songwriters! Sharpen those fangs, Rick Carnes. It’s about time for someone to call BS on the publisher’s withdrawing from the PROs. Word on the street is that they’ll continue to let the PROs administer, but they’ll go in for the big up front advances.

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    Hmmm…
    At Musician Who Understands: If you see this and have some time, I’d really like to hear your take on this. 🙂

    Reply
    • Musician Who Understands

      My take on this is:

      The publishers should have seen this coming, over a year ago. It was discussed in the context of the Sony/ATV & UMPG “partial withdrawals” back then. This issue has been addressed by the Copyright Office and many of the comments filed with them and with the DoJ.

      The PROs (and arguably the music publishers, as well) have a direct, fiduciary duty to songwriters. Songwriters sign with PROs to have those PROs administer their public performance rights. Stright up fiduciary relationship. Most publishing deals have explicit references to the fact that the publisher will remain affiliated with the songwriter’s PRO. Even in the particular contracts that don’t contain an explicit representation of that, it is implied.

      PROs allowing publishers to withdraw rights, thereby limiting the PROs’ ability to serve their fiduciary obligation to the songwriters, is a pretty serious event. And while it is clearly a breach of that duty for the PRO, again, it is arguably also a breach on the part of the withdrawing music publishers, as well.

      The fact that NMPA sent a response pushing the songwriters away is really bad PR and politics – and it shows just how untrue it is when NMPA says that they don’t just represent big music publishers, but they represent individual songwriters.

      David Israelite does exactly what Marty Bandier tells him to do. Nothing more and nothing less – and nothing for anybody else.

      It’s going to be interesting if NMPA and the publishers and the PROs continue to pursue the partial withdrawals while effectively ignoring these songwriter concerns. In the short term, doing that will throw some cold water on their attempts to get the DoJ to recommend allowing the partial withdrawals they want. In the slightly longer term, it might mean a class-action suit by a group of songwriters against the PROs (and possibly their publishers, as well). Depending on how that might go, an even longer term possibility might be mass songwriter exodus from the ASCAP and BMI (Hello, Irving!!!).

      I personally like the fact that this little turn helps to expose NMPA for what it really is – which is only a lap-dog for BIG publishing interests – and not the “champion of the poor, individual songwriter” which is their B.S. battle cry in Washington.

      Reply
      • Sarah

        Thanks for the response 🙂

        I was under the impression that BMI expressly disclaims any fiduciary relationship in its contract (though my info might be somewhat dated – has that changed in the past few years?).

        I agree that fiduciary duties are probably warranted in many publisher-songwriter relationships, but whether they exist as a matter of law is a different question (and probably varies significantly according to individual facts).

        Reply
  3. Music Pro

    Seriously, this is some important shit. Please do not mock it with your stupid clickbait photos and snarky bullshit attitude.

    It is about 2 major things: keeping the PROs (ASCAP & BMI) intact, and getting TRANSPARENCY from publishers. To be sure, if publishers withdraw from the PROs, they can make all sorts of backroom deals, and never show the songwriters the real numbers involved. It is a nightmare scenario.

    If you young Indie cats think that composers and creators can survive without PROs, please think again. Do you want to have a CAREER in this business? (that is getting more ridiculous every day). PROs are the only hope for creators to get paid fairly, and transparently. Dismantling the system will NOT benefit musicians – only label executives and tech platforms. PLEASE, PLEASE support these groups!!!

    Reply
    • Wooly

      A question that has been looming for a while relates directly to the PROs – are they relevant and should they stay intact?

      Reply
    • Plum Minnow Publishing

      To be sure, if publishers withdraw from the PROs, they can make all sorts of backroom deals, and never show the songwriters the real numbers involved. It is a nightmare scenario.

      All contracts should have audit clauses in them…

      PRO’s don’t share the full numbers with the songwriter and there is no audit clause with my PRO..

      PROs are the only hope for creators to get paid fairly, and transparently.

      I very much appreciate what my PRO and my affiliates do and have done for me, i’m actually using ASCAP and BMI as my affiliates, which is convenient…

      With the current system, PRO’s are needed in order to collect certain royalties, they certainly are not the only hope, and again, the transparency is lacking across the board, PRO’s included, and while i have little reason to believe they have shorted me anywhere, they only send you money and a statement of such, there is very little detail as far as the whole chain goes numbers wise and what they do with every fraction of a penny they get, as each deal with each person and entity has its own confidentiality clauses…

      Dismantling the system will NOT benefit musicians – only label executives and tech platforms. PLEASE, PLEASE support these groups!!!

      Tough to say, it would all depend on how it was changed, but its a little silly to think anything will change anytime soon… Ultimately it is too shortsighted to say it would only help label execs and tech platforms, as it seems the current system is doing a pretty good job of benefiting them quite nicely…

      The PRO’s appear to need a solid update technology wise, but other then that the real problems lay elsewhere…

      Reply
      • Sarah

        The one thing I think is clear is that transparency (or lack thereof) is a problem.

        When everything is done in a black box, so to speak, you can’t even reasonably verify that you’re getting what you’re supposed to get according to the agreed-upon terms. I’m not making any accusations of shady dealings; however, there shouldn’t even be room to do so because everything should be crystal clear. Artists entrust various middlemen with their work and livelihoods, and then pay them for the privilege – those middlemen, regardless of anything else or the value they provide, should agree to accountability and transparency.

        If you want to improve a system, you need a complete, accurate understanding of exactly how the system works. That starts with – word of the day – transparency.

        We’re doing something about that on RepX. In addition to artists setting their own prices, everything will be tracked, transparent, and available to all of the designated rights-holders. You put up a song that has several rights-holders? Payments and statistics (data about revenue, plays, etc) go directly to everyone interested (legally, that is). Everyone sees the full picture – down to every fraction of a penny. 🙂

        Reply
        • Plum Minnow Publishing

          The one thing I think is clear is that transparency (or lack thereof) is a problem.

          When everything is done in a black box, so to speak, you can’t even reasonably verify that you’re getting what you’re supposed to get according to the agreed-upon terms. I’m not making any accusations of shady dealings; however, there shouldn’t even be room to do so because everything should be crystal clear. Artists entrust various middlemen with their work and livelihoods, and then pay them for the privilege – those middlemen, regardless of anything else or the value they provide, should agree to accountability and transparency.

          If you want to improve a system, you need a complete, accurate understanding of exactly how the system works. That starts with – word of the day – transparency.

          We’re doing something about that on RepX. In addition to artists setting their own prices, everything will be tracked, transparent, and available to all of the designated rights-holders. You put up a song that has several rights-holders? Payments and statistics (data about revenue, plays, etc) go directly to everyone interested (legally, that is). Everyone sees the full picture – down to every fraction of a penny. 🙂

          Transparency is one of those trendy buzz words floating around these days, everyone wants transparency, the free information, free everything, so you have to be a bit careful still regarding transparency and the desire for such a thing, as it may only seem to be more of a problem then it actually is…

          The biggest problem i see?? The dwindling pie, the extra competition, the shift from higher margin items to lower margin items, and the difficulty to get work from outside of the major players, as their piece shrinks their aggressiveness increases, and when they hold a significant market share, then they can sort of control the tap and who gets what, also the difficulty with the vast amount of competition to break through the noise and to build anything especially when revenues decline and costs increase, and finally trust, the music business is seriously short on trust everywhere, that itself initiates desires for transparency, and to me all those are way more of a problem to me then solely transparency, so just be careful when hearing such things…

          The audit clause is what ultimately provides the transparency, it’s just a difficult thing when dealing in a global business to fly all over the place auditing everyone’s books…

          Anyone with an audit clause is more likely to not be doing anything silly, but then again, there is plenty of evidence of accounting trickery that provides enough reason to at the least be suspicious enough to want to audit…

          I’m not sure what else can be done really, if you aren’t there looking over everyone’s shoulder seeing every penny come and go and how its accounted for, then what other way beyond an audit is there?

          It is rife for some shady companies to skim a bit from a lot, as most of their clients will not be able to justify the expenditure of an audit, and that is a point for concern…

          Even taking all business to a digital manner and in the cloud will not make it transparent, and that itself opens the door to a lot of other possible problems, so i wonder beyond marketing rhetoric what can actually be done to provide that transparency??? …

          I appreciate your pitch Sarah, and i appreciate what you are doing and trying to do, but even with what you say, its not transparent, i’m sorry, its just numbers on a screen easily edited by whoever at anytime… I have no worries that you want to do anything different, its just that full transparency will start at the receiver level, so unless you have a live feed over everyone’s shoulder of every bank statement for deposits, ever general ledger entry, every last little detail, big brother style transparency, then it simply just doesn’t exist… I would need to physically see with my eyes every last thing you did and bought and paid, to even be able to think about something like transparency…

          Say my PRO sends me a statement, money gets deposited in my account, but i dont see the other peoples shares, the chunk they got, or the chunk ascap or bmi sent them, including everyone’s percentage… What makes it transparent if they just include line items with those numbers?? Its essentially no different, and while it would be nice to see that kind of depth, ultimately you still have to entrust people to do their job and run their company legitimately… Usually when people cook books they do it in other ways… For me seeing each general journal entry would be as good as it gets beyond auditing…

          One thing people need Sarah, is .csv downloadable files, spreadsheets, with each stream and download a line item and all the information required, that is much appreciated…

          Reply
          • Sarah

            You raise so many good things in your comment, thank you 🙂
            Here goes…

            Plum Minnow Publishing:

            everyone wants transparency, the free information, free everything

            To “everyone” I say: TANSTAAFl

            Nothing is free. There’s always a cost. That cost may be in the form wasted time or a diminished experience from ads, or in the fact that you and your data are the real product being tracked, bought, and sold, or in a loss of control. Consumers generally don’t tend to care about these sorts of costs. But businesses? You should care a lot. You ever think you might be getting something free: TANSTAAFL. You can’t weigh up costs and benefits if you don’t know the true costs.

            Plum Minnow Publishing:

            I’m not sure what else can be done really, if you aren’t there looking over everyone’s shoulder seeing every penny come and go and how its accounted for, then what other way beyond an audit is there?
            It is rife for some shady companies to skim a bit from a lot, as most of their clients will not be able to justify the expenditure of an audit, and that is a point for concern…

            Of course manual observation and verification is not practical; audits are better but still not sufficiently practical to run regularly, as should be done, and they’re expensive.

            Automate that stuff. Set it up by a neutral party that gets real-time data and automatically disseminates it to everyone legally interested.

            Don’t give shady companies the chance to skim anything. If they only get their portion of the money, they can’t skim off yours, can they?

            Plum Minnow Publishing:

            even with what you say, its not transparent, i’m sorry, its just numbers on a screen easily edited by whoever at anytime…

            Uh, no. If you’re shady, yes, but that’s not how you set something up if you’re trying to be legitimate and honest when dealing with other people’s money. You create a system that CANNOT be “easily edited by whoever at anytime” – where that’s virtually impossible, in fact; editing of data can only be done by specific people through strictly controlled, heavily scrutinized processes. You build-in internal auditing – the system is continuously checked, any edits or discrepancies are always flagged, recorded, and investigated. We’re talking bank-style accuracy and controls – because it’s your money and it’s important.

            If someone else has your money, your motto should be “trust but verify.”

            Therefore, if you’re setting a system that is intended to manage other people’s money and you’re not shady, your motto should be “give them valid reasons for trusting, but make sure they can always verify.”

          • Plum Minnow Publishing

            Automate that stuff. Set it up by a neutral party that gets real-time data and automatically disseminates it to everyone legally interested.

            Don’t give shady companies the chance to skim anything. If they only get their portion of the money, they can’t skim off yours, can they?

            Then it’s just another middle man with just as much reasons for everyone to be suspicious of, so then you ultimately need a neutral party that checks into that neutral party, and it goes on ad nausea, all needing their percentage of course…

            The thing with shady companies is, you usually don’t know until it’s too late, meaning once they’ve already finished fleecing everyone they go bankrupt, leaving you with perhaps a fraction of a settlement, depending of course…

            If you or someone has a list of shady business, please send it forward, otherwise even non shady companies can be difficult to trust as there is so much collusion and manipulation in the world and oftentimes many of them are just using convenient loopholes or working complex business ideas that ultimately are themselves shady but that which leaves the company or industry off the hook… Take a look at AAA accredited countries and companies and see how fickle the rating process often is, only to see when the dust settles that they are more like Z rated, it’s kind of the nature of the beast, for better or worse…

            What you and i’m sure many suggest or desire, myself included, is a central computer mainframe and the full on robots doing the vast majority of the work, humans left to think and create and philosophize and invent, instead of the silliness the majority find ourselves in…

            Music wise as you say, full automation with technology handling almost everything, but when you zoom out and look at the big picture, first you have to consider the job losses and the state of the economy, for those of us not born rich, and then you have to remind yourself of Edison’s first patented invention, something he was so excited, and essentially identical to what would obviously be the best most sustainable, fairest, most democratic way of doing things with the rudimentary technology we even have today, and then see how quick he got shut down and told to ‘beat it’, you start to understand how things work…

            None of it will be happening in our lifetimes, i’m sorry to be the one to tell you this…

            Uh, no. If you’re shady, yes, but that’s not how you set something up if you’re trying to be legitimate and honest when dealing with other people’s money. You create a system that CANNOT be “easily edited by whoever at anytime” – where that’s virtually impossible, in fact; editing of data can only be done by specific people through strictly controlled, heavily scrutinized processes. You build-in internal auditing – the system is continuously checked, any edits or discrepancies are always flagged, recorded, and investigated. We’re talking bank-style accuracy and controls – because it’s your money and it’s important.

            If someone else has your money, your motto should be “trust but verify.”

            Therefore, if you’re setting a system that is intended to manage other people’s money and you’re not shady, your motto should be “give them valid reasons for trusting, but make sure they can always verify.”

            I just got a funny dejavu moment…

            I enjoy your passion and candor, but Yes Sarah, its not transparent and it wont be, i’m sorry, it doesn’t matter who you are, in this world and society we currently live in, the only way to provide transparency would be to be on live television 24/7/365 a la big brother with full disclosure into every last thing, there simply is no other way, i’m really sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, as i can see you are very passionate about what you are doing and what you believe…

            I don’t know you and trust is earned, so you simply saying you wont edit data, means nothing to me, and no system is impenetrable i’m sorry, and in this limited liability indemnification age we live in, your signature on a paper or your school taught legalese on some paper, just doesn’t provide any sort of comfort or trust for me and for many people these days, as no one is obligated to abide by their word anymore… I’m not suggesting you will or you wont be, i’m just giving you an unbiased view point that perhaps your current myopic vision is not allowing you to see…

            I get where you are coming from, but unless i am personally checking and auditing everyone’s systems all the time with my own eyes in real time, then there’s no transparency, its just the way it is…

            I don’t know about you, but the only thing i trust a bank to do, is make money for themselves and their rich clients… How they can make money from nothing, trade paper and instruments around many times over, with vague and eye raising bundles and groups of funds etc., and then still have the audacity to charge me a large monthly fee, just to use my money in a monopolized business with essentially zero alternatives, always blows my mind… Banks make mistakes too, look at the massive bailouts they received from their flippant behavior, and then see the millions that lost their homes with no bailouts, and then look at everything else, and then try to not be a little infuriated over it all, But ultimately it is what it is…

            I’m interested in tangible ways to put more money into the bank and less ways for others to take money out of my bank, so if you can do that, then i’m sure people will be more then happy and willing…

            🙂

          • Sarah

            None of it will be happening in our lifetimes, i’m sorry to be the one to tell you this…

            Maybe. But it won’t happen in anyone’s lifetime if we don’t actually try to work towards it today.

            Yes Sarah, its not transparent and it wont be, i’m sorry, it doesn’t matter who you are

            Perhaps the better way to look at this is on a continuum, from completely “opaque” to crystal clear.

            What you’re talking about – in terms of live disclosure of every last thing – is probably unattainable. But maybe that’s not the optimal goal; I’d argue that you don’t need to constantly monitor and watch every last thing – in fact, obtaining and processing that absolute perfect level of information would probably not provide sufficient benefits to justify its costs, even if you could do it.

            What’s necessary is a reasonable level of accurate information about things that directly impact your money, so that you can determine that you’re getting what you are supposed to get. Not a perfect amount of information or a perfect system, but one that’s solid, passes a reasonable cost/benefit analysis, and as a rule produces satisfactory results, even though there will at times be exceptions (mistakes, failures in the system, etc). For instance, if I say you get 50% of the ad revenue, you need to know what the actual ad revenue is in order to verify that you are in fact getting 50%. Otherwise you just have to take my word for it, and how on earth is that an acceptable business practice??

            Right now many artists don’t have enough information to even determine whether they are in fact getting paid according to the terms promised by others. That’s a real problem, and it’s one that can and should be fixed.

            I don’t know you and trust is earned, so you simply saying you wont edit data, means nothing to me, and no system is impenetrable i’m sorry

            Of course. Don’t trust anyone until they earn it – and even when they do, continue to verify.

            No system is impenetrable, you’re absolutely right. So “impenetrability” shouldn’t even be a consideration – maximizing benefits, minimizing risks and costs to create a sustainable system are what we should focus on, not on trying to create something “perfect.” It’s not possible, so let’s accept that and work on what is possible.

            I’m interested in tangible ways to put more money into the bank and less ways for others to take money out of my bank, so if you can do that, then i’m sure people will be more then happy and willing…

            It’s all about the benjamins, baby. I know I come off as very idealistic sometimes, but I’m actually quite a practical business person. Simple concept: by helping you make more money, we make money.

            Other companies just want to give you more data and features and analytics, without actually addressing the fact that you’re businesses and no matter how many likes or user statistics you get, you still need generate real revenue; we want to get you more cash in your bank account. Everything else is just a tool to make that happen. 🙂

          • Plum Minnow Publishing

            What’s necessary is a reasonable level of accurate information about things that directly impact your money, so that you can determine that you’re getting what you are supposed to get. Not a perfect amount of information or a perfect system, but one that’s solid, passes a reasonable cost/benefit analysis, and as a rule produces satisfactory results, even though there will at times be exceptions (mistakes, failures in the system, etc). For instance, if I say you get 50% of the ad revenue, you need to know what the actual ad revenue is in order to verify that you are in fact getting 50%. Otherwise you just have to take my word for it, and how on earth is that an acceptable business practice??

            Then i would have to say, what we have now, actually is reasonably close…

            Much of what is happening is people fighting for more money using any means necessary, often hoping the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they are lobbying, filibustering, posturing, and claiming these lacking transparency business practices are their problem, when in reality its mostly just smoke to cover the realities of what is happening…

            You do realize that music videos were always mostly an expenditure acting as a loss leader to advertise for other things, right? YouTube is actually one of the first businesses that proactively paid people for music videos per view, per stream… These other businesses pay per audio stream, when most other options pay nothing, and what they say they pay is what they pay, i assure you… If someone is claiming that what these companies publicly say they pay isn’t actually what they pay, then they have a problem elsewhere, with their label or publisher or themselves…

            So while i can myself be very hard on them, ultimately it’s steps in the right direction… For the heavy-hitters, the celebs of the business, they are actually now making money from their videos, which is incredible, and yet it’s even worse for those who are not celebs, because all tertiary items cost more and have slimmer margins now, so when a video would push people to purchase vinyl records and cd’s, now it pushes them to fractional penny streams, so you know what? It actually helps to increase the divide, it helps to decimate the middle class and further increase the parity between social classes and ultimately benefits most the top 1%, and i don’t think that was any of the tech peoples and silicon valleys true intent when they started it all… So in a tiny business in the big scheme of things, it has an incredibly ridiculous class divide, where there are so many people in it, and yet of a tens of billions of dollar pie, some people are making nearly $100 million per year as an artist, spending tens of millions in promotion, yet there is basically no development money anywhere? That’s incredible, and ridiculous… That is why you see the labels doing what they are doing and why artists have less and less of a chance…

            When google and youtube say they are trying their best to make it better for artists, i generally have no reason but to believe them, and ultimately i see them as no different then the other people who get such praise and admiration from certain circles of artists, such as cd baby etc. The guy starting it or the few at the top owning it, always make out like bandits, but again, while i’m hard on them, they all do seem to have desires to make the dream real, to make the artist more independently self sustainable, unfortunately for most artists, they are caught up in a dot on a timeline in which they are getting hammered and overall losing monies, and that always sucks, but you know what? Take away the vinyl and the cd blip from the history of music, and overall its always been a lean endeavor and one rife with class wars and struggles…

            I can see you are hard on the ad revenue businesses to help try and answer that part of the market that is currently at war with youtube etc., and i hope it all works for you, but the reality is, all those bellyaching, all just want more money, more revenue, most importantly, more profit, and they all know the place to get that for that type of business, is youtube themselves… They see the big bank accounts and figure they are deserved of some of it…

            YouTube just isn’t my problem and from what i can tell, how can it possibly be the majors problem?? Sure it sucks for the artists who cant break through and get over say 10 Million views, as theyll possibly lose their video budgets and could cause them to be shelved altogether, but the label can take smaller swings and then rake in huge pots from their top gunners… It makes no sense, youtube actually makes them money, before no one did, their problem is that of dwindling margins, massive theft, competing entertainment options, technology, those sorts of things, its just good for appearances to pressure youtube and helps with their lobbying, as they are ultimately diametrically opposed to the changes in legislation both of them want…

          • Sarah

            Plum Minnow Publishing:

            Say my PRO sends me a statement, money gets deposited in my account, but i dont see the other peoples shares, the chunk they got, or the chunk ascap or bmi sent them, including everyone’s percentage… What makes it transparent if they just include line items with those numbers?? Its essentially no different, and while it would be nice to see that kind of depth, ultimately you still have to entrust people to do their job and run their company legitimately… Usually when people cook books they do it in other ways… For me seeing each general journal entry would be as good as it gets beyond auditing…

            You’re right – that’s what makes this tricky. In order to see if you’re statement is accurate, you need the big picture, which you don’t have. For instance, let’s use YT because it’s simple: they say you get X% of ad revenue from your video. Then they pay you $Y. Without knowing the actual ad revenue, you can’t tell if $Y is really X% of it.

            Here’s how RepX works:

            Money comes in from streaming for a particular song/video – a total of $X.
            There are, for example, 5 rightsholders in that song.

            All 5 rightsholders get all the relevant data to see the big picture:

            the total revenue from the song, $X
            the percentage they are entitled to receive of $X, as well as the corresponding dollar value.
            the percentages and dollar amounts received by the other 4 rightsholders.
            misc. other data (like number of streams, trends, etc)

            All rightsholders get this information automatically, they don’t have to ask anyone for it. There’s no way for any rightsholder to edit the data without going through us, and rigorous processes (there should really never be any reason for an edit request).

            Money itself goes straight from RepX to the various rightsholders (this could be a legally authorized representative, in which case the principal can and should still choose to get automatic records of everything) in accordance with their statements.

            Plum Minnow Publishing:

            One thing people need Sarah, is .csv downloadable files, spreadsheets, with each stream and download a line item and all the information required, that is much appreciated…

            Okey dokey. That’s probably the easiest request we’ll ever get. You should ask for more. 🙂

      • farkoft

        wow… I love how “sarah” and “plum minnow” “respond” to each other… seeing as they’re from the same small company and all… what horseshit self-promotion.
        Allyou’ve been doing for the last however long you’ve been posting here is promoting your company under the guise of “commenting”.
        To be honest I don’t even read what you say, it may be valid it may be not, I’m just sick of advertising and commercials.. I don’t like reading commercials in a comment forum.. go pay for some advertisements, as this “guerilla” bullshit is just annoying.

        Reply
        • Sarah

          Uh….. not sure why you think we’re from the company. I’m from RepX. He’s from (apparently) Plum Minnow Publishing. I have no idea who he/she/they actually are (I googled them just now, but didn’t get much and don’t feel like digging).

          Yep, I talk about what my company is doing. That’s because it’s relevant – we’re trying to actually fix problems of the sorts discussed here, rather than just talk about how awful and unfair they are. But the vast majority of my comments are purely conversational, with no promotion at all.

          I must be an absolute monster for working to build a company that actually helps artists, and for wanting to talk to and learn from those people. Yes, I see why you get so angry over that. I assume you prefer Google and Spotify’s approaches of just doing whatever they want without caring about what artists want or how it affects them – to each his own. 🙂

          p.s. I find your unwarranted, baseless assumptions and hostility “just annoying,” so I guess we’re even.

          Reply
          • Plum Minnow Publishing

            I’m from RepX. He’s from (apparently) Plum Minnow Publishing.

            I own it…

            Also the document of registration ensures there’s nothing apparent about it…

            What i am? I think im human but i can’t be totally sure, business ‘wise’, Well, i’m preserving and retaining that boutique bougie mysterious type thing as opposed to the new age super front fake it job, steady swerving away from the fads and following my gut instinct, so “you could just guess or something, you could just ask somebody, touch my body, feel my body” …

          • Sarah

            LOL. I kinda thought you were human too, happy to hear I was right 🙂

        • Plum Minnow Publishing

          wow… I love how “sarah” and “plum minnow” “respond” to each other… seeing as they’re from the same small company and all… what horseshit self-promotion.
          Allyou’ve been doing for the last however long you’ve been posting here is promoting your company under the guise of “commenting”.
          To be honest I don’t even read what you say, it may be valid it may be not, I’m just sick of advertising and commercials.. I don’t like reading commercials in a comment forum.. go pay for some advertisements, as this “guerilla” bullshit is just annoying.

          Pardon?

          How much are you willing to bet that sarah and plum minnow are from the same small company? Lets take some bets, put the money in escrow, and then we can all divvy it up when you provide the evidence to support your claims…

          She did not start here promoting her company, however over some time it appeared that people were generally interested in what she had to offer, and you could see her posting slightly change from that positivity, thus providing people with an open discourse and information about their intent, on a digital music blog constantly providing information about these exact kinds of companies, i see nothing wrong with that…

          Advertising and commercials are what they are, neither one of us is advertising or using commercials here, she has interest from people desperate to find ways to make more money so she does the usual corporate publicity thing, and i have haters, enemies and competitors interested in ruining me at all costs, so i do what i do, either way, neither of us are your problem farkoft, you need to chill out on all the conspiracy stuff etc. and lose the cynicism, and realize that even back in the day when they were fur trading, promotion and advertising and salesmanship was just as prevalent and important and of course annoying as it is today, and while i sympathize with the over bombardment we all get, neither of us are some multinational conglomerate making billions of dollars with massive market share, so i please ask you to stop kicking on the little guy just trying to make a go of things like everyone else, thanks you for your time, understanding and consideration…

          Reply
  4. Casey FMC

    Future of Music Coalition supports the songwriters 100 percent here. We’ve been saying similar for the past year and a half with a dozen or more op-eds, articles and filings, etc. And mostly taking the blows from NMPA for stating the obvious. And we’re moderates. That should tell you something about how obsessed with a land grab certain folks are.

    Some folks represent interests. Others represent artists. Nobody gets it right 100 percent of the time, but it’s important to keep in mind when you head certain highly paid apparatchiks at the trade organizations talk about representing songwriters, which they do not.

    There is probably some modifications that would allows the PROs to remain vital. And we need to be vigilant about demanding transparency in DSP structures, rate setting and repertoire.

    But as composers and performers, we’re not gonna get pushed around.

    Reply
  5. CaseyFMC

    Steve Gordon’s letter was great. More required reading if you’re on Team Songwriter:

    Reply
  6. Musicservices4less

    Hi Sarah,
    I have read your comments for many months now (years?) and this particular chain of comments finally leads me to ask this questions about your company, RepX. I think the idea of your company providing full transparency information for all music consumer interactions using digital means/data is great. Sign up my label and my other clients’ labels.

    One small problem with your business structure. Why should I agree to allow your company to control virtually the entire revenue of my company? I don’t want to sign with a major for distribution. So I am sure your offer a plan where the label pays your company for this information and I my label gets paid its gross revenues direct. Right?

    Reply
    • Sarah

      Hi,

      Thanks! It means a lot to me that you like our approach to transparency.

      I’m not sure I understand what exactly you’re asking:

      Why should I agree to allow your company to control virtually the entire revenue of my company? I don’t want to sign with a major for distribution. So I am sure your offer a plan where the label pays your company for this information and I my label gets paid its gross revenues direct. Right?

      I looked at the Music Services 4 Less website, and that didn’t shed any light on what you’re specifically asking. I may just be having a momentary brain lapse, but I’d appreciate if you’d clarify.

      p.s. I tried to call you using the phone number on your site. You can email me at sarah at repx.net if you’d like to talk directly.

      Reply

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