Infighting Stirs Bigger Questions; Where Are My Royalties?

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Industry executives reacted strongly on Thursday to a major, class action lawsuit against MediaNet Digital.

One major label vice president pointed to a broadening level of discord, one that now involves a contentious publishing bloc.  “So far the battle has been between labels and kids, but now it’s also between labels and publishers,” the executive noted, pointing to a new theater of legal infighting.  “Publishers have been the sleeping giant.”

Others wondered where their digital mechanical payments have been hiding.  “I can’t remember the last time we received a mechanical check from digital,” one manager of a superstar-level band told Digital Music News.  “We still sell records, and merchandising is through the roof, but digital don’t mean s**t!”

Another prominent manager echoed the sentiment, and pointed to irregular payments at best.  Part of the problem may lie in tepid consumer demand across various subscription and download services.  But a payment structure that consolidates master recording and publishing licenses into one check – deliverable to major labels for subsequent redistribution – could be generating accounting problems.  “That’s where the hang up is,” the second manager relayed, “because the labels seldom pass through these payments.”