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.”