So much for diplomacy and compromise. Now, major music publishers are going for the jugular against Sirius XM Radio and its CEO, Jim Meyer, over the company’s recent protest against the Music Modernization Act.
A spirit of compromise on Capitol Hill now appears to be dissolving, with a serious battle intensifying between Sirius XM Radio and major music publishers. The escalating fight could threaten the passage of the Music Modernization Act, depending on how things shake out.
Just last week, Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer attacked the Music Modernization Act as unfair to satellite radio, and promised to fight the bill unless it was changed (you can read a summary of Meyer’s issues here.) Of particular concern is the CLASSICS Act, which is part of the MMA and expands Sirius’ royalty requirements without imposing similar royalty requirements for traditional radio.
Meyer is also concerned that the bill will wipe out hundreds of millions in pre-arranged royalty agreements for oldies recordings, among other problems.
The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), one of the major drivers behind the MMA, is in no mood to compromise, however. Instead, NMPA president David Israelite is going on the attack, calling Sirius’ arguments ‘disingenuous,’ ‘patronizing,’ and ‘pure bullshit’.
In a series of hard-hitting tweets, Israelite blasted Meyer’s arguments against the Music Modernization Act, while threatening that repercussions would follow.
Here are Israelite’s fighting words, cobbled together from six consecutive tweets, and specifically attacking Meyer’s Billboard op-ed on the matter.
Let’s start by giving Mr. Meyer some credit for bringing his disingenuous and patronizing argument directly to the music industry by writing this in Billboard. Although, he must think creators to be fairly stupid to think anyone would buy any of this.
And let’s also admit that he is right that broadcast radio should pay artists too. But it’s a red herring argument. Congress decided in 1995 to make digital radio pay. The MMA has nothing to do with revisiting that decision. He is mixing arguments to try to confuse you.
The MMA is not intended to fix every ill in the music industry. It is a consensus bill that can improve the lives for songwriters and artists. The fact that there are other wrongs still to right is NOT an argument against MMA. Unless you are Sirius trying to kill MMA selfishly.
His statement on WS/WB [willing buyer, willing seller] is pure bullshit. Paying creators a market rate is not a failed experiment. The fact Sirius is fighting so hard to preserve a 23 year old loophole enjoyed by 2 companies is cynical, selfish and offensive to the very creators who make Sirius possible.
Bottom line MMA passed the House 415-0 and has 60 Senate sponsors as of today. Sirius is trying everything it can to screw creators by taking the bill down. They will fail. And when the dust settles creators should remember who exploits their music but then fights against them.
And BTW – this issue has nothing to do with songwriters and music publishers. But the MMA has brought the entire music industry together and I am happy to stand up for the artists, producers and record labels who are the targets of this ridiculous attack by @SIRIUSXM.
The angry tweets stand in sharp contrast to the NMPA’s earlier approach with Blackstone Group and its subsidiary, Harry Fox Agency.
Instead of a war of words, the publishing group hammered out a compromise that ultimately brought Blackstone back on board.
Blackstone was mostly concerned that that MMA would create a government-commissioned mechanical licensing monopoly, one that would edge its HFA out of business. The resolution limited the Mechanical Licensing Collective’s areas of responsibility, while allowing outside, direct deals from companies like HFA.
But Israelite, an experienced player on Capitol Hill, could be strategizing differently with Sirius. In its pushback, Blackstone faced a torrent of protest from angry songwriters and artists, and the NMPA could be rallying a similar wrath against Sirius XM.
The only question is whether that forces Sirius to back down without meaningful concessions.