This Week in Royalties: Jan. 16 - 20

Jan 20, 2017


Each week, professor Benom Plumb of the University of Colorado Music Business Department reviews the biggest stories of the week affecting music royalties...

Macca vs Sony/ATV
Benom’s Take:

The U.S. Termination right being referred to is a complicated legal issue that is treated differently across the world. It is to be triggered within the U.S. to take effect and is generally recognized in law and in practice in the U.S., Canada and U.K. territories.  The lawsuit is more of a "pre-emptive" move by McCartney to get Sony/ATV to officially confirm and respond to termination notices of his songs. I don't think there's anything Sony/ATV can do here, except try to negotiate a sweeter deal for McCartney to retain the copyrights at Sony/ATV. Otherwise, Sony/ATV will have to let them go as U.S. Copyright Law dictates.

MusicFirst Pens Open Letter to Congress on Copyright Reform
Benom’s Take:

The open letter to Congress addresses the biggest issues and challenges facing the music industry. The need to update our copyright laws and allow for a strengthening of market-based rates are imperative for the future growth of the music industry. However, in the past, Congress has not always shown a sense of urgency to address copyright issues and have even increased the strength of radio and tech versus creative copyrights. For example, the mass media consolidation that occurred under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has been regarded in most music industry circles as a negative pivot point in music industry history. It is also well known that Google has proven to wield a lot of leverage in the halls of Congress, which at large generally hasn't shown much understanding for how the music industry does business on a day to day basis. Nevertheless, there are representatives from important music industry areas (especially CA, TN, NY) that do show unwavering support for the music industry economy and educate their colleagues on the issues.

What The Trump Administration Holds for the Creative Sector
Benom’s Take:

It has been reported that Trump will eliminate some cultural programs, namely in our context, The National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA helps fund and support the creative sector in various ways. Everything from Ken Burns documentaries to our symphony orchestras across the nation have had support from the NEA. This undoubtedly will have a negative effect on creative funding as well as morale in the music community. However, some see the new Trump Administration as perhaps being more attuned to the creative industries, given President Trump's television history and experience.

Streaming Boom News
Benom’s Take:

Important to note from this report, that this is a comparison of the global music industry streaming subscription numbers versus one company, Netflix. So it's a bit of apples to oranges comparison in one regard. Nevertheless, it is positive, hard data proving that music subscription streaming is steadily rising. The underlying issues and challenges still remain, especially for smaller artists and streaming payment structures for performing artists and songwriters. Which once again, take us back to the current political landscape in Washington, D.C..