Barf. Just Barf.

David Israelite of the NMPA and Mitch Glazier of the RIAA  have penned an op-ed for Variety Magazine, in which they extoll the virtues of various copyright reform proposals before congress.  While I agree with them on the Classics Act (fixes pre-1972 loophole) and AMP Act (helps producers/engineers receive royalties from digital royalty streams) every day I find myself liking the MMA less and less.

Perhaps it’s because the folks pushing it come out with idiotic statements like this:

“Streaming services have been sued multiple times by music creators who have not been paid properly, preventing them from fully investing in the potential of their platforms”-Israelite/Glazier

That’s right litigious songwriters have prevented streaming platforms like Spotify from investing in their platform.  Yup, in 2011 Spotify et al talked to a magic future-predicting genie who told them they should save their money because starting in 2016 they would be sued by songwriters.  Makes sense.

I guess that’s why upon launch in 2011 they didn’t build any sort of system to license and pay royalties to independent songwriters. And thats why they paid obscenely low royalties right from the start. Conserving money! Our future lawsuits made them pay shitty and infringe in the past!  Whoah!  It’s all quantum mechanics and shit!

We independent songwriters can relate.  While we were not being paid royalties we were also unable to “invest in our platforms.”  You know housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare etc.   Must have been really tough on Spotify, and they have to  cover that 30 million dollar a year lease on their offices in the World Trade Center.

And now here come the NMPA and RIAA to save the day.  While we appreciate their attention to matters, songwriters should ask themselves a couple questions:

What were the NMPA, RIAA (and their lapdogs AIMP, and AI2M) doing 2011-2016 while streaming services were failing to pay large numbers of member/songwriters?

Absolutely nothing.  Jack shit.  Diddly squat.  Nada. Nothing.  Nishto. Zilch. Nani mo.  Méiyǒu.

Why are streaming services now willing to sit down and bargain on songwriter pay?

Cause we sued the fuck out them.

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.

3 thoughts on “Barf. Just Barf.

  1. NMPA and RIAA seem to have some good intentions when it comes to certain loopholes in copyright laws pertaining to music (as you mentioned), however, in other instances, they just can’t seem to pull the last few hairs on their head out of the ass of streaming companies. Most of the head is out though….just a couple more good pushes….come on! You can do it!

  2. For sure! It’s all songwriters’ faults if we are not paid a fair amount, or routinely ignored because of some NOI loopholes and safe harbor nonsense. Right!

  3. Wasn’t it Mitch Glazier – then chief counsel for Congress’ copyright subcommittee & acting at the RIAA’s request – who was in 1999 responsible for inserting the “sound recording amendment” (sound recordings as “works made for hire”) into the “Satellite Home Viewer Improvements Act”?

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