Still Down by 50%, The Problem With Streaming 2020 Edition

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with music streaming, except the economics. In the chart above from the RIAA it’s painfully clear the record industry is still down by over 50% of the revenues achieved at the peak of the business in 1999. So despite what people might like to say about the value of streaming, the actual facts beg to differ.

We recognize that at it’s worse the industry was down by almost two thirds of the peak, and gains are being made. However, it’s important to have clear perspective in these conversations if we are to address some of the challenges with the current economic model.

The fundamental problem with streaming is that revenue does not grow with consumption. Revenue only grows with subscriptions or advertising revenue. Once that revenue is capped, everyone from Taylor Swift to indie garage bands are splitting that same revenue which is divided by the total number of plays for that specific revenue period. This also means hit records don’t add overall revenue for anyone, they just get a larger piece of the revenue that is available.

When a major artist has a release (like Taylor Swift for example) everyone’s streams are worth less. This is because Taylor generates so many plays/streams that the pie is now cut into much smaller slices. Of course, Taylor gets the majority of those slices so she gets the most money from the pool of revenue that is available.

In other words, the pie doesn’t grow with consumption, it can only be cut into smaller pieces. The more overall plays there are, the smaller the slices get for everyone. This isn’t the fault of the superstar artist, but rather it’s a fundamental flaw in the design of the business model.

The only way for streams to generate more revenue for all artists is to create solutions that generate more revenue for the streamers as well. The easiest and most common sense solution is an actual per stream rate which would allow consumption to drive revenue. It’s hard to believe such a win/win would be controversial, but here we are.

 

 

Guest Post: The TikTok Blame Game Starts

By Chris Castle

The walls appear to be closing in on TikTok (or as it’s becoming known, TikSoft).  This is probably particularly galling to the founder of Bytedance (TikTok’s parent company). Zhang Yiming worked at Microsoft but left in 2008.

Mr. Zhang is launching a Google-style reaction and deflection campaign against the U.S. Government’s standard Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) review of Bytedance’s 2017 acquisition of Musical.ly that started on November 1, 2019.  Bear in mind–Zhang must be well aware that pre-acquisition review by CFIUS is a standard procedure which Bytedance chose not to pursue.  Had Bytedance submitted the Musical.ly transaction to a pre-acquisition review, TikTok might still have the current problem, but it would have to come from a less legally solid ground.

The key issue in the CFIUS review is the one that Mr. Zhang is not discussing–China’s National Intelligence Law.   The reason for the U.S. concern about TikTok is that the National Intelligence Law has broadly drafted and poorly defined provisions that create gaping exposure for U.S. and other foreigners doing business or even studying in China, as well as their Chinese business partners, employees and colleagues.

Two parts of the Intelligence Law are particularly concerning, Article 7 and Article 14.  Article 7 mandates that “any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work according to law” and Article 14 empowers State Security officials to demand this cooperation, stating that “state intelligence work organs, when legally carrying forth intelligence work, may demand that concerned organs, organizations, or citizens provide needed support, assistance, and cooperation.”

Other clauses are equally alarming.  Article 16 authorizes State Security to interrogate  any individual and to search their reference materials and files. Article 17 authorizes police to seize and take over the operation of communications equipment [aka TikTok], transportation, buildings, and other facilities of both individuals and organizations.

It is this law that is at the bottom of U.S. concerns about TikTok’s data scraping–it is, after all, spyware with a soundtrack.  There’s a strong case to be made that U.S. artists, songwriters, creators and fans are all dupes of TikTok as a data collection tool  in a country that requires its companies to hand over to the Ministry of State Security all it needs to support the intelligence mission (MSS is like the FBI and CIA in one agency with a heavy ration of FSB).

Mr. Zhang does not discuss this part.  It should come as no surprise–according to his Wikipedia page, Mr. Zhang understands what happens when you don’t toe the Party line:

ByteDance’s first app, Neihan Duanzi, was shut down in 2018 by the National Radio and Television Administration. In response, Zhang issued an apology stating that the app was “incommensurate with socialist core values“, that it had a “weak” implementation of Xi Jinping Thought, and promised that ByteDance would “further deepen cooperation” with the ruling Chinese Communist Party to better promote its policies.

I would find it very, very hard to believe that Mr. Zhang is not a member of the Chinese Communist Party, but in any event he understands very clearly what his role is under the National Intelligence Law.  Do you think that standing up to the MSS to protect the data privacy of American teenagers is consistent with “Xi Jinping Thought”? (Xi Jinping is the Chairman for Life of the Chinese Communist Party.)

Kind of like this recent police banner from Hong Kong:

hong-kongs-new-weapon-against-protesters-a-purple-warning-flag

It’s not that I don’t believe a word he says, it’s just that I’m still waiting to hear how operating the company in the U.S. in line with the public protestations of TikTok executives is consistent with “Xi Jinping Thought” and being “commensurate with socialist core values.”

But hope springs eternal.

Five and 1/2 Problems with The MLC’s Analog “Music Data Organization Form”

 

MLC Data Organization Form 1

We’ve been waiting for The MLC to show us how the best of breed solves the global rights database problem.  Hopefully the smart people will solve that problem before the January 1 deadline when the MMA’s blanket license comes into effect.  We’ve been told many times that HFA and ConsenSys were the elites and the smart people who would lead songwriters to the promised land.  So we have all been waiting.   And waiting.  And waiting….  The deadline is less than six months away and we have seen no tech demonstrated at all despite all the hoopla and promises.

VaporwareBut this week we got a look at what the elites have come up with in the form of the “Music Data Organization Form” that The MLC wants songwriters to use to “Play Your Part”.  Remember–The MLC got the tens of millions of dollars from the services and they want you to “Play Your Part” and “Eat Your Costs” to play your part for free.  Remember–they are the ones with a paycheck and fringe benefits paid for by the services that rip off songwriters every day.

Whenever we want to read a press release from The MLC we always turn to Music Row Magazine where we can usually read it word for word.  This is what Music Row “reports” about The MLC’s “Music Data Organization Form”:

The MLC created the Music Data Organization Form to help self-administered songwriters, composers and lyricists begin to organize their musical works’ data ahead of The MLC’s roll-out of The MLC Portal.

“The Music Data Organization Form is designed as a worksheet to help guide self-administered writers through the process of collecting the data they’ll need to register with The MLC,” said Kris Ahrend, CEO of The MLC. “The form essentially outlines the information self-administered writers will need to compile in order to register their musical works in The MLC Portal.”

The MLC intends to begin rolling out the first version of its user portal later this quarter. This version [of the portal, not the Music Data Organization Form] will enable users to set-up their accounts and then search, view and edit The MLC’s data for existing musical works and register new musical works.

So now it’s “later this quarter” which is a shift from what The MLC’s Richard Thompson said at the Copyright Office unmatched roundtable only last December when he said on the record: “So our current timeline has the first version of the portal going live late Q2, early Q3, of next year” meaning this year.  We are in early Q3 now, but now it’s “later this quarter.”  You know, Jesus is coming, look busy.

We can save you a trip–you don’t have a choice in participating in the blanket license because it’s even more compulsory than the old compulsory thanks to the Music “Modernization” Act.  On the other hand, you may not have to use this form because this form has no use to you as we will see, particularly if you already have all your song data organized in a format that works for you.

If you use The MLC’s “Music Data Organization Form” it appears that you’ll just have to do the same work all over again which the last paragraph of the Music Row press release tells you if you read closely.  (That’s the kind of daylight in the facts we expect journalists to catch.)

More importantly, entering your data in the Music Data Organization Form must be done manually.  At this rate, it may be that entering your data in whatever “portal” The MLC cooks up certainly looks like it, too, will require manual entry from independents.  Each of those manual steps will then be mistake-prone which could easily lead to…a bigger black box.

Just sayin.

The MLC’s “Music Data Organization Form” does not seem to serve much of a purpose and it surely can’t be a list of all the data fields that The MLC will require.  Those fields are still being argued over at the Copyright Office.  It seems to us that The MLC’s “Music Data Organization Form” is a make work step to mollify songwriters who are getting restless.  Because looking busy.

Here’s some problems with The MLC’s “Music Data Organization Form” that we’ve identified.  You may find others.  If you do, leave a comment privately.

Problem #1:  Once it is filled out, this form cannot be ingested by anyone for anything as far as we can tell.  We think we’re safe in saying that you shouldn’t use this form if you think that you can just hand it over to The MLC and have them then use it to automatically upload your song data into the global rights database by ingesting the metadata you laboriously inputted in the form.

Problem #2:  Even though the “Music Data Organization Form” is in Excel, it may as well be in WordStar–there are no formulas in any cell.  We know this because we checked each cell, but here’s another way to find out:

MLC Data Organization Form Split

Note that the Lennon and McCartney shares sum to 110%, but you wouldn’t know you had incorrect splits from the “Music Data Organization Form” because there is no formula in the cells that totals the splits for you.  Which is, by the way, the most basic arithmetic in Excel.  You can eyeball the splits in the easy case of 50/50 but if you had 9 writers, you might overlook if all the splits don’t sum to 100%.  Which is why you have the machine do it for you!

Problem #3:  You have to do a separate Excel file for each song in your catalog.  So you’ll get lots of practice at filling out this form manually.  That could lead to getting it right more often or getting tired and making more mistakes.

MLC Data Organization Form 2

Problem #4:  The MLC thinks you can use this to handwrite your metadata.  Yes, you read that right.  It’s already set up with print fields, so they got that printing thing right at least.

MLC Data Organization Form FAQ

Problem #5:  The writers are not tied to publishers in any permanent way.  One wrong sort of the cells in the “Music Data Organization Form” at The MLC and there’s no telling how many mistakes there will be.

Problem #5A:  There’s only an implication that The MLC will want you to send them these worksheets.  They don’t actually say they want you to send them.  Frankly, if you have to do a separate work sheet for each song, they probably don’t even want them.  But–because The MLC’s “Music Data Organization Form” is not automatically inputted into The MLC’s systems, if The MLC did get their hands on the individual forms, there is nothing stopping The MLC from sending a copy to others, like, oh say HFA or another vendor.  Nobody would ever know.  And it would keep those interns busy with data entry.

We could go on, but let’s stop there.

Hey, DLC!  This is what you get for $30 million?  We think ya been robbed.

But seriously folks, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  What we expected was something just a tad more comprehensive and useful.   Something befitting the best and brightest, the global elites in our business.  Something that was smarter than what the average ConsenSys asteroid miner would come up with.  We don’t rule out the possibility that this is some magical blockchain solution hiding in plain sight but we’re not smart enough to see how that works if that’s the secret.

But even so it still leads us back to the same conclusion.

If The MLC is getting paid to process our data then they should take our data in the format that’s convenient for us.  If they don’t like that, then they should pay us to change the data into a format that’s convenient for them to build the core asset they are being paid millions to create. They already got the money to do this job.

It’s that simple.  But please don’t pawn off this kind of manual solution on us and tell us that we just need to make copies of their lo-fi worksheet for each song in our catalogs.  It can’t even add up the splits.

#OregonManBad: Senator @RonWyden is still #justone Senator sneaking around trying to screw creators in the shadows–ArtistRightsWatch

oregonmanbad

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is still sneaking around in the shadows abusing the anti-democratic secret hold to stop the CASE Act from passing the U.S. Senate, the copyright small claims bill.  And get this–the CASE Act is bipartisan legislation that has been in the works for years and years and has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives and his own Senate Judiciary Committee!

But Senator Wyden is abusing a little known procedural trick to stop the bill from coming to a vote in the Senate so it can bring relief to independent creators in a vast number of copyright fields like photographers, authors, illustrators, songwriters and recording artists.  And it’s not like his constituents want him to oppose it, they want him to pass it!

wyden billboard

Oregon Professional Photographers Association Billboards

Little Ronnie doesn’t like the nasty billboards.  Do you think he thinks he can stomp his little foot and tell Senator Kennedy, Senator Durban and all his other colleagues to bark at the moon?  Who does this guy think he is?  Do you think he thinks he can get the billboards down if he holds his breath long enough?  Did he ever consider that maybe we’re just getting started bringing heat to his butt?

He’s clearly in the pocket of Big Tech and has been for a very long time.  This is a man who holds up every copyright bill that comes through the Congress and he does it the same way every time.

But this time he’s beginning to think he might actually get unelected because he underestimated the number of independent creators who are going after his job.

Say it like a mantra and share it with your friends–Oregon Man Bad!

 

Guest Post: MLC Black Box Invasion: Transparency for the “Interim Application of Accrued Royalties”

This post is a version of Chris Castle’s comment in the current Copyright Office rulemaking on the transparency of the MLC

By Chris Castle

Just when you think you understand Title I of the Music Modernization Act, another toad runs out from under a rock.  My nickname for the toad we’re going to talk about today is the “Hoffa Clause,” in honor of the Teamster leader and well-known pension fund raider (played by Al Pacino in The Irishman).

Here it is:

INTERIM APPLICATION OF ACCRUED ROYALTIES.—In the event that the administrative assessment, together with any funding from voluntary contributions as provided in subparagraphs (A) and (B), is inadequate to cover current collective total costs, the collective, with approval of its board of directors, may apply unclaimed accrued royalties on an interim basis to defray such costs, subject to future reimbursement of such royalties from future collections of the assessment.[1]

The Office has a serious public education issue about the hygienically titled “Interim Application” clause.  I have yet to meet a songwriter who is aware of this clause in Title I and it was never publicized in the run up to passing MMA. Many publishers have been so taken aback[2] that they deny the clause is there.  Despite the provision’s rather metaphysical properties, it is there and it says what it says.  How it came to be there is only known to the insiders.  But it’s very specific, so must have been placed there for a reason.

Title I gives The MLC tremendous power over affording itself the benefit of administering other people’s money.[5]  The plain language of this clause essentially says that The MLC can invade the black box and make interest free, nonrecourse loans to itself to apply against certain shortfalls in “collective total costs” when the administrative assessment approved by the Copyright Royalty Judges is “inadequate to cover total collective costs.” Under Title I as drafted, The MLC is solely in a position to control that shortfall and to invade the black box.

Anytime anointed people handle other people’s money, stringent rules apply to that duty.  Or ought to.  Strangely enough, this “Interim Application” provision is not addressed at all in the legislative history or the Conference Report.   So we can only look at the words and try to divine the intention of the lobbyists who wrote the bill.

Plain Meaning

The new rule announces itself as relating to the “application” of “accrued royalties” on an “interim” basis.  The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that “interim” means temporary, such as a temporary solution:  “temporary and intended to be used or accepted until something permanent exists”.  That “something permanent” is the “administrative assessment”–which of course will already exist at the moment of “application”.  So there is a chicken and egg issue with this entire concept from the beginning.

(Remember that the “administrative assessment” is the operating budget and startup costs paid for by the users of the Title I blanket license who may also be the beneficiaries of the Title I safe harbor.  The administrative assessment always exists once it has been set in motion by the Copyright Royalty Judges, which is now in place for the foreseeable future.  The CRJs essentially recently rubber stamped the agreement between The MLC (the biggest publishers, having single-mindedly gotten rid of the independents through legal maneuvering) and the DLC (i.e., the biggest services).)

So what money is available to be tapped through this “interim application”?  “Unclaimed accrued royalties”, which sounds like the black box.  Which is why I call it a “black box invasion.”

It is worth noting that Title I uses the terms “unmatched” and “unclaimed” somewhat interchangeably.  I would point out that it is possible for royalties to be both matched and unclaimed, matched and disputed and unilaterally held by The MLC, as well as unmatched and therefore unclaimed. And remember that just because money is unclaimed does not mean that there was any method in place for it to be claimed.

Realize that the entire Hoffa clause is based on an assumption–that there was a meaningful process in place for songwriters (1) to know that The MLC had decided that their money should be held as accrued but unclaimed and (2) to claim their money.  There is neither present today and there is unlikely to be either available any time soon based on public statements of executives of The MLC.  Without both these processes in place, it seems that it should be important, if not crucial, to preserve the status quo until they are and that the public interest would be served by doing so.

Holding Periods Maketh the Black Box

I suggest that the common interpretation of black box is that it includes a series of royalty payments that may be disputed, matched, unmatched and unclaimed and has been so for a holding period of at least a few years, in this case three years.[3]  That suggests that no invasion may occur under this clause before the passing of three years, and the holding period should run on an item-by-item contributory share basis for each rolling accrual.

But that isn’t really the whole story on the holding periods in the first black box distribution from the DLC to The MLC.  The first distribution is going to be all the black box money ever held by all the DLC members (and any other users of the blanket).  Because the security surrounding this amount is tighter than the nuclear football, it is impossible to say how much will be in the black box.  The Songwriters Guild and Society of Composers and Lyricists (the ones who were maneuvered out of the assessment hearing) have been asking this question for months and no one has responded.

The relevant holding period for the black box is not only the three years that The MLC can hold the money, but the entire holding period from when the black box first “accrued”.  That could be many years longer than the Title I holding period.  There’s a question as to the three-year rule should apply or whether the DLC should be allowed to ignore all those holding periods on top of the three years.  You can see this is a story for another post, but keep that in mind for this post.  I don’t think that sentient beings with the ability to think sequentially can just accept that the relevant holding period is three years–after the black box is transferred to The MLC as though the money had been there all the time.  I don’t think songwriters need a court to tell them that’s just wrong.

What Does Accrued but Unclaimed Even Mean?

The fact that royalties are “accrued but unclaimed” for all or part of a song does not tell the whole story, because “unclaimed” standing alone doesn’t tell the whole story.  The “Interim Application” clause applies to “unclaimed accrued royalties” which could be royalties payable for unmatched contributory shares of songs that The MLC doesn’t know who to pay (therefore unclaimed) as well as matched royalties that have yet to be claimed but for which a payee might be identified with subsequent research.

Which contributory shares of a song that are or are not claimed is a fact determined by a snapshot in a moment of time that could easily change in the next moment.  In fact, accrued royalties being held on disputed songs may also find their way into the black box.[4]  Unfortunately, Title I has yet another drafting glitch because it does not identify that moment in time for purposes of the black box invasion.

Borrowing from Frankie to Pay Big Paulie

There could easily be a situation where the black box is invaded but the future assessment is not made for a year or more, or the future assessment is insufficient to repay Peter for the loan to Paul.  Because an expenditure may be an item of “collective total cost” but may not be reimbursed by “future collections of the assessment” rather than the next collection of the assessment occurring after the interest-free nonrecourse black box invasion, the statutory drafting is glitchy.

Plus, while the CRJs approve the administrative assessments, they have no direct approval right over a black box invasion—although approval over one does imply approval over both to the extent the invasion takes money from an assessment in a proceeding before the CRJs (which would be all assessments).  I’ve almost talked myself into believing that the CRJs actually were intended to approve any black box invasions, at least to the extent the sums are to be included in future assessments or offset prior assessments.  I think we all would be grateful if the Copyright Office could clarify this point.

In any event, it is clear that The MLC is allowed to write itself what amount to limitless[6] interest-free nonrecourse loans against the black box that can only be repaid from the assessment if the DLC approves (or perhaps the CRJs could be persuaded to approve).

The DLC would then be put in a position of declining to approve an increase to cover a black box invasion in the assessment that the DLC had nothing to do with incurring and will not have been informed of based on the plain language of Title I.  Since the current assessment seems to be on a fixed trajectory based on the last assessment settlement, it is likely that any invasion amount might exceed the stipulated assessment.  What happens if the assessment is not available to repay the invasion amount is unclear, even though The MLC is allowed to make the decision before knowing how the loan will be treated?

Required Transparency

The first issue in this cluster must be transparency on the board vote at a minimum.  Because the statute refers to approval by The MLC’s  “board of directors” and because the nonvoting members are part of the board, I have always assumed that such a board vote requires both voting board members and at least the assent of nonvoting members.  Neither does the glitchy language require any particular majority, so the new regulations may be an opportunity for the Copyright Office to require a majority, supermajority or unanimous board vote in regulations.

My preference would be for unanimous because I think taking other people’s money is a controversial act and they should lock arms and all go together.  Unanimity would also require both publishers and songwriters to vote for the loan (as publishers already have a supermajority representation written into the law).  As far as I can tell, we can only go by the plain language of the statute as I have found no legislative history on this provision.

Notice to Songwriters

I also think that regulations should provide that there be some written public statement by The MLC’s chief financial officer to the Copyright Office (or the CRJs) that these funds are being approved by the board for disbursement before the taking.  The CFO should also provide a justification statement.  The MLC board should have to sign up to that statement with full transparency of (1) why there is this compelling need and (2) why that need can only be met this way.  Frankly, it would be best if the funds could not be disbursed until the Register or the Librarian approved the disbursement in all respects.  One would think that the board members would want this sharing of responsibility.

Another option, if possible, would be to require The MLC and the DLC to return to the CRJs and request an increase in the applicable assessment or amendment to The MLC’s budget to cover the black box invasion.

What’s in Your Wallet?  Explain Why There is a Shortfall

There yet another drafting glitch in this section.  The statute fails to ask why a quango like The MLC is in a position that the millions in the Administrative Assessment doesn’t cover the relevant costs in the first place.  The assumption seems to be that there was a spike in the defined “collective total costs”.  As The MLC is in control of how the Administrative Assessment is spent, there may need to be some true up between the authorized budget approved by the CRJs and what was actual spent on a line item basis.

This raises, of course, the question of what kind of items should never be covered by the Administrative Assessment (which, if violated, could cause a shortfall requiring the black box invasion).  Such items might include loans to executives, performance bonuses, excessive travel reimbursements (such as first-class travel or reimbursement for tips in transit), expensive restaurant tabs and alcohol bills, but also items like settlements of harassment claims or related court costs.  Since harassment claims often are subject to nondisclosure agreements, it does not seem appropriate for The MLC to be able to recover such payments from black box invasion.  None of those items should be deductible from the Administrative Assessment and should never be the cause of a black box invasion.

It must also be said that “collective total costs” includes “bad debt.”  This caught my eye.  “Bad debt” is generally defined as a contingency or credit extended (such as to a customer) that is determined to be uncollectable.  Why would a pass-through quango like The MLC which has all of its costs covered by a third party need to be extending credit or loaning money to anyone, certainly not to any employee, board member, or vendor?  Under these circumstances, how would the bad debt be matched according to GAAP?  What controls are there within The MLC to disclose bad debt?  And why should bad debt be able to cause a black box invasion?

A corollary to bad debt is the indebtedness of The MLC itself as a borrower.  Again, given that the collective total costs are underwritten by a third party, why would The MLC need to borrow any money at all?  One could imagine that The MLC might properly have a modest bank credit line for cash flow purposes, but servicing any credit line should not result in a black box invasion, nor should the black box be used as collateral for any loan.

Paying Songwriters Who Claim or Are Matched After the Loan

The other drafting glitch I spotted that I would recommend needs closing up has to do with subsequent matching and paymenting.  What happens if there is a call on the black box invasion funds loaned to The MLC after the loan is made but before it is repaid.  These black box invasion loans should not delay matching and should also not delay payment of royalties matched after the loan is disbursed.

The easiest solution for a call on these loaned funds is to require the board members (or their companies) to cover the required funds, but I really think the Copyright Office needs to address the potential to abuse this tempting power.  Abuse of this power is exactly the kind of thing that could give rise to the very “waste, fraud and abuse” Congress wants the Copyright Office to take into account in the quinquennial review and potential redesignation (discussed above).

Yield Not Unto Temptation:  Detection Leads to Correction

This comment is not intended to be a knock on The MLC.  I am simply noting that any MLC may face the temptations that have certainly been irresistible for many smart people similarly situated in other contexts.  This kind of loan might well be a breach of a fiduciary duty by board members, and certainly would be in other similar situations.

It also must be said anecdotally that there are many songwriters who, perhaps unfairly, think that publishers use black box payments as a slush fund to run their operations with interest-free loans as the hygienically named “interim applications” would be.

The problem is that without the disinfectant of sunlight, there may be no detection to lead to correction.  Who would not prefer to avoid that problem who was able to avoid it?

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

[1] 17 U.S.C. § 115 (d)(7)(C).

[2] I have also discussed this clause off the record in the context of the Dispute Resolution Committee and Unmatched liability safe harbor for The MLC with friends at CMOs outside of the U.S.  When the laughter subsided, they all said that if they did anything like this they’d be fired long before they hit the gross negligence threshold.  “Heads on pikes” was the description.  We must then wonder what the CMOs think of this clause and what in the world they think the Americans are up to.  The Office might want to ask them.

[3] 17 U.S.C. §115 (d)(3)(H)(i).

[4] It appears that royalties held by the Dispute Resolution Committee for disputed works will also be kept in the black box account and presumably would be subject to invasion.  “The dispute resolution committee established under subparagraph (D)(vi) shall establish policies and procedures…that shall include a mechanism to hold disputed funds in accordance with the requirements described in subparagraph (H)(ii) pending resolution of the dispute.”  17 U.S.C. § 115 (d)(3)(K)(ii).  Subparagraph (H)(ii) provides for an “Interest-bearing account.—Accrued royalties for unmatched works (and shares thereof) shall be maintained by the mechanical licensing collective in an interest-bearing account that earns monthly interest….”

[5] Presumably this issue will be addressed in the Copyright Office Unclaimed Royalties Study of best practices on both matched but unclaimed and unmatched royalties.  Even so, this may be a good place to insert a true escrow account for the mandated interest-bearing account for the black box so that the account is held by a third-party bank unrelated to The MLC, the DLC, their board members or their vendors.  There should be specific withdrawal instructions to that third-party bank.  I find it difficult to understand why anyone would oppose such an ethical separation.

[6] The loans are limitless because there is no limitation on the amount in Title I.  The loan could theoretically even exceed the amount of the then-existing black box and be taken from a future accrual.

Why So Secretive? Copyright Office’s Public Consultation on Setting Rules for MLC’s Operation: Future of Music Coalition

[The Copyright Office is bravely trying to regulate The MLC to keep the MMA from becoming a feeding frenzy for the data lords.  As Chris Castle said in his comment on what should be stamped “Confidential” and kept away from songwriters: “The premise of confidential information under Title I is that there is in rock and roll certain information deserving of government-mandated secrecy.”  Or as Otis said, too hot to handle.  Keep that in mind–when they say “confidential information” they mean information they can keep away from you.

We are going to excerpt some of the good comments that support independents in the other Copyright Office “rulemaking” consultation that just closed devoted to confidential treatment of data by The MLC and the DLC.  You can read them all here.]

The Future of Music Coalition made some great points in their filing, read the whole thing here.

Restrictions on use by MLC and DLC Vendors and Consultants FMC shares concerns expressed by other commenters about the possibility of vendors using confidential data for competitive advantage or purposes beyond what the MLC was created to do. There should be no provision for HFA to use confidential data for “general use”, even on an opt-in basis. The risk of anti-competitive harm is too great.

LEADING MUSIC AND FILM ORGANIZATIONS CALL ON CONGRESS TO FIX SAFETY NET IN NEW CARES ACT

[Editor Charlie sez:  Artist Rights Watch, Music Tech Policy and The Trichordist are pleased to support this effort.  Please let your representatives in Washington know that you do, too!]

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 8, 2020) – Leading music and film organizations today sent a new letter to leaders of Congress that highlights the ways implementation of the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting workers in need in the entertainment community and requests that these flaws in implementation be remedied in a new CARES Act COVID relief package.

The organizations said in a joint statement: “While we appreciate the efforts of lawmakers to meet the challenges of this pandemic, we need to ensure that our community is getting the aid they need to survive. Musicians are struggling to access the basic financial resources available due to conflicting and burdensome requirements in relief programs. Simply, there is a hole in this safety net that Congress must fix in the next version of the CARES Act.”

The letter lays out in stark terms the crisis that the live entertainment industry is facing due to the pandemic.

“We need help that only [Congress] can provide, in a way that recognizes the particulars of our industry. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of us across the country, thank you for your understanding and your action.”

In the letter, the organizations point out the implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) has overlooked workers who have mixed income and report it on W-2 and 1099 forms. “In almost all cases that we see in every state, a minimum amount of W-2 income disqualifies a self-employed individual for PUA and significantly lowers the amount of assistance they receive,” the letter states. “PUA must be updated to recognize these different income streams and allow individuals to show their mixed sources of revenue for a full accounting of their annual income.”

The letter also describes concerns about the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program that were included in the first CARES Act.

The organizations who signed include the Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), the Future of Music Coalition, Global Music Rights (GMR), the Music Artists Coalition (MAC), the Music Business Association, National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), the Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Screen Actors Guild-the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), the Songwriters Guild of America, the Songwriters of North America (SONA), SoundExchange and many more.

 The full text of the letter follows:

Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                     Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Speaker                                                                                  Republican Leader
U.S. House of Representatives                                          U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC  20515                                                      Washington, DC  20515

Honorable Mitch McConnell                                             Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader                                                                   Democratic Leader
U.S. Senate                                                                             U.S. Senate
Washington, DC  20510                                                       Washington, DC  20510

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

The broad and diverse American entertainment community would like to thank you for your continued efforts to provide assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act and the subsequent “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” were sincerely welcomed programs, particularly their essential coverage of independent contractors, sole proprietors, and other self-employed individuals who make up so much of the live entertainment workforce.

As you know, many of our jobs have not only vanished, they will be gone for quite some time.  From on-set production to public performance, our work in the entertainment industry naturally requires close personal interaction and public gatherings.  Even when business restrictions are eased, it will take much longer to restore the social interaction inherently necessary for the creative industries to operate.

For those of us in the creative field to survive – and recover – after this crisis, we must be able to access the full support intended by Congress.  Thus, we would like to highlight a few ways that the CARES Act has fallen short in assisting those of us most in need and hope that it will be instructive in your continued discussions on any further federal funding assistance.

First, given the unique nature of our industry, many in our profession work from project to project and gig to gig, not only in multiple jobs but in various capacities.  As a result, creators often find themselves working as employees receiving W-2 wages and as independent contractors (or otherwise self-employed) receiving 1099 income for performances, royalties, and other services.  Unfortunately, implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) has overlooked workers with mixed income.  In almost all cases that we see in every state, a minimum amount of W-2 income disqualifies a self-employed individual for PUA and significantly lowers the amount of assistance they receive.  PUA must be updated to recognize these different income streams and allow individuals to show their mixed sources of revenue for a full accounting of their annual income.

In addition, those who work on location or perform on tour earn freelance income in multiple states, some of which does not come with a 1099.  While some state agencies allow for this type of reporting, some do not.  Congress’s intent is that such workers should be fully eligible for at least the minimum PUA amount, but state implementation does not fully reflect this intention.  PUA must be updated to recognize these unique circumstances.

Second, the CARES Act does not recognize the full scope of small business arrangements prevalent within our industry.  As the PUA mixed income issue and the actual operation of our industry make clear, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should be sure to allow payments to self-employed individuals, including independent contractors.  The workers in our industry cannot afford to be shut out of federal assistance on such a technicality and any future plan should recognize self-employed individuals as eligible payroll participants.

Third, SBA’s PPP guidelines on eligibility criteria and requirements for the self-employed are overly burdensome and restrictive.  SBA requires a 2019 Schedule C as the principal document to determine eligibility and loan size, even though the IRS delayed the 2019 tax year filing deadline to July 15, 2020.  This puts a burden on smaller, independent creators who must now scramble to secure professional accounting services so they can supply a 2019 Schedule C.  More importantly, the SBA restricts self-employed applicants to loans that are sized according solely to net business income as reflected on a Schedule C.  Net business income does not reflect the fact that professionals have significant overhead costs – mortgages, studio rentals, equipment costs, health insurance premiums, and other expenses.

The SBA should allow the use of 1099-MISC forms and consideration of health insurance costs in the calculation of loan amounts, as well as the 2018 Schedule C when a 2019 form is not readily available. SBA should calculate loans consistent with the intent of the CARES Act, which allows for consideration of any compensation to a sole proprietor or independent contractor.

Finally, the SBA has limited the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant of up to $10,000 to only $1,000 per employee.  This means self-employed individuals who do not have employees are unfairly penalized, even though they need immediate relief just as much as any other small business.  Congress clearly lays out in the CARES Act that funds from the EIDL advance may be used for many purposes other than payroll.

And when it’s time to once again open the doors to live music venues and recording studios, music will continue to need help.  The government must commit to provide adequate testing, contact tracing, viral treatments and a vaccine to ensure safety and restore public trust.  We will also need clear national guidelines to facilitate touring and live performances from musicians and entertainers in venues of all sizes.

There is no sugarcoating this: the entire live entertainment industry has been decimated.  We trade in imagination, but the reality of our situation is dire.  Today, we eagerly share our craft when we can – through video streams, on social media, or from apartment balconies.  But it is not a viable “work from home” solution and it will not sustain us.  We need help that only you can provide, in a way that recognizes the particulars of our industry.  On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of us across the country, thank you for your understanding and your action.

Sincerely,

Academy of Country Music (ACM)

Actors’ Equity Association

Alliance for Recorded Music (ARM)

American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)

American Federation of Musicians (AFM)

Americana Music Association

Artist Rights Alliance (ARA)

Artist Rights Watch

ASCAP

Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP)

BMI

California Arts Advocates

Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA)

Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA)

Country Music Association (CMA)

CreativeFuture

Digital Media Association (DiMA)

Folk Alliance International

Future of Music Coalition

Guild of Italian American Actors

Global Music Rights (GMR)

Gospel Music Association

The Harper Agency

International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)

Music Artists Coalition (MAC)

MusicAnswers

Music Business Association (MusicBiz)

Music Managers Forum – US

Musicians On Call

Music Technology Policy Blog

National Independent Venue Association

National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)

National Songwriters Association International

On Board Experiential

Paradigm Talent Agency

Recording Academy

Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Reel Muzik Werks, LLC

Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)

SESAC

Songwriters Guild of America

Songwriters of North America (SONA)

SoundExchange

Southern Gospel Music Guild

Trichordist

Writers’ Guild of America, East

 

Guest Post: Superpowers In River City: Anti-Artist Activist Brewster Kahle’s Revealing “National Emergency Library,” the Faux Triumph of Privilege

by Chris Castle

[This post first appeared on ArtistRightsWatch]

If you’ve ever seen the classic musical The Music Man, you will remember the stereotypical character of “Marian the Librarian” who was romanced by the grifter Harold Hill.  When it comes to the Internet Archive, we’re way past Marian but we have a whole new character in the role of grifter.

Brewster Kahle is not likely a name you recognize.  But he is definitely well-known to the digital elites–which we know because his picture shows up in the 2000 version of the Billionaire’s Dinner rubbing elbows with the cognoscenti including fellow diners Nicholas Negroponte of MIT and MIT patron the late Jeffrey Epstein. Somewhere along the line Mr. Kahle seems to have gotten very rich or perhaps richer still.  And he also founded Alexa and the Internet Archive which is our focus in this post because of the Archive’s announced “National Emergency Library.”  We’ll come to that effort presently, but first let’s consider Mr. Kahle’s history in the copyright context.

A Man With A Mission Meets A Dandy on the White Horse

Mr. Kahle was and is a man with a mission in the mold of his fellow pirate utopian and EFF founder, John Perry Barlow.  Less flamboyant to be sure, but cut from the same anti-copyright cloth, Mr. Kahle has attracted literally the same crew of Lost Cause dead enders.  These dots will be very familiar.  It’s all rather Googlely and Mr. Kahle has shown himself to be as close to Google’s mission as one is to two.  Whether revolutionary leader or useful idiot, Mr. Kahle has proven his value to Google again and again over some two decades.

Copyright students may remember Mr. Kahle from 2006 as the plaintiff in Kahle v. Gonzales, one of the cases where Lessig did a brilliant job of making the predictably losing argument as an extension of yet another losing argument from Lessig’s cherished Eldred case.  (Has Lessig ever won anything that Google didn’t pay for?)

Mr. Kahle challenged the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992 that eliminated once and for all the renewal requirement from the U.S. 1909 Copyright Act that was held over in the 1976 Copyright Act for certain registrations.  (Lessig was joined as co-counsel in the Kahle case by his protege Professor Christopher SprigmanSprigman is a leading anti-artist zealot.  He currently represents Spotify in the Nashville cases and is leading the American Law Institute’s embarrassing and scandalous “Restatement of Copyright” trojan horse campaign that has been thoroughly discredited.)

Kahle, Lessig and Sprigman essentially argued then and now for a renewal requirement to make copyright renewals an opt-in system rather than an opt-out system.  That meant that authors would have to take an affirmative act to renew their copyrights after an initial term.  As Lessig writes back in 2003, “The revival of a registration requirement would move content into a public domain quickly….There are many who have written brilliantly about what is right in this context….But the hard problem is how to make the right real. That is what this movement needs now.

You get the idea.  The Lost Cause is born.  And Kahle was apparently only too happy to finance “the movement” with a younger Lessig imagining himself on a white horse leading the mob.  Younger but just as much the tiresomely self-righteous Google fan boy and thin-skinned ideological dandy.  Because the Lost Cause was “right”.  Beware men on white horses waiving the privilege of “what is right” backed by the superpower billionaire boys club.  And it worked for a while, but the problem with leading a mob is that you have to give the mob somewhere to go but most of all success.  Lessig provided neither.  Instead, he provided failure after failure.

It must be said that a creator’s failure to comply with Mr. Kahle’s sought after formalities of registration and renewal (unique to America, by the way) would allow the Big Tech superpower benefactors of Lessig, Sprigman and Kahle to get lots of free stuff.  Like superpower privilege that induced a mass taking by the National Emergency Library, Big Tech superpowers could exploit those unrenewed copyrights without a license or payment to the authors, also known as the public domain, public knowledge, or any of the other shibboleths that mask the very traps for the unwary that Congress wanted to prevent in the 1992 legislation.  (In another proof of the Lost Cause, Kahle’s lawyer Professor Sprigman was  later a member of Pamela Samuelson’s “Copyright Principles” project and co-authored its paper that also advocated for the very registration requirement that they resoundingly lost in the Kahle case (see Sec. IIIA of paper, “Reinvigorating Copyright Registration”.)

For those reading along at home, procedurally the odd and rather desperate signpost of the Kahle case was that Lessig largely based Kahle on Eldred which he lost in the Supreme Court.  When Kahle got to the 9th Circuit, this oddity was not lost on the judges who held–in possibly the least suspenseful ruling of the decade–that “[Lessig, Sprigman and Kahle] make essentially the same argument [in Kahle], in different form, that the Supreme Court rejected in Eldred. It fails here as well.”

Kaboom.

So Kahle got into trouble at 9th Circuit.  As Harold Hill might warble, that’s trouble with a T that rhymes with P and that stands for “phool.”

Kahle’s Lost Cause and the National Emergency Library’s Fair Use Superpower Privilege

Yet despite continued losses, re-imposing a copyright registration requirement has become the Lost Cause of the anti-artist crowd.  Not only has Lessig pushed this hustle, but its proponents include Pamela Samuelson and Christopher Sprigman, so we can only assume that the controversial “Restatement of Copyright” promoted by Samuelson and written by Sprigman will no doubt devote some ink to this topic.  Indeed, we saw Samuelson raise registration in her most recent testimony in a bizarre hearing before the Senate IP Subcommittee.

And we also see a version of it in the Internet Archive’s absurdly transparent lawlessness masquerading as fair use with its “National Emergency Library” which takes post-disaster profiteering to a whole new level.

In a nutshell, the Internet Archive is seizing upon the COVID19 global crisis to make digital copies of books of dubious provenance available for free and without their flimsy “waitlist” requirement.  They managed to get a bunch of libraries to sign a letter saying how groovy the Internet Archive is for graciously aiding the world–if this sounds familiar, it is very reminiscent of the Google Books messaging as the “digital library of Alexandria” and other drivel.  (See the timeless Google and the Myth of Universal Knowledge:  A view from Europe by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, then president of France’s Bibliothèque Nationale.)

As someone who grew up with both hurricanes and earthquakes, I have a viscerally embedded disgust for those grifters who exploit human misery for their own private agenda, be it profiting in cash or distorting the fair use defense beyond recognition to confer a cash equivalent benefit.  Both are equally loathsome forms of looting and under the circumstances may well be a form of price gouging.  If proven, that’s a crime in most states.  Indeed, if imposed by state authority, such as a state library, it may well be found to be an impermissible form of eminent domain, or a taking.  There’s that word again.

The National Emergency Library:  Leap of Faith or Superpower Privilege?

What makes a casual interest into a full-blown negationist Lost Cause ideology is the leap of faith that the dead ender’s ill conceived campaign was actually “right” all along.  “Right” as in “self-righteous.”  (A healthy rasher of narcissism is also a nice-to-have.)  You know, defending consumer rights against the aggression of copyright maximalists.  You see, it was only the privileged Bad People conspiring against them that gypped the righteous Good People of the victory to which they were entitled.  In fact, Mr. Kahle says as much in the Internet Archive blog announcing the “National Emergency Library”:

“The library system, because of our national emergency, is coming to aid those that are forced to learn at home, ” said Brewster Kahle, Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive. “This was our dream for the original Internet coming to life: the Library at everyone’s fingertips.”

And there it is, the Lost Cause defined.  The indefinite “our”.  Who exactly is “our” or “us”?  The Good People.  The Right People.  The movement people.  Whose superpowers you oppose at  your peril you others.  You authors.  Because “our” national emergency justifies “our” fulfillment of “our dream.”

The Good People share that “dream” of “ours” as we are told in the Archive’s blog post cum press release:

“Ubiquitous access to open digital content has long been an important goal for MIT and MIT Libraries. Learning and research depend on it,” said Chris Bourg, Director of MIT Libraries.

Ah yes, MIT’s goal must be extra groovy, right?  I’m sure Joi Ito (of Creative Commons fame among other rewards) thought so when he was taking Jeffrey Epstein’s money with MIT’s blessings.

What bunk.

The Googley Expansion of the Fair Use Superpower as Eminent Domain Taking

And of course the central rationale for why the Archive could rip off over a million books is…wait for it…fair use.  But a very super duper version of fair use that you may not have encountered before.  This is a super duper opinion shared by 300 or so librarians, many of whom appear to be employed by state-owned libraries.  They signed a letter promoted by the Internet Archive that puts their taxpayer subsidized employment right on the line.

You have to take a step back and look at the National Emergency Library in the larger context of the continued distortion of fair use by Google and its cronies as we recently argued in an amicus brief supporting Oracle in Google v. Oracle, the long-running copyright case now pending before the Supreme Court that is straight out of Bleak House.

Unfortunately, like the DMCA, Section 230 and so many other grotesquely unfair benefits that Big Tech superpowers grasp for themselves, the only way to fight back in the chaos of the current pandemic is to literally fight back.  Big Tech’s superpower billionaires are doing just fine as authors struggle even more than before the time of the virus.  But these people are more than willing to capitalize on the current crisis to distort copyright exceptions like fair use, just like Google is forcing users of its Verily coronavirus test to open a Google account and give up their health data.

I for one find it very odd that 300 or so librarians could all agree in a matter of hours on a complex legal opinion regarding expanding the contours of fair use–unless that opinion were written for them by someone they already knew.  Such as their lobbyist, for example.   Maybe not, but it does seem it’s something that state Attorneys General should look into as it applies to their librarians.  Assuming that signing up for the scheme is not simply aspirational and they are all actually participating in the cabal, these librarians are incurring liabilities for their employers and quite possibly the taxpayer.  If state libraries are indemnifying the Internet Archive, that indemnity may well be impermissible under their respective state laws–and that’s something that ought to interest attorneys general, as would the converse failure to obtain indemnity.

On the other hand, one of the legal arguments used as encouragement to librarians to sign onto the legal opinion was offered by one Kyle Cortney (securely employed by Harvard University) based on the privilege of “superpowers.”  Yes, that’s right:

[L]ibraries and archives have “superpowers” under the copyright law that allows us to supply our communities with access to materials for research, scholarship, and study….Before I get to the TEACH Act, Section 108, or any other superpower – first and foremost, we must talk about fair use. While this isn’t a library superpower – fair use is for everyone! – it certainly falls to the libraries and archives, in many circumstances, to be the champions of fair use on campus (and bust any fair use myths!)

See?  “Our dream”, “our national emergency”, “our superpowers.”  And “our” powers are so “super” that “we” will shove those superpowers where the sun doesn’t shine in the middle of the Harvard Yard.  All based on a superpower of blatant distortions of fair use subsidized by the endowment of the richest university in the history of the world.  But understand this, you will win this argument about the same time that Harvard refunds tuition in the time of the virus.  Unless you are willing to go to the mattresses.  And if you’re thinking these superpowers are on their knees begging to be sued, you very well may be correct.

That “superpower” privilege may be how they roll at Harvard, but what I’d like to know is how many state AGs have signed up for the superpower theory?  Such as the Attorneys General of Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Washington, New York, Indiana, Massachusetts, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Idaho.

Maybe the next sound they hear will be sad trombones, all 76 of them.

2019-2020 Streaming Price Bible : YouTube is STILL The #1 Problem To Solve

Here we go with the current year update.

This data set is isolated to the calendar year 2019 and represents a mid-sized indie label with an approximately 350+ album catalog now generating over 1.5b streams annually. Streaming is now a fully mature format, and it is also the number one source of revenue for recorded music. Streaming in all configurations now accounts for 64% of all recorded music revenues. Head on over to the RIAA US sales database [here] to check out the numbers. Pro Tip: Remember to adjust for inflation!

We are keeping a simplified chart again this year. We’ve extended to the top 30 streamers which represent 99.87% of all streaming dollars. The Top 10 streamers account for over 93% of all music streaming revenues (down from 97% last year). The Top 5 account for over 83% of all streaming dollars (down from 88% last year). The drop in overall revenues in the Top 5 and Top 10 are the result of YouTube’s Content ID pulling down the overall revenues / per stream.

The biggest takeaway by far is that YouTube’s Content ID, shows a whopping 51% of all streams generate only 6.4% of revenue. Read that again. This is your value gap. Over 50% of all music streams generate less than 7% of revenue.

 

This is the first time we have not seen the Spotify per stream rate drop since the service launched a decade ago. The Spotify per stream rate has stabilized moving up just slightly to .00348 from .00331.  In other words Spotify is paying out about $3,300 – $3,500 per million plays. We’re working with a very large sample that has aggregated all streams and revenue against both subscription and ad supported revenues for a single per stream average. This overall average is helpful for anyone who wants to calculate gross revenues by simply looking at the numbers on Spotify itself. For those who may not know, there is a simple “trick” to see the streams of any song on Spotify. On the desk top app, go to the album view and hover your mouse/cursor over the ||||||| at the far right side of any song, just to the right of the song length. Once there the plays for the song will materialize just below the song length.

 

Using our average, the song above has earned between $4,026 – $4,270.78 (gross before distribution fees) on Spotify at 1,220,224 plays.

Apple Music is again the best value per stream accounting for nearly 25% of all streaming revenue on only 6% of consumption. Spotify generates the most overall revenue of any streamer (no surprise) at 44% of all streaming revenue on 22% of consumption. As stated before, and which can not be overstated enough, You Tube’s Content ID is the major issue limiting growth contributing only 6% of revenues on over half of all streams, at 51% of total consumption. That’s a staggering statistic.

Apple’s per stream rate also stabilizes this year hitting a per stream rate of .0675 which is much closer to where it was two years ago at .00783. Our numbers from 2018 showed a dramatic drop in Apple’s rate at .00495 which we attribute to an expansion into new territories and a large number of 90 day free accounts that had not matured to fully paid subscribers.

In looking at the per stream rates for song and album equivalents, you might want to read this article by Billboard (as of 2018) on the current calculation of how many streams equal an album for the purposes of charting. The report states that, “The Billboard 200 will now include two tiers of on-demand audio streams. TIER 1: paid subscription audio streams (equating 1,250 streams to 1 album unit) and TIER 2: ad-supported audio streams (equating 3,750 streams to 1 album unit).” Our numbers suggest however it would be more fair to average all revenues, against all streams (including content ID), and that actually lands at about 3,516 streams per album across the board.

 


These numbers are from one set of confidentially supplied data for global sales. If you have access to other data sources that you can share, we’d love to see it.

  • HOW WE CALCULATED THE STREAMS PER SONG / ALBUM RATE:
  • As streaming services only pay master royalties (to labels) and not publishing, the publishing has to be deducted from the master share to arrive at the comparable cost per song/album.
  • $.99 Song is $.70 wholesale after 30% fee. Deduct 1 full stat mechanical at $.091 = $.609 per song.
  • Multiply the above by 10x’s and you get the album equivalent of $6.09 per album
[EDITORS NOTE: All of the data above is aggregated. In all cases the total amount of revenue is divided by the total number of the streams per service  (ex: $5,210 / 1,000,000 = .00521 per stream). In cases where there are multiple tiers and pricing structures (like Spotify), these are all summed together and divided to create an averaged, single rate per play.]

[royalties][streaming royalties][music royalties][royalty rates]

Must read by @SenThomTillis: ALI’s proposed Restatement of Copyrights has the potential to harm the creative industries — Artist Rights Watch

[Welcome Senator Tillis to shining sunlight on the astroturf “Restatement of Copyright”, which in our view is a epitoma suprema of Silicon Valley shillery.  The letter that Senator Tillis refers to is the December 3 letter his colleagues and he sent to the American Law Institute asking some questions about the proposed Restatement (which isn’t all that proposed anymore as the drafting is moving along briskly).  I gather from Senator Tillis’s op ed that he hasn’t gotten a reply yet.  Which must mean that the mumbletank in the Silicon Valley policy laundry hasn’t quite figured out how to reply.  But here’s the question that no one seems to have asked yet:  Who is paying for the Restatement of Copyright?  I don’t mean which non-profit accountability blocker wrote the check, I mean who is the ultimate donor who is the source of donor directed funds?]

With millions of jobs and over a trillion dollars at stake, as lawmakers, we must ensure copyright laws continue to protect the livelihoods of our nation’s creators.

It is for this reason that we have sent a letter questioning the effort by a well-established legal organization to “restate” and reinterpret our copyright laws for the nation’s judicial system. Last time we checked, Article I of the Constitution specifically grants Congress the authority to make laws to allow for individuals in the creative industries to be fairly compensated – not law professors.

Read the post on The Hill

You might also be interested in these MTP posts from 2018:

Shocker: Is Spotify Lawyer Leading “Scholarly” Project to Create Fake Treatise?

The American Law Institute’s Restatement Scandal: The Futility of False “Unity”

A Look at Christopher Sprigman’s Recent Record

And from 2013 about the Copyright Principles Project, the precursor of the Restatement of Copyright:

The Copyright Principles Project: Selflessness, Valley Style Amongst A Dedicated Group of Likeminded People

via Must read by @SenThomTillis: ALI’s proposed Restatement of Copyrights has the potential to harm the creative industries — Artist Rights Watch–News for the Artist Rights Advocacy Community