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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, July 1, 2016


The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment had its first-ever “NYC Music Industry Convening” to brainstorm how the city can support the music industry and its creators. The meeting occurred a week after the New York State Legislature voted to approve the Empire State Production Tax Credit which will give tax breaks for expenses related to recording musical projects within the state. The Office’s Commissioner Julie Menin said, “everyone [is] excited that music is now housed within a City agency that…is…both focused on bringing new opportunities to New York City and being supportive of the music industry.”

Music Reports Inc. is working with the US Copyright Office to make compulsory licensing more streamlined, efficient, and digital. MRI seems to have become the first to digitally file notices of intent (NOIs) for compulsory licenses, rather than the time-consuming and costly process of filing NOIs manually, by paper, and $2 a song. The Copyright Office has revamped the way it accepts NOIs and changed the pricing structure, so that they can be filed on excel spreadsheets for only 10 cents a track. MRI has also made it easy to match songs to their respective master and publisher owners with its Songdex database which has metadata on over 70 million tracks.

Google has partnered with LyricFind to add lyrics from over 4,000 publishers to its search results and and within GooglePlay Music.  LyricFind, which collects rpyalties for songwriters and rightsholders, will provide licensing for lyrics displayed in the search results and in the music app on behalf of publishers from 100 countries, including the majors.  LyricFind CEO Darryl Ballantyne says, “We’re happy to expand the depth and quality of lyrics available on Google’s services.  We’re working together to make lyrics available to a larger audience in a faster and more efficient way.”

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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, June 24, 2016


Over 500 creators and 20 organizations have signed a letter to US Congress calling for reform of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The biggest grievance is with the DMCA’s “safe harbor” protections, which allow platforms such as YouTube to avoid legal liability for copyright infringement taking place on its platform.  Chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, Irving Azoff, organized the letter, and said “the entire industry is united and committed to pursuing a fair resolution. We are fighting for the future.”

58 members of European Parliament have penned a letter urging the European Commission to clarify the status of YouTube under copyright law.  The letter discusses the “non-comparable increase in revenues from the increase in consumption” from platforms that host UGC and content aggregation services.  Meanwhile, the International Artist Organisation (IAO) has also written to the EC, asking to ensure it’s not just the major labels’ interests that are served in any possible safe harbor reforms.

Vimeo has won an appeals court decision on copyright disputes against Capitol Records and others.  The 2nd Circuit ruled that though sound recordings created before 1972 are protected by state law, federal law can still provide immunity on infringement of copyright to digital services.  It also overturned the decision to deny Vimeo a safe harbor defence because certain employees were allegedly aware of such infringement, the opinion stating that “protecting service providers from the expense of monitoring was an important part of the compromise embodied in the safe harbor.”

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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, June 17, 2016


Berklee College of Music’s Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship announced the Open Music Initiative to approach the issue of rights management and organization in the digital era. Rather than creating a centralized database for song and creator identification, OMI intends to create a set of standards that would allow for separate databases to talk to, and verify information between, each other. An impressive list of majors, tech companies including Spotify and YouTube, and independent companies like Downtown Music Publishing have signed on to support the initiative.

Chairman & CEO of Warner/Chappell Music Jon Platt has been elected to ASCAP’s Board of Directors.  Platt took the helm of Warner/ Chappell last November, and drives the cultivation and growth of the company’s diverse roster of songwriters and its spectrum of creative services.  ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said, “Our publisher and songwriter members face complex challenges in the digital era that call for a progressive outlook, and Jon is one of the best leaders of his generation.  ASCAP values his understanding of the creative process and his relationships with the creative community.”

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) topped $300 million (CAD) in total revenues in 2015.  The $307.8 million in domestic and international royalties collected from the performance of music of SOCAN’s more than 135,000 members is the highest revenue the organization has seen since forming in 1990.  From 2014, it distributed 14.7% more to its members, collected 13.4% more in foreign royalties, and streaming revenues increased 24.4%.


Image taken from Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship:

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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, June 10, 2016




Pandora has announced a partnership with rights administration platform, Music Reports, to manage the mechanical licensing and royalty administration for its upcoming on-demand streaming service.  The deal comes on the heels of two $150m+ class action lawsuits filed against Spotify over missing or inaccurate mechanical royalty payments to songwriters.  Pandora says Music Reports’ licensing opt-in platform will “give music publishers greater insight into and control over how their catalog of musical works is being enjoyed, and offer consistent rates across the industry.”

SOCAN, the Society of Composer Authors & Music Publishers of Canada, and French authors’ rights society SACEM have announced an agreement to participate in large pan-European deals with digital service providers.  The partnership entrusts SACEM to represent the European licensing and sales processing for SOCAN as a single point of collection across the continent.  SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste said, “this agreement means that SOCAN’s more than 135,000 members will benefit greatly from further improved tracking of royalties in the burgeoning European music market.”

David Israelite announced that music publishers have reached a settlement on mechanical licenses with two of the three majors, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, at the National Music Publishers Association convention.  While details of the agreement were not disclosed, Billboard reports that, if approved by the CRB, it will keep mechanical rates for track downloads and CDs flat at the current rate of 9.1 cents per song.  Another part of the settlement involves the two majors agreeing to sit out of the rate-setting process for streaming services.

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Advanced Songcraft Tools for Professional Songwriters, Part III

Guest post by Billy Seidman – Founder, Song Arts Academy & Songwriting Faculty Member, NYU & The New School

Do You Know Your Song’s DNA? Writing Songs That Last


The biggest lesson I learned living and writing in Nashville was emulating how fast the best writers in town got into the bloodstream of their listeners.

How did they get me to care so deeply so quickly? Raise the stakes so high IN 4 SECONDS that I couldn’t take my ear off their song, saw and felt my life in it, had skin in their game, in their song?

Lukas Graham’s “Seven Years” is a good current example of what I’m talking about.

The famous novelist Elmore Leonard, when asked why his books were so popular said, “I leave out all the stuff no one wants to read.”

Great songs also find a lasting audience because their writer(s) left out all the stuff no one wants to hear!

So, how to know what to leave out and what to leave in…?

You’ve got to understand your song’s DNA.

What kind of song are you writing? Know that, and you can begin to assemble the essential ingredients for success!


Coming of age songs are usually driven by one key emotion.  Can you tell what that emotion is? Let me know @SongArtsA.

The second key factor making the song stick is that it’s a STORY SONG.  If you tell a good story, people stick around to hear how it ends!

“Seven Years” has, like most good stories, a beginning, middle, & end.

Okay, so you know what kind of song it is and how you’ll deliver it. That’s still not enough. You need to understand the value and the character each line in your song delivers.


Opening lines are like the great entrance a star showman or woman makes as they come on stage.

“Seven Years” gets this done by delivering the hook/title of the song in the 1st line; it anchors the entire song and sets up each beginning line of the next hook so it will be related.  SMART!


The song starts with the Chorus. In many respects, songs that do this make the entire song a CHOURS/hook.  Another smart choice!


We see our lives in this song because it’s honest, and it’s not working hard to be honest, it just is.

There is a place for simple sing-song melodies or slammin’ tracks that 5-year-olds in the suburbs can bounce up and down to in the back of SUV’s. That’s a big part of the music business, and I’m not putting it down. That said, too many writers aim too low; they don’t see the opportunity of BIG IDEAS. Your BIG IDEA and your need to express your BIG IDEA is the DNA of a BIG SONG!

Having the craft skills to PULL IT OFF, to deliver it, is why you write a lot of songs. No way around that; ask Ed Sheeran!

Songs that last do so because they connect at a much deeper level than other songs and they do it quickly! They are direct, simple, and there’s no thinking involved; we know why the singer is singing every note and word.

It may take you writing 40-100-150 songs to get really good at this.

The best songwriters are honest with themselves. They risk feeling unable to pull this feat of “emotional hypnotism” off. They just keep working on the song until they know it’s strong, stronger, strongest…

Follow this concept of knowing your songs DNA and I promise you’ll start off much closer to where you need to be in creating songs that last.

© 2016 Billy Seidman all rights reserved

For workshops, private study, or song consultations, visit or contact Billy Seidman:

Part I
Part II

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