Music Publishing News Weekly Roundup: August 29, 2014

28 Aug


Former President of CD Baby, Brian Felsen, Is Named New President of AdRev, a service that helps artists and labels monetize views on YouTube. AdRev’s primary strategy is to place premium advertisements on videos to generate more money than the standard advertising formats. The company claims to have over 6 million copyrights, including music libraries of publishing companies and major recording artists. Felsen believes YouTube has an advantage over other streaming competitors because it has created a high demand for all types of video.

Ludacris, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Lil Wayne Presented with Top Honors at the 2014 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. Ludacris was awarded the President’s Award at the ceremony, which honors songwriters, producers, and publishers of last year’s most-performed R&B/hip-hop songs. Other artists that have previously received this award include Adam Levine, Carlos Vives, Taylor Swift, Pitbull, and Lil Wayne won the award for Songwriter of the Year, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won Song of the Year.

The 2014 VMAs were held at the Forum in Inglewood. Beyoncé stole the show with songs from her 2013 album and her divorce rumors were quickly quieted after she was presented the Video Vanguard Award from her husband and daughter. Miley Cyrus won Video of the Year for “Wrecking Ball” and had a surprise guest accept the award for her. The show opened with a bang from Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj performing the summer hit, “Bang Bang.”

James Blake signs a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV. The British artist-producer announced this deal prior to the release of his third album. The co-publishing deal covers all future works by Blake and although many details were not disclosed, Sony/ATV stated that it would be a ”long-term” agreement. The artist has been awarded the Mercury Prize for his 2013 release, “Overgrown,” which establishes him as one of the “premiere artists of this generation,” according to publishing creative director Tyler Childs.

Music Publishing News Weekly Roundup: August 22nd, 2014

21 Aug


Youtube and Google will partner to launch new “Music Key” subscription based music streaming services. Youtube will launch Youtube Music Key and Google will re-brand their existing service to Google Play Music Key. Youtube’s service will be $9.99/month after a 1 month free trial and will consist of over 20 million high – quality tracks. Listeners will be able to stream ad-free, audio-only music and will have access to full artist discographies. They will also be able to access covers, concert footage, and remixes. This is something that most competitors cannot currently offer. The official launch date for the service has not been announced.

Owners of Vevo have decided not to sell. Current stakeholders have decided to continue development in house and remain independent. The music video streaming site owned by Universal Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Google and the Abu Dhabi Media Group has seen vast growth since launching in 2009. Specifically, the site had 227 million viewers around the world since December 31st, 2013 and stands as the 5th largest web destination behind sites like Google and Facebook. Expected revenue in 2014 is estimated at $350 million.

Downtown Music Publishing Group has signed Old Crow Medicine Show to a worldwide publishing agreement. The grammy award winning group most famous for their song “Wagon Wheel” inked the deal this week that covers their 5 studio album. Their latest effort Remedy was released July 1st via ATO Records.

Music Publishing News Weekly Roundup: August 15th, 2014

15 Aug


The Top 10 Music Publishing companies have been announced for the 2nd quarter of 2014. Leading the way with a 32.2% share of the top 100 songs is Sony/ATV. This is an increase from their 31.9% share in the 1st quarter of 2014. The quarterly success of Sony/ATV is partially due to their control of the the EMI Music Publishing catalog as well as country cuts like Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic”. Universal Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell ranked No. 2 and 3 with 15.2% and 14.3%. The 7 companies that followed ranked for the most part the same as the 1st quarter of 2014 with the exception of SONGS and BMG Chrysalis who switched places. Round Hill also entered the list for the first time at No. 7 largely due to their 3x Platinum hit “Best Day Of My Life” by American Authors.

ASCAP and BMI have submitted Comments to the Department of Justice to review the consent decrees currently in place. In their comments, the PRO’s request that their members gain the ability to withdraw digital rights. This will allow music publishers to negotiate direct deals with music services. They have also requested the ability to collect not only performances rights, but any other rights a member may need (ie. mechanical or synchronization). Lastly, both organizations called for the removal of rate courts from the process, claiming it will be faster and more efficient without them involved. With these comments in place, the PRO’s hope to modernize the system to better serve their songwriters and music publisher affiliates.

ASCAP held a private showcase in Nashville on Tuesday, August 12th to promote their members for CMA Awards voting consideration. The “P.R.O.mote The Vote” invite only event featured performances by Lady Antebellum, Eric Pasley, Dan + Shay and many others. The final votes for this years awards show will commence Friday, August 22nd and the show will air this November.

Music Publishing Weekly News Roundup: August 8th, 2014

7 Aug


Pandora has struck a deal with Merlin. The global rights agency that represents over 20,000 indie labels including Epitaph, Razor & Tie, and Wind-Up Records announced the deal with the Music-Tech giant this past Wednesday. This marks Pandora’s first direct label deal and will allow Merlin’s labels to negotiate royalty rates instead of paying statutory rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. With this new deal in place, not only will Merlin’s artists see increased royalty payments, but Pandora will provide them with access to metadata that was otherwise restricted. Merlin’s artists will also now be able to use Pandora as a platform for direct-to-fan access.

Rhapsody has acquired and Soundtracking in an effort to compete in the growing streaming market. With this deal in place, Rhapsody plans to use the’s technology to help the listener base discover their favorite music within Rhapsody’s catalog. Dan Kantor, cofounder of will take over as V.P. of Product for Rhapsody. Rhapsody also announced its acquisition of Schematic Labs, the company behind Soundtracking. This deal will allow Rhapsody’s user base to engage in social media and music sharing while using the service.

Zac Brown has signed with SESAC. Following recent signings of catalogs from Kurt Cobain and Mariah Carey, SESAC will now represent the catalog of Grammy Award winning Zac Brown Band. Some of the band’s biggest hits are “Sweet Annie”, “Chicken Fried”, and “Colder Weather”. Their latest release “The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1” was released in December of 2013 via Southern Ground.

What You Didn’t Know About Radio Royalties

6 Aug

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When you hear a song on the radio, who gets paid?

It’s probably not who you think. Today, we’re going to answer your questions and squash one of the most common misconceptions in the royalties/music publishing world.

Let’s start with an example: 

Remember Britney Spears “…Baby One More Time”, the international chart-topping smash hit from the late 90s? You know it as a Britney Spears song, but Britney did not actually write any of it.

When we talk about music publishing, we must always differentiate between songwriter and artist. As music publishers, we are focused on songwriters – protecting their rights and helping them collect royalties. For most of the Billboard Hot 100, the artist did not write the hit song on their own. They either used a team of songwriters or ‘cut’ (recorded) someone else’s composition entirely. In our example case, Britney wrote none of the song. It was written by one of the most important and successful songwriters of our generation, Max Martin.

So, for our example - 
Britney Spears
Songwriter: Max Martin

Royalties and Radio:


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Radio airplay is considered a public performance. Public performances generate performance royalties for songwriters, which are collected by the PROs (ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC). In the US, terrestrial broadcasters (AM or FM stations) do not pay performers or sound recording copyright owners; they only pay the songwriters.

So, for every time “…Baby One More Time” plays on the radio – Max Martin and his publisher receive performance royalties from ASCAP (Max’s PRO). However, the performer Britney does not earn any royalties.

(Note: some other performance royalty sources, including internet radio, do pay performers and sound recording copyright owners. If you are a recording artist or copyright owner, you should register with SoundExchange to collect royalties from these sources.)


Performers/Artists do not earn any royalties each time a song is played on the radio – performance royalties are split among the songwriters.

Of course, oftentimes the performer/artist is also one of the songwriters. In those cases, they would earn their share of the songwriter royalties, depending on how much of the song they wrote.

Performers, artists, and record labels use broadcast radio as a promotional tool to expose their music to more fans and hopefully sell more records. Luckily, songwriters and publishers are able to earn performance royalties from radio airplay.

Author: Ken Consor