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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, August 19, 2016



The National Music Publishers Association and Nashville Songwriters Association International have submitted a new rate proposal to the Copyright Royalty Board.  For digital licensing, the NMPA/NSAI are proposing a “three-pronged” formula to determine mechanical rates, with the enacted prong being whichever formula results in the most revenue at the end of each month.  The two organizations are still petitioning the Copyright Royalty Board to eliminate Sony Music’s competing proposal from consideration in the rate-setting process.

A recent survey by Greenwich Associates reports financial and technology markets will invest $1 billion in blockchain technology this year. Blockchain is a distributed, encrypted system of transferring assets, and the architecture behind bitcoin. It is considered by many in the financial industry as having the potential to transform finance, but it has also been considered to be a possible solution to improving data management in the music industry.

RSP has broken ties with RAO, the Russian collection society, following fraud claims against the society.  RAO’s general director Sergei Fedotov is in custody over allegations that he funneled $7.7 million out of the organization in a series of dubious real estate deals, though a spokesman for RAO states that the company maintains there are no grounds for the accusations.  Since 2011, RSP has transferred to RAO over 1.3 billion rubles ($20 million) earmarked for rights holders and paid RAO a commission of 6.5 million rubles ($100,000).

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Advanced Songcraft Tools for Professional Songwriters, Part IV

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

Are you on top of your songwriting game? Training for songwriter gold!


Like winning a Gold medal represents the pinnacle of an athlete’s body’s performance, writing a chart-topping song represents the pinnacle of a songwriter’s communication performance!

The Olympics in Rio reminded me how an athlete’s success is based on the training and support they receive from a routine and a team of specialists.

Unlike athletes, songwriters build perception; perception is our muscle.

So how perceptive are you about your songwriting game? What’s strong about it, what needs improvement? Below is a quick quiz to find out if you’re a Gold, Silver, or Bronze contender!

Like any other serious professional we should be training just as hard for success if not harder than most professionals. Our training gear is songcraft; the use of songcraft in the writing of many, many songs builds deeper perception and understanding (muscle) of the communication opportunity in our ideas, music, lyrics, and tracks: writing what we need to say and what an audience wants to hear.

Athletes use a variety of coaches, apparatus, drills, diets, and mental conditioning to prep for performance. What are you using in terms of songcraft, the songwriting training equivalent to compete in a world just as challenging as the top performing athletes? Let’s find out:

  2. Listen to your song while reading the APPARATUS CHECK LIST below and fill in your score honestly for each:
    10 = Yes, Extremely Well
    5 = Somewhat, but could be better
    1 = No, wasn’t thinking about that while writing the song
  3. Add up your score and we’ll review what it means at the end of the post!



Does the song let the audience know what it’s about in 5-10 seconds?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Before you started writing your song or after you finished it and were reviewing it, did you know exactly why you wrote it and what you wanted the audience to “take away” from it?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Songs typically have one basic emotion at their heart: hope, loss, regret, reassurance, empowerment, or grief for example.  Did you know which emotion was driving your song before or during the time you wrote it?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Did you recognize what type of song you were writing?  Was it devotional love, coming of age, a make-up, a break-up, party, empowerment, or other?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Did you base your song on an event that actually happened, whether in your own life or the life of a friend or loved one?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Can your audience see their life and experiences in your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Did you use the songcraft tools of opportunity, perspective, momentum, and contrast to build your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Did you use musical grammar (a consistent song form) and lyrical grammar (a logical flow of what needs to be said in each line) when writing your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Did you mirror write, or use “reverse song engineering” of a major hit to write your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___



Did you keep the song simple and direct?

10___                                        5___                                        1___


GOLD: 80-100
SILVER: 50-79
BRONZE: 29-40

Songwriters are my favorite people because creatively we are some of the bravest; we face a blank page and are expected to bring excellence every time.  If you need or want to improve your game, contact me to join one of my workshops, forums, or private sessions at or check out my programs at

Song Arts starts its annual Fall Workshop Intensive on Tuesday, September 27th in NYC. Limited to 15 students–apply now!


© 2016 Billy Seidman all rights reserved

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

Part I
Part II
Part III

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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, August 12, 2016


Ozzy Osbourne and his company Blizzard Music Limited have been sued by his former songwriting partner and bassist Bob Daisley. Daisley claims that Osbourne and his company had been improperly deducting undisclosed fees before paying out royalties related to the Prince of Darkness’ hit “Crazy Train,” and is seeking $2 million in unpaid royalties. Osbourne reps say the action being taken against them is “tantamount to harassment” based on Daisley’s previous audits and lawsuits against Osbourne.

The Eastern Virginia District Court’s decision results in BMG winning $25 million in damages from US cable provider Cox. The court dismissed Cox’s appeal and upheld the jury’s verdict that the firm failed to act upon its subscribers’ music piracy, citing “sufficient evidence” that Cox had not compiled with DMCA rules protecting ISPs from infringement. The case began with complaints from BMG that its requests that pirated music downloads by Cox network users should be identified and stopped had been ignored.

Sony/ATV, Warner Music, Ed Sheeran, and his team are being sued by the heirs of Ed Townsend for alleged copyright infringement. The suit alleges that Sheeran’s hit “Thinking Out Loud” willfully infringes on the “harmonic progressions, melodic and rhythmic elements” as well as the “heart” of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” which was co-written by Townsend. The lawsuit arrives a year-and-a-half after a landmark copyright case in the US, which saw Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams adjudged to have infringed Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” with their hit “Blurred Lines.”

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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, August 5, 2016


ASCAP and BMI have joined forces to release a statement against the Department of Justice’s decision to mandate 100% licensing.  BMI also announced that it was taking legal action to challenge the decision in Federal Court, while ASCAP is “tak[ing] the lead for the two PROs in pursuing a legislative solution to ensure the continued availability of fractional licensing as well as other remedies to the outdated consent decree regulations that disadvantage songwriters and composers in the digital age.”  In a letter to ASCAP members, President Paul Williams urged songwriters to stay united to fight the DOJ’s decision and lend their support to ASCAP and BMI initiatives.

The European Commission will allow Sony Corp to take 100% ownership of Sony/ATV worldwide, bolstering the major music company’s market power.  With the masters and the publishing that Sony controls, combined with its partial ownership of EMI Music Publishing, the EC approval sets Sony on track to quickly meet, or perhaps even surpass, UMG’s $5.7 billion combined publishing/master revenues last year.  President of the National Music Publishers Association, David Israelite expressed his concern, saying that this acquisition is in the best interests of recorded music rather than songwriters, and that Sony Music is “driven by an outdated mindset that somehow if songwriters get less from digital music services there will be more for [its] record label.”

SESAC and Swiss PRO SUISA have created Mint Digital Licensing, a joint venture that will license and administer rights for the use of both of their repertoires on digital services.  The initiative is in response to the European Commission’s wish for cooperation among music rights organizations to enable users to negotiate licenses with as few companies as possible.  This new joint venture will allow for better data management, improved transparency, and faster royalty payments, as SESAC advances in its “plan to build a multi-regional licensing platform at scale.”

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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, July 29, 2016


The National Music Publishers’ Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association have moved to exclude Sony Music Entertainment from participating in the Copyright Royalty Board’s proceeding to determine mechanical royalty rates for a variety of services. The NMPA/NSAI argue that because Sony is neither a licensor (i.e. music publishers) nor a licensee (i.e. digital services), it should not influence rate setting procedures, while Sony argues that it works closely with songwriters who have a direct interest in the rate. Sony’s proposed rate, while not released, is assumed to be lower than what the NMPA/NSAI are seeking.

After raising $9.25 million since its 2008 launch and signing an exclusive deal with The Coca-Cola Company to be the brand’s global music partner, sync licensing service Music Dealers has gone out of business. Music Dealers founder and CEO Eric Sheinkop has moved on to a new startup, desirelist, co-founded with former Coca-Cola executive Judith Snyder. Meanwhile, artists/songwriters who had used Music Dealers to help place their music are left without payment and unsure who is in control of their compositions.

For the 16th quarter in a row, Sony/ATV claimed the title of top U.S. music publisher for the 2nd quarter of 2016, with help from Mike Posner’s “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” which ranked #2 among airplay songs. Warner/Chappell, who control the #1 ranked song, “7 Years” by Lukas Graham, comes in second with regards to market share. The song ranked #3 for the quarter, Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home” ft. TY Dolla Sign, is represented by 4 of the top 5 publishers.

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