SESAC has agreed to pay $58.5 million to TV stationsin a settlement with the Television Music License Committee, involved with a class-action suit filed against the privately owned Performing Rights Organization for alleged antitrust behavior. The suit was filed on behalf of local television broadcasters, with TMLC establishing the legal bills. The settlement will reimburse stations for around $42.5 million in excess fees, as well as TMLC’s legal fees of $16 million. In agreeing to settle the case, SESAC has denied any violations of antitrust law, but has negotiated industry-wide agreements with TLMC for 20 years.
Universal Music Publishing Group has signed Neil Diamond to a worldwide publishing administration agreement. UMPG will provide global copyright administration for the entirety of Diamond’s back catalog as well as all of his future work, including his new studio album, Melody Road. His songs will also be represented for synchronization in film, TV, advertising, and other media.
Big Deal Music has re-signed Dan Wilson, lead singer for Semisonic, to its joint venture deal with BMG Chrysalis. Along with 90’s hits like “Closing Time” and “Secret Smile”, Dan Wilson has also had recent success with songs like Adele’s “Someone Like You”, Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready To Be Nice”, and Taylor Swift’s “Treacherous”. Big Deal will represent the Semisonic back catalog and his future work.
Grooveshark may owe millions to the three major labels as a result of a recent copyright infringement case. The file-sharing hosts millions of songs online available for streaming. Since its launch, the site has gained over 35 million users and has argued that it is legal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. On Monday, however, the judge ruled the site guilty of uploading 5,977 songs without the permission from labels.
Pandora may owe millions to artists and labelsin back royalties. Following the recent win against Sirius XM in a legal battle over the use of pre-1972 recordings, Flo and Eddie of the 1960’s group The Turtles have now launched a new lawsuit with the music streaming giant. The case calls for an amendment to the current copyright law that allows digital broadcasters to not pay out royalties to SoundExchange for the use of pre-1972 recordings. Arguing that Pandora has multiple stations dedicated to pre-1972 recordings, Flo and Eddie are seeking $25 million in the case.
Americans spend 23% of their weekly time listening to music while in the car, according to Nielsen.. After a recent in depth study of U.S. Music Listeners, Neilson Music 360 reported that the vast majority of Americans listen to music over 25 hours each week. They found that most music listening occurs during an activity, the highest being driving and lowest exercising. American’s listen to music over a variety of different platforms, radio being the top with 59% followed by a combination of personal libraries and streaming services. With 7 in 10 Americans now owning a Smartphone, this listening platform is rapidly growing.
BMI collected $977 Million in revenues for the fiscal year 2014, a growth of $33 Million from last year’s $944 Million. A reported $7.5 Billion has been collected in the past 10 – year period. The top US Performing Rights Organization with songwriter members such as Taylor Swift, Adele, Maroon 5 and Kanye West attribute their success to a variety of sources that broadcast music. The largest source of revenue came from cable and satellite entertainment with licensing income from public businesses grew in revenue significantly.
Pandora and Sirius XM may owe millions to artists and labels in back royalties after losing the legal battle to Flo & Eddie over the use of pre-1972 recordings. Made by members of the 1960’s group The Turtles, the case called for an amendment to the current copyright law that allows digital broadcasters to not pay out royalties to SoundExchange for the use of pre-1972 recordings. As a result of the ruling on Monday, these two digital radio stations could be liable for back royalties they failed to pay SoundExchange for pre-1972 recordings which in Pandora’s case may be $17.1 million and for Sirius XM $33.4 million. This legal battle is followed by SoundExchange’s recent launch of their “RESPECT Act” campaign which calls for reform of copyright law for pre-1972 recordings as well as royalties from sound recordings paid out from terrestrial radio.
Spotify has introduced video ads as an attempt to generate more revenue from non paying users. The leading music streaming service’s “Sponsored Session” will be a 15-30 second video ad followed by 30 minutes of uninterrupted music. The idea behind this new strategy is to allow non paying users to have longer uninterrupted listening time in exchange for an up front video message. A similar campaign was launched for desktop Spotify users called “Video Takeover”. Several brands are opting into this new strategy including McDonalds, Nike, Sprint, and Target.
ASCAP has announced a new Songwriter’s Workshop in NYC. This year’s Jerry Ragovoy Songwriters Workshop as a tribute to historic ASCAP writer of hits such as “Piece Of My Heart”, “Cry Baby”, and “Get It While You Can”. The workshop will be held at ASCAP’s NYC offices and will span over 3 dates in October. During the sessions, a select few advanced songwriters will learn from guest speakers in A&R, Music Publishing, Management, and other facets of the industry. The deadline for applying for this event is September 26th, 2014. If you are interested you can learn more here.
The 8th Annual ACM Honors event was held this week at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Hosted by Jake Owen, the show honored winners and nominees for ACM’s that were not televised at the annual PBS ACM Awards. Among many winners was songwriter and ASCAP member Shane Mcanally who won Songwriter Of The Year. To celebrate this award, there were performances from Kelly Clarkson, Hillary Scott, Kacey Musgraves, and Kenny Chesney who all sang their hits written by the acclaimed songwriter. Producer Dan Huff also took home Producer of the Year.
SESAC plans to expand by hiring new chairman and CEO John Josephson. As Co-founder of Downtown Music LLC, former managing director to Allen & Co, and 22 year SESAC board member, Josephson plans to expand the business beyond traditional performing rights. With US PRO’s facing potential withdrawal from major publishers, SESAC predicts these companies will be looking for other options. With a reported $35 Million offer to Harry Fox Agency, SESAC hopes to expand their services to mechanical royalties. This is something ASCAP and BMI cannot do due to consent decrees. SESAC has also acquired a major stake in licensing platform Rumblefish, paying a reported $15 Million for expanded rights. Being the only invitation-only PRO in the US, SESAC will also continue to acquire premium catalogs. Recent acquisitions include Kurt Cobain and Mariah Carey.
Pharrell Williams will join Ryan Tedder at Global Music Rights. The boutique, invitation-only Performing Rights Organization that launched earlier this year, will bring on the writer of hits such as “Get Lucky”, “Blurred Lines”, and “Happy” effective October 1st, 2014. Launched earlier this year, Global Music Rights backed by Azoff MSG Entertainment is attempting to collect additional royalties that major PRO’s may be missing. This signing follows the recent signing of songwriter Ryan Tedder who earned a reported $2.5 million in 2013 from songs he wrote for Beyonce, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, and Ellie Goulding.