Friday, June 08, 2012

Some really interesting developments on broadcast royalties

You may or may not know this, but when you hear a song on the radio, only the writer of the song gets paid - not the performing artist or the label. Sometimes, the writer and the artist are the same, but not always. This is the way it's been forever, but if the latest deal between Clear Channel, the biggest radio station owning company in the world, and Big Machine, Taylor Swift's record label, catches on, this could mean a major change, as reported by Tunecore. In part:
Taylor Swift’s Big Machine Gets Paid By George Howard Hell occasionally does freeze over, apparently. Continents shift. I have to say that I never thought I’d see a day where the terrestrial radio stations paid a performance royalty to the owner of the sound recording. Now, to be clear, this tectonic shift did not occur due to new new legislation, but, apparently, occurred via free-market negotiations. The implications of this deal between Clear Channel and the Big Machine Label Group (home to, among others, Taylor Swift) are potentially huge, and not just for performers/labels with respect to finally being paid when their copyrighted material is publicly performed, but for the industry as a whole. It signals a move towards transparency, which could/should lead to new participants entering the music industry. As such, we may finally see some innovation.
The rest of the article is here. Interesting and ground breaking stuff, to be sure. Icindentially, I'll admit that until I read this article, I hadn't realised that when you stream a song, you have to pay not only the writer, but also SoundExchange. I'm sure this is one of the reasons it's so hard for streaming only stations to stay in business. Not only is the monetization model for streaming underdeveloped - no commercials and things like what keeps a terrestrial station going, but they're paying more to play the songs than terrestrial stations. Or at least, they were.