Music Business: Copyright Board Royalties Decision Looming | 262

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How to honestly and properly compensate those of us who are responsible for creating the recordings and doing the gigs is one of the big puzzles that the digital era has yet to fully address. And it is difficult.

pandora-copyright-board-artists-royaltiesSadly, the suits are back in business. Setting payments for Internet radio services like Pandora has been the responsibility of a three-judge court known as the Copyright Royalty Board. In December, the Copyright Royalty Board is expected to decide how and how much songwriters and performers will be compensated for their intellectual property. So far, things don’t seem promising for songwriters and everyone else involved in the production of music.

The U.S. Copyright Office this week backed a Pandora deal with Merlin Network, a worldwide rights organization for independent musicians. for additional information on how this back-room bargain is essentially giving Pandora more firepower to drive down the royalties rate to an all-time low. Additionally, internet radio providers like iHeart and Janga are advocating for a reduced royalty charge.

The Director of Public Affairs at Pandora, Dave Grimaldi, writes in a news release issued the same day as the U.S. Copyright Office’s decision that “we look forward to the certainty that December’s decision will bring, and are prepared to thrive in a number of potential outcomes.” In essence, this implies that Pandora and all of the major internet radio providers will soon keep more of the revenue. It belongs to the musicians and artists. Additionally, this has the unsettling cascading effect of leaving artists, recording studios, audio engineers, and other people who labor to produce new music with even less money; the less money a popular song brings in, the less money there is to produce the next one.

Another setback for songwriters and everyone else involved in the creative side of the music business is Mr. Grimaldi’s confidence in a decision that will benefit Internet radio firms. Hopefully, people will start speaking up, paying attention, and starting to support musicians in these decisions rather than the typical industry fat cats. As the December decision approaches, more information will become available.

Filed under: Blog Music Business

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