Songwriters move closer toward proposing blanket mechanical licensing law

Several organizations within the music industry are making an effort to create a blanket mechanical license for digital music services. David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, introduced the latest push at the monthly meeting of the Association of Independent Music Publishers. The proposed law would streamline the process of collecting mechanical royalties as well as revising the rate-setting process. The end result, according to the groups working to draft this possible legislation, would be a simpler approach to paying royalties for companies such as Spotify and Apple and a fair rate paid to songwriters through a conduit similar to SoundExchange.

“What I am suggesting is a paradigm change about how we think about data ownership,” Israelite said. “Now, we consider songwriter data proprietary. But this will make the data available so anybody can see which publishers have which songs.”

Israelite said that although some negotiations remain, the framework of the proposed bill has been agreed to by the participants. The National Songwriters Association International, the Songwriters of North America, the Council of Music Creators, ASCAP, BMI, and Music Answers are all participating in negotiations around this proposed law. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) would be the bill’s sponsor in the House, while Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tx.) would sponsor it in the Senate.

Anna Washenko