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Pandora denied lower royalty rate to BMI after buying radio station

A federal judge has denied Pandora’s request to reverse an earlier rate-setting ruling, and allow Pandora to pay lower music royalties to BMI. The decision is a mile-marker along a twisting path that involves the market-leading Internet radio service (Pandora), both government-regulated PROs (BMI and ASCAP), and South Dakota radio station KXMZ. Continue Reading

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First hints drop of Justice Department’s consent decree decisions

The Department of Justice has been engaged in a review of consent decrees for more than a year. These rules govern the blanket licenses that performing rights organizations negotiate on behalf of music publishers. Billboard has a piece on the changes the department is reported to be considering, according to its unnamed sources. Continue Reading

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Songwriters’ guilds pen open letter decrying publishers’ attempts at ASCAP/BMI split

Several publishers have been vocal about their interest in splitting from the performing rights organizations ASCAP and BMI. Their goal is to exert more control over digital rights management, pushing for increased royalty rates from online streaming services for their songwriters. However, a group of professional organizations and guilds centered on songwriting has released an open letter to publishers asking them to reconsider. Continue Reading

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Pandora and BMI have court date to settle royalty rates

Pandora and BMI are scheduled to go to court tomorrow and hash out the legal issues surrounding the streaming company’s royalty payments to the performing rights organization. BMI is seeking 2.5% of Pandora’s revenue for royalties, up from the 1.75% that it currently pays. Pandora wants a rate of 1.7%, comparable to the rates paid by most terrestrial radio stations. Continue Reading

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Sony boss calls for better songwriter/publisher royalties from streaming

Martin Bandier, chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV, has added his voice to the criticism of rates paid to music publishers for streaming. “We at Sony/ATV want these digital music services to be successful because they are a great way for music fans to listen to music and have the potential to generate significant new revenues for everyone,” he said. “However, this success should not come at the expense of songwriters whose songs are essential for these services to exist and thrive.” Continue Reading

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BMI tells Pandora it’s not expecting publisher withdrawal

A legal tug-of-war between Pandora and performing rights organization BMI has been in progress since a ruling last December, and it took a new twist last week when BMI reportedly advised Pandora that it does not expect any major music publishers to withdraw their catalogs at the end of 2014. This communication was strong on reassurance but weak in specifics. Continue Reading

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Azoff PRO challenges ASCAP/BMI, seeks better rates for songwriters

Copyright has been the hot-button topic of this year, and the role of performing rights organizations has been a central topic of debate. While some of the top publishers like Sony and Universal Music Group are looking for a chance to break from the outside management of their compositions by ASCAP and BMI, the top two PROs embroiled in consent decree rules, there is still some opportunity for shuffling within that business and legal infrastructure. Continue Reading

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Rumor Fact(ory): Sony split from ASCAP/BMI could come by year’s end

As the Department of Justice weighs what to do about digital performance rights, Sony/ATV/EMI has been making bold claims that it would consider leaving the collective licensing system in order to negotiate its own rates. According to The New York Post, that could be happening soon. The paper reported that Sony could split from ASCAP and BMI by the end of the year. Continue Reading