Universal Music Publishing Group has followed through on the plans it made earlier this summer to list its catalog online. For starters, the online Song List only includes the portions of its catalog written by members of the ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC performing rights organizations. The company plans to expand the list over time.
The online list includes details about who wrote the song, which collecting societies are affiliated with it, whether the writer is signed to Universal, and what percentage of the copyright the company controls. This information is intended to make it easier for licensees and users to know the background of UMPG’s library.
We’re seeing a push from the top publishers to make good on their threats to potentially withdraw their libraries from collective licensing agreements to attempt to negotiate better deals for digital uses of the music. Providing transparency about the ownership and rights to their catalogs is just the first step, one that Sony/ATV also took in July. The Department of Justice is weighing the digital rights bundling issue now, and although it has a lot of fodder and opinions from the music industry, it has yet to release any formal decisions.