Archive | October 2018

A Curated List Of My Thoughts On The Music Modernization Act (And Related Topics)


I am a very vocal music creators’ rights advocate and copyright purist. Often, I have the opportunity to share my *opinions* on topics within and circling the music industry that impact the ways in which music creators — especially DIY musicians — navigate and thrive in the United States.

Over the last ten months I have been especially vocal about the Music Modernization Act. I’ve been quoted in Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Digital Media News. I’ve been invited to panel discussions at music industry conferences and keynotes at universities. And I have written several think pieces (and rants) on the bill, which is now law, and related issues.

Still, I am asked what my thoughts are on the MMA.

I’ll summarize my thoughts by saying that I believe the intent of the MMA is good and admirable on its surface — that is, to improve the way rightsholders are accounted to and paid for the use of their music. I believe there is some good stuff in the MMA; particularly, the entirety of Title 2 (The CLASSICS Act) and Title 3 (The AMP Act). However, I feel that there is still work to be done. I also feel that some compromises, at the expense of DIY music creators, were made too easily (this is partially based on private discussions that I’ve had with individuals with privileged knowledge of the negotiations and dealings that took place during the drafting and subsequent amending of the MMA). That being said, I also believe that the soon to be formed Mechanical Licensing Collective has the opportunity to prove to songwriters that this law was truly about them.

Only time will tell.

Here’s a 2018 curated list of my “thoughts” on the Music Modernization Act (and related topics):

  • (Oct 16, 2018) Here Are 10 Ways That The Music Licensing Collective (MLC) Can Set The Bar As A Collective Licensing Organization In The 21st Century –
  • (Sep 14th, 2018 in Pitchfork) Why So Many Hip-Hop Producers Are Putting Business Before Beats –
  • (Aug 19th, 2018) Another Music Modernization Act Opinion Piece –
  • (Aug 15th, 2018 in Rolling Stone) Why More Pop Songwriters Are Stepping Into the Spotlight –
  • (Jul 24th, 2018) Songwriters Are Owed Nearly $2B In Unclaimed Royalties!!! — Maybe More — I’ve Been Saying This For Some Time Now (Against Pushback), But Finally The Press Has Confirmed It –
  • (May 15th, 2018 in Billboard) Black Box Royalties Myths, Common Misconceptions Debunked at Music Biz 2018 –
  • (May 7th, 2018 in Digital Music News) Is the Music Modernization Act Enabling ‘Legal Theft’ Against Smaller Artists? –
  • (Apr 25th, 2018) 5 Ways The Music Modernization Act Could Be Fairer To ALL Music Creators –
  • (Apr 20th, 2018) I Was Interviewed By The Congressional Budget Office Regarding The Music Modernization Act, And Now I’m Even More Concerned For DIY Musicians –
  • (Jan 17th, 2018) – My Thoughts On The MMA In Light Of The CRB Mechanical License Rate Decision –

Where do you stand on the MMA?

Here Are 10 Ways That The Music Licensing Collective (MLC) Can Set The Bar As A Collective Licensing Organization In The 21st Century

music licensing collective dae bogan

If you work in the music industry and own a radio, TV, smartphone, or computer then you’ve probably already heard that the The Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA) has been signed into law. At this point, every major music rights organization has published their praise of the legislation, which will create a blanket streaming mechanical license for Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Google, Tidal, and other on-demand music streaming companies; bring pre-1972 sound recordings under federal copyright protection and open up a flow of royalties from digital services to the artists (or their estates) and copyright owners of those recordings; and codify an allocation of digital radio royalties to music producers.

Title 1 of the MMA, also called Music Modernization Act, sets out  provisions and guidance for the formation of a collective mechanical licensing body to be called the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). The MLC will administer a safe harbor blanket license for the streaming of musical works, collect licensee fees from licensees, prepare and remit statements of earnings to songwriters and music publishers, and make royalty payments to the same.

The MLC will join the ranks of SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the sense that it will become a powerful representative of the collective rights of thousands of music creators and rights-holders in the United States. However, unlike its counterparts, the MLC will be born in the 21st century. And as a 21st century collective licensing organization, the MLC has the unique opportunity to implement, at inception, 21st century business practices utilizing 21st century best practices and technologies.

Here are 10 ways that the Mechanical Licensing Collective can set the bar as a 21st century collective licensing organization:
1.) Provide its members with a data BI (business intelligence) dashboard to better visualize their mechanical royalties data and dive deeper into their statements. The dashboard could enable forecasting based on projected streaming activity (maybe offer scenario planning, which makes it possible to attract loans against future royalties). They could ingest data from a service like BuzzAngle to offer estimated royalty accrual in real-time so that members who are artists can see the net effect of playlist streaming campaigns on their bottom line and choose to invest more into campaigns in virtual real-time.
2.) Maintain a public and accessible unclaimed royalties database. Deploy artificial intelligence to evaluate unmatched usage reports as opposed to relying solely on exact name and ISWC matches. And expand the statute of limitations on unclaimed royalties to 10 years
3.) Require DSPs who take advantage of the safe harbor streaming mechanical license to recommend (and provide guidance) to aggregators and labels to provide composition ownership information in their metadata when uploading releases to the DSP. This can be done with custom parameters in DDEX ERN or via the new DDEX MWN (Musical Works Ownership) message schema.
4.) Work with the U.S. Copyright Office to create an integrated musical works registrations process so that works are simultaneously registered with the MLC and LOC.
5.) Expand the statute of limitation period on unclaimed royalties to 10 years and hold funds in an interest-bearing escrow account from which 25% of the interest flows to the general fund of the MLC and 75% of the interest is paid to the payee, along with the balance of unpaid royalties, once the payee has come forward or have been found.
6.) Commission an annual audit and publish the findings to members.
7.) Use blockchain, where applicable.
8.) Remit statements and payments monthly when a member opts to receive direct deposits and electronic statements.
9.) Display assessed administration fees on royalty statements.
10.) Do not implement high usage weights or bonuses.

My Response To Ari Herstand’s Comments Regarding TuneRegistry

Tonight, I finally had time to read a recent piece by Ari Herstand in which he reviewed a Spotify playlist submission service called Playlist Push owned by an acquaintance of mine. It was a good piece because Ari spent time using the service and met with the founder to ask questions. His review was credible because he was knowledgeable. Like the good journalist that I generally respect him as, he did his research well.

However, I was taken aback when I clicked through to another article — on registering music with music rights organizations (an obvious interest of mine) — that was referenced in the Playlist Push article and came across a passage at the end where Ari precedes to pass judgment on my company, TuneRegistry, and tells his readers that he can’t recommend us. This was shocking and upsetting because, unlike his review of Playlist Push, Ari has not used TuneRegistry and has never set with me, the founder, to discuss what we do or ask questions (despite the fact that I have invited him to do so in the past). In fact, he states in what is basically a sort of rant against our model, that he has questions about our service.

Ari wrote,

Worth mentioning that TuneRegistry is a new company that was created to get your songs registered most places for a fee. They don’t take a commission, so they don’t really put much effort into tracking down your royalties, they just get your songs registered and hope that the appropriate organizations pay you correctly (but you are required to register yourself with all the organizations they collect from – which is a major headache and NOT recommended). TuneRegistry takes a lot more effort and hands on work by you, but they serve a purpose for those that have the time, energy and understanding of how all this works and want to manage it themselves (and keep all their royalties).

But, you do not need to use them. Let me repeat, you do NOT need to use TuneRegistry (I got some questions about this). I just listed them as an alternative to an admin publishing company. To be honest, I can’t recommend them because of the headaches they cause in making you register with all these orgs. But some people like headaches. So… go for it! I recommend giving up 15% to a full-fledged admin publishing company and saving yourself the headache.

In response, I left the following comment on the article so that readers of Ari’s piece would receive more context from me, the founder of TuneRegistry:

TuneRegistry founder here. I appreciate that Ari decided to mention us in this piece. He’s one of the champs out here providing information to independent artists. That being said, as a music creator rights’ advocate, speaker, writer, music business educator (, and former indie artist and music manager, I would like to add some context to our offering as a counter to the negative-leaning and misleading tone presented in the piece.

TuneRegistry is an affordable (two Starbucks coffees a month) software that empowers DIY music creators to administer the music rights that they own and control, while retaining 100% of their copyrights and 100% of their royalties. We enable both composition side and master side rights administration, all in one place.

Prior to launching TuneRegistry — which was co-founded by a music industry professional & educator, two lawyers, and a technologist…all of whom are also musicians — I spent 2 years working with all of the U.S. music rights organizations to get them onboard to allow self-published music creators to reap the benefits of being their own publisher. This means, you do not have to give up 20% of your publishing income in perpetuity (until you cancel) just because a 3rd party publishing administrator registered a song for you with a PRO one time several years ago.

Ari states that we “don’t take a commission, so they don’t really put much effort into tracking down your royalties, they just get your songs registered and hope that the appropriate organizations pay you correctly.” It is correct that we do not take a commission. 100% of the royalties flow to the rights-holder. The notion that we do not care about your royalty flow is grossly misleading. We care immensely about your ability to be accounted to and paid royalties. It is this fundamental idea, the creators should be paid all of what they are due, that is at the heart of TuneRegistry. We work with creators every single day to clear conflicts, disputes, push customer service inquiries at societies forward, and provide education on how royalties work and how to collect them (see our free ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label & Publisher” I personally spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in the music industry, at conferences and meeting with organizations and societies to improve outcomes for indies. In a word, we care. We are smaller than all of the traditional publishing administration companies that Ari mentioned in his piece, some of whom boast about having over 150,000 songwriters in their catalog. Without disparaging any of them, I will say that it is impossible to actively “track down” royalties for 150,000 songwriters. Passively receiving royalty payments and unauditied royalty statements, is not the same as tracking down royalties, something that I’ve done with my other company, the world’s first search engine for unclaimed royalties, but I’ll digress.

Ari also mentions that, “you are required to register yourself with all the organizations they collect from – which is a major headache and NOT recommended.” We do not collect from any organization at this time. Because you receive 100% of your royalties, you must go to the organization and create accounts to provide them with your banking information so that they can pay you. You must also create accounts so we have an account to register your music into from the TuneRegistry dashboard. This is a one-time thing for only up to 6 organizations. It literally takes an hour or two to submit the applications. This isn’t really that much of a headache. In my opinion, a much bigger headache is giving up 20% of your U.S. publishing royalties in perpetuity (until you cancel) to a 3rd party because you couldn’t put a few hours on a Saturday afternoon aside to get this done. You (the reader) should do the math and be the judge. Can you take out one afternoon to join a few U.S. music rights organizations and then keep 100% of your U.S. music royalties or are you too busy to complete a few forms and would therefore opt to give away 20% of your publishing income in perpetuity? Also, the notion that creating your own accounts is “not recommended” is a fallacy. Not only do all of the organizations encourage music creators to be proactive in their own rights administration, they actively suggest and educate you on how to do so. See this article ( that we wrote with the approval of Harry Fox Agency showing indie songwriters step-by-step how to get their own account and unlock their Spotify mechanical royalties, which we’ve been doing for some time now (including facilitating opt-ins into direct Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus licenses). Our free ebook mentioned above provides instructions on how to properly setup your own music rights company. We’ve helped many artists and managers do so, and they’ve written positive feedback from this guidance (

Ari stated, “TuneRegistry takes a lot more effort and hands on work by you, but they serve a purpose for those that have the time, energy and understanding of how all this works and want to manage it themselves (and keep all their royalties).” Yes, we built TuneRegistry for music creators who care about knowing what’s going on with their music business, who care about the ownership and management of their catalogs, and who’d rather get paid all of their U.S. music publishing income faster (no 2 calendar quarters delay by a 3rd party administrator) by being paid directly from U.S. music rights organizations.

Ari writes, “But, you do not need to use them. Let me repeat, you do NOT need to use TuneRegistry.” Technically, you do NOT need to use anyone. This was a bit of an unnecessary statement. He continues, “I got some questions about this. I just listed them as an alternative to an admin publishing company. To be honest, I can’t recommend them because of the headaches they cause in making you register with all these orgs. But some people like headaches.” I would be happy to discuss. I’ve invited you to this discussion several times. You have my email. And please drop the “it’s a headache” bit. That is an incredibly subjective and unfair characterization of the process, by someone who has yet to go through it with us, no less.

Ari concludes, “I recommend giving up 15% to a full-fledged admin publishing company and saving yourself the headache.” To this I say, to each his own. I think there are great admin publishing companies out there doing great work. Many, however, do not accept DIY musicians. In fact, one stated this during his panel at Music Biz Expo this summer. An artist in the room asked what he should do since traditional publishing administrators would not represent his small catalog. The speaker said that artists will just have to wait until their careers grow. I stood up and rejected that notion and introduced TuneRegistry. I do not accept that music creators need to give away up to 20% of their U.S. publishing income. And we’ve been proving this with our users since we launched at SXSW in 2017.

In closing, Ari I appreciate your desire and work to spread information to music creators. Many look to you for advice, insight, and truth. As a writer or contributing journalist myself, I respect your usual research-driven evaluations of services and resources. However, I don’t think you gave us a fair review here since you’ve neither used TuneRegistry nor set down with me to talk about what we’re doing or how. Since you chose to mention my company in your article, a company that my team and I spend and sacrifice so much time and resources to help hundreds of DIY music creators, I would like to invite you, again, to have a discussion with me so that you can get a demo and ask any questions that you may have.

– Dae Bogan
Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, TuneRegistry
Lecturer of Musicology, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Music 2020: The Next Era of Innovation in the Music Industry


Wednesday night, at California State University – Northridge (CSUN), I conducted my latest workshop, “Music 2020: The Next Era of Innovation in the Music Industry,” in Professor Andrew L. Surmani’s class for his M.A., Music Industry Administration students.

In this workshop, we explore the art and process of ideation; discuss the differences between invention, disruption, and innovation; and profile a number of developing innovations within the music industry including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain and crypotcurrency. The presentation ends with a design thinking exercise where students break out into groups to work through the fundamental design thinking process of developing a minimum viable product to solve a vetted problem in the music industry.

The students seemed to like the workshop:

Dae, you were fantastic and the CSUN MIA students thoroughly enjoyed your very organized, insightful and forward thinking presentation. That was evident in the line of students waiting to talk to you at the break. Thank you again for coming to talk to our graduate music industry students.

– Andrew Surmani, Associate Professor of Music Industry Studies, California State University – Northridge

I’m looking forward to conducting this workshop next week at the College of the Canyons.

How Blockchain And Cryptocurrency Can Speed Up Spotify International Publishing Royalty Payments To US Songwriters

cryptocurrency and music

There’s been a lot of talk about applications of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency payments in the music industry. In fact, there isn’t a single major music industry conference that doesn’t dedicate some programming to related topics. There are several projects and startups currently underway to address licensing, discovery, attribution, remuneration and more with blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency.

For those of us who aren’t blockchain developers, simply keeping up with the many applications of blockchain in the music industry is the closest we’ll get actually knowing how this all (could) works.

I’ve been thinking about how blockchain and cryptocurrency could speed up the process of paying U.S. songwriters, who wait upwards of 1.5 years to get paid for the use of their songs on Spotify outside the U.S.

The current state of the flow of international publishing income to U.S. Independent Songwriters who own their publishing and use traditional publishing administrators to collect in the U.S. is quite depressing.

As an example, Tommy released a song on Spotify in January 2018. In the United Kingdom, the song earned $100 “publisher share” Spotify UK digital public performance royalties.

Here’s the breakdown:

START: $100 “publisher share” of Spotify UK digital performance royalties in January 2018.

1. PRS collects Tommy’s publishing income in the UK ($100) in January 2018.

2. PRS retains 10% admin fee and remits the balance ($90) to ASCAP in October 2018.

3. ASCAP retains 12% admin fee and remits the balance ($79.20) to the Publishing Administrator in February 2019.

4. Publishing Administrator retains 20% admin fee and pays Tommy ($63.36) in July 2019.

END: Tommy is paid $63.36 for his Spotify UK “publisher share” income (earned $100) after waiting 1.5 years and experiencing a reduction of 37% of his royalties. Imagine $1,000 reduced to $633.60 or $10,000 reduced to $6,336.00.

Had Spotify used blockchain technology to dynamically identify Tommy as the rightsholder in his song and paid him instantly at the close of the month with cryptocurrency, Tommy would have already spent his $100 on studio time!

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