On this day last year, at the invitation of the Honorable Steve Ruwe, a United States Copyright Royalty Judge, I went to Washington, D.C. to participate in the U.S. Copyright Office’s Unclaimed Royalties Study Symposium and speak at The Library Congress on strategies for the effective outreach and engagement of music publishers and independent songwriters. A few months later I joined The Mechanical Licensing Collective as its Head of Third-Party Partnerships to develop and execute strategies to reach and empower music publishers and independent songwriters, composers, and lyricists.
Join me today at 11am PST / 2pm EST for my AMA “Ask Me Anything” session going down today on the @musictectonics App. Get the app at https://app.musictectonics.com (App Store or Google Play)
This is your chance to ask me about trends in music rights technology, @mlc_us new tools to fight messy data, music business tips for music creators during pandemic scale backs and shutdowns, and why I support getting rid of the term “Urban Music,” among other topics.
Some music industry executives believe that my position on many issues affecting music creators is too bullish. They dismiss my analyses as sensationalism. They believe, or are at least silent on the notion, that demanding the fair and equitable treatment of middle-class songwriters and recording artists should come with exceptions that disproportionately benefit corporations: major publishers and digital service providers.
But I am a copyright purist.
I believe that the authors of copyrighted musical works — songwriters — should have more say in the way in which their creations are valued and monetized in the marketplace. I do not believe in trickle-down economics or its promise that what’s best for the few at the top will benefit the majority at the bottom.
Greed disproves this all of the time.
Greed is asking songwriters to forgo the potential financial upside of bringing forward legitimate claims of past copyright infringement while simultaneously telling the songwriter community that monies that may become due to them could be redirected, by market share, to the few at the top who negotiated the preemptive dismissal of claims in the first place. Greed is telling artists to campaign for a piece of legislation that will reduce the number of entrants into the on-demand streaming market while simultaneously controlling/dominating the editorial opportunities of the DSP incumbents, greatly reducing opportunities that would otherwise be made available to emerging artists by startups that wish to partner with and elevate emerging artists.
I do believe that the Music Modernization Act will pass. I just hope that the decision-makers give some real thought to the millions of up-and-coming music creators who are not represented by the individuals who wrote the legislation that’ll change the way their copyrights will be exploited in the U.S.