ASCAP 100 site

ASCAP will be 100 years old in 2014. They have put together an interactive web site with history and music (through Spotify). Check it out at . Some interesting stuff there. When will BMI be 100? How about SESAC?


Cute baby YouTube video sparks infringement suit.

The woman who made a video of her baby in a bathtub splashing water on a curious dachshund is suing another woman who allegedly took the same video and posted it on a site that pays the poster for views of the videos. It was taken down when the original poster complained, then re-posted when the alleged wrongdoer complained that the video was removed due to a mistake or misidentification of the material. Is it still there? Who does own the copyright in such a home video? Who is the author? If someone else copies and posts it on a profit making site is that “fair use”? Would it be fair use if the second post was not-for-profit of the person posting it?

New rates for digital sound recording performances.

The Copyright Royalty Board is raising rates for digital performance of sound recordings by preexisting subscription services (PSS rates), e.g. Pandora, and by satellite digital audio services (SDARS rates), e.g. Sirius XM. PSS rates are 8% of gross revenues of the service for 2013, and 8.5% of gross revenues for 2014 through 2017. The satellite rates are 9% of gross revenues for 2013, 9.5% for 2013, 10% for 2015, 10.5% for 2016, and 11% for 2017.

ASCAP and BMI performance collections: 2012

The two largest music performing rights organizations in the U.S.A. have announced collections for 2012 of over $900 million each. ASCAP collected $941 million and distributed $827 to its writer and publisher members. BMI collected $944 million and distributed $814 million to its writers and publishers. Note that ASCAP reports on a calendar year and BMI on a fiscal year of July 1 – June 30 so the numbers do not cover exactly the same periods.

Record store chain gets reprieve in U.K.

HMV, the U.K. record retail chain, has reopened its superstore in London according to the The chain was in “administration,” (a bankruptcy process that allows a firm to restructure instead of liquidating) and the new owner decided to reopen the store and move into selling MP3 downloads directly to customers. The store plans to offer all sorts of streaming previews and downloads on all sorts of devices, including iTunes, and various mobile apps. Customers can scan album art and pre-order downloads prior to the release of the recording.

Other major U.K. retailers, Virgin, Tower, and Zavvi, had closed their large London locations.

On a trip to Ireland a couple of years ago, we took students studying the Irish Music Business to a Tower store in Dublin that had been purchased by an Irish firm when the parent Tower Records went bankrupt in the U.S. The store featured all sorts of physical product, including vinyl, and had an in-store appearance and performance by a band the day of the visit. Most of the students had never seen or heard such a thing, though they were commonplace in the heyday of record store chains in the 1980s and 1990s in the U.S.

Top streamer of the decade

SoundExchange has been tracking digital streams for just over 10 years. Now they have  announced the top steaming artist for the period since they began counting in 2003. Who do you think had the most streams of any artist during that ten year period. Here’s a hint: “The King.” Yep, Elvis Presley topped all other artists in total streams for that ten year period. He’s been deceased for over 36 years! Here’s the top ten list:

  1. Elvis Presley
  2. Bruce Springsteen
  3. Pearl Jam
  4. Rihanna
  5. Drake
  6. Usher
  7. Lil Wayne
  8. The Beatles
  9. Taylor Swift
  10. Grateful Dead

Go to, news and media, press releases to check out the top streaming artist for each individual year during that period. Only one of the artists on the top ten list above was the top streaming artist in any individual year. Who do you think that was?

Recording revenues stable, digital revenues up.

The RIAA figures for 2012 describe a changing market for record labels. While total revenues remained stable at $7.1 billion, the share of revenues from digital has surpassed that from physical product. Physical units accounted for about $2.8 billion, digital copies for about $3.1 billion, and SoundExchange and other streaming and subscription income amounted to about $1.0 billion. Visit the RIAA’s web site, for details. (p.s. The numbers don’t quite add up because of rounding errors and the fact that synchronization revenues were about $.2 billion and are neither physical nor digital sales.)