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COUNTDOWN TO MODERNITY (11/5/18)–The Progress to Production Chart for the Mechanical Licensing Collective

November 5, 2018 Comments off

As best we can tell from the outside looking in, this chart has the dates for key events in the critical path to launch for the Mechancial Licesing Collective as required by the Music Modernization Act–the “Countdown to Modernity.”

This chart is a work in progress, and if anyone sees anything wrong in it or something that should be clarified or corrected, please let us know.  It should be considered a draft, but we hope that it will solidify over the next few weeks.

To our knowlege, no one else has published a chart like this.  The main takeaway from this chart should be the clock is ticking and time is going by.  Our prediction?  Time will become the MLC’s biggest enemy, if that hasn’t already happened in the drafting of the Music Modernization Act.  What we don’t see in the MMA is any discussion of what happens if a deadline is blown for whatever reason.

But mark your calendars–we see the first key date as January 7, 2019.  That’s 64 days from now and holidays count.

ARTIST RIGHTS WATCH
COUNTDOWN TO MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE LAUNCH
WEEK 4

KEY DATES SCHEDULE FROM ENACTMENT DATE (10/11/18)

TO LICENSE AVAILABILITY DATE (1/1/21)

EVENT ACCCOMPLISHED WHO OWNS? TIME EXPIRED   BEFORE LAD TIME REMAINING TO LAD
REQUEST FILING TO BE MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  1/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 90 DAYS 726 days
DESIGNATION OF MLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days
FORMATION OF MLC NONPROFIT STATUS UNKNOWN MLC 4 weeks 112 weeks and 5 days
SUBSTITUTION OF BLANKET LICENSE FOR ALL EXISTING COMPULSORY LICENSES AUTOMATIC 1/1/2021 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 789 days
MLC BUDGET STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/DLC/CRJ 112 weeks and 5 days
INITIATE ASSESSMENT PROCEEDING w/CRJs [MUST COMMENCE NO LATER THAN 7/7/2019]

STATUS UNKNOWN

MLC/DLC/CRJ 271 days 545 days
ASSESSMENT RULING [PUBLISHED IN FR NO LATER THAN 7/7/2020] MLC/DLC/CRJ 637 days 179 days
APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT RULING 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION OF ASSESSMENT RULING MLC/DLC/CRJ/ DCCOA 667 days 149 days
MLC BUSINESS PLAN STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
ANNOUNCED BOARD NOMINEES STATUS UNKNOWN

Update on Nominations (Deadline November 15, 2018):  NMPA and NSAI are accepting nominations for board seats.  Songwriter board selection by Steve Bogard (NSAI), Rick Carnes (SGA), Lynn Gillespie Chater (SGA), Dallas Davidson (BMI), Chris DeStefano (NSAI), Bob DiPiero (BMI), Dan Foliart (ASCAP), Adam Gorgoni (SONA), Michele Lewis (SONA), Paul Williams (ASCAP)

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC 90 DAYS 726 days
APPOINTED BOARD STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
APPOINTED DLC STATUS UNKNOWN—Deadline  7/7/2019 COPYRIGHT OFFICE 270 days 545 days
ENGAGED  MLC VENDORS STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC 90 DAYS 726 days
PAID MLC VENDORS STATUS UNKNOWN (ASSUME 7/7/2020 IF NO APPEAL OF ASSESSMENT) MLC 270 days 545 days
ANNOUNCE MLC DATA STANDARDS STATUS UNKNOWN MLC/DLC
REGULATIONS* STATUS UNKNOWN COPYRIGHT OFFICE
COMMENTS AND REPLY COMMENTS ON REGULATIONS STATUS UNKNOWN ALL
EXPLANATION OF OPERATIONS: HOW TO REGISTER WITH MLC AND COST OF REGISTRATION STATUS UNKNOWN

(Assume deadline of 1/7/19)

MLC/CO 90 DAYS 726 days
REGISTRATION START DATE STATUS UNKNOWN

 

MLC=Mechanical Licensing Collective

DLC=Digital Licensee Coordinator

CRJ=Copyright Royalty Judges

DCCOA=District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals

CO=Copyright Office

LAD=License Availability Date

*Topic areas to be updated as announced

Hey Alexa, Regift Yourself: Google Overtakes Amazon in Biometric Data Acquisition Tools — Artist Rights Watch

August 20, 2018 Comments off

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According to the Canalys research outfit, Google has taken the lead over Amazon for the first time in the acquisition of biometric identifying data–aka “smart speakers”.  It should come as no surprise that Google is vastly more interested in acquiring “phonemes” by which to identify users and track them through a variety of means.

The “smart speaker” is the latest step in government contractor Google’s long running campaign to track users and build speech-to-text and speech recognition tools.

The program goes back to at least 2007 when Marissa Meyer said of “GOOG-411”:

The speech recognition experts that we have say: If you want us to build a really robust speech model, we need a lot of phonemes, which is a syllable as spoken by a particular voice with a particular intonation. So we need a lot of people talking, saying things so that we can ultimately train off of that.

So who do you think the customers are for speech-to-text and speech recognition tools to whom government contractors like Google and Amazon might be selling your biometric data?  The biometrics harvesting tools allows Big Tech to connect your voice print and maybe your fingerprints to all the other data that they have already harvested about you from other means.  And of course when you add in facial recognition or iris recognition it’s game, set and match.

Think about that when you enable your fingerprint, iris or facial recognition authentication or talk to Alexa or your Google Home Mini.   Or you could just ask the Shoe Gazer at the Internet Association.

“Hey Alexa, re-gift yourself.”

 

Must Read: @AnneMarieSteele: An insightful interview with Jody Gerson about songwriting and breaking artists

August 14, 2018 Comments off

[This interview is one of the best statements of what signing and breaking a songwriter or an artist is all about.  When I was reading Jody Gerson’s interview I remember when I asked David Anderle once why we didn’t do bidding wars at A&M.   He said quite simply that A&M helped compelling artists make great records and then stuck with them until they found an audience.  They didn’t always work out but it wasn’t for lack of trying.  That had nothing to do with bidding wars.]

I think it is a difficult time for songwriters who aren’t writing massive hit songs. When I first came into the industry, you could write a cut on a big album, like for Whitney Houston, and it would sell a lot of records, and you could make a lot of money as a songwriter. But unless you’re writing hit singles or you have pieces of songs on enormous numbers of streamed product, it is very difficult right now….

A lot of people are relying on data today. I don’t go in that direction. I judge music based on what I feel. Does it move me? Is that a lyric that articulates a feeling that I have better than I can articulate it? Is there a driving beat that makes me want to move? Is there a melody that makes me want to sing along? I have found in my career anytime that I have trusted my instinct, I’m right….

What everybody’s missing is the role of the record company. There’s talk about whether artists need to be signed to a record company. I would like you to show me one streaming platform that has broken an artist, made a major investment in breaking an artist. It is not easy.

Just because a song is on a digital platform doesn’t mean you’re breaking that artist. The companies that put the most into the development of artists are still record companies. The investment in breaking artists still is something that we can’t underestimate, and platforms do not do that.

Hit artists, superstars, are never flukes. It just doesn’t happen that way. It takes a village to break an artist.

Read the post from the Wall Street Journal

h/t Artist Rights Watch

Operation Song

June 22, 2018 1 comment

“In a world in which everything is subject to the passing of time, art alone is both subject to time and yet victorious over it.”
― André Malraux

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I wanted to call your attention to Operation Song, a nonprofit run by our friend Bob Regan the songwriter.  It’s a wonderful organization that describes itself:

Operation Song™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Nashville Tennessee founded in 2012. We pair professional songwriters with veterans, active military and their families to help them tell their stories through song. We hold weekly workshops in Middle Tennessee and sponsor events and group retreats throughout the U.S. Those we serve need no musical background, only the desire to tell their story. In a typical session, the songwriter listens and encourages the participant to lay out the “puzzle pieces” of his or her experience. Together, they arrange those pieces into verses and choruses. The result is a complete song that they can call their own.

One should never underestimate the healing power of song and the importance of crystallizing the expression of experience.  That expression of experience in a song is one way we can be victorious over time as Malraux said.  Hey, it worked for Homer.

If you’ve ever been on an Honor Flight, you may have wondered about all the stories those vets had to tell if people wanted to listen.  Very often those stories don’t get told because the guys just don’t talk about it.  Operation Song is one way those stories not only get told but also are preserved.

I commend Operation Song to you and congratulate their efforts.  You can donate online if you’re inspired to do so, or pick up some merch or listen to the music.

Here’s an example of their work:

How to Fix The Music Modernization Act’s Flawed “Audit” Clause — Music Tech Solutions

March 13, 2018 Comments off

The famous old Russian proverb reminds us to trust but verify. That’s been the story in the record business since the cylindrical disc. All the “modernization” in the world will not soothe songwriter’s genetic suspicion of their accounting statements. Unfortunately, the controversial Music Modernization Act creates a quasi-governmental organization with no oversight, and that has weak and punitive audit clauses for songwriters.   We are told that songwriters should appreciate what they’re given because they never had audit rights under the current statutory license.  Of course, if you run the risk of being financially punished if you exercise a right, that’s not much of a right at all.  So let’s not do the usual two steps forward, three steps back.

via How to Fix The Music Modernization Act’s Flawed “Audit” Clause — Music Tech Solutions

Guest Post by @sarahickman: Streaming Royalties Are Ending Opportunities for Working Musicians — Artist Rights Watch

March 10, 2018 Comments off

Sara Hickman on how the economics of streaming is hollowing out the “middle class musician” and devouring the music business from the ground up.

via Guest Post by @sarahickman: Streaming Royalties Are Ending Opportunities for Working Musicians — Artist Rights Watch

Spotify Class Action Take 2: @stuartdredge: HFA/Rumblefish to handle Facebook’s indie publishers

January 11, 2018 Comments off

[Editor Charlie sez: Remember what Bluewater Music Publishing’s counsel Richard Busch had to say about Spotify?

At the time that Spotify hired HFA, HFA had a database with less than the number of recordings and compositions available in the Spotify library. Between this insufficient database, Spotify’s piecemeal system, and HFA’s own lack of a system capable of complying with the statutory requirements for compulsory licensing, copyright infringement was assured.

Despite knowledge of these deficiencies, Spotify moved forward with a non-compliant system that allowed for massive infringement from its launch in the United States in June 2011.

Not to worry, little people, they’re baaackkkk…..]

Facebook is also announcing a partnership with SESAC and HFA/Rumblefish that will cover songwriters signed to independent publishers, with Rumblefish sharing data with Facebook to help it identify and clear works.

Or, as the social network’s head of commercial music publishing partnerships Scott Sellwood put it, a deal that will offer indie publishers “the opportunity to participate in a new licensing program with Facebook. The program will enable users to upload and share videos with music on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus and allows publishers to be compensated for the use of their music”.

Read the post on MusicAlly

[By the way, does anyone know what the deal is? Or if it will cost more to sign up than you’d ever make?]

 

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