It’s the same old story, same old song and dance, my friend
– Same Old Song And Dance by Aerosmith
There has been a lot of media hype about the new Amazon Music service. I get it. I’m a HUGE Amazon fan. I even ditched my premium Slacker account recently for Amazon’s music service included as part of my Prime subscription. I’m not really missing all that much. The ONLY thing I did miss, until now, was the ability to listen on demand. That is what all this big hype is about. Amazon did one little thing that is completely non-revolutionary. They added on demand, the ability to find a song and listen to it at any time, to their options. You no longer have to wait for a “station” to roll that song into your queue.
But that’s just it. It is a big “so what” moment. Lots of music services offer that. In fact it is the staple feature of nearly ALL premium (aka you actually PAY for music, a novel concept) music services. The BIGGER reason this is HUGE news is the PRICE point. Prime members get the service for LESS than what Spotify charges. Prime members can save $3/month, $36/year over the similar Spotify service and have the same “Big Three” catalog you get anywhere else. Woohoo! That IS big news. A race to the bottom and YOU save $3/month for the all-you-can-consume music buffet. You ALMOST saved enough for a cup of over-priced Starbucks coffee (side note: I also love Starbucks, fully realizing I overpay for my coffee every time I go there). Even better is non-Prime Members can get the service for… well… $9.99… the same price as EVERY OTHER SERVICE OUT THERE.
The big news is Amazon has done EXACTLY what all the other music services are already doing.
Amazon will do just fine with their new music thing. They can hide the huge losses in running the service in their ginormous (that’s a technical term) balance sheets. They have a notable advantage in cost reduction while running the service thanks to hosting one of the largest, if not THE largest, technology presence operations on the planet. That means that despite their big bill for licensing the actual stuff they are selling they will appear to be doing just fine with their music offering.
This is NOT OK.
The people that actually MAKE the product they are selling, the music, continue to get screwed. It is not a viable business model to sell music with an “all you can consume” mentality and match that with FIXED FEE pricing. It is a HUGE disservice to those people that make the music happen; the artists,songwriters, composers, and the teams of people that put this stuff together will earn exactly diddly-squat via this model.
Sure, the streaming companies will complain about their huge licensing bill. Amazon will claim they are being fair because they paid “nearly A BILLION DOLLARS” in license fees next year. But you don’t see them selling televisions for $100 no matter how many you buy or what size, paying the manufacturer $99 for it, and they saying “we must have paid them fairly because we paid a BILLION dollars to Sony for those TVs”. That model wouldn’t last long when those TVs cost Sony $500 to produce.
The mentality of corporations and the general public is that music, like most intellectual and artistic property, is “free” to make. You just “come up with it”. There is very little “real cost”. They do it because “it is fun”. Or “they just love making music”. So we feel we shouldn’t have to pay for something people make because they love their job? The fall-back is that they’ve already “made millions”. Samsung made a BILLION DOLLARS selling phones, so we should just be able to walk into any store and just take one. Or Amazon should just pay Samsung what they feel is fair and let Samsung deal with it. That type of thinking is just an excuse to justify not paying fair value for the music. Both on a corporate and personal level.
In the music industry the people that are making the product are getting paid whatever the retail outlets and the product warehouse people think is a fair price. The model DOESN’T WORK. It never has and never will.
Amazon’s new service isn’t revolutionary or new in any way. It is nothing more than the next iteration of a failed model. At a slightly lower price if you buy something else from them. That’s it. Bundle-deal lower-cost pricing.
It feels more-than-ever like music has become nothing more than a loss-leader to sell something else. A Prime Subscription at Amazon. Some ad space for a product or TV show. A Charlie-Harper jingle to sell kid’s cereal.
It is a sad time to be in the music business for artists, songwriters, and composers.
Amazon Seeks To Recapture Music Fans With New Streaming Service
This article is wrong in so many levels. Where do I start?
First it pits the PROs against The Labels. They are not adversaries. They are two parties that represent the same side of the coin – the rights and royalties due Creatives (Creatives is my way of describing ALL parties involved in creating music: recording artists + songwriters + composers + backup artists + ).
The owner of the master recordings , often referred to as The Labels which is itself an outdated nomenclature, can and should be getting paid fairly as should the copyright holders for the musical composition – often simplified as the PROs. Labels AND PROs both need to be compensated fairly.
The premise of this article is fatally flawed. It assumes the streaming companies like Spotify are already paying fair rates for the product they sell – digital music. In nearly every case this is false. Most streaming companies are not paying anywhere near fair market rates for music. Millions of plays generate pathetically little compensation to the Creatives. Half a billion dollars sounds like a lot to pay but they leave out the fact that this equates to a dollar paid for tens of thousands of songs they sold their listeners.
The article says there is only 100% of the pie to give away. The streaming service needs their piece, and the labels should fight the PROs for what remains. Sounds great in theory until someone points out the pie is 3x too small to feed everyone at the table.
Fixed price all you want to hear streaming services are a flawed business model as is the back room negotiations that are setting the streaming rates with NO involvement from Creatives. The right solution is based on pay for what you consume streaming services and a true fair market system for both buying and selling creative works.
Why #Songwriters Are Getting Left In the Cold by #ASCAP and #BMI…
Music streaming and licensing. In case you’ve missed it , licensing music is a HUGE deal these days. It is a billion-dollar industry and is growing every day. It will be one of the largest entertainment industry segments in the next few years outside of video games and movies. Yet the top organization that are responsible for tracking streaming media plays and compensating artists are woefully behind the times when it comes to technology. They invest heavily in marketing and recruiting members but neglect what should be a core competency of their business in today’s high-tech world.
Just how bad are these companies at technology? The hints are everywhere. Licensing agreements refer to archaic terminology that references an age when computers were only found in college basements. Corporate websites don’t work and are poorly maintained. Nearly everywhere you look you can see the hints of outdated corporations that changed just enough to give the appearance they are keeping up with the times but behind-the-scenes are likely listening to 8-track tapes or possibly wax cylinders while the rest of the world streams digital media to their iPhone.
Songwriters, publishers, performers, and a myriad of others that create the music that defines moments in our lives, serves as the background for dinner dates, house parties, and corporate conventions are earning less money than ever before. While there are many factors to consider one of the most notable issues is the lack of compensation from streaming services. Sure, radio has been notorious for their lobbying group that has kept them exempt from paying their fair share of royalties to recording artists, but streaming media has taken it to a whole new level.
Prince – Negotiating Rates For His Music
For some time Prince’s legally team has worked to pull his music off YouTube and the song “Breakfast Can Wait” remains the only track on his channel.
Sources say Prince is using Web Sheriff to send notices to digital services. According to sources, the notice from Web Sheriff says that Prince has pulled his music from all U.S. PROs, so there are no reciprocal rights abroad. He wants all digital service to pull down his music, as recorded by him, so that once they have complied, they can negotiate with his owned publish company.
Once they agree to whatever rate he is seeking, digital services can then put his music back up. The takedown notice doesn’t impact those songs of his covered by other artists. Services are still allowed to play songs like Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which Prince wrote and she covered.
Free Market Vs. First Ammendment Copyright Law
There was agreement on how to make licensing a free market negotiation. David Israelite, President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, prefers that Congress abolish the compulsory license so publishers could freely negotiate with licensees for mechanical rights. Lee Thomas Miller, songwriter and President of the Nashville Songwriters Association International, called for Congress to eliminate or “drastically alter” the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees. Michael O’Neill, CEO of BMI, called for the elimination of the consent decrees. “We’re trying to give the songwriters and publishers the power to make their own deals.”
CRB Rate Setting Methods
Under current U.S. copyright law, whether and how much these copyright holders get paid by broadcasters for the use of their intellectual property depends on a dizzying mix of factors. For musical composition copyrights, the royalty system is generally reasonable and technology-neutral, with broadcasters typically paying in the range of 2 percent to 5 percent of their gross revenue to the holders of music composition copyrights.
However, for sound recording copyrights, the royalty rates vary dramatically depending on who is playing the tunes. For digital music broadcasts, the three judges on the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) determine “statutory” royalty rates using two different standards: one called 801(b) that applies to older services like Sirius XM satellite radio, and one called “willing buyer/willing seller,” which is used for the newer field of Internet radio.