Thursday, 30 October 2014 00:00

NYT: New Venture Seeks Higher Royalties for Songwriters

Written by

Irving AzoffIrving Azoff, former chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, is making waves in the music publishing world with his new venture Global Music Rights.

With new online services, such as Pandora, disrupting the practices of performance rights management, Irving Azoff has been quietly building a company to rival the industry’s current dominators, ASCAP and BMI, that will focus on protecting artists and their rights.

According to The New York Times, ASCAP and BMI represent more than 95 percent of the songs available in the United States. However, these numbers may begin to fall now that music publishers are threatening to leave due to ASCAP and BMI’s outdated regulatory agreements with the Justice Department that restrict negotiations with music outlets which lead to low royalty rates.

Global Music Rights has been combating ASCAP and BMI by promising clients that they can wring royalties 30 percent higher from radio stations and online outlets than they can get with competitors. Global Music Rights does not have to follow the same regulations as ASCAP and BMI giving it greater control in negotiations, including the ability to refuse permission to its songs.

Pandora, radio broadcasters and others continue to argue that regulations are necessary to prevent anticompetitive behavior in the industry and keep music licensing costs from being burdensome.

Pandora has become a popular target for songwriter complaints due to the fact that it pays music publishers about one-twelfth what is pays record labels. Global Music Rights will begin to fight this injustice by demanding higher rates from radio stations and online music services without adopting some of ASCAP and BMI’s dated practices.

Azoff’s venture has already collected a superstar catalog including the Eagles, Smokey Robinson Journey, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac, Soundgarden, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco, Shane McAnnally and the estates of Lennon and Ira Gershwin.

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