MichaelL attended the PMA meeting on October 20, 2011 in NYC and commented about it but I thought it deserved it’s own post. Thanks Michael!
OK. I was at the PMA meeting in NYC last night.
There were three areas of discussion: technology, “new media” and retitling.
The night was hosted by Tunesat, so a good deal of the discussion was focused on its technology, i.e. fingerprinting. As we all know, the PROs rely on cue sheets from producers in order to properly credit writers and pay royalties. What many of you may not realize is that filling out cue sheets (especially manually) is tedious, a low priority for producers, and is often done by the lowest person (or intern) on the totem pole. So…according to Tunesat 80% of broadcast performances are missed or inaccurate.
With respect to “new media” we’re talking about the internet, youtube, facebook etc. Royalty levels are set by a rate court, not just the whims of the PROS. Read this http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/2008/05/articles/internet-radio/rate-court-determines-ascap-fees-for-large-webcasters-some-interesting-contrasts-with-the-copyright-royalty-board-decision/
One measure the rate court uses to what the PROs can collect is the sync fees paid (and the size of the market / audience). When a library charges little or nothing for internet sync fees the number that the rate court uses to set the backend is driven down. Thus, we as composers are shooting ourselves in the foot if we give away our tracks hoping for backend money, because by giving the tracks away we are reducing the backend payout.
Finally — retitling — clearly not considered favorable model by the PMA. As a composer and a lawyer, I am not comfortable with the practice. If I put tracks in a library that retitles, it would be my choice to treat it as an exclusive deal. The issue with international money stems from several factors: 1) in the there are three PROS and in the rest of the world each country only has one PRO, e.g. in the UK its PRS., 2) much international publishing is done with the assistance of sub-publishers, who are members of their respective PROS, and they will not touch retitled music, because the copyright, for lack of a better term isn’t clean.
For clarification, as I said in another post, the issue with retiting for the most part does not apply to the RF model, if you retain your publishing rights AND do not retitle.
The issues of technology and retitling overlap. Within 3 -5 years the PROs will most likely adopt some form of technology the uses fingerprinting to stream,line or eliminate cue sheets. This technology only identifies the track, It is not capable of differentiating between publisher A or publisher B. This will create a major headache for the PROS.
Unless technology develops that will allow the PROs to distinguish between retitlers, AND the PROs adopt it, retitling in multiple libraries is a risk.
If I has a crystal ball I would have won the lottery,and not be writing this. However, I don’t. So my personal choice is to protect the long term value of my music. In five years that may change. And, if it does, I’ll just write more.
Other things mentioned of value to writers: “The better your tracks are the more value they will have for years to come.” As I said in another post. Your tracks are an asset. High quality tracks grow in value. Tracks made with “Garage Band” presets make make you short term money, but “won’t have much value two or three years down the road.”