Kill The Record Industry
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Kill The Record Industry
Kill The Record Industry / Save The Music
Curated by Pierre Priot
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“Happy Birthday” is public domain, former owner Warner/Chapell to pay $14M

“Happy Birthday” is public domain, former owner Warner/Chapell to pay $14M | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
Music publisher Warner/Chappell will no longer be allowed to collect licensing royalties on those who sing "Happy Birthday" in public and will pay back $14 million to those who have paid for licensing in the past, according to court settlement papers filed late Monday night.

The settlement is a result of a lawsuit originally filed in 2013 by filmmaker Jennifer Nelson, who challenged the "Happy Birthday" copyright. "Happy Birthday" has the same melody as "Good Morning to You," a children's song dating to the 19th Century. But despite the song's murky early history, music publisher Warner/Chappell has stuck to its story that the song was copyrighted in 1935, and a royalty had to be paid for any public use of it—until now.
Pierre Priot's insight:

Happy Birthday! Warner/Chappell will pay back $14 million for the collection of bogus royalties.

FYI, W/C annual revenue over "H/B" has been estimated to $2 million.

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Federal judge rules 'Happy Birthday' song in public domain

Federal judge rules 'Happy Birthday' song in public domain | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
The music publishing company that has been collecting royalties on the song "Happy Birthday To You" for years does not hold a valid copyright on the lyrics to the tune that is one of the mostly widely sung in the world, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge George H. King determined the song's original copyright, obtained by the Clayton F. Summy Co. from the song's writers, only covered specific piano arrangements of the song and not its lyrics. The basic tune of the song, derived from another popular children's song, "Good Morning to All," has long been in the public domain.

King's decision comes in a lawsuit filed two years ago by Good Morning To You Productions Corp., which is working on a documentary film tentatively titled "Happy Birthday." The company challenged the copyright now held by Warner/Chappell Music Inc., arguing that the song should be "dedicated to public use and in the public domain."
Pierre Priot's insight:

"Happy Birthday" is public domain and has always been, rules U.S. District Judge George H. King.

Will Warner/Chappell return collected fees for this song? That would be a hell of a birthday treat.

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Tee Wilson's curator insight, December 4, 2015 6:33 PM

There are many twists and turns in the background of the music industry. This is an example of how the laws are so complex.

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Inside the New Royalty Split for 'Uptown Funk': Who Gets Paid What

Inside the New Royalty Split for 'Uptown Funk': Who Gets Paid What | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
Success, in music especially, has many fathers -- just look at "Uptown Funk!" With a ballooning songwriter count, how do these new names get paid?

Songwriting credits for "Uptown Funk!" went to four people initially: Ronson, Mars, Phillip Martin Lawrence and Jeffrey Bhasker. However, before the song was even released it had gained two more: Nicholas Williams (AKA Trinidad James) and producer Devon Gallaspy, the authors of "All Gold Everything," both receiving a share for a sampling interpolation. This credit was shared at the behest of the original songwriters/publishers; Billboard's sources say the team behind the hit reached out to Gallaspy and Williams without prompting. Gallaspy and Williams spit a 15 percent take, leaving the original four songwriters with a 21.25 percent share each.
Pierre Priot's insight:

Doing the Uptown Funk Math 

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Angel Torres Vega's curator insight, November 4, 2015 11:54 AM

This shows a little of what happens in the business side of songwriting.

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Sony/ATV's Martin Bandier Repeats Warning to ASCAP, BMI

Sony/ATV's Martin Bandier Repeats Warning to ASCAP, BMI | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it

Sony/ATV Music Publishing sent a letter to its songwriters in the last day, updating them on where the company stands with regards to performance rights, re-iterating Martin Bandier's intention to withdraw from the two U.S. major performing rights organizations and also reveals the news that the company is appealing both the ASCAP and BMI Pandora rate court rulings.

 

 

Pierre Priot's insight:

Sony/ATV Music Publishing is obviously willing to skip the middle men, i.e. ASCAP & BMI.

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Digital Music News - Grooveshark Signs an Agreement With the Largest Music Publisher In the World...

Digital Music News - Grooveshark Signs an Agreement With the Largest Music Publisher In the World... | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it

Despite a nuclear legal attack by all major label groups, Grooveshark is somehow keeping the lights on and forging out-of-court deals.  Just this morning, the company confirmed an amicable pact with Sony/ATV, the largest publisher in the world co-owned by Sony Music Entertainment.  

Pierre Priot's insight:

Grooveshark is cutting deals with publishers, okay, that's would eventually put an end to law suits, but what about artists and songwriters fees? How much will Grooveshark redistribute?

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With downloads dwindling, music publishers throw a roadblock into Apple's iRadio plans

With downloads dwindling, music publishers throw a roadblock into Apple's iRadio plans | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
For years, when it came to driving negotiations with internet music services over licensing, the top record labels were the locomotive and the publishers were the caboose. If the labels licensed...
Pierre Priot's insight:

So basically, music publishers want more money from music streaming, and Apple didn't see that coming?

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BOON YUXIN's curator insight, January 19, 2015 4:06 PM

While digital music comes as the majority of the music selling, traditional record label faces some questions like being obsoleted. But this article share the voice of some people who against this situation. When I download more music from the digital retailer, I start to miss the CD sales. This article reminds me to think about the both sides of digital downloading. 

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This Punk Disrupts Music Publishing In The Digital Age | Fast Company

This Punk Disrupts Music Publishing In The Digital Age | Fast Company | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it

Digital media threw record labels and the surrounding industries into chaos. But Matt Pincus, CEO of Songs, a music publishing firm specializing in web-driven business models, is uniquely suited to handle chaos. He built his first business in the swirling, kicking, elbow-throwing chaos of the early late-'80s, early-'90s New York City underground music scene as a member of cult hardcore punk rock band Judge.

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The Music Industry Desperately Needs A Global Rights Database, But No One Knows Who Will Pay For It

The Music Industry Desperately Needs A Global Rights Database, But No One Knows Who Will Pay For It | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
Music industry stakeholders agree on the need for a global rights database, but building and maintaining one won't be cheap.
Pierre Priot's insight:

Cause territories don't mean anything in a globalized industry, we need a global cross-territories + cross-publishers repository of songs.
And we need it to be open.

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"Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song

"Happy Birthday" Lawsuit: "Smoking Gun" Emerges in Bid to Free World's Most Popular Song | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it

Attorneys for suing filmmakers uncover a blurry version of an 88-year-old book in the files of Warner/Chappell. That leads to another serendipitous discovery.

Pierre Priot's insight:

The great happy birthday swindle: it turns out Warner/Chappell's most popular song was public domain.

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Google Ventures leads $60m funding round for music firm Kobalt

Google Ventures leads $60m funding round for music firm Kobalt | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
Backing for publishing and rights company as it tries to bridge gap between music industry and Silicon Valley – and get songwriters paid
Pierre Priot's insight:

Kobalt clearly plans to storm the publishing business the Google way: offer artists and labels the best rates ever until the competition is dead.

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Why the music industry is trying—and failing—to crush Pandora

Why the music industry is trying—and failing—to crush Pandora | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it

Pandora had been seeking to lower the amount it pays to publishers in royalties to be in line with that paid by terrestrial radio stations —  1.7% of gross annual revenue. Pandora’s argument was that its service is radio-like: Yes, you can personalize what you listen to, but you cannot play songs on demand, at your will, or offline. ASCAP had been seeking to increase rates to as high as 3% of Pandora’s gross revenue, citing the much higher rates paid by other digital services, such as Spotify. The court ended up ruling last month that the rate would stay unchanged at 1.85%.

Pierre Priot's insight:

Great piece about Pandora and composition vs. performances rights.

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Hope Hausman's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:55 AM

Why would you want to crash Pandora!?! Pandora is a great music app that I adore. My family even uses it for Christmas sometimes. Why would you want to crash such a fantastic app that's extremely popular? 

Josh Granese's curator insight, November 4, 2014 11:52 AM

I honestly don't even believe that 3% is enough money to pay back to the people who make Pandora what it is. Without the artists, Pandora wouldn't make any kind of money at all, it wouldn't exist. People made Pandora the size it is today through word of mouth and networking. But we never see a check. The artists that actually do get their music on Pandora deserve to be compensated WAY more than what they are.

Jamie McConnell's curator insight, March 15, 2015 6:53 PM

This case proves how complicated the greed is in the music industry.  Pandora won't pay the rights deserved by the artist, and the record labels demanding more money from art they didn't create. 

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Pandora buys South Dakota radio station in bid for lower royalty rates

Pandora buys South Dakota radio station in bid for lower royalty rates | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
Pandora is angry about the royalties it's paying to music publishers, so the company is buying a radio station in South Dakota mainly to score lower rates.
Pierre Priot's insight:

That's a cheap move!

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Karinaa Hernández's comment, June 12, 2013 8:22 PM
So interesting!!
Pascale Mousset's comment, June 13, 2013 5:18 AM
Rien ne l'arrête hélas
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Digital Music News - The Following Music Organizations Will be Dead or Dying In 5-10 Years...

Digital Music News - The Following Music Organizations Will be Dead or Dying In 5-10 Years... | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
Pierre Priot's insight:

Kill the middle men!

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Hack Your Craft's curator insight, February 20, 2013 2:20 PM

When I was starting in the business deciding which Performance Rights Org to affiliate myself with was a matter of who catered to the independent or who favored one genre over another. ASCAP was about the big players on radio, where as BMI did better with college radio. BMI, according to some insiders, favored country, rock or pop as oppose to urban (race issues within the industry is for an entirely different post or book, rather). Now it seems technology may neutralize this strategy. Technology may allow for licensing and performance royalties to be collected directly from venue to artist, API or possibly a centralized site or app.

 

Just as Spotify has centralized P2P sharing, arguably in favor of the labels, a new start up may centralize performance licensing.  Unlike Spotify, this may be a good thing for the independent if royalties are not compromised in the shift, as they have been with Spotify. I write this with dampened hope because currently the PROs  collect say roughly 30cents for every radio play of a song where as Spotify collects a fraction of a fraction of that for every stream.  

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Springsteen and Others Soon Eligible to Recover Song Rights

Springsteen and Others Soon Eligible to Recover Song Rights | Kill The Record Industry | Scoop.it
A little-noted provision in copyright law of the mid-1970s allows artists to regain control of their work after 35 years.
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