The MTP Podcast: Keith Bernstein of talks with Chris Castle on Royalty Audits

27 Mar

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

My interview with Keith Bernstein, the preeminent auditor of digital music services.  A “royalty auditor” visits digital music services on behalf of artists and copyright owners to make sure they are paying royalties in accordance with the services’ contracts.  Keith has conducted these “royalty compliance examinations” (or “audits”) against every major digital music service, frequently multiple times.  As he was one of the first to focus on digital services as our future income back in 2000, he’s a leader in his field.

Keith’s companies are Royalty Review Council for audits and accounting, and Crunch Digital for assisting entrepreneurs with servicing licenses and the Crunch Digital Agency to assist entrepreneurs in obtaining licenses from rights holders for the use of music in their products.

Theme music by Guy Forsyth, “Where’d You Get the Music?”

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The MTP Interview: David Lowery on artist rights

23 Mar

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

A blast from the past:  My extended interview with David Lowery about the formation of his Trichordist blog, the “Letter to Emily”, and more.

Theme music by Guy Forsyth, “Where’d You Get the Music?”

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Why Can’t Songwriters Audit? A Brief Guide to Statutory Audits Under the U.S. Copyright Act

19 Mar

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:


Whoever you are…I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

From A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams

Songwriters earn a sizable percentage of their ever decreasing income from mechanical royalties.  Until the last few years, mechanical royalties were almost always licensed under direct licenses to record companies that incorporated by reference the statutory license provisions of Section 115 of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act and the corresponding regulations.  Section 115 is a direct–and almost word for word–descendant of Section 1(e) of the 1909 U.S. Copyright Act.

Why so little change in nearly 70 years?  Until 2000 or so, nobody used statutory licenses except in the rarest of circumstances.  Instead, the statutory license became something like the Uniform Partnership Act or the Uniform Commercial Code.  It could be used for reference but was often–almost always–modified in a direct license.

The main point that was added in these…

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Should Artists Hitch Their Royalties to Advertising in the YouTube Monopoly: @zoecello’s insights

15 Mar

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
No, I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more
Well, I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They say sing while you slave and I just get bored
I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more

From Maggie’s Farm by Bob Dylan
Copyright © 1965 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1993 by Special Rider Music
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We’ve pointed out for years that the collision of the Web 2.0 advertising based economy creates an odd and unhealthy dynamic for artists.  There is no place where this is more prevalent than YouTube.

YouTube routinely delivers random advertising for a variety of products against artist videos (either the “official” video or user generated versions of the official video).  This means that artists have lost control of a…

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MTP Interview with Blake Morgan on the First 30 Days of #irespectmusic

27 Feb

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

MTP:  How was the audience reaction for your first 30 days on the I Respect Music petition campaign? 

Blake Morgan: It’s honestly––and very happily––been above and beyond anything we could have estimated or ever hoped for. If you ask anyone who’s been working with me on this, they’ll tell you that the goal I’d set for us was to try to get 1,000 signatures in our first 30 days. A daunting number to try and reach for a petition to Congress about paying artists for radio airplay. But, it turns out that after 30 days we’re actually at 10,000 signatures.

A Huffington Post Op-ed of mine in December ["Art and Music Are Professions Worth Fighting For"] garnered a huge reaction going viral with over 44,000 likes and over 8,000 Facebook shares. That was the piece where I first wrote the words “I Respect Music.” So I knew there…

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Sticking with Plan A

6 Feb


A thoughtful post about being an artist.

Originally posted on Melissa Giges:

The other day I was hanging out with a friend of mine and a few of her friends that I had not met before.  They were lovely.  We got to know each other a little bit. After they learned that I was a musician, we started talking about having a career in the arts. One of the guys in the group told me he was in a band many years ago and that he had been pursuing music full time.  But after several years, he realized it wasn’t going in the direction he had hoped for so he decided to stop making music and went to law school to become a lawyer.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a story like this. My reaction is always the same.  At first, I think about if I would ever be able to do that. Immediately, I remind myself that…

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Compilation Producers vs. Spotify, Round One

29 Sep

Chris has a guest post in Billboard about the Ministry of Sound lawsuit:

Dance music label Ministry of Sound has reportedly sued Spotify in the United Kingdom over playlists of MoS’ well-known compilation albums — even though MoS doesn’t license to Spotify. How can you tell it’s an MoS compilation? Because Spotify’s playlists say so.

And therein lies the rub.

Read the post here!


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