• Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2019
Music Notes
AMP, PMA panel explores issue of digital royalties
AMP’s Liz Myers (l) of Trivers Myers Music and Elad Marish of Swell Music + Sound at the “Digital Royalties” panel.
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The Association of Music Producers (AMP) has announced that the joint panel it recently co-hosted with the Production Music Association (PMA), “Digital Royalties: Navigating the Streaming Era,” has sparked widespread interest among musicians, composers, copyright holders and other members of the industry. The panel addressed issues such as how streaming services should analyze, survey and report data concerning musical works used on their platforms.

Held at the Musicians Institute Live Room in L.A., about 60 guests were welcomed by Morgan McKnight, executive director of PMA, which co-sponsored the session along with AMP.

The panel included Jesse Worstell, VP of Rights Management at AdRev, a content aggregator and music tech company that finds and collects revenue on unauthorized use of copyrighted work in user generated videos on YouTube; Erin Collins of SESAC, VP of Film, Television and Developing Media; Samanta Balassa Adelman, composer, artist and founder of Motive Music in Los Angeles and president of AMP’s West Chapter; and Nan Wilson, CEO and founder of Manage Ad Music, which collects music royalties for their artists and music producers, mostly in the branded entertainment and advertising world. The panel was moderated by Elad Marish of Swell Music + Sound, a music and sound house based in L.A. and San Francisco, who is also president of AMP’s National Board of Directors.

The main discussion point of the evening was the fact that musical works are being played on digital in-show content and advertising on an individualized per-stream basis on the major digital broadcast platforms like YouTube, YouTube TV, Hulu and even Facebook.

Very quickly the conversation came around to the fact that, if no performance data is received or captured by the Performance Right Organizations, then revenues cannot be paid out for that content. A number of new developments or actionable points came out of the panelists’ comments. They include:

  • A new service called Numerator is being developed (formerly Competitrack) which may provide a solution to this problem. 
  • Distribution occurs through YouTube’s Content ID system, and generating custom IDs is possible. Generally, the SR (Song Recording, meaning mechanical) generates more revenue, because it follows the same hierarchy as television: weighted in favor of themes, less paid for background, etc. Content ID currently does not detect musical works in pre-roll videos and other advertising media. 
  • Revenue collected on sound recordings on YouTube will be greater than performance revenue on YouTube, due to how different assets are valued in Content ID. However, the type of royalties obtained from in YouTube aren’t a traditional mechanical, sync, or performance royalty. It’s paid out using a hybrid ratio based on the number of views and clicks on a claimed video, paired to advertising dollars currently in their ad marketplace.
  • Netflix is trying to do direct licensing deals with copyright holders.
  • ASCAP and BMI are controlled by their consent decree, and must issue licenses whenever someone asks, regardless if they have agreed to, and paid, a licensing fee. However, there are some royalties to be had within the blanket license.  

When asked his reaction to the discussion, Marish noted, “This is an incredibly interesting and challenging time in our effort to collect digital royalties. We have the opportunity to shape the course of our professional future and position ourselves to negotiate the highest possible rates for music in advertising and beyond.”

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