Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why don't you want to pay artists?

Some people have asked me why I don't think artists deserve royalties for the use of their creations. The reality is that I don't feel this way. We support reasonable royalties to copyright holders. But I don't think it's fair that internet radio should have to pay so much more than satellite radio (which pays aprox 7% of their revenues in sound recording royalties). I just want to make that clear: SomaFM supports reasonable royalties for the sound recording performance. But it must be tied to a percentage of revenues (or expenses) just like ASCAP and BMI do.

3 Comments:

Blogger Daniel said...

The missing piece of information in this discussion is that these royalty-collecting bodies (soundexchange ascap bmi) don't pay artists for internet radio performances, or for anything other than terrestrial radio and television performances.

As a former musical artist, I can to corroberate the comments of one of the artists you play on somafm (your blog March 23rd) specifically regarding ASCAP; it seems SoundExchange is the same.

Regarding ASCAP, they collect monies from all performances: radio, television, concerts, internet, everything. All the money goes into a big fund and they pay it out according to the performances logged on radio and televison. So the money somafm pays in for playing Fila Brazillia, for example gets paid out to Gwen Stefani.

Now I have nothing agains Gwen Stefani, I respect her as an artist; my ire goes to these bean counters (and I have had a number of discussions with them) who say that internet performances are too small for them to count and pay out separately.

So paying the royalties doesn't support independent artists; it's more like protection money for big media and the lawyers.

Actually, seriously I would suggest putting together a class-action suit on behalf of independent musical artists who are not getting paid for their performances against SoundExchange and the performing rights societies. This would change the tone of the debate and put quite a lot of pressure on these people to let up. And the worst it could do would be to get some small change into the hands of the independent artist who could use it the most!

April 20, 2007 9:44 AM  
Blogger Chris B. said...

I'd seriously doubt that any of the artists SomaFM plays would withdraw their music if you paid ZERO to SoundExchange. For small artists (like small webcasters), half the battle is getting heard.

I mentioned to Elise that I bought three records that I wouldn't have known about last year based on her programming. (And a SomaFM t-shirt.) Naturally, that counts for nothing in the eyes of the CRB.

Good luck with the fight.

April 24, 2007 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to echo Chris B. The last dozen CDs I have purchased are a direct result of having heard those artists on SOMA FM. Not one in ten of those artists gets commercial radio play.

May 2, 2007 4:15 PM  

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