Contemporary Expression

Performing Rights Act – will it be law in 2010?


photo by Chad McClarnon from Project: One Song

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For nearly nine years (1998-2007) I worked at the worlds largest performing rights organization, Broadcast Music Inc (BMI). I enjoyed my time there working on behalf of  songwriters and publishers.

I will forever be thrilled to hear of fairness and equity in the appropriate compensation of those that make up our creative class.

I recently attended a seminar sponsored by The Arts & Business Council of Nashville‘s  program Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for The Arts. I did a live tweet as a way of taking notes for my musician friends.  Here is the run down – it’s in reverse order as it came from Twitter over the hour that I was there.


  1. “The direction of the music biz is moving toward capturing listeners and away selling hard product” -Sam Reed
  2. SoundExchange is created by statute & governed by the copyright gurus in Washington. I am thinking- if his happens then that company needs a
  3. Pro Public Relations Perf Rights Act
  4. The Local Radio Freedom Act is a non binding resolution that speaks for the supported of the NAB. It has not been voted on.
  5. Conyers Amend-supported by Cooper. Passed 21-9 Sen markup passed by voice vote & added songwriter language and established platform parity
  6. Songwriter reps are supportive of bill
  7. SoundExchange would collect the royalties. 45% will go directly to the featured artist. 5% goes to union for bkg musicians and 50% to labels
  8. S.379. & HR 848 … Look it up
  9. Davidson Co creators: If you sent in a copyright for registration. And it’s taking more than 9 mo to be processed call Rep Cooper’s office, ask for Sam, he can help.
  10. Sam Reed from Rep. Cooper’s office is leading the seminar on The Performing Rights Act for TN Vol Lawyers for Arts

So what are your thoughts?  Having managed a record producer I can tell you that producers will be playing instruments on more records so they can get in that pool.  However, I don’t think it will necessarily take away work from anyone.  More studio musicians will  be joining the union to get in the pool.

As it is written now, there would be no fees imposed for 3 years after it because law so that radio stations can start adjusting to the extra line item cost.   The parties are sitting down to talk more on November 17th, 2009.  It will be interesting to see this continue to unfold.  What do you think are the important things to look for?

Download the Presentation:  New Music Royalty Presentation


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