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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

CNET reports that a coalition of music groups including publishers, songwriters, and composers is looking to increase the compensation they receive from digital distribution of their work. Having been unsuccessful at negotiating increased fees with distributors such as Apple, the groups, which include the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) among others, have begun lobbying the U.S. Congress for to pass legislation to address their claims.
At a time when many iTunes shoppers are still fuming over Apple's first-ever increase in song prices, the demands by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), and other performing-rights groups, would likely lead to more price hikes at iTunes. This would also undoubtedly confirm the perception held by many that those overseeing the music industry are greedy.
At the heart of the issue is the "performance fee", a type of licensing fee used to compensate composers and publishers when their work is performed in public. The music groups argue that digital distribution of their work, including 30-second song samples and in TV and movie downloads such as those found on iTunes, constitutes public performance and thus requires performance fees to be paid by the distributors.
Apparently, the music industry can't obtain the fees through negotiations. They have begun lobbying Congress to pass legislation that require anyone selling a download to pay a performance fee, according to David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association.

"If you watch a TV show on broadcast, cable or satellite TV there is a performance fee collected," Israelite said. "But if that same TV show is downloaded over iTunes, there's not. We're arguing that the law needs to be clarified that regardless of the method by which a consumer watches the show there is a performance right."
The issue is complicated by the existence of other fees such as upfront "synchronization fees" that cover inclusion of songs in film or TV shows. Those fees are typically supplemented by performance fees when the film or TV shows are aired, although many composers have given away their synchronization fee rights in hopes of obtaining performance fees further down the road, but as the landscape has begun shifting to digital distribution, those composers are finding themselves with shrinking performance fee income.
"This is really a fight about the future," Israelite said. "As more and more people watch TV or movies over an Internet line as opposed to cable or broadcast signal, then we're going to lose the income of the performance. For people who do production and background music, that's how they make their living."
On the topic of 30-second music samples, Jonathan Potter, executive director of the Digital Media Association that represents distributors such as Apple, argues that copyright law protects distributors from being charged performance fees for such offerings.
"They are picking on Apple because they say Apple is making a bundle of money," Potter said. "But these companies should be thrilled that Apple and the other services are selling music and generating millions, maybe tens of millions, in royalties."
The music groups have so far had little success in their lobbying efforts with Congress, and courts have consistently sided with digital distributors in their claims that downloaded songs are not considered public performances. Composers and publishers have not, however, given up the fight.

Article Link: Music Publishers and Writers Lobbying Congress for Additional Compensation for Digital Distribution

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
So if I have this straight they want money for the 30 sec clips people listen to to decide if they want to buy it. That is stupid because with out those clips I would not buy a song. This clips have pushed me over the edge before on a song or I used it to make sure it was the song I was thinking of.

As for the TV and movies, it is because every time we the person watch it they can not collect money. Do they some how thing that a digital copy of a movie/TV is different than a DVD. In my eyes it is one and the same and they do not change for DVDs


macrumors regular
Jan 1, 2008
I dislike people, who - if they fail to reach their goal by negotiations - try to force it on everybody by law.


macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2007
Toronto, Ontario Canada
I say: let them win their fight, and start charging through the wazoo. And if they want royalties for the playing of their 30 second preview clips, give them that too.

And then we can watch closely as their profits take a downward slide. I wonder: do the indie artists want this too? Unlikely, because they want increased exposure, not less.


macrumors newbie
Jun 3, 2007
Greed at it's finest. Artists never have truly made money from sales, they generally make most of their money from tours. I think this is another ploy for records labels to increase their pockets, not the artists. I think it goes back to Karma, for decades record labels have been gouging the consumer. With the advent of the "net" they started losing money and they never have recouped. Part of any business model is staying current and in trend, simply they dropped the ball.


macrumors member
Jun 24, 2009
They have a bad analogy.

If over the air broadcasts are a performance. Then so should streaming internet shows/music. However, iTunes is not streaming. It is digital distribution of a CD/DVD and not a performance.

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
To me the RIAA has lost all creditability after they were caught illegally raising prices of CDs then they bitch how they lost money. Yes it happen years ago but it will leave a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of my life which is at least the next 50 years if not more.

They are greedy. Time and time again the RIAA has failed to adjust with the times. They fought digital copies of the song for years even when it shown that it was the next wave they still fought it. They can not adjust to change. the RIAA has single handily killed music by not allowing it to change.

How much has music really change the in the past 10-15 years. Yes we have new artist but at the time time if you listen to stuff made in the 90's and then today low and be hold they have the same styling...... Sad. You can pick out music from the 80's based on style but one can not tell the defence between 90's and the 00's


macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2009
Greed at it's finest. Artists never have truly made money from sales, they generally make most of their money from tours. I think this is another ploy for records labels to increase their pockets, not the artists. I think it goes back to Karma, for decades record labels have been gouging the consumer. With the advent of the "net" they started losing money and they never have recouped. Part of any business model is staying current and in trend, simply they dropped the ball.

I think I have to go along this line. This whole music _industry_ is getting beyond ridiculous, in every way.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 12, 2007
Yorkshire, England
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7C144 Safari/528.16)

Greed truly knows no bounds, I fully understand and appreciate the need to compensate an artist or writer but of late they seem to be trying to squeeze money from everything no matter how insignificant. My patience for there petty squabling is beginning to wear thin, in the uk I know a true story of a car mechanic who was visited by a suit demanding him to pay performance fees for listening to the radio at work because passers by could hear it and that consituted as a performance.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
The Netherlands
Interestingly at the same time Billy Corgan / The Smashing Pumkpins announce to release their 44 track forthcoming album (Teargarden by Kaleidyscope) completely free on the internet... Even more free that Radiohead's 'In Rainbows' where you could pay nothing, or pay whatever you liked...


macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2003
Their argument makes absolutely no sense. When their song is played on a TV commercial, everyone agrees that it's a public performance and they do get paid royalties. Then, out of no where, they somehow equate their song being played on broadcast television with someone sitting in their private home listening to 30 second song clips on iTunes. Anyone can string two completely unrelated arguments together: "I like to eat food, therefore you should buy me a new car"; doesn't make it a valid argument :p

Let them pass the law and then watch as even more people turn to piracy


macrumors newbie
Feb 27, 2009
Maybe they could make money if they stopped lobbying and suing and instead focus on how they can use the opportunity of services like iTunes to distribute their product and make money.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2005
Orlando, Florida
I dislike people, who - if they fail to reach their goal by negotiations - try to force it on everybody by law.


Flies in the face of free market systems, and the concept of fair use once I purchase a product. If I buy a CD, and then use a song as my ring tone, is that a public performance?


macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2007
American greed knows no bounds.

There's good reason for many of the changes being requested, particularly by performing musicians who are not currently compensated for radio play. That's a separate issue.
But unless something is being omitted from the story (and considering the anti-labor slant of our media, I wouldn't be suprised) it would indeed seem stupid to ask for compensation on a sales tool. Precisely why I think there's something fishy about the story.


macrumors 6502
Jul 2, 2006
Vancouver, BC
Most signed artists actually receive less in royalties for painless digital distribution, than they do for LP's and CD's.


macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
I say: let them win their fight, and start charging through the wazoo.

Charging who? The consumers that are trying to avoid piracy by actually buying their music?

Apple just tried this with tiered pricing on the iTunes Store. The concept, as announced, was to price new music at $1.29, older music at $.99 and even older music (6+ years) at $0.69. What did the record labels do? They priced everything that could even remotely be considered a hit at $1.29. And $0.69 songs have become such a rarity that Apple doesn't even bother marketing them anymore.

"I can tell you that we know already that more songs are going to be offered at 69 [cents] than $1.29."

Phil Schiller, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Apple, Macworld '09

Tiered pricing really worked out well for the consumer, didn't it? I hope Apple fights this to the end. ASCAP and BMI members should be fighting with the record labels instead of digital distributors for a bigger cut of sales. That's where their real beef is. The problem is they know they can't win with the record labels, so they're taking on everyone else.


macrumors member
Feb 12, 2007
The housing crisis was largely precipitated by the government intervening to mandate relaxed lending standards to do a perceived failing of the market. Now, these clowns want government mandates to correct a different perceived failing of the market.

These idiots fail to realize that they aren't worth as much as they think.


macrumors 65816
Jun 30, 2007
Dallas, TX
You all do realize a lot of these writers make next to nothing.

Listen, don't bitch to me about "writers make next to nothing". Same as waiters/waitresses....don't bitch to me about "you need to tip this much because they only get paid $2.15 per hour".

It's their OWN CHOICE to do that job and they know damn well how much they are getting paid.

I have no sympathy for people who CHOOSE to do jobs that pay very little. Go get an education and apply for higher paying jobs.....not a writer or waiter.

Now, with that said, I think if they begin to get charge-happy with digital content on iTunes and even go as far as charging for 30-second samples, I'll be more than happy to hit the torrent sites. I don't care.


macrumors 603
Jan 10, 2006
So they want more money because they think a 30 second snippet (that is helping sell their tracks) is public broadcasting?

Simple thing for Apple to do is stop offering preview tracks. Watch the sales drop for the artists.


Mar 6, 2007
If anything, the government should not interfere... let the writers, publishers and artists sue each other, raise prices and see what that ultimately gets them. In fact, I'm ok with letting them sue consumers for illegal copying, because I think in the end it will force consumers to fully reject mass produced/consumed media.


macrumors member
Jul 7, 2008
Scranton PA
I was going to say frostwire is easy to use. In past I have downloaded music, but after itunes done away with its drm I have only been buying music there. if the price goes up by a few cents, its not that bad and I will continue to buy music and tv shows from iTunes:)
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