Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Say It Isn't So, Zack

It started the as Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, but these days it can also bite you if you're a broadcaster in the USA as well.
The news that Zac Brown is jumping to SESAC feels like a next door neighbor just told me he's moving to a new neighborhood = a reminder to every broadcaster that it's unwise to try do without any of the licensing representatives (as if you didn't know that already).

Since K.T. Oslin and long before her, C. W. McCall, have produced must play songs to country radio which have been licensed by SESAC.

It gets expensive if you get caught playing music you don't have rights to.

As D-C-based media attorney David Oxenford writes:

There are obviously important and complicated issues that will be considered.  Will anything happen at the end of the day?  It will no doubt be a long and contentious process – one that may also be affected by the proposed Congressional omnibus music licensing bill.  There is much to review, and much to consider – and all music services need to watch and stay involved as this process develops.

ASCAP and BMI also want the right to do more than simply license the public performance rights for musical compositions – looking to be able to license rights to sych right (e.g. when a song is used in a commercial or movie production) or rights to reproduction (the mechanical rights necessary for a download or an on-demand music service).  Having the ability to bundle these rights might make ASCAP and BMI more attractive to many publishers, and to many services looking for that one-stop shop for music rights.  But, giving these companies more control over music could be seen as an increase in their market power, necessitating the continuation and strengthening of the consent decrees.

If you'd like a complete primer on the issues and the organizations involved, click here.  In fact, David Ross is writing a book on it.

Meanwhile, with a major superstar now on SESAC, it's a reminder that when it comes to music rights, nothing is consistent but change.

Stay abreast of the issues from radio's point-of-view.

More than ever NAB needs radio's support.

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