White Sky Royalties Update – Issue #9

News and views from the money side of music


EU Copyright Directive

The EU Copyright Directive marched closer to becoming law with the approval by European Parliament on the 12th of this month. The most controversial points in the Directive were Article 11 (the “link tax”) and Article 13 (the “upload filter”).
I’ve linked a trio of articles from MBW below, articulating different sides of the argument. (Spoiler: it’s mostly the “rights for creators” vs “the death of the internet” camps, at it again.)
Whilst Articles 11 and 13 got most of the column inches, the Directive also includes Articles 14 to 16, which were a lot less publicised. Probably because they represented author and performer rights (the artist), rather than copyright owner rights (the labels). Surprising? Maybe not ….
Article 14 deals with the obligation for licensees to provide transparent accounting to performers and authors. It is quite standard in the music industry that a label provides accounting but who knows what other changes to transparency this article may bring.
Article 15 is reminiscent of the so called “best-seller clause”, whereby an artist has the ability to request further remuneration should a work become highly valuable. I see this affecting the work for hire space mostly. Produce a track for $1000 that goes on to get that $500k Coke sync? This may be your time.
Article 16 provides the means for an artist to pursue the above two Articles.
Music Modernisation Act
Meanwhile, the US Senate has passed the much hyped Music Modernisation Act.
We went over some of the details in our newsletter a couple of months ago (here) but one thing we didn’t mention was the AMP Act.
The Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) act accommodates producers in the collection of performance royalties on the recordings they make. Currently, artists will either pay producers what they’re owed out of their own royalties, or direct SoundExchange to do so at source. The problem is that this Letter Of Direction is often the last thing on an artist’s list of things to do, so the producer’s share often gets forgotten about. This act will allow the allocation of royalties to the producer to happen at source and by default. A big win for an overlooked sector of the industry!
In other news: