EMI Dumps ASCAP For Digital Licensing

from the ouch dept

Well, this is interesting. When Guy Hands had bought EMI years back, there was hope that, as an outsider, he might come in and shake things up in a good way. That didn’t happen, and after a massive flop, Hands lost EMI to Citigroup earlier this year. And, yet, now it appears that EMI is finally making some interesting moves. First up: it’s pulling back its digital rights from ASCAP and is going to license them directly. That’s a huge hit to ASCAP (who will undoubtedly downplay the significance, though it really is huge). This also should ease the licensing of EMI’s catalog, since it’s all going through a single company, rather than having to involve multiple companies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see others go in this direction as well. Of course, some musicians might not like it, as ASCAP tends to be a bit clearer in its royalty statements than many of the labels, but this is a big potential issue for ASCAP.

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Companies: ascap, emi

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Comments on “EMI Dumps ASCAP For Digital Licensing”

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Rich Fiscus (profile) says:

Citigroup taking control of EMI may be the best thing that could have happened to the recorded music industry. The longer it takes to sell them, the better it’s likely to be.

Citigroup’s only interest in the company is the bottom line. High handed rhetoric about the evil pirates and feel good proclamations about the label’s supposed moral high ground aren’t going to impress them. As the old saying goes, money talks and bullshit walks.

If they manage to sell EMI relatively soon all this could go away since the only likely buyers are other labels or people blinded by a delusion of being a 20th century label mogul. If that doesn’t happen, we could be looking back in 5 years and saying Citigroup’s takeover was what forced all the label executives to get off their soapboxes and make some damn money.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Other Labels are not the only buyers… what about Google?

Or indeed any other large company that simply wants to make money. My favourite would be an oil company – those guys are really ruthless with loss making bullshit. I remember where I used to work we mainly did defence contracts – lots of politicing and point scoring – but we also did some for the oil industry – completely different deal. One of their guys once tried to put us down – and make himself look good in front of his bosses – big mistake – they fired him on the spot!

Ben Robinson (profile) says:

More complex licensing

Presumably this relates to EMI music publishing rather than EMI the record label as ASCAP licenses copyrights for the composition rather than the sound recording.

Anyhoo this is not really a win for people wanting to license music (unless it results in much licensing cheaper costs from EMI) because it has just added an extra party to negotiate a deal with. Existing licensees who have a license with ascap, now nead to renegotiate with EMI in order to carry on using EMI owned compositions. New licensees now have an extra party to negotiate with.

For all their many many bad points collections societies like ASCAP do at least make licensing more simple by reducing the number of parties you have to negotiate with. Under current copyright laws, without them trying to do anything at all with other peoples copyrighted musical compositions would be almost impossible.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: More complex licensing

Because, he listens to the radio at work, and his boss told him that if he wanted to continue listening to the radio in a public place that he needed to get a performance license. This set him off on a quest trying to license every song from every performer who might possibly get some radio play from that station and thus his life experience as a fry-guy has given him detailed intimate knowledge of music licensing.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: More complex licensing

so what?
so you remove one of the gatekeeper functions intent on keeping things operating as if they were in a pre-digital age and move those functions back to being a function of EMI itself which may or may not share that ideal (at this point there is really no way to tell).

you still have to talk to *someone* about licensing issues and no, ascap does not actually let you bring in a laundry list and say you have 200 songs you want to license. you still have to go over them item by item at some point so in reality it doesnt matter much that you have to go to another party for EMI songs at this point.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: More complex licensing

collections societies like ASCAP do at least make licensing more simple by reducing the number of parties you have to negotiate with.
Only true if you only operate in one country – if you operate across (say) 30 countries it is obviously easier to deal with one publisher than with all those different collection societies for just one song…

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