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.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    I, for one, welcome our new old record label overlords.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    Anything that is a major lose for ASCAP

    is a huge win for everyone else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Hooray!

    Now the Girl Scouts will be able to sing and dance again!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 7:43am

    Wow, that's like, what, one third of the ASCAP "clients"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Re:

    Closer to 28%, but still, that's a considerable loss.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Ben Robinson (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 4th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Re: More complex licensing

    Good post, thanks.

    This is a technerd site, and these buffoons don't really understand the music business...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: More complex licensing

    >>these buffoons don't really understand the music business.

    Oddly, the exact same statement seems to apply to the top execs in most RIAA companies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Rich, May 4th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: More complex licensing

    And just how does being McDonald's fry-guy help YOU to understand the music business?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    Re:

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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 9:28am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re:

    Rumors aside, I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe they're seriously considering it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 10:06am

    Re: More complex licensing

    The biggest issue I have with groups such as ASCAP, is that their sole purpose is to act as though they are the lynchpins of the world.

    What I would like to see is an actual mediator, rather than someone who wails the Siren Song of Musicality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Gary in San Mateo, May 4th, 2011 @ 10:28am

    I'm at home and am gonna go full volume on about twenty five songs.
    If anybody would like to listen please stop on by. No charge.
    Corner of Day and Norfolk San Mateo California.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Richard (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    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!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Richard (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    PS - the money that BP lost in the gulf (which doesn't seem to have hurt them too badly) - would have bought all the major labels...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Richard (profile), May 4th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

    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...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Rich Fiscus (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 3:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why would a company that wants to make money buy EMI? They've been losing hundreds of millions of dollars for the last several years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 9th, 2011 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: More complex licensing

    ">>these buffoons don't really understand the music business.

    Oddly, the exact same statement seems to apply to the top execs in most RIAA companies."

    They understand monopoly rights , they do not understand business ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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