Music Industry

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
licensing, pro

Performance Rights Organizations Accused Of 'Retitling' Songs To Collect Royalties Without Paying Artists

from the sad-state-of-affairs dept

In various discussions about the music industry, we're often told that the so-called Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) are "looking out for artists' interests." In practice, that's not always the case. In the US, for example, we've talked about how PROs have harmed up and coming musicians by jacking up prices so high that many venues that used to be the starting place for new musicians no longer allow any music. Similarly, there are plenty of stories showing how they often collect money that should go to smaller artists, but deliver it to big name artists instead, because it's too difficult to track how much they should be paying smaller artists.

A press release from an organization called Music Licensing Directory -- which may be biased, so take this with a grain of salt -- is highlighting that 40% of the PROs it tracks engage in "retitling" tracks for the purpose of licensing. Basically, the accusation is that the PROs change the title, so that they still collect the royalties, but since the songs can't be easily connected back to the original artist, that artist doesn't get paid.
“We have analyzed over 1500 music licensing companies globally, allowing for an accurate assessment of the market place and providing valued insight for artists and the industry.” said Winston Giles, CEO & Founder of The Music Licensing Directory.

The new report highlights that whilst the Music Licensing Industry continues to grow as a multi-billion dollar segment of the global music industry, there remains some unhealthy practices, most notably the prolific practice of retitling. Retitling is where a music licensing company re-registers a song under a different title with a performing rights organization (PRO), allowing for the royalties to be separately tracked when that song is licensed for a specific third party use. This allows the music licensing company to control and earn a significant share of the royalties collected.

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  1. identicon
    Sean, 23 Apr 2013 @ 6:12am

    Legal Ponzi Scheme

    Taking money that should be going to smaller artists and giving it to the big name artists kinda sounds like a legal ponzi scheme to me.

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