It’s nice to see iTunes and Rhapsody playing nicely with the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in the joint filing of “Settlement 115″, an April 2012 proposal to the US Copyright Royalty board outlining specifics of how musicians should be compensated for new digital innovations such as “content lockers” (i.e. storing your playlists in the cloud), giving ringtones away to sell Smartphone hardware and “limited” subscriptions (i.e. paying only $2/mo for the convenience of celebrating Vanilla Ice’s entire catalog anytime…anywhere).
This filing is historic because of the sheer number and diversity of parties who actually chose to think ahead and conduct these royalty negotiations ahead of time in hopes of avoiding lawsuits in the future. Nice. Organizations who signed the proposal include the Digital Media Association, Microsoft, the American Association of Independent Music, Apple, Rhapsody, AT&T, Google, Amazon, The Songwriters Guild of America, National Music Publishers Association & Pandora.
And who can blame these organizations for cooperating with the RIAA? It’s always better to work with an organization who represents all the major music labels and has essentially become the Joe Pesci of the music industry. Just ask anyone who’s been sued by the RIAA which includes Napster, Kazaa, XM Satellite Radio and Jammie Thomas-Rasse, a 35 year-old resources coordinator and mother of four from Brainerd, Minnesota, who downloaded 24 songs from Kazaa.
I can tell you that selling music online is difficult. We music publishers no longer have technology working in our favor, like the 90′s when music buffs re-bought their entire music collections on CD, or when you had to buy the whole Men Without Hats album just to get “Safety Dance” (sorry about that). Technology has now made it more complicated than ever for us to provide that “tweener” with her Katy Perry fix and actually collect a payment. So it’s great to see the folks who represent that intellectual property making an effort to keep the royalty fights out of the public eye, out of the courts and in tastefully decorated, Washington DC boardrooms where they belong.
Mike Bielenberg is a professional musician and co-founder of http://www.musicrevolution.com, a production music marketplace with over 17,000 tracks online where media producers, video producers, filmmakers, game developers, businesses and other music buyers can license high-quality, affordable royalty-free music from an online community of musicians email@example.com.