Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2621243
 


 



A Sustainable Music Industry for the 21st Century


Aloe Blacc


University of Southern California

Irina D. Manta


Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law

David S. Olson


Boston College Law School

June 21, 2015

101 Cornell Law Review Online 39 (2016)
Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 383
Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper

Abstract:     
This essay argues that the current system of music licensing must be completely overhauled. At this time, songwriters are paid a mere pittance when their work is played through Internet streaming services. The paper traces the evolution of compulsory licensing from the early 20th century, when Congress put this system in place due to concerns over the monopolization of the player piano industry, to today. This essay shows how the separation between copyrights for compositions as opposed to public performances contributed to blanket licensing through royalty-collecting organizations like ASCAP and BMI, which — together with government intervention into pricing based on antitrust concerns via consent decrees — has led to an inflexible and tightly controlled market in this context. Last, the essay demonstrates how the focus on classifying streaming services like Pandora based simply on whether they are "interactive" or not relies on a misunderstanding of the substitution effects and hence decline in music sales that Pandora creates. Eliminating compulsory licenses would allow individual songwriters to set their own prices and negotiate with streaming services, including in ways that would allow for price differentiation grounded in factors such as song popularity. Giving songwriters the same control that copyright owners outside the music context already possess will ensure songwriters' ability to continue providing the public with the works it loves.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 12

Keywords: copyright, music licensing, compulsory license, streaming, ASCAP, BMI, consent decrees, pandora, internet radio

JEL Classification: K21, O34


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Date posted: June 22, 2015 ; Last revised: August 31, 2016

Suggested Citation

Blacc, Aloe and Manta, Irina D. and Olson, David S., A Sustainable Music Industry for the 21st Century (June 21, 2015). 101 Cornell Law Review Online 39 (2016); Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 383; Hofstra Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2621243

Contact Information

Aloe Blacc
University of Southern California ( email )
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
Irina D. Manta (Contact Author)
Hofstra University - Maurice A. Deane School of Law ( email )
121 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

Hofstra University Logo

David S. Olson
Boston College Law School ( email )
885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617-552-1378 (Phone)
617-552-4098 (Fax)

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