John Simson, the Executive Director of digital royalty collector/distributor SoundExchange has announced his departure from the organization. He says he’ll stay on during the search for a replacement, and will be available as it continues its quest to wrest performance royalties from AM and FM radio.
Simson said, “After ten years of working with digital services, we’ve achieved many of our important goals. We’ve established fair rates for performers and labels and built the largest performer and recording label society in the world. It is time for me to return to different creative pursuits that I‘ve been putting off these past few years. This has been a thrilling journey, blazing a brand new path, but I know I’m leaving a strong organization poised for continued success.”
He leaves the battle over the Performance Rights Act pending in Congress, where it has seemingly stalled after making it out of both Judiciary Committees. “We are hopeful that we will finally get what’s rightfully owed to America’s recording artists and copyright owners,” Simson commented, “and I’ve told the Board that I will be there to finish this task whenever required.”
RBR-TVBR observation: The labels are desperate to make up the shortfalls caused by their failure to update their business model, and apparently a big part of the plan is to abandon their old partners – mostly radio – and stifle new partnerships that could be cultivated on the web – and that also includes radio.
If the labels are going to insist on payment every time a song is played, those playing the songs are simply going to have to insist on compensation for marketing those same songs, which the labels may recall is accomplished by playing them for the public to hear and subsequently to buy.
The labels need to figure out how to sell music again, in the face of permanent changes to the music business brought about by the internet. But the need to promote music hasn’t changed, so the fact that the record companies have chosen to hide behind artists and attack their marketing partners shows a sense of desperation on their part. But it won’t solve their long-term problems.