Performance Rights Changes Ahead


GavelLook for 2016 to be a busy year for radio and performance rights groups.

That’s according to Wilkinson Barker Knauer’s David Oxenford.

Performance rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect royalties for the public performance of a copyrighted song.

Changes could be coming soon in the relationship between the radio industry and PROs, says Oxenford in his blog. The Radio Music License Committee represents radio in negotiations with PROs.

The current agreements with ASCAP and BMI expire this year; if talks don’t produce a deal, he proper royalty could be litigated in rate court.

“[T]he current royalties were a return to a percentage-of-revenue model, after a period during which broadcasters had been paying a flat fee based on market size – a royalty experiment that many broadcasters thought was a failure as it resulted in increasing royalties in a period during which radio revenues did not increase. Most seem to believe that the return to the percentage of revenue is a better system,” Oxenford blogs.

The Department of Justice continues its review of the antitrust decrees that govern operation of ASCAP and BMI, we’ve reported.