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Music News 11/8/12

[ 0 ] November 8, 2012 | |

A Warner Music Group reorganization is unlikely to affect local operations or lead to lay offs. According to multiple news outlets, WMG will be divided into the following three divisions in the U.S.:

• Recorded music—includes Warner Music Nashville, Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records.

• Music publishing and catalog development—will bring together Warner/Chappell and Rhino Entertainment under Warner Chappell CEO and chairman, Cameron Strang. This move is designed to spur catalog exploitation, which includes synch licensing. Rhino offers many music reissues, and has product by Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Travis Tritt, Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Smiths, Chicago, Foreigner, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Monkees, The Stooges, Percy Sledge, Wilson Pickett, Tony Joe White and more.

• Label and artist services—home to distribution and other peripheral operations such as tour production, booking, artists services, event production and marketing, this includes WEA, ADA, 360° Operations and D2C. Matt Signore will lead the label and artist services division as general manager / CFO.

Billboard first broke the story, when it obtained an email from WMG CEO Steve Cooper to employees.

• • • •

Pandora has filed a lawsuit against ASCAP in an attempt to get lower licensing rates for the performances of ASCAP’s works.

The suit, which was filed in a New York federal court, is asking the court to determine “reasonable fees and terms” for ASCAP licenses through 2015. The parties’ original licensing agreement was made in 2005, and Pandora now claims it is “ill-suited” to Pandora’s business. Since January 1, 2011, Pandora has been paying ASCAP interim licensing fees. The organizations have been negotiating over a year but have not been able to reach a satisfactory final licensing agreement, prompting the lawsuit.

Pandora’s justification in filing the suit comes from the court’s approval of the Radio Music Licensing Committee’s agreement with ASCAP. That agreement blankets traditional broadcasting and internet content (including Pandora competitor iHeartRadio) and offers RMLC members a lower fee.

Additionally, Pandora claims it is due lower rates because of publisher new media licensing withdrawals from ASCAP. Going forward, publishers such as EMI who exercise withdrawal rights will negotiate those licensing fees directly with Pandora and similar companies. Pandora’s agreement with EMI spans two years beginning January 1, 2012.

The publishing community was none too thrilled with the move. “It’s outrageous Pandora would try to reduce the already nominal amount they pay songwriters and music publishers, when Pandora’s business model is based entirely on the creative contributions of those songwriters,” said David Israelite, president/CEO of the National Music Publisherss Association in a statement. “To file this suit at the same time that Pandora’s founders are pocketing millions for themselves adds insult to injury.”

The NMPA’s statement elaborates by noting that Pandora’s 2011 revenue was $338 million with a market cap of $1.6 billion.

Added Israelite, “Royalty rates should protect songwriters and compensate them for their significant contribution to the success of music services like Pandora. As this area of the market grows, we need to ensure that songwriters are protected, and that they are appropriately compensated for their work.”

• • •
American Songwriter magazine has announced the judges and Grand Prize for its 27th annual Amateur Lyric Contest, sponsored by Gibson Guitars and Shure Microphones. Winners are chosen bi-monthly and one winner will be awarded a Nashville co-writing meeting and demo recording.

Included on the judging panel are Scott Billington (Rounder Records), Tom DeSavia (Songs Music Publishing), Tim Hunze (Parallel Music), Ali Tamposi (songwriter), Carter Little (35Sound), Dave Barnes (songwriter), Caine O’Rear (American Songwriter), Marshall Altman (Producer/Songwriter), Lee Dannay (Warner-Chappell Music), John Ritchie (American Songspace), Sue Drew (ASCAP), Jocelyn Harms (SESAC) and Bradley Collins (BMI).

Additionally, the Grand Prize “Dream Co-Writer” for the 2013 winner will be songwriter and Curb Records artist Lee Brice, who has scored numerous hits both as an artist (“Hard to Love”) and as a songwriter (“Crazy Girl”). The contest winner and Brice will be paired up in early 2014 for a writing session.

“It’s an honor to be featured in a magazine that celebrates the craft of songwriting,” said Brice. “I’ve got some big shoes to fill but I am definitely looking forward to sitting down with an aspiring songwriter. Songs are the foundation of country music – of all music – and writing is one of my favorite parts of the creative process.”

More information on the contest here.

• • •
Save the date: The 21st Annual Tin Pan South will be held April 1-6, 2013.
• • •

Front Row: Alicia Pruitt (Sr Director A&R), Neena Wright (Office Manager), Ben Vaughn (Exec. VP), Cameron Strang (CEO), Brantley Gilbert, Jon Platt (President, Creative), Steve Butler (VP Legal & Business Affairs), Steve Tussman (Manager). Back Row: Matt Michiels (Productions Manager), Blain Rhodes (Creative Coordinator), Steve Markland (VP A&R), Phil May (VP, GM), BJ Hill (Sr Director A&R), Rich Egan (Manager). Photo taken by: Karen Harrison-Hite

Valory Music’s Brantley Gilbert celebrated re-signing his publishing agreement with Warner/Chappell recently (11/2). He was joined by Ben Vaughn, Phil May, Steve Markland and the Nashville team, as well as Cameron Strang, Jon Platt and his management team.

Category: Music News

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