June 3, 2014

BMI Applauds DOJ Antitrust Division Review of Consent Decree

Music marketplace has evolved and changed – compensation for creators must do the same

Press Release

The Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, has opened a review to examine Broadcast Music, Inc.’s (BMI) consent decree to determine if it is meeting the goal of protecting competition. Almost all the rights and obligations in BMI’s consent decree were developed in the mid-1960s – before the Internet, satellite radio, and the growth of cable and other modern music delivery platforms.

BMI is one of the world’s leading music rights organizations and is celebrating its 75th year. The organization, which operates on a non-profit-making basis, represents more than 600,000 songwriters, composers and publishers responsible for over 8.5 million musical works. Under copyright law, whenever music is played in public, the creators of that music – the writers and publishers – are entitled to be compensated for their work.

BMI released the following statement from Michael O’Neill, Chief Executive Officer of BMI:

“On behalf of our affiliates, we applaud the Department of Justice’s review of the BMI consent decree. The marriage of technology and creativity has helped open up tremendous opportunities for our affiliates through cutting-edge digital platforms. Technology has truly helped democratize the entertainment industry, giving large and small players a forum to be heard over any device – but the creators of the music must be paid properly and fairly for their contributions.

We look forward to participating in the DOJ’s proceeding and welcome its review of the consent decree; BMI understands that the focus needs to be on the songwriters, composers and publishers responsible for the music we all enjoy, on the businesses using our music, and on serving the ever-growing public demand for music. We seek to modernize the decree to enable songwriters and publishers to realize fair market value for their work, to make music licensing more efficient and to streamline the rate- setting process.

BMI and our affiliated creators of music look forward to the future and new innovations, but we want to be guided by rules written for today’s environment, not a world of three networks, vinyl LPs or 8-track tapes. The DOJ’s review, along with Congress’s consideration of the Songwriter Equity Act, are two key building blocks to creating a new era of fair market value for songwriters, composers and publishers.”


Bob Conrad, Ketchum
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