Why Songwriters Can’t Audit Under the Statutory Mechanical Royalty License, or Shall We Rely on the Kindness of Strangers?

Music Technology Policy

As most songwriters are aware, song licensing for digital music services is a mess, mostly due to the fact that digital services fail to follow the rules.  Well…not quite.  They follow the rules that suit them and fail to follow the rules when it doesn’t.

(Remember–the statutory license is not just mechanical royalties for CDs, but also includes on-demand streaming audio, like Spotify, and after the latest negotiation, a bunch of other services, too.)

Publishers have been steamrolled into letting the services get away with this, and it has created a huge mess.  This, by the way, is a different huge mess than the YouTube huge mess we posted about recently.  And this is again different than the huge mess for composers resulting from YouTube’s desire to use “user generated” clips from movies and TV shows without providing the PROs with sufficient information to track the uses or apply cue…

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