Royalty Rates Continue to be Debated

The way artists & labels as well as writers & publishers are compensated is under a microscope with the US Justice Department reviewing consent decrees and the music industry pushing for terrestrial radio to start paying for the use of music. Now some are examining the difference in compensation between labels & artists and writers & publishers. Billboard gets National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) president and CEO David Israelite and Atlas Music Publishing CEO Richard Stumpf to weigh in (here).

Both want to see a balance between performer and publisher payout, where the rates would be set by market forces rather than under compulsory licenses. “”The record labels, on behalf of the performers, went in and negotiated very large percentages, which is great but lopsided, in that they’re getting 50% of the money a Pandora will earn, where songwriters are only getting four [percent],” Stumpf says” in the article. 

Ultra Records Sues YouTube Star Michelle Phan

Ultra Records filed a complaint of copyright infringement against Michelle Phan this month in Los Angeles. Ultra names Kaskade as an artist Phan uses as a music bed in her YouTube videos. Michelle Phan is a beauty vlogger with 6.75 million subscribers on YouTube. She shows how to use different beauty products to her viewers with formal branded product recommendations embedded in the video. For an example, see this video  “Night Life Favorites” that shows makeup application, what items to bring on your night out, and logos of the products presented, which uses Kaskade’s song “4AM” and has been viewed 1.4 million times.

What should Michelle Phan have done? Obtained a synchronization license for the music from Ultra Records before posting the video. Here is Billboard’s article, then check out the debate amongst Phan fans in the comments section of the video’s page:

GulZoraKhan — “I would never know the majority of the music Michelle plays in her videos if she didn’t use them. So they record company should be thanking her for promoting their songs and listing it in the information bar rather then suing her.”

schoolgeek2b — “Umm if another person on YouTube stole her videos and profited on it, do you not think that Michelle would react?…”