ASCAP, BMI Consent Decrees Remain Necessary To Promote Fair, Efficient Music Licensing
August 6, 2014

The Consent Decrees governing the licensing of musical works performance rights by ASCAP and BMI provide important protections for licensees from potential anti-competitive behavior by the performance rights organizations (PROs) and their protections should be maintained in full, NAB said in comments filed today with the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

In its filing, NAB voiced support for the views expressed by the Television Music License Committee and the Radio Music License Committee to the DOJ, and cited an analysis by economist Steven Peterson expounding the public interest benefits of the Consent Decrees. The Consent Decrees, Peterson’s analysis found, creates numerous efficiencies through the aggregate licensing, enforcement and administration of the rights to musical compositions. In addition, the analysis cited the conduct of SESAC – a PRO not governed by a consent decree – to highlight the abuses possible by PROs with blanket licensing ability that is unrestricted by DOJ oversight.

"The aggregation of rights gives the PROs tremendous market power, which in the absence of the Consent Decrees would allow the PROs to extract supra-competitive pricing for their licenses," said NAB in the filing. "Radio and television broadcasters lack control, in certain instances, over the particular songs that are broadcast. Even with respect to programming created by broadcasters, each of the PROs has aggregated such a large repertory that there is often no practical way to avoid playing music licensed by each of the PROs."

NAB referred to recent rulings in two antitrust cases brought against SESAC in which the courts expressed the view that there was sufficient evidence that the PRO had engaged in anti-competitive behavior that gave licensees no choice but to purchase SESAC's licenses.

NAB also urged the DOJ to not amend the Consent Decrees to allow some music publishers to selectively withdraw their catalogs from the PROs for some licensees but not for others. If allowed to do so, music publishers could discriminate against some licensees and leverage their outsized market power relative to those licensees to extract to pay exorbitant fees.

"The major music publishers with substantial catalogs have essentially the same market power as the PROs because their catalogs do not compete with one another, and each has aggregated a large enough number of songs from individual songwriters as to make the licensing of their catalogs indispensable for broadcasters," said NAB. "If allowed to circumvent the Consent Decrees, those publishers will abuse their market power to extract supra-competitive rates, terms, and conditions from the blanket licensees they choose to target."

If the DOJ decides to amend the Consent Decrees, NAB said, then it should focus on requiring greater transparency by ASCAP and BMI. The PROs should provide more accurate and comprehensive information about the musical compositions that are being licensed, which could help develop an alternative to the anti-competitive effects of blanket licenses.

"Lack of meaningful access to such information has increased transaction costs and hindered licensing activities – both direct and collective," said NAB in its comments. "Repertory transparency would allow licensors, licensees, and the rate courts to better understand the rights that are being licensed and their value."




 
Breaking News
Afternoons With Adam Bomb Debuts on Q100/Atlanta
Nadine Santos Promoted To Director/Programming & Artist Relations At Music Choice
UMG And Alex Da Kid Sign Multi-Faceted Agreement
Debra Green Takes Over Nights On WSRV/The River
January 18, 2017
Gregg Nadel Named President of Elektra Records
CBS Radio Rebrands KVIL And AMPs Up The Dallas-Fort Worth Market
KDND/Sacramento Is Looking For Next Night Superstar
January 17, 2017
Angi Taylor Joins The Rendezvous
Randy Savage Joins Cumulus As OM Wilkes Barre/Scranton, PA Cluster
Hubbard Radio Chicago Signs Eric & Kathy To Multi-Year Agreement
Jill Devine Signs Multi-Year Renewal At KYKY/St. Louis
January 13, 2017
Pandora Expects To Exceed Q4 2016 Guidance, Citing Subscription Momentum and RPM Growth
SiriusXM Launches "Hits 1 in Hollywood"
In Brief - January 13, 2017
January 12, 2017
Beasley Names Debbie Mazella Program Director Of Magic 98.3/New Jersey
The Dave & Mahoney Morning Show Returns To KXTE (X107.5)/Las Vegas
January 11, 2017
Cumulus Promotes Matt Raback To VP/Market Manager For York-Lancaster-Reading, PA
Crystal Castorena Named GM For Impact Radio Group
Justin Luvv Named Afternoon On-Air Personality/Imaging Director For WRWM/Indianapolis
January 10, 2017
Ron Parker Named New Afternoon Host At WLS-FM/Chicago
KLOS/Los Angeles Kicks Off 2017 With New Programming Additions
Mark Kassof & Co. Launches Mobile Music Test
January 9, 2017
Steve Butler Renews With CBS Radio As VP/News Programming
Music News
Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears Among People's Choice Award Winners
Quick Hits: Grammy Lineup, Audioslave, Third Eye Blind
Maroon 5 Scores Their Ninth #1 Top 40 Hit
Quick Hits: Lollapalooza Paris, Metallica, Brit Awards, U2, Radiohead, George Harrison, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Quick Hits: Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, John Legend, Fifty Shades Darker, Trent Reznor
U2, Chili Peppers, The Weeknd & Chance the Rapper Headlining Bonnaroo
Quick Hits: Ed Sheeran, Prince
Quick Hits: Rocklahoma, Prince's Estate, Big Sean, Shaky Knees Music Festival, Spoon
U2 Announce Joshua Tree Anniversary Tour
Quick Hits: Panorama Festival, Green Day, Billboard 200, A Perfect Circle
Ed Sheeran Releases Two New Singles
Tool, Chance the Rapper & Phoenix Headlining Governors Ball
Beyoncé, Radiohead & Kendrick Lamar Headlining Coachella 2017
Quick Hits: BottleRock Napa Valley Festival, The Chainsmokers, Ed Sheeran
Pop Star George Michael Dead at 53
FMQB NOW

 

Question Of
The Week

Advertisement:
Search FMQB.com
Advertisements:
FMQB Member Login
Email:
Pass:

Save
Not a member yet?
Sign up Now!
Sign Up for Breaking News!
Enter FMQB E-Tracking!