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Songwriter Voices | A Call To Action

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Dear Songpreneurs,

We have just come from a meeting of the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) here in Nashville where David Isrealite of the National Music Publisher Association (NMPA) laid out their upcoming initiative to push music licensing reform through Congress.

This initiative has been developed behind closed doors with members of the NMPA, ASCAP, BMI, NSAI and other large music advocacy groups, and the intention of it is to help solve our problems working with the Digital Music Association, the Broadcasters, Music Licensors and essentially the groups who make up the MIC Coalition.

Because this initiative is not ours to share, we will not do so, but will rather respect the right of the NMPA and their affiliates to disclose the details of their endeavor themselves instead of doing it for them.

But their plan does involve the creation of a Central Database of mechanical licensing meant to prevent the creation of a database by others, namely in response to the newly proposed Sensenbrenner bill known as Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act.

While we are grateful for the music industry and our advocacy groups stepping forward to solve these problems on our behalf, the solution proposed by the NMPA group is definitely flawed in many aspects, mainly due to their non-inclusion of songwriter entrepreneurs who actually earn their living from the proceeds of copyright on a daily basis in this discussion.

Songpreneurs is uniquely positioned to provide insight into the needs of working songwriter entrepreneurs because of our wide community engagement over the past seven years in this area.

We have largely maintained silence in the legislative arena, desiring that the work to solve our industry problems would be effectively done by the industry itself.

However this is not the case. Only this weekend we received a message from a former member whose questions related to online streaming were deferred by our sister organization, Nashville Songwriter Association International (NSAI) to the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, neither of whom were able to answer this songwriter’s question.

His question points to the very roots of our problem, which is this: why do streaming services claim they don’t distribute reproductions of a copyrighted work when they allow listeners to “stream” offline?

In other words, if you can “stream” a song, and then keep “streaming” it when you’re not online, then isn’t it more than a stream?

Isn’t it then a download that should be subject to payment of statutory mechanical royalty (9.1 cents currently) instead of the fractions of pennies currently paid?

And furthermore, should an organization that has no answer to this question be in charge of negotiating a solution for the rest of us without consulting us first?

This letter is not meant to be divisive.

Quite the contrary – it is Songpreneurs’ duty to help create sustainable solutions for songwriter entrepreneurs in the new music business, and we know it is much better to make policies and solutions in the company of one’s peers and constituents.

Therefore, we submit this to your consideration as you read these words and think them through using the lens of your unique experience.

Songwriters and music publishers – are you making more money than you were 10 years ago? Are you participating in this media reported exponential boon our industry is supposedly experiencing right now?

Or are you a performing or non-performing songwriter feeling that you have no voice, no hope, and no ability to make change or even handle your own licensing paperwork for fear of making dire mistakes?

From talking to many of you, we fear the answer is the later.

Therefore, the time has come to stand united with your fellow songwriters, musicians, radio DJs, independent music publishers, recording artists, record companies, mom and pop establishments who want to play music, music educators, and everyone else who enjoys the value that music brings to your daily life.

We are the silent majority, and we as small businesses serve as the backbone of this country.

Are you ready to make your voice heard? Are you ready to come together and stand shoulder to shoulder with your fellow music creators to make this much-needed change in our industry?

Please reply to this email with your name and contact information.

You will be included in a special action committee mailing list, and will receive follow up information about our Songwriter Voices initiative.

One voice speaking the truth can cut through all the noise and confusion.

Imagine what our united voices can do.

Click reply and let us hear from you. We need your voice.


Songwriter Voices

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