This is an excerpt from an article about music licensing we loved by Paul Williams, President and Chairman of ASCAP, for recode.net. Please click through via the link provided below to read the full text in its original context.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably have a hard time remembering the last time you bought a CD. And rather than downloading songs and albums from iTunes or Amazon, you probably find yourself listening to Pandora, Spotify, iTunes Radio or another music streaming service instead.
We’re moving into a world where our music libraries exist entirely in the cloud. We no longer own music we love; we stream it whenever and wherever we want.
At the same time, the federal regulations that govern how music is licensed — and thus,how songwriters like me are compensated for our work — don’t reflect the way people listen to music today. Indeed, they are stuck in the distant past. And it’s threatening the future of American music.
You might ask, what does the federal government have to do with music licensing? As it turns out, a lot.
For starters, there’s the U.S. Copyright Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than a decade. And then there are the decades-old legal agreements, or consent decrees, that govern operations of ASCAP and BMI, the nation’s two largest performing-rights organizations (or PROs), which track music usage and collect royalties on behalf of songwriters and composers.