The Hodgepodge: 100 Percent Licensing

Since 1941, laws for songwriting copyrights pretty much haven’t changed. It’s because of the copyright protection that songwriting and licensing is controlled through the government, which should pretty much explain why change has been hard to come by. However, a new proposal is in the works which is called 100 Percent Licensing. The gist of this law is that any songwriter or producer for a song is able to give consent for the song to be used however someone has requested. As the law is written now, writers and producers must agree for a song’s use in a commercial or streaming site. If they don’t agree, then a producer or songwriter can still agree for their particular work on the song to be used, but not the whole song.

Saving Country Music wrote a great exposé on the situation that I encourage you all to read. I mainly encourage this because I will not be going into much depth here; I don’t want to be repetitive because I’m still learning about the law and implications should it be passed. The big black cloud hanging over this new law are streaming companies like Pandora, Spotify and Google pushing for the change. What this means is that should the law be passed, Spotify can possibly get songs onto their program at a lower copyright cost to them, which will help maximize profits.

Taylor Swift is an artist who’s been more vocal against music streaming than just about anyone else. She doesn’t want her music on those applications, but any of her co-writers could potentially get the music on there with the 100 Percent Licensing law. So if Max Martin wants “Blank Space” or “Shake It Off” available on Spotify, he can make that decision as a co-writer, and Taylor Swift would have no say to the contrary. Essentially, this is a law that’s meant to benefit the streaming sites and subsequently further marginalize the songwriters. Everyone working in the music industry agrees that a law like this would be a terrible move, but unfortunately the final decision rests with the folks in Washington D.C.

Whether or not the law is passed, what is clear is that streaming companies are looking for that next big rise in cash flow. The leaders of these companies want money, that’s it. Streaming companies like Spotify are slowly gaining more traction and control in the music industry. And as we’ve said time and time again on this site, there needs to be a change in the way these companies payout artists and writers.

One suggestion I have is making streaming something you pay for no matter what; get rid of free streaming. Spotify should at least charge users $4.99/month for access to what is now free streaming. Call it a standard subscription, then charge those wanting a Premium, non ad-based subscription more than that. They can keep it at $9.99 or boost it up a few dollars. This would accomplish one of two things. Either greedy music fans will refuse to pay five bucks a month for streaming and go elsewhere (back to radio?) for free music, or Spotify brings in a ton of money with all of their millions of users now paying for access.

If the second option were to happen, then perhaps a company like Spotify can afford to payout artists better while still maintaining their salary at the top.

That’s just one idea I have for a way to start improving the streaming problem that’s growing. And I get that these CEOs want artists like Taylor Swift to be available on their service in order to get fans to listen to Taylor Swift through their platform. They’re business people first, and this is a move in an effort to improve their business from their point of view. But these companies are merely looking for ways to get more money without a care for how their actions will affect the music industry. There’s no way to know how this will actually affect the way music is produced, but a drastic change in copyright law will certainly dictate a change from producers, singers, writers, and labels.

Upcoming/Recent Country and Americana Releases

  • Texas country singer/songwriter Sean McConnell will release a new self-titled album tomorrow.
  • Mark Chesnutt’s Tradition Lives will also be released tomorrow.
  • Next week, David Nail’s Fighter will be released.
  • Big Shoals’ Hard Lessons will also be released next week on July 15.
  • Kenny Chesney’s newest album has been pushed back for release until October.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Hell on Heels” by Pistol Annies. Country super trio consisting of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley, the Pistol Annies have released two albums. This was the title track of the group’s first album in 2011. I wouldn’t hate it if we were treated to a third album from them soon.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

Blink-182 California. Punk rockers Blink-182 released a new album, their first album without singer Tom DeLonge. Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio joins the band taking the lead vocals on this new album. As an album, I like California; I think it has a good sound to it. It’s hard for me to call this Blink-182 because I associate that band primarily with DeLonge’s vocals.

Tweet of the Week

Eight great years of making fun of crap and supporting good music.

iTunes Review

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.01.55 PM

Steven Tyler’s first country solo album will be released tomorrow, and Jerek Naim apparently believes it’s the best country album of all time. There are no words for how dumb of a claim that is. Any album with “Red, White, and You” on it is no where close to the best.

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7 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: 100 Percent Licensing

  1. I’ve never been much of a streaming guy (unless you count YouTube) but I do believe streaming should be charged.

    As for the upcoming releases, I have to say despite my overall lukewarm feeling about “Nights On Fire”. I still have a somewhat optimistic feel about David Nails new album as the guest stars seem real promising.

    Pistol Annies are great and I especially look forward to when Miranda Lambert releases a new song soon. I do say my favorite Pistol Annies song is “Hush Hush” mainly for the music video,

    Finally I look forward to Steven Tyler music like I look forward to hearing a new Thomas Rhett song.

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  2. I’m admittedly not as knowledgeable about this subject as I should be but I do think it sucks that people are trying to figure out more ways to screw musicians over.

    I don’t stream for fun but I do do it for discovery purposes. I agree that it should have at least a starting fee.

    Looking forward to the new releases from Sean and Chesnutt. I’ve heard good things about both!

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  3. I read the article on SCM last week and this 100% licensing is 100% a bad idea. Ridiculous and clearly meant to benefit the large companies and their consortium.

    I picked up the new Sean McConnell album today and listened to it. It is not quite as good as Midland, but it is fantastic. Will you guys be reviewing it?

    Despite the lukewarm “Night’s On Fire,” David Nail usually puts put a solid album, so I am looking forward to his release.

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    • Definitely. Derek will probably review it, since he’s more familiar with McConnell than I am.

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  4. I use “Amazon Prime” for streaming. TV shows & movies. I buy music.
    The change in copyright law will change the music industry. It’s a chance for the industry. More of the same will not help labels, writers & artists. But all involved parties must receive a compensation or the whole industry will crash & burn. Giving the streaming companies an advantage is the wrong signal. What will come after streaming? I don’t thing streaming is the end of the line.

    Steven Tyler rulez…well…uhm…maybe in a parallel universe.

    I will buy the new Mark Chesnutt album & “The Fighter”. The not-so-new Missy Lancaster (young singer from down under) Ep will be released tomorrow here (“Missy”). Produced by Lindsay Rimes, songs co-written by Jason Duke (“Dibs”) & one of the Love & Theft guys. I’ll have to listen to the tracks first. Not a blind buy.

    New: Hudson Moore – Getaway – Album – Moorejamz – 14 tracks – released
    Hudson Moore is not a new name. He’s from Austin, Texas. Can’t remember exactly, but i am sure i saw one of his songs a couple of years back on the “Music Row Breakout Chart”. His sound is middle-of-the-road country-pop with a country rocker here & there. His voice is ok, but not unique. Current single is “Some Are”. Radio-friendly with some word play. There must be 1001 singers out there following the current trend(s) of mainstream country music. Nice songs, nice looking guy, nice voice…not enough substance. 5/10.

    New: Jeremy McComb – “FM” – Album – McCombOVER / Rukkus Room – 12 tracks – released
    Jeremy McComb was born in Idaho. “FM” is his second album (+ one Ep). Back in 2008 he reached the Billboard country charts with a song called “Cold” (#43). “Wagon Wheel” was his debut single in 2007.
    First single is “Didn’t We”. The album version starts with a long guitar/drum intro & sets the tone for the rest of the album. Country-pop with loud guitars & a banjo in the mix. Not bad, not good…just another album. 5/10.

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