ASCAP, NSAI, UMPG Respond To BMI Rate Court Decision

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Executives from ASCAP, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) have issued statements regarding the latest court ruling regarding fractionalized licensing.

On Friday (Sept. 16), federal judge Louis Stanton issued an order rejecting the US Department of Justice’s recent interpretation of the consent decree. The order concludes that fractional licensing of musical works is allowed under the consent decree that BMI operates under.

Organizations representing songwriters have responded to the order.

Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group, stated, “We are delighted that our songwriters received a great victory today.”

“Finally, someone got this right, thank you Judge Stanton,” said Nashville Songwriters Association President Lee Thomas Miller. “100% licensing would have been devastating and unfair to American songwriters, forcing us to choose collaborators based on their PRO affiliation rather than creative chemistry. As a BMI songwriter, this allows me to go back to writing songs with whomever I wish without the interference of the justice department. I trust that this is the first step in closing the door on this ridiculous notion all together.”

“BMI’s team, from CEO Mike O’Neill to everyone involved is to be applauded,” said NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison. “If this ruling had held, I’m not sure if there would have been a songwriting profession as we know it. It is time to now begin a serious discussion about DOJ sunsetting these ridiculous 75 year-old decrees.”

“As our CEO Beth Matthews said in ASCAP’s public statement on the ruling, this is terrific news for our community of songwriters, composers and music publishers,” said ASCAP president Paul Williams. “I know many of you are wondering what this means for ASCAP. As we review the potential impact of this ruling on ASCAP, we hope it will provide support for our ongoing work with BMI to modernize the regulatory system so that music creators and publishers can effectively compete in the global music marketplace. The fact is songwriters and other music creators are struggling to keep up under an outdated regulatory system that is out of step with how the rest of the world works. We need laws that work in today’s music marketplace. Laws that work for both music creators and the businesses who use our music. And laws that enable us to compete in a global music economy. Change won’t happen overnight. But we’re encouraged by this recent BMI rate court ruling. That’s why we’re going to keep charging ahead, working closing with BMI, other music industry stakeholders and our allies in Congress – of which, I assure you, there are many – to keep moving the music licensing system forward. Together, I know we can protect songwriters, composers and the music we all love.”

As previously reported, BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill, ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews, NMPA President & CEO David Israelite and Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s Chairman & CEO Martin Bandier also offered statements.

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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