Blogging Til I Win A Grammy: Day 974

Post #55 of ANNIE B.’s D.I.Y. MAGAZINE

PLEASE take a look at this important letter from the CEO of the Recording Academy (The organization who does the Grammys):

It has come to our attention that satellite broadcaster Sirius/XM is seeking to bypass the standard system of paying royalties. If they are allowed to do so, it will likely result in substantially reduced payments to artists and producers, a lowering of the value of performance royalties, and unnecessary conflict between artists and their labels.

What’s the issue:
Currently, satellite radio pays sound recording performance royalties to the nonprofit collective SoundExchange, which in turn pays 50% to the artists on the recording and 50% to the copyright owner (usually a record label). SoundExchange pays the artists the full 50%, even if the artist has unrecouped royalty balances, and also pays producers their share as directed by the artist. The system has resulted in an important new income stream for creators.

Sirius is now seeking to use the option of direct licensing with certain independent labels instead of using the system created by Congress that ensures fair payment to all parties. Artists should be concerned about direct licensing; 100% of the royalties would be paid to the record label which in turn may pay artists at a lower rate, subject to recoupment. And labels should be concerned as well; the lower rate being offered could have the effect of lowering the value of performance royalties to all parties.

What you can do:

If you are an artist signed to the independent label…
You can call your label today and request that it not direct license your recordings. In the interest of fairness and transparency, your label should continue to license through SoundExchange.

If you own or manage an independent label…
It is in your interest to refrain from direct licensing. While Sirius may be offering positive terms, the long-term effect of accepting a rate lower than the compulsory rate could be to reduce rates overall in the future. Creating downward pressure on the value of music may be good for Sirius/XM, but it’s bad for artists and labels. Please see the following statement from the American Association of Independent Music:

Thank you for considering this important matter to further our goals of ensuring creators are compensated fairly and the value of music is protected.

Kind regards,
Neil Portnow
The Recording Academy

PLEASE do what you can to spread the word about this to your artist friends!

Here’s my personal notes recapping the past month:
The CD Release Party started out looking not so good since there weren’t very many people there until about 9 or 10pm. I was getting concerned that I’d lose lots of money due to expenses such as rental of Shank Hall, rental of the projector screen & projector, posters & handouts, food, and of course all the other expenses that aren’t directly related to the CD Release Party per se. This would include such things as mailing out CDs & T-shirts to press & radio people, the costs of Tshirts and other stuff like bubble mailers………. the list goes on & on!

THANKFULLY, we ended up doing quite well that night, all things considered! We had a lot of guests come out, and enough paid admissions which basically paid for all the expenses involved. We had the after-party at Jamo’s and it was fabulous! Now we gotta move about 870 more CDs, which can be done in a year’s time if I do things the way I did when I first started making a living playing music…… hustling those CDs at each and every show.

I was able to get all my Thank-Yous out in the mail last week except The Morning Blend, and Cousins. I’ll be personally dropping off Thank You notes and boxes of chocolates to the Morning Blend & Cousins since they are both about 5 minutes from here. You can take a look at the Press page on this website to see the list of Thank-Yous, not to mention all the behind-the-scenes folks involved.

Getting ready for our show at the Domes on Nov. 10th! Really excited about the new song “Julie” which has been our focus at rehearsals since the CD Release Party. Also excited about playing Linneman’s on Nov. 4th and I’ll be hosting a M.A.R.N. Mic Night on Nov. 15th.

I’ve decided to hire Carmen for a few hours a week to keep the activity with the band moving forward at a decent pace. Our need to start reaching out to regional booking agents is now here and time is of the essence! There’s no stopping or taking a break after the CD Release Party… the work is just beginning!!!!!!

Have a killer weekend!!

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