As far as I can tell, the new proposal to the Copyright Board of royalty fees for publishers won’t change the economics of digital music. For one thing, this discussion is for compulsory licenses for songwriters’ fees. The royalties labels charge digital music services and “share” with artists for recorded performances – the big fees – will likely remain negotiated separately. This proposal maintains the current publisher rates for streaming and downloads. There is an interesting twist, however. The publishers identify and standardize rates for a slew of newer services like variations of music lockers and bundles of services. The good news here is that the slow side of the music industry is willing to explore at least a few new digital music product formats. This proposal could ease the complications in licensing them, if not set bargain-basement pricing.
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