Here are a few stories in the news that jumped out at me this week you all may find interesting:

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week voted to send the Performance Rights Act along to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote that would force terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay performance royalties to copyright holders who own the performance rights to recorded music (i.e. the record companies). Currently broadcasters only pay fees to songwriters via their longstanding arrangements with BMI, SESAC and ASCAP, while webcasters and satellite radio have been forced to pay both performance and songwriters royalties. From Ars Technica:

Some quick background: thanks to some legal fiddling decades ago, US radio stations can play any song they want—but they only have to pay the songwriters, not the recording artists. That means that music labels see no direct cash from having their songs played on the air, though the understanding has always been that this is a fair tradeoff for radio’s promotional value and “hit-making” capacity. Why else would the labels engage so often in payola (bribing radio programmers to put certain tunes on the air)?

In other performing rights news, US District Court Judge Denise Cote for the Southern District of New York ruled that mobile carriers do not have to pay a performance royalty to ASCAP everytime a ringtone rings on a customer’s phone. Its a situation akin to forcing radio statiions to pay a royalty for someone who heard a song playing through a nearby car window. Ars Technica has more on this story.

Billboard.biz is reporting that negotiations between Live Nation and Ticketmaster are ongoing and that a deal with Dept. of Justice overseers may be near. Both companies may be forced to divest parts of their US ticketing operations before the DoJ will allow the merger to proceed, but the consolidation of these two companies will create a huge monopoly in the live concert business. This case is viewed by many as a test case to see how the Obama Administration will treat mega mergers and has drawn a lot of business media attention.

Finally this week’s big new release was the new title track to the upcoming Michael Jackson movie “This Is It” that hit the Internet this week. Check out this video from YouTube to hear the new single.

That’s it for me this week, check back next week for more news from the music biz. Also, come back tomorrow for a new Primordial Grooves playlist from yours truly. Until next time, drive fast and swerve.

Joh Padgett

Joh Padgett

I do the music column on Saturdays and the Primordial Grooves playlist on The Seminal blog on Sundays. I also own Layman Media, a social media production company in Indianapolis and I love cheese.

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