Unclaimed Royalties Study: Artist Focus

Unclaimed Royalties Study: Artist Focus


>>Regan Smith: All
right, thank you all for being here, for coming back. And this is now starting
the artist focus panel. My name is Regan Smith, general
counsel of the Copyright Office. And one thing that
unites everyone in this room is their
love for music. No matter your taste, each
of us can immediately bring to mind the songs that have
inspired, uplifted or comforted and added truth and
meaning to our lives. The Music Modernization Act, and the Copyright Offices
Policy Setting, must always keep at the top of the
mind how the changes in the law will impact the
creators who write this music. And I’m very excited for
this next discussion. We wanted to have more
informal discussion focused on creators’ perspectives as
part of today’s symposium. So, I’m very pleased to
welcome an impressive group of songwriters and artists
for this next panel. We are very honored
to have Rosanne Cash, a preeminent singer/songwriter and country music
royalty with us today. She has released 15 albums that
have earned 4 Grammy awards, 12 nominations, was awarded the
SAG AFTRA Lifetime Achievement Award, inducted to the National
Songwriters Hall of Fame, among many, many
other accolades. She’s a best selling author
and a long time advocate for musicians and songwriters. Joining her is Ivan Barias,
a music producer, songwriter, and engineer who has
won several songwriting and production rewards, a
three time Grammy nominee, and who’s been recognized
by Ascot for his work as a songwriter. In addition to his many
musical achievements, Ivan has also established a non
profit educational initiative to teach high school students
music production and songwriting in partnership with the
Philadelphia School District. And our third songwriter is
Alex Delicata, a multi platinum and Grammy nominated
music producer, songwriter and instrumentalist who
has produced, co produced, and co written songs for who’s
who of the music industry, including Beyonce,
Rihanna, and [inaudible]. Joining us on the panel
to guide this conversation with us is Erin McAnally. Erin comes from a
family of musicians and has been a music
professional for over 15 years, including in production,
music supervision and scoring. And among other things, Erin works with the
Artist Rights Alliance to help educate musicians
about the legal and business issues
vital to their success. So, we’re thrilled to
have you all today. And Erin, why don’t you
start this conversation off to help the talk
about what’s important from a creator’s perspective?>>Erin McAnally: Thank
you so much, Regan. And thank you so much to the
Copyright Office and to all of you for having us here. We’re thrilled that this
discussion is happening, and that artists’
voices are being heard. So, a lion’s share of the Music
Modernization Act obviously is primarily focused on revamping
the mechanical licensing system and royalties for payment. I’d like to talk about how
streaming is changing the nature of how and how much
songwriters get paid. So, Rosanne, you’re experiencing
the rise of streaming as sort of maybe in contrast to
the way that it’s operated for songwriters in the past. But you also are very involved
in the younger generation through your children and
through the amazing work that you do for artists. Can you speak to the
differences in the sort of generational views on how
streaming is affecting creators?>>Yeah, a bit. Well, when I started, you know,
it was all brick and mortar, and you made a vinyl record, and
somebody had it in their hand and they got to read
liner notes. And it was much easier to
credit people for their work, for songwriters and session
players and producers. And then, you know, the
rise of compact discs, and then into the
digital economy. And I think in the same way
that I lost track of how to make analog records and
have my hand on a board and move faders and cut tape,
which I was all interested in, you know, I took
engineering manuals home at night from the studio. I was fascinated
by this process. And it was a very visceral
process with real objects. And you felt you were
making a sonic sculpture. So, when that went away
and we moved into pro tools and making records digitally,
the learning curve got too steep for me, and I lost all
of that tactile feeling and pleasure of making records. So, at the same time, I had
to adjust my thinking to that, to how I was getting paid. It all became very vague to me. And I think it did
to a lot of us. And there was no
way to ascertain where the money was going,
whether there was a standard for how we were paid, whether
things were transparent, you know, some of the
major labels had equity in streaming companies, what
did that mean, how much was in the black box, was there a
tier to how they paid people, and a lot of this
was just nebulous, you didn’t know how
to figure it out. So, at the same time
that was happening, we were still attached
to this idea of artists and musicians being
not business types. You know, somebody else
will take care of it. Well, somebody else
did take care of it, and it all went into
their pockets. So, a lot of the companies, the
digital streaming platforms, they’re not music companies,
they’re tech companies. It’s not the judgment,
it’s just, it’s different than the way it used to be. And a lot of times I say that
doing this work, you know, and I’m on the Board of the
Artists Rights Alliance, and I’ve been on boards
of other organizations, and been active in those. I feel sometimes that I’m
helping plant a garden I will never see bloom. But that’s okay. It’s really important. In the same way that in the
Women’s Suffrage Movement, there was an Suffrage
Movement Music Movement, there was an entire
generation of women who died without seeing their
work come to fruition that they didn’t get to vote. In this same way, it may
take a generation for us to follow the breadcrumbs
back and find out how the system started
when digital platforms came in, and figure out how to remedy it, and so that artists
are paid fairly. There’s just one
more thing to say. I know I’m talking a lot. But it’s the only
business where a creator, her work can be appropriated. And or told that it’s enough
to have exposure of your work. You know? Exposure
doesn’t pay the rent. And young artists are suffering. I’ve seen many leave
the business because they could not pay the
rent, or they’re selling CDs out of the back of their car. You know? It’s not
a fair way to live. And if we lose them, we
lose an entire generation of creative people. And we are in the service
industry of the heart and soul. And we desperately need them.>>Erin McAnally: Ivan, in
your work, in your work, and in your work with
independent creators as well, what is the sense that you get
from the younger generation about how they’re viewing
streaming royalties?>>Ivan Barias: Well, this
is seen as a twofold issue where when you look at the
way records are consumed and the way the artists
monetize their music, they look at the value of
what they’re creating in terms of copyright seems to be
more robust when you look at the sound recording and their
compositional rights as opposed to the mechanical rights,
because just a couple of issues come to mind. One is that there isn’t
that much money in terms of mechanical royalties from
the streaming platforms. And the other is
they don’t know. And when you look at the
plethora of creators, I think, I believe some Spotify
and just something like 30,000 tracks a day, or is
it albums, I’m not exactly sure, but when you really
look at the volume of music that’s being ingested,
you can look at the cultural and generational aspect and see
how many younger creators are being part of the democratic
process of releasing music. And a lot of them
don’t really know. They’re not indoctrinated
with the models that existed prior to them. And being an industry like we
are now with their one more, there were more barriers
of entry that force you to become indoctrinated
and know about all of the different ways
you have to be able to monetize your content. So, they’re viewing, they view
platforms like Spotify and Tidal and Apple Music as a means
to an end when it comes to promoting yourself and
looking at it as another way of generating additional
revenue streams outside of those platforms. So, it’s starting to become, the idea is that music is
becoming a lost leader for a lot of them because they can’t see
the value in terms of, you know, dollars and cents based on how
miniscule those returns are.>>Erin McAnally: For sure. Alex, along those lines, can you
speak to the state of affairs when it comes to
creators and mechanicals? And do you know many people
who are solely songwriters?>>Alex Delicata: Yes. So, I think it’s interesting. Ivan brings up a great point. The streaming services I think
have made it I think a great time in a lot of ways to
be an artist in the sense that while money isn’t the same,
you can be in your basement when you’re 17 years old
and being totally creative and you can get your music
out there to anybody, which is something that I
think is really powerful and technology has given us
a great ability to do that. But if you’re not an artist,
if you’re just a songwriter, it’s an incredibly
difficult time to be in the music business
because, again, the streams of income
have changed so much so that I was sort
of on the cusp when I started my
career of streaming. I think I had my first
Top 40 record in 2010. And in that, on that record, we sold I think five
million hard copy albums. And, you know, that’s
significant income for people writing album cuts. If you don’t have a
single out right now that’s like a big single, and mostly
making its money on performance on radio, you’re
not making a living. So, you know, basically a lot
of these kids who are young and starting out who haven’t
made a dime writing songs yet, maybe got their first
publishing deal, and, you know, have three years
essentially of a runway, maybe less on the advance
that they’ve gotten if they live really, really,
really, you know, simply. They basically have that time
to shoot and get a radio hit. And if you don’t, then your
career is pretty much over. And beyond that, even if
you do get a radio hit, the fact is there are so
many things that can go wrong with registration, and,
you know, getting a lot of that stuff right, that if
say year two comes around, you wrote a song in year one,
finally year two comes around, a year later you’re starting
to expect to see some income from those songs, you go
to your mailbox and you see that there’s no check there
so you call your publisher and you say, what happened? And they go, oh, no, there’s
a mismatch registration, or there’s double registration,
or there’s something wrong. And then the process to remedy
that is, it’s a disaster. It takes years and
years and years. So, it’s a really
difficult time, for sure.>>We know that there’s
a lack of information for young creators when
it comes to mechanicals. But it’s obviously a big
part of why we’re here today. But there are some other
barriers to discuss. I think Regan, maybe you.>>Regan Smith: Yeah, I
think when we connect this to the picture of what the Music
Modernization Act is supposed to do and what the mechanical
licensing collective is supposed to do, someone is
unmatched, they’re supposed to be able to come forward. And if this is just focused
on mechanicals which already on the songwriting side. And this is a stark picture. Is that going to be a
barrier to getting people who are not already
getting paid incentivized to participate in this?>>Alex Delicata: I
mean, I don’t think so, because I think like, like
I said, the pie is so small that songwriters,
they want every form of income that they can get. So, if they know that it’s
out there and how to get it, they’re going to get it,
and they want to get it. And I think that knowing that that pie potentially
could increase over time, and that music is being
consumed at higher and higher rates every year in
terms of general consumption, that this could get
better over time. And I think it’s just people
having the knowledge of how to go do it, especially
if you’re independent. Because right now, if you
don’t have a publishing deal, correct me if I’m
wrong, it’s pretty hard to collect your mechanicals. I’ve never released
a song, you know, outside of my having a
publishing deal, but, you know, I think that that’s an issue
that needs to be addressed more so as like just allowing
people to, A, know that those mechanicals
are out there to be collected, and B, how to do it in a
simple and concise way.>>Regan Smith: So, I mean,
the rate for mechanicals is set in a compulsory license.>>Alex Delicata:
Right, of course.>>Regan Smith: And that can
be adjusted every five years.>>Alex Delicata: Yes.>>Regan Smith: And so, like you
mentioned, planting a garden, it’s something that can
grow as streaming grows. I mean, do you think there’s
a movement to get buy in now as the industry starts to
move more towards streaming?>>Erin McAnally: That’s
why we’re here today, right?>>Ivan Barias: Yeah, I
think, I think it’s important, to dovetail on what he’s
saying, and to touch on what you asked
previously, I think we have to recalibrate the way
they’re looking at this. We have to get them to see
that there is money being left on the table, and not look
at the streaming platforms as a system of metrics that
they’re looking at to see where am I polling best
in terms of touring, and let me really worry
about how I’m going to play these venues
and these shows. And that’s how I’m
making my money. You have to really look at the way the streaming
services are empowering artists. They’re presenting this idea
that it’s a tool to empower you to better understand your data
as opposed to letting them see that this is really about
economic empowerment, and having them see that there
are, there are issues that exist within the platforms and
the current business model that they are not indoctrinated, and therefore don’t
know there is a lot of money being left
on the table. So, I guess looking at the
problem moving forward, things like compulsory
licenses and things of that nature being inclusive
in this dialogue is something that could perhaps help and put
the onus back on everyone else, all of the stakeholders,
to help, you know, alleviate the stress
the artist is feeling, or the creators are feeling when
they have to fend for themselves out here, and not really knowing
the proper way to navigate it.>>Rosanne Cash: I think it’s
worth restating, you know, something that Alex
touched on too, is that the onus shouldn’t
be entirely on the songwriter to know that they have
money and how to collect it. I mean, it’s a completely
obtuse labyrinth thing kind of process to find it. And not everybody is Taylor
Swift and has a team of lawyers who can keep looking for her
money to get it for them. And, you know, $2,000 to a struggling songwriter,
that’s significant. You have to remember,
we’re all freelance. We don’t get health
insurance through our company. You know? We have to pay our
expenses just like anyone else. And these young songwriters,
I mean, as a songwriter, and that’s what I was
when I started out, and thinking it was a very noble
profession and proud of my work, and they are too, this younger
generation, and they deserve to be compensated for it.>>Erin McAnally: This
is sort of to everybody, but are there other
barriers that you foresee that might preclude songwriters
and independent publishers from claiming their works
through this portal? For instance, the data
requirements are very detailed, or if the user interface
is not friendly.>>Ivan Barias: Yeah,
absolutely. I think that’s key. You look at how, when you’re
trying to upload music, the process on a lot of
these different aggregators, the distributors,
is pretty simple. You know where your name goes. You know where the
name of your song goes. You know who, who mixed it. In some cases, they
actually have those fields where you can input credit. And it’s a pretty
straightforward process, where in 30 minutes,
you can upload a song. A lot of these platforms
also have mobile apps. Most artists that I interact
with are really attuned to a digital, digitized,
on the go mentality. You know, they’re tethered
from laptops and desktops and everything they do
they do on their phones. So, I think when you talk
about creating a portal, it has to be something
that is really attune to know creators are creating. You know? And it has to be
something that’s nimble. Anything incumbered with a
lot of details or anything that could make them feel
that this is too academic or too administrative,
because quite frankly, a lot of them are
wearing many hats. And an administrative hat is
the one you like the least. You know? So, the hat
should be something that still makes them feel
like they’re a creator and they’re being empowered in another aspect
of their creativity. So, that portal has to be
something that will speak to that, that artist who
doesn’t really understand a lot of the legal jargon and
things of that nature.>>Alex Delicata: Yeah, I mean,
we worry about UI in everything. I mean, UI is such a huge part of anything that’s
involved in tech. So, I mean, I think it needs to
be a consideration in anything. And in terms of just
like registering music because it’s an administrative
thing doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have equal
consideration of, you know, the user interface and like
how easy that is to use. I know even for me, and
I’m, you know, older than, I’m the oldest person in
almost room that I work in. I’m serious. I’m not joking. Like in my sessions are mostly,
you know, 19, 20 year old kids. And some of them are making
some of the most moving and powerful music
that is being consumed. And, I mean, it’s hard. I don’t have a printer
in my house. You know what I mean? And these kids certainly
don’t have a printer. So, if we need hard copy
signatures on things, they’re not getting done. It’s just never going to happen. So, I mean, the idea is like we
have to find a way to do this, like he said, totally
on the move. It’s got to be click,
click, click, fill in the have my
information already set up, one button, boom, let’s go.>>Rosanne Cash: All right,
so since you brought up age, I have to, I have to take that. Okay, so it’s easy for you
guys to upload a song to, through a portal, and you know
what to do and everything. And I’m fairly tech savvy
for someone of my generation. I still have to ask my son, how
do I make a playlist on that, you know, how do you drag this
there, what do you upload there. So, I know plenty of
songwriters older than me who do not do that, are not
digital natives, none of us, and they have problems
with that. They also deserve to be paid.>>Alex Delicata: Absolutely.>>Rosanne Cash: Right?>>Alex Delicata: Yeah.>>Rosanne Cash: These
guys are sitting in a room, writing songs all day,
making a demo tape, sending it out for
someone to record, and assuming they’ll
get paid for it if the song gets recorded. You know? I mean, not
many albums sell 5, 10 million anymore where you
can depend on that income. That doesn’t happen anymore.>>Erin McAnally: So,
obviously we have a data problem in the music industry,
and that’s why we’re here. Whether it’s matching
data across platforms or getting data right near
the moment of creation, we’re faced with some
really big challenges. Ivan and Alex, from a
producer/writer perspective, what are some realities that are
challenging from your standpoint when it comes to
capturing that information? From song splits on
the musical works side to attribution for musicians. And when, when are you having
those conversations typically?>>Ivan Barias: Well, that’s, that’s the problem
we’ve all been dealing with at the Recording Academy
where I sit on the Board of Trustees and I co chair at the producers
and engineers wing. And this has been an initiative
of ours for the past 10 years. We’ve been struggling with how
to properly gather credits, how to properly gather data. We partner with many
organizations. DDEX is one of them
that we work with. In terms of being able to
try and figure out a solution and alleviate these issues. Because quite frankly
when you get into, when you’re in a creative
process and you’re caught up in the creative rapture,
the last thing you’re thinking about is let me gather
this data, let me gather these data points,
let me figure out who, you know, who’s writing what or
who’s producing what in terms of splits. We don’t, we’re not, we’re
not thinking about that. So, and then the way that
we work, we’re mobile. Everyone works, everyone
has their own rig, sometimes people are working
on the songs until it’s time to release these songs. And in many instances, as we
were talking about earlier, it can be a year from now, and
the memory can get a bit hazy. So, when you’re talking
about independent artists, it’s a little bit more
like the startup mentality. They tend to be a bit
fair with each other and split everything evenly. And you even say
they split masters. When you’re talking about
labels, that’s where it gets, it gets a little, a
little bit tougher. But the Recording Academy
is a strong advocate for creating name
and conventions, creating recommendations
on how to gather data, how to collect this data,
how to properly credit. And we have several partners
that we deal with also like Soundways has a plug
in called Sound Credit. VEVA Sound has one
called, I forgot what the, studio collection, I
forgot what it’s called. I don’t want to quote
the plug in wrong. But these are companies
that exist to help facilitate the
gathering of the data. And something that I
really feel strongly about, digital audio workstations,
which are called DAWs, it’s where we use to
record a lot of our music. You have Pro 2s, Logic, Ableton
Live, et cetera, et cetera. I think this should be a process
that forces these manufacturers to include some of these
technologies and allow you to embed XML files
into proprietary, one proprietary format that
can probably travel downstream with the file so that when
it goes to next person, all they have to do is
import this, this track, and automatically the file gets
loaded onto that, that track. And then as it goes to the
next subsequent person, you’re gathering more data,
more data, and more data as it goes downstream so that when you do finally send
the final master out, it has all of the
information that you need. This would be the same thing
as licensing an MP3 codec, where it exists on all of
these different digital audio workstations. But it has to be something that
will have to have, you know, buy in from many stakeholders
so that it was find a solution to this common problem.>>Alex Delicata: Yeah, I mean,
even to me, like, you know, even if we are super
conscientious about it at every stage of the process,
even days after a session, gathering the information and
trying to do splits right away, things like that,
which is isn’t ideal from a creative perspective,
but it’s something that I suppose could happen,
the issue is that sometimes as music changes
hands, like you said, three or four times
before release. So, say I start an idea at my
house one day and I’m doing it with two co writers, and
then Ivan has a session with Rosanne two days
later, and I’m like, hey, that would be perfect for them to work on, so I
send it to Ivan. I’m not even in the room. He has no idea who I
made the idea with. All I know is I just sent
him something really amazing and they’re going to finish it. So, say they finish it and
an artist cuts this song. So, they send it to Dua Lipa. She goes, hey, I
got my next single. Amazing. We’re all stoked. He calls me, he says,
we’ve got a single. Her, she maybe brings
in a producer to work on it from her team.>>Ivan Barias: Diplo?>>Alex Delicata:
Sure, Diplo’s in on it. Great. And then, and
then, and then, you know, like maybe there’s
somebody else working on it. And then there’s a release
date set, right, by the label. And we’re working up until the
release date to get this out. And they hit us three
days before, saying we need these producer
agreements signed in splits. And so what happens is
they are not going to push that release date back
because they’ve set up all this marketing. Everything is all in
concert with that release. And so then it’s like
there’s a scramble to get these credits together. And if we have to turn
them in as like at the time of release correctly, I mean, the chances of an error
happening are super large because Ivan’s manager may call
him and say, hey, are you cool with 20% on this, and he’s
going to be like, great. My manager may call me and say,
are you cool with 22% on this? I’m going to say great because
I’m assuming everybody is being communicated to. They’re not asking me about
everybody else’s split. They’re just saying
are you cool with this. And so that’s a little bit
of a communication problem. But it’s because like
oftentimes we’re forced to rush these things so quickly, and that they’re being
worked on in parcel. So, it’s very difficult to
do this really quickly right at the end when there’s
a release date coming.>>Ivan Barias: And to me,
that’s, that to me is endemic of what the music
industry has become. I think, like you spoke earlier,
when sessions would happen, and when I first got
into the industry, we were all in the
studio working. And the final record that we
were all agreeing, you know, by the end of the night. Now, the way music is
worked on, these are, these are the realities
of a lot of creators. And that’s something that
needs to be addressed and be central to, you know, the
discussions we’re having here.>>Erin McAnally: Definitely. To sort of chime in on
that, the USCO, the MLC and the DLC have got a
big job, not only in terms of creating this framework,
but also in terms of education and reaching out to the
artists so that they can ensure that they are paid correctly. And for those of you who have
been involved in legal issues that have been stemmed
from data issues, which I’m assuming is
all of you at some point, do you have concerns in regards
to how the data is matched, matched, and what
the resource will be if that information is
incorrect and this framework? And can you speak to how holdups and data issues have
affected your daily lives?>>Alex Delicata: I mean,
holdups, I think especially for somebody who’s a young
songwriter who’s just starting can be absolutely
devastating, like career ending, because if something is like
misregistered, and in a lot of cases it’s not transparent,
so there’s no way for me to just go online
and check to see if my song has been registered
properly to my name across all of these platforms, even if
I know that they’re there. And if you’re expecting to
make that money and then all of a sudden it’s just not there
and it is your only source of income, you don’t really
have any, any resource, because if you were to
go back, and even if, even if you’re right and
all the creators agree that those are the right splits
and it was just a mistake, a clerical mistake, or there’s
a mismatch registration, or there’s a double registration
or something, getting that fixed and getting money credited
that’s already been paid incorrectly to people
will take a lot of people, and rightfully so. You know, to debit
somebody is a big deal. You don’t want to ask
somebody to give money back that they thought was there
as it’s difficult as well. So, over that course of a year
or two years of trying to get that money back, what is
that 20 year old kid supposed to do to make a living? You know, they’re probably just
going to have to go get a job, which is something
that’s really tough.>>Rosanne Cash: Yeah, I
think what we’re all talking about is transparency. I mean, it just happened
to me that I left, I changed PROs a few years ago,
and my publisher found a lot of money that my old
PRO forgot to pay me. And I started thinking, well,
where else is this money, you know, who else
forgot to pay me? And I think that happens
on a regular basis. You know, if there, if things
were transparent, it would take so much pressure off of
musicians and songwriters. At least we would know. And if the system was easy
for all of us to get into and check ourselves and not
need a team of lawyers to check, and to submit something
that was easy, you know, as easy as buying something
online, it would change a lot of lives and particularly
young songwriters, who they do have career
ending moments, you know, because that $3,000 wasn’t paid.>>Alex Delicata: Right, and
that they don’t deserve either. I mean, the money was theirs. It just was a clerical issue. You know what I mean? And so that’s the hardest
part is both from like a, just a business standpoint
and a practical standpoint, but also from an
emotional standpoint. You’re so excited when
you got your first hit. I remember having mine. And I was ecstatic
to hear my music on the radio for the first time. Imagine hearing your music on
the radio for the first time and it playing for four
months and then expecting to get a payday from that and
then it just not being there. That’s devastating emotionally.>>Rosanne Cash: I know
of a young songwriter who, a big company just
coopted his song and was using it to, in an ad. And he said, I didn’t
know we were supposed to get paid for that. I mean, that’s heartbreaking.>>Erin McAnally: Do you all
think that the possibility that at some point across
the spectrum that be it at the label distributor level or at the digital
service provider level that correct data delivery being
compulsory would be helpful or a hindrance or how do
you feel about that idea?>>Ivan Barias: We were talking
about this in the green room. And it was a resounding yes. Even though this would
mean that it’s regulation, which some people would
look at it as interference. But there are various
ways to look at it. One way would be to look at it as this would be the perfect
scenario for all of us to ensure that we are properly
are going to be credited and we’ll beat the
transparency that we’re talking about will take place prior to anything having
to be agreed upon. Before you even think
about putting, you know, setting your release date, all of these different
buckets have to be filled. But at the same time, you have
to take the pragmatic approach in terms of how the model has
drastically changed whereas by being nimble and being able
to put out music, you know, whenever you’re trying
to put the music out. So, it would have to
be something where all of the stakeholders
would have to agree. Everyone would have
to give some buy in. The artists, the labels,
the publishers, us producers and songwriters, because
quite frankly it can turn into a nightmare when, you know,
you work on a project for a year or two, and they’re
slow to, you know, gather all of these
different assets. And now it can’t come out
because of there’s regulation that exists that prohibits, you
know, you from moving forward. I don’t know what that
conversation is going to, is going to lead
into as we get deeper into 2021 when it goes live. But that’s something that could
alleviate a lot of these issues.>>Alex Delicata: Yeah,
I mean, I think in, as a concept, it’s a great idea. I just think there’s serious
challenges to putting it in place and practice. A lot of it coming from what
I kind of just described with, a minute ago with gathering
split information before release, because, you know,
if you make it compulsory, mandatory to have all that
stuff in before a release, like if you’re missing certain
splits from a certain song, you’re not going to tell Drake
he can’t release his album on December 5th because
the splits aren’t complete on two songs. He’s either just going to drop
those songs off the record, or the label will probably
just submit incomplete splits, assuming that they’ll fix it
later, because they have spent so much money on the budget to
release that album on that date that they’re not going to let
a regulation hold them up. I mean, producer agreements
oftentimes aren’t even completed by release dates. They’re like>>Ivan Barias: There’s
a producer deck.>>Alex Delicata:
Yeah, right, anything. So, I mean, these things
usually happen not always, but can happen in
the months following. So, to make that system maybe a
little bit more malleable where, you know, it’s easier to amend
data after it’s released, or you have a three month period
after a release where you have to have something in, or
that date can be flexible, then I think that
that’s a better idea. But to have it be before release
date is extremely difficult to do in practice.>>Rosanne Cash: What
we were also talking about in the room is, you know, sometimes they just
make you give up. Like it’s so complicated. I mean, a producer I work with,
he’s been waiting two years to be paid on a project because
they changed the paperwork after the track was submitted. So, this, you know,
it’s incredibly complex. He keeps resubmitting it. They keep saying no, you’ve
got to do this, now you’ve got to do this, you know, they assume you’ll
give up at some point.>>Ivan Barias: I mean,
yeah, the music industry has, has figured out how to take you
into deep water and let you go. They are, they are exceptionally
talented and gifted at fighting the war
of attrition. And like you said,
it’s really not set up to make it easy for you. So, that’s why it’s something like what we’re discussing
here could be beneficial to a lot of us. But it’s such a nuanced
suggestion, and that it requires a
lot more conversation, because it could be, it could
get even uglier and result in a lot of lost wages
for a lot of creatives.>>Alex Delicata: Yeah, I mean,
I think these problems do exist. I also think that, of course,
like anyone in any business, we have some onus on
us to be responsible for our own data and
our own material. And I don’t want to lose
that in this discussion. You know what I mean? Because we do have to do that. But it needs to be, there
needs to be some sort of uniform way for us to do it. Like the issue now is that we
don’t even have any guidelines that I can say to a young
songwriter, okay, you’re going to release a song this way. This is how it’s done. Here’s an article on how you go
through that process correctly. You want to do it independently. You want to do it
through a major label. You want to do it this way. There just aren’t the
there are no resources. If we had the resources, then I’d be absolutely
comfortable saying that the onus is
on us as creators to take our responsibility
on our own job. But the problem is that we just
don’t have those resources.>>Ivan Barias: To your point, in terms of resources,
education is key. The Recording Academy, like I
said, without, you know, going, you know, plugging the great
organization that I belong to, and you [inaudible] and Rosanne.>>Rosanne Cash:
Artist Writers Alliance.>>Alex Delicata: Hey, hey.>>Ivan Barias: So, we, we
strongly advocate and educate and talk to people about the
importance of credit gathering. I mean, quite frankly,
this is your livelihood, this is your equity on
what you’re creating. So, it is, the onus
is on the creators. You have to actually
do your due diligence, do the unsexy, unglamorous work. There’s no way around it. I mean, until, until we
come up with, you know, the magic bullet that’s going
to be the absolutely to all of our woes, you have to
do your due diligence. We all have, we are functioning
as de facto record labels. I know record labels
have multiple departments that handle all of
these different aspects. We have to function like that. And we have to, you know, be
willing to wear those hats until that solution, you
know, presents itself.>>Rosanne Cash: I agree. And to expand on what you
said, we’re not victims. You know? It may sound like we’re just sitting
here complaining, but we’re not victims. Several years ago,
the way I got involved in this is several years ago,
John McCrea of the band Cake, I was playing in San
Francisco, and he was there. He said, could I meet
you in the lobby? I want to have a cup of
coffee and talk to you. I said sure. And he started by saying,
it’s time to grow up. Your money is out there. This is your livelihood
at stake. And that’s why I got involved. Like, he’s right, I can’t
just have some big notion that somebody is going to
take care of this for me. You know? It’s reality.>>Erin McAnally: In 2014,
Rosanne, you spoke to Congress and said that at the time, the climate amongst
artists was dispirited. Do you feel that that climate is
similar now, or is there a shift in the way that artists are>>Rosanne Cash: I think slowly
we’re becoming, we’re realizing that we can empower
ourself in this process. And, you know, we’ve had the
support of the Copyright Office. We’ve had the support of the Recording
Academy and many others. I think that they realized that
if we disappear, they disappear. You know? That this is
we’re bound together. And the digital landscape
has complicated things. In some ways, it’s
been incredibly unfair. You know, the Pre 72 issue
just strikes at my heart. And I’ve talked a
lot about that, that, how disrespectful it
is to legacy artists that they don’t make a
royalty in the digital realm. And there are a lot of and
someone in the Copyright Office, I think Maria said, you know, we can’t even follow
the breadcrumbs back to find out how that began. You know? So, there’s kind
of, it’s inexplicable. But I believe that
we can pull it apart. It may not be in my generation,
bullet it can happen.>>Erin McAnally: Would
you all like to speak to your generation, how creators
are feeling about speaking up for themselves and
participating in events like this, for instance?>>Ivan Barias: Well,
people are more active. In my experiences as a creator,
I’ve lobbied in Congress as doing Grammys on the hill. I lobby yearly during
District Advocate Day, which is a grassroots, one of the largest
music grassroots events that we’re a part of at
the Recording Academy, 2,000 creators all
across the country, and people are galvanized
and they’re energized because there’s a sense of
immediacy and urgency knowing that these issues are dire. We’re losing equity
at an alarming rate. And I think a lot of the younger
creators are starting to, they don’t really grasp it because I don’t think it’s being
couched in a way that speaks to them in a more holistic way. And I think we have to do a
better job of showing them that you are a part
of this ecosystem. Like you said earlier, you
know, you may not see the fruits of your labor until much later. But I’m okay with that, right? So, we have to look at this
ecosystem that we all inhabit, and we have to make
sure we do our part. We have to preserve it, even if
it’s for the next generation, which is what we’re doing. But we have to get
the next generation to have some onus also and
ownership in all of this and know that this
is within your rights to advocate for these issues. When you bring the
political aspect, that’s when things get
a little bit crazy. But I think we all
have to do our part in holding each other
accountable and being, you know, true stakeholders in
this conversation.>>Rosanne Cash: Yeah, education
is key, what you were saying, so that they take ownership, the
next generation takes ownership because they’re educated
and they know what to do. I mean, that’s what
organizations like Artist Rights
Alliance are doing is trying to educate young
musicians and songwriters.>>Regan Smith: So,
I think, you know, the Copyright Office
feels strongly that whether it be a study or
an educational activity we do, our actions benefit so much from
participation from creators. And we want to hear
from creators. We started off this
morning saying, well, it will just be very
easy if we just go to all of the data at the source. And that sounds great if
you’re looking at a big chart. And I think this panel just
explained how the practicalities make that difficult sometimes. So, as we start thinking about
the MMA and issues in general, what are the most effective
ways, be it the Copyright Office or the MLC, to reach out
to creators and songwriters and get them to participate, you’ve mentioned
advocacy organizations. What else?>>Alex Delicata: I mean,
I think most young people, at least people younger than me
that I work with, the majority of those people are pretty
much just paying attention to what young people
pay attention to, which is Instagram,
Snapchat, TikTok, you know what I mean,
things like that. So, you know, any, any way we
can, you know, make them aware of things that way,
I think, you know, intercommunity stuff is big. I know in Los Angeles when
the MMA was happening, Ross Golan did a ton
of work and, you know, made us extremely aware via
social media, and also just like person to person in
sessions of what’s going on. And I think a lot of it
is just conversations that we have before we
start writing every day. So, you know, I think more
and more people being aware, and then just spreading
that word of mouth is probably the
easiest way that I can see. But I think just social
media marketing is the way that it works with everything
now is the most efficient.>>Ivan Barias: Yeah, I
would agree with that. I think educating, you know,
through someone they admire on a platform that they’re
on is going to be key.>>Alex Delicata: Totally.>>Ivan Barias: And that’s
something to consider, because even messages of like,
you know, best practices, when you’re talking about
the proper way of recording, people don’t want
to hear about that. You know? We have an initiative
called the loudness wars that we’re dealing
with in terms of levels on the streaming services. And we’re having an
extremely hard time connecting with the creators on
how to fix those things. But you put the right
person in front of them that they admire, they listen. So, this issue is not,
is so close to that issue that I think the onus will
be on the Copyright Office to create content
that’s visually appealing and stimulating and
aesthetically connects with that generation, because
I think that’s what you have to speak to is who they are and
where they’re going and how, you know, it connects with them.>>Alex Delicata: Yeah,
I mean, it’s tough. But I think frankly like most
kids probably would rather hear from, hear it from
Pharrell than from an ad from the Copyright Office. You know what I mean? Like not, not to like, you know>>Erin McAnally: Fair enough.>>Alex Delicata: But, but, but
like that’s kind of the truth of the matter, like people who are young really are
not interested in, you know, like anything, if you
learn math in a math class, you’re not going
to pay attention. But if somebody who is
reaching you how to do something that will benefit you and
you admire is teaching it to you, you’ll learn it. You know?>>Erin McAnally: This is a
multigenerational issue, though. Do you have any feedback
on that as well, on how to reach people
in your generation?>>Rosanne Cash:
In my generation? You know, I should say something
first about my son’s generation. He’s 20, and he made his
first album last year. And he put it up on Spotify. And I said, and it was, it’s
also for sale on iTunes. And I said, oh, I’ll tell all my
friends to buy it from iTunes. He goes, I don’t
care about that. I just want followers
on Spotify. I was going, wow, this is a
totally different business than I grew up in. And I still don’t, I mean, we
still support him, so, you know, okay, that’s great, let’s
see how that pans out. I’m sorry to my friends
at Spotify. But what was the question, Erin? Oh, about my generation.>>Erin McAnally: Yeah,
what are some effective ways to reach people?>>Rosanne Cash: Well, this
may be throwing a wrench into this whole conversation,
but I’m very pro union, and I’ve been a union
member since 1977. And I think SAG AFTRA does
a good job of education. I think the musicians union
could do a little better. And I know young people
don’t join the union. And I know young people
don’t join the union. And I, I was kind of
shocked to realize that. And then I kind of
got used to it. Oh, yeah, okay, they’re not,
this is not their generation. They don’t really
believe in that. But I’m still very pro union. And I think that their education and outreach could be
really strong and helpful.>>Ivan Barias: That’s key,
because they fellowship in an entirely different way.>>Rosanne Cash: Fellowship. There you go. That’s what I’m talking about.>>Regan Smith: So,
I think just one way to reach creators is you
hear it from your peers, from your role models,
from your inspirations. We have, we’re running
out of time. What do any of you want to
tell your fellow songwriters about this study or this project
or what they need to know?>>Ivan Barias: Can I curse?>>Regan Smith: Yes.>>Ivan Barias: It was shit. You know, seriously. People have a very lax
approach sometimes when it comes to what they’re creating. And in so many ways,
the music is devalued. And I think unless you
care about the music and you can really understand
what’s the intrinsic value of what you’re creating. Therefore, you leave
monies on the table. Therefore, these things that
we’re talking about here aren’t as important as they could be. So, I think my message
to them would be to care. Just as you care about the
nuances and the creative aspect, think about what this
does to your legacy and what you’re leaving behind. And it can motivate you to be,
you know, a lot more proactive in terms of the business
structure of what you’re creating. So, that will be what
I will say to them.>>Rosanne Cash: I
would say that when art and commerce get married,
difficulties arise. And that’s what’s happened. And it’s become more complicated
as time has gone on because the, the providers have
gotten more numerous. And like you said, a guy
can sit in his basement and make a record and put it out
and get his 2,000 followers and, you know, be happy with that. But at the same time, you
can’t make a living that way. And art and music,
songwriting, I don’t want to see songwriting become like
some lost folk art, you know, like divining water with
a stick or something. It has to exist. Like I said, we’re in
the service industry. We open people’s hearts. We need that as much
as anything else. And you want songwriters
to exist. You don’t want to just throw
syllables on a looped track. You want real songwriting
to exist. So, we need education, we need
support from those in commerce, and we need community.>>Alex Delicata: I mean, I
think that pretty much sums it up beyond the fact
that I think to all of like the young creators, I
would just say keep creating, keep being amazing,
and just understand that there are people
working on this, and that they can
contribute whatever and however they want
to, that the channels of conversation are open. So, that’s pretty much it.>>Erin McAnally: Thank you so
much to the Copyright Office, and you thank you so much
panelists for being here.>>Rosanne Cash:
Thank you, Regan.>>Alex Delicata:
Thanks for having us.>>Regan Smith: Thank you all. [ Applause ]

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