Data Platform Seeks to Improve Transparency of Copyright Ownership and Promote Competition in the Music Licensing Industry
On Dec. 21, 2020, The American Society of Composers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), the two largest performance rights organizations (PROs) in the United States, announced the launch of SONGVIEW, a “comprehensive data platform that provides music users with an authoritative view of public performance copyright ownership and administration shares for the vast majority of music licensed in the United States.”
According to the press release on ASCAP’s website, SONGVIEW is free to the public and allows ASCAP and BMI to display detailed, aggregated and reconciled ownership data for performing rights for more than 20 million musical works in their combined repertoires, including a breakdown of shares by ASCAP and BMI.
“The Antitrust Division commends ASCAP and BMI’s innovative collaboration in creating and releasing SONGVIEW,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “While more work needs to be done to improve the transparency of copyright ownership in musical works, the creation of this free platform is a positive step towards doing so and, importantly, may help to promote competition in the music licensing industry to the benefit of music licensees, artists, and American consumers.”
The promotion of competition in music licensing has been an important goal of the Antitrust Division. The division opened its ongoing review of its consent decrees with ASCAP and BMI to determine whether the decrees continue to serve American consumers and should be maintained in their current form, or whether they should be modified, or terminated. As part of its review, the division invited public comments from songwriters, publishers, licensees, and other industry stakeholders. The division received more than 800 public comments, which have been posted to the division’s Antitrust Consent Decree Review Public Comments 2019 page. On July 28th and 29th, 2020, the division also hosted a virtual public workshop on competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry, which was attended by executive PROs, songwriters, music publishers, music licensees, legal and economic experts, and other industry stakeholders.