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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 24, 2020

Antitrust Division Announces Agenda For Workshop On Competition In The Licensing Of Public Performance Rights In The Music Industry

Songwriters LeAnn Rimes, Pharrell and Jon Bon Jovi to Deliver Special Keynotes

The Department of Justice has released a final agenda for the Antitrust Division’s July 28-29 public workshop on competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry.  The workshop will provide a venue for industry stakeholders to further weigh in on the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) consent decrees and their implications for antitrust law enforcement and policy as music distribution continues to evolve through technological innovation.  

“We are fortunate to hear from some of the greatest talents and some of the most experienced executives in the music industry at our workshop. I anticipate an interesting and productive discussion among our esteemed panelists,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “While the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees have governed licensing of performance rights for more than 75 years, the music industry has changed significantly in the meantime. We look forward to our panelists and speakers sharing their views on whether these decrees still offer songwriters and musicians the benefit of robust competition today.”

The released agenda includes remarks from Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim and distinguished panelists with a wide variety of perspectives on the ASCAP-BMI consent decrees.  Special keynotes will be delivered by LeAnn Rimes, Pharrell and Jon Bon Jovi, who will share their experiences as songwriters within the current licensing system.  The announced panel topics will include whether or not certain terms of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees should be modified, and whether the decrees are inhibiting innovative business models that may hurt consumers or artists.  The panels will include views from the performance rights organizations, songwriters, music publishers, music licensees, legal and economic experts, and other industry stakeholders.

The final agenda and more information on the event, including registration and instructions on accessing the webcast, can be found on the Competition in Licensing Music Public Performance Rights event page. The workshop is free and open to the public, and will be webcast from 12:30pm to 5:00pm on Tuesday July 28, and from 12:30pm to 4:00pm on Wednesday July 29.  After the workshop concludes, a recording will be available on the Division’s website.  Members of the press should email Brianna.Herlihy@usdoj.gov to register.

The Department of Justice invited public comments from the public on these topics on June 5, 2019 and the comments can be found on the Antitrust Consent Decree Review Public Comments 2019 page.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. If you need such an accommodation, please contact the Antitrust Division at ATR.MusicLicensing-Workshop@usdoj.gov. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and a way to contact you if we need more information.

 

Public Workshop on Competition in Licensing Music Public Performance Rights

July 28-29, 2020

Workshop Agenda

July 28, 2020

12:30 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, U.S. Department of Justice

12:40 p.m.

Songwriter Keynote

LeAnn Rimes

12:55 p.m.

Session 1: Remarks from Stakeholders on the Consent Decrees

David Israelite, President and CEO, National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)

Michelle Lewis, Executive Director, Songwriters of North America (SONA)

Elizabeth Matthews, CEO, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)

Michael O’Neill, President and CEO, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI)

The Honorable Gordon Smith, President and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)

DOJ Moderator: Karina Lubell, Assistant Chief, Competition Policy and Advocacy Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

1:55 p.m.

Session 2: Public Performance Licensing Alternatives

Panelists will discuss the use and viability of alternatives to blanket licenses, including direct, adjustable-fee, per-program, and per-segment licenses under the Decrees. They will also address the use and viability of source and through-to-the-audience licenses and whether those types of licenses should be limited or expanded. Finally, the panel will discuss whether these alternatives present a “genuine choice” to music users or whether the genuine choice provision of the Decrees should be modified.

Panelists

Jackie Brenneman, General Counsel, National Association of Theatre Owners

Ted Cohen, Managing Partner, TAG Strategic

David Kokakis, Chief Counsel, Universal Music Publishing Group

Janet McHugh, Executive Director, TV Music License Committee

Mike Steinberg, Executive Vice President of Creative and Licensing, BMI

DOJ Moderator: Yvette Tarlov, Assistant Chief, Media, Entertainment, and Professional Services Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

3:15 p.m.

Songwriter Keynote

Pharrell

3:30 p.m.

Session 3: Competition Between PROs for Songwriters and Publishers

The third session will discuss competition between the PROs for artists. Panelists will discuss the membership provisions of the ASCAP/BMI decrees, including provisions relating to eligibility to join a PRO, resignations, the maximum terms of membership agreements and music licenses, the use and transparency of licenses-in-effect, and member audit rights.

Panelists

Danielle Aguirre, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, NMPA

Jordan Bromley, Board Member, Music Artists Coalition

Bart Herbison, Executive Director, Nashville Songwriters Association International

Golnar Khosrowshahi, CEO, Reservoir Music Publishing

Clara Kim, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, ASCAP

Jack Kugell, Board Member, SONA

DOJ Moderator: Owen Kendler, Chief, Media, Entertainment, and Professional Services Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

July 29, 2020

12:30 p.m.

Opening Remarks

Owen Kendler, Chief, Media, Entertainment, and Professional Services Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

12:35 p.m.

Songwriter Keynote

Jon Bon Jovi

12:50 p.m.

Session 4: Licensing Music to Users

The fourth session will discuss the licensing of music to end-users. Panelists will discuss potential modifications to the Decrees including the “similarly situated” and interim fee provisions of the Decrees. The panel also will address if there is a need for more robust disclosure of ASCAP’s and BMI’s repertoires to licensees and potential impediments to such disclosure. Finally, the panel will consider whether the Decrees are effective or ineffective, create efficiencies or inefficiencies, or inhibit innovative business models.

Panelists

John Bodnovich, Executive Director, American Beverage Licensees

Peter Brodsky, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Rick Kaplan, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs, NAB

Stuart Rosen, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, BMI

Tres Williams, Executive Vice President, Business Affairs, iHeartMedia, Inc.

DOJ Moderator: Ben Matelson, Trial Attorney, Media, Entertainment, and Professional Services Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

2:15 p.m.

Session 5: Economists’ Views and Wrap-up

The last session will provide a venue for economists to discuss the economic effects of the Decrees. Panelists will debate ASCAP’s and BMI’s market power and any constraints on that market power. Additionally, the panel will discuss whether the emergence of new PROs and new technologies, including streaming digital music and movie services, has made the Decrees obsolete.

Panelists

Dr. Adam B. Jaffe, Brandeis University

Dr. Kevin M. Murphy, University of Chicago

DOJ Moderator: Dr. Jeffrey Wilder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economic Analysis, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

3:40 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Rene Augustine, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice

 

Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
20-694
Updated July 24, 2020