Is American music industry policy coming to Canada? Possibly. Let’s peel this back.
SoundExchange is the performance rights organization that collects and distributes royalties on became of America’s record labels for interactive digital music services like satellite radio, Internet radio (like Pandora but NOT on-demand streamers like Spotify) and cable TV music channels. Created by the Recording Industry Association of American (the oft-vilified RIAA), it represents the interests of record labels across the US.
SoundExchange has purchased the Canadian Music Reproduction Rights Agency. The CMRRA licenses music on behalf of their clients to individuals and companies who want to reproduce songs for a variety of purposes. They collect fees from licensees and distribute them to the rightsholders of that music. Put another way, they represent the interests of music publishers and songwriters.
When it comes to royalties from any given song, the pie is only so big. Record labels are always fighting with publishers over who should get the bigger share and vice-versa. A SoundExchange-CMRRA merger creates an organization that will somehow have to represent both sides. Or am I missing something?
Another thought: Buying the CMRRA will give SoundExchange at the table when it came to negotiating with the Copyright Board of Canada. Might this mean American policy regarding royalty payments will be pushed in Canada?