| 25 Feb 2024
Sony/ATV Music Publisher threaten to withdraw from ASCAP and BMI

MUMBAI: Sony/ATV Music Publisher CEO Martin Bandier released a letter that he wrote to all their clients explaining at length the various reasons for considering withdrawing from ASCAP and BMI.

Bandier wrote in the letter, “As you may recall, last year I wrote to you to announce that Sony/ATV had taken the lead in protecting your rights in the digital space by withdrawing certain digital performance rights from ASCAP and BMI.

As I explained, there were numerous reasons for this withdrawal. One was that ASCAP and BMI operate under very old antitrust consent decrees which dictate how they negotiate and grant licenses. As a result, the performance rights licensing process is often lengthy, expensive and results in artificially deflated rates. By withdrawing certain rights and entering into direct deals, the process becomes more efficient, less costly and, ultimately, more transparent and beneficial for everyone.”

With the letter, Sony/ATV Music has turned up the heat in the ongoing battle between major publishers and both ASCAP and BMI. Unless a series of reforms at the performing rights organisations are implemented, Sony/ATV would consider 'the potential complete withdrawal of all rights from ASCAP and BMI,' according to the letter.

Sony is not the only major publisher considering an exit. Universal Music has been airing similar complaints, and last week it said it would put data for its entire catalogue online - a move that would make a possible exit from its relationship with the performing rights organisations much easier.

BMI and ASCAP currently pay about $2 billion to songwriters and publishers each year; and the exit of major publishers would be a huge blow.

Bandier added, "All of us at Sony/ATV take our responsibility as your music publisher very seriously. We know we face some difficult decisions ahead that will impact our business for years to come."