Department of Justice Antitrust Division to Host Workshop on Competition in the Licensing of Public Performance Rights in the Music Industry

The Department of Justice will hold a virtual public workshop on July 28th and 29th, 2020, to discuss competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry.  The workshop will provide a further venue for industry stakeholders to 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 we enter the third decade of the 21st Century and as music distribution continues to evolve through technological innovation. 

A series of panels will discuss competition issues relating to the various types of public performance licenses currently offered in the marketplace, competition between performing rights organizations (PROs), such as ASCAP, BMI and GMR, and the licensing of music to end-users. Panelists will discuss 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. These panels will include executives PROs, songwriters, music publishers, music licenses, legal and economic experts, and other industry stakeholders.

The Department of Justice invited public comments from the public on these topics on June 5, 2019 and the comments can be found here. Interested parties may submit any further non-duplicative comments online now through July 22, 2020, at ATR.MusicLicensing-Workshop@usdoj.gov.

The workshop is free and open to the public and will be webcast from approximately 12:30 pm – 4 pm Eastern Time each day. A recording of the workshop will be available on the Division’s website.  Registration information, an agenda, instructions on accessing the webcast, and a list of speakers will be available in the near future on the event webpage. Members of the press should email Brianna.Herlihy@usdoj.gov to register.

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.

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Author: July 10, 2020

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