headphones and gavel

Associations Join Appeal in Music Licensing Case

Venue- and business-events-related groups joined with local radios stations, major motion picture studios, online streaming services, and music venues to file an amicus brief seeking to overturn a recent federal court decision that would significantly raise music licensing rates.

Last month, the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) and International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) signed on to an amicus brief in the appeal of a major music licensing rate court decision earlier this year.

In March, New York District Court Judge Louis Stanton ruled in favor of a proposal by Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), a music rights organization, to increase live music royalty rates by 138 percent by using benchmark rates set by two performing rights organizations: SESAC and GMR.

ECA and IAVM joined the Motion Picture Association of America, Radio Music License Committee, National Association of Broadcasters, and Digital Media Association in arguing that the court should have used rates set by ASCAP and BMI, which are legally required to be “reasonable.”

A ruling on the appeal is anticipated next year, which will likely impact future music licensing rates paid by the industry.

“The consent decrees that govern ASCAP and BMI help ensure a competitive marketplace that associations rely on to license music for their conferences, tradeshows, and other in-person events,” said Tommy Goodwin, FASAE, CAE, vice president of ECA. “By ignoring years of rate-setting precedent in this case, the district court’s decision would unfairly raise licensing fees for associations, convention centers, and other key stakeholders going forward. That’s why ECA was pleased to join this important effort from a wide range of respected stakeholders to overturn this flawed anti-competitive decision.”


Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

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