This afternoon, ASCAP EXPO attendees were lucky to hear from Donald Passman himself, best-selling author and esteemed music business attorney.
Passman provided an in-depth lecture and lively discussion on the current state of the biz. Despite his encyclopedia-like knowledge, Passman came across as down-to-earth and hip...much like you'd expect from a seasoned entertainment lawyer, I suppose.
Some helpful takeaways...
In the evolving digital marketplace, songwriter royalty income sources include:
- Ringtones and ring back tones
- Web casting-- non-interactive (online radio), interactive streaming (Spotify) and somewhere in between (Pandora)
- YouTube and Vevo
Artists and songwriters need to stay abreast of new developments and legislation surrounding digital royalties, particularly when reviewing contracts.
Passman discussed the specific elements up for negotiation in 360 deals. He warned that touring is a tricky area that artists should examine closely.
At the end of his talk, Passman shared with us some crystal ball predictions:
- Music is not going to go away! It is still one of the least expensive forms of permanent entertainment you can own.
- Digital will dominate, with subscription/cloud models as a big part of the future.
- Potential for business is enormous! But music may end up like TV business...many more players involved, niche markets, products that don't make large amounts of money, etc. A successful indie label that builds a database to directly communicate with fans is an example of this.
Passman then gave all of us his cell phone number and said we could text him whenever we have questions on the music business.
Ok--that last part didn't happen...but wouldn't that be a dream?! Passman is a serious resource that would be great to have in your back pocket.
For now, at least we can all have the latest edition of his book!
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