Publishers have been trying to follow the lead of record labels to bypass BMI and ASCAP to cut direct licensing deals with digital services. A U.S. Department of Justice consent decree has prevented it, but that may be about to change.
The US Department Of Justice, which is in the midst of a review of the nation's publishing industry, is expected to issue a new ruling that would allow publishers to partially withdrawal digital collection from BMI and ASCAP, sources tell Billboard. Publishers would still use the the performing rights organizations to administer payments to songwriters.
If adopted and approved by the courts, the change would be a big win for major publishers, but there is some good news for BMI and ASCAP. The PROs would reportedly now be allowed issue blanket digital licenses that include both mechanical and performance rights.