Music Business

How Irving Azoff Plans To Collect 30% More For Songwriters Than BMI, ASCAP Does

image from www.allaccess.comAfter uber-manager and music industry deal maker Irving Azoff exited as Chairman of Live Nation last year, one of his many moves was to form Global Music Rights as part of his Azoff MSG Entertainment, a new joint venture with the Madison Square Garden Company. There were rumors that some major songwriters including members of Journey, Foreigner, Fleetwood Mac and Soundgarden had signed on.  Now its becoming clear what Azoff has planned for his growing song catalog, and it strikes at the heart of a marketplace dominated by BMI and ASCAP for decades.

Azoff has apparently been telling potential clients that he will negotiate ropyalties from radio stations and online music broadcasters that will be up to 30% higher then they are currently getting through ASCAP or BMI. This leak comes via the New York Times, who quote 3 annonymous sources.

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How Will Azoff Collect 30% More?

ASCAP ahnd BMI are bound by statue to offer pre-set blanket licences. But Azoff's Global Music Rights along with competitor SESAC are not bound by the same regulations, and are free to charge whatever the market will bear. 

"What Irving did was look at what songwriters were earning historically and offer them a premium,” said Barry M. Massarsky, an economist who specializes in music publishing told the New York Times. “He believes he can carve out a higher value for those songs from radio and pay less in administration fees, so that ultimately the songs would make more money than they have from ASCAP or BMI.”

Some very prolific and profitable songwriters have bought Azoffs pitch including  Pharrell Williams, Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco, Shane McAnally, and the estates of Lennon and Ira Gershwin, in addition to the band members named above. 

On the record Azoff would say: “I vowed when I started this company that I was going to take care of artists. So I tried to identify places where I felt that artists were not getting a fair deal, and the performance rights area jumped out at me. It was a place where I felt I could help our artists."

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  1. Azoff: “Hey, Z100 New York – you wanna play the new single from my artist Pharrell Williams? You’ve gotta pay higher performance royalties”
    Z100 New York: “How ’bout you go f**k yourself and we’ll find another artist to support with 40 spins a week?”

  2. Or – to that:
    Azoff: “Hey WXXX in East Bumblef**k, Wyoming – you wanna play my new Pharrell single? Pay me 30% more performance royalties”.
    WXXX: “Great – we’re barely making a profit these days – looks like we’ll be flipping to an All-Talk format”

  3. You have to admit, the other PRO’s have a lot of overhead and admin costs, a lot of money that doesn’t get to the artists. When I owned an inn and paid my ASCAP fees, the rep admitted that not one dime of it would go to the artists, that it all went to administrative expenses. Irving can pay more just by lowering overhead.

  4. Hey … it looks like like your ‘all talk format’ is soon to be an all BS format … time to start looking for another line of work, I’d say!

  5. Hey, ‘Z100 NY’ … you might as well get used to it sooner or later … it’ll be easier on ya that way … the pendelum is finally swinging back the other way … for now on, the artists are gonna get paid what’s due them … including the many decades they’ve been cheeted out of their fair share of the profits! So now it’s time for you to go ‘f**k’ yourself, and if it’s too hot for you to take in Hell’s kitchen, then move to Florida … like so many of your Jewish friends have already done!

  6. Irving Azoff represents the ‘New Deal’ for the artists who are sick and tired of being cheated out of their fair share of the take from radio play and soon, there will be another ‘saviour’ who will come along to represent us with a similar deal to the publishers … sooner or later, everybody’s got to realize that there would be NO music for ANYONE to listen to and appreciate without the melodies and lyrics that us artists create (with the inspiration of God)!

  7. Randy Grimmett who is working with Azhoff is notoriously nasty to aspiring artists so there must be a catch here.

  8. I have anew entry in the field- my Pop-Anthem to Save the Central Park Carriage-Horse Industry, WALKIN THRU THE PARK by MR. MELODY TM. Now in worldwide distribution via your fave mp3 vendors. I wrote the music & lyrics, produced it, sing all the vocals, played guitar & completely own the publishing.
    *** I read the contract to a new music site, VEROMUSE, touted in a personal solicitation emailed to me(endorsed by Walter Yetnikoff & Billy Joel), & it STANK of TOTAL PIRACY. Will someone please tell me if this is for real??

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