Downtown Publishing's deal with Codigo Music/Fania, the rise of music streaming in Spain and the battle of "Happy Birthday" all top this week's music publishing news.
Downtown Music Publishing has signed a global publishing agreement with Codigo Music that encompasses their entire music publishing catalogue. Parent company of Fania Records with notable artists like Willie Colon and Celia Cruz on it’s roster, the agreement calls for Downtown to market and promote Fania’s catalogue for media opportunities like film, TV, and advertising. Hits like Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” have also sampled Codigo/Fania songs. Downtown’s CEO Justin Kalifowitz considers Fania “a New York City institution” and is “honored that we can play a small part in promoting this incredible piece of New York City history.”
With gains in the first semester of 2015, streaming is on the rise and saving Spain’s music economy. A report from Promusicae (Productores de Música de España) explains that digital music revenue is higher than that of physical product by almost 8%, and that streaming is a “salvation” for the still-recovering Spanish music industry . The year 2014 was the first in over a decade that Spain’s music sales made a year-over-year gain, and the reported 40% increase in streaming usage “allows the Spanish recording sector to maintain a certain hope entering the second and decisive semester,” Promusicae sources confirm.
Filmmakers have uncovered evidence that “Happy Birthday” may not have a copyright. Good Morning to You Productions Corp filed a lawsuit on Warner/Chappell in 2013 after being told they’d have to pay $1,500 to use the song in their “Happy Birthday” documentary. Recently, they uncovered a blurry copy of The Everyday Songbook published in 1922 with a copyrightless “Happy Birthday” inside. Plaintiffs suppose that this book proves the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” had already been “dedicated to the public” long before the copyright registration Warner/Chappell has for the song was created. Currently, Warner/Chappell makes about $2 million in revenue from licensing “Happy Birthday” every year.