Live Nation, AEG, and the North American Concert Promoters Association (NACPA) have lodged an appeal against BMI‘s recent triumph in its rate court litigation that saw songwriters getting a 138% increase in royalties in the US to 0.5% of every live event’s revenue.
In March, BMI emerged victorious after New York District Court Judge Louis Stanton ruled in favor of the company’s proposed 0.5% rate for gross ticket sales in the US, including retroactive rates for the 2013-2017 period.
The decision was hailed by BMI as a significant milestone.
“This is a massive victory for BMI and the songwriters, composers and publishers we represent. It will have a significant and long-term positive impact on the royalties they receive for the live concert category,” BMI CEO and President Mike O’Neill said at the time.
Live Nation downplayed the impact of the ruling, telling Variety that the action will only cost performers about $15 million a year “spread out over thousands of artists, and cost increases for Live Nation directly are not material.”
The appeal notice leaves room for interpretation. It serves as both a potential indication of their intention to appeal the court’s decision and a procedural measure that preserves the option to do so.
The concert trade group adhered to the 30-day window for filing the appeal notice, which commenced after the recent court proceedings, said Billboard.
The notice pertains to a BMI motion concerning interest on potential fees owed for the 2018-2022 term, which aligns with the newly established rates during that period.
“Given Live Nation, AEG and NACPA’s bizarre position throughout trial that concertgoers attend concerts for the experience of the staging, videos and lightshows, as opposed to the actual songs and music being performed, their appeal was not a surprise to BMI.”
Mike O’Neill, BMI
In response to the concert promoters’ action, BMI’s O’Neill issued a statement, saying their appeal was not a surprise, “given Live Nation, AEG and NACPA’s bizarre position throughout trial that concertgoers attend concerts for the experience of the staging, videos and lightshows, as opposed to the actual songs and music being performed.”
“For decades, the live concert industry has fought to keep rates suppressed. And even now, when they are making more money than ever, in more ways than ever, they are determined to deny songwriters and composers the fair value of their work, despite the fact that without their contributions, a concert wouldn’t even be possible.”
“BMI will continue to fight on behalf of our affiliates, the creators of the music that is the very backbone of the live concert industry, to prevent that outcome,” continued O’Neill.
Music Business Worldwide