The Doors and Neil Young are back on the BBC, after the UK broadcaster agreed a new mechanical rights deal with publisher Wixen – but only on radio, not television.
The BBC last month banned its staff from playing music by acts such as Neil Young and The Doors on radio and TV due to licensing complications.
MBW discovered that the publishing representative for both acts in the UK market, Wixen, had chosen not to sign a blanket mechanical agreement with the Beeb – via MCPS – on behalf of their clients.
Because the BBC is now offering users of its digital services the chance to ‘download’ TV and radio shows for a limited period, this mechanical right has come into play.
If the Beeb therefore played unlicensed tracks by these acts – as well as fellow MCPS non-signees Journey and Bonnie Raitt – they would risk committing copyright infringement.
That risk, however, is no more – on radio, at least.
A BBC spokesperson told MBW: “The BBC has been able to find a licensing solution by working together with the music publisher Wixen Music UK and with the MCPS.
“This licensing solution with wixen allows us to include the works on bbc radio and radio catch-up services – but not for television or other audio visual use.”
“Works composed by the Doors, Journey and Neil Young, are now mechanically licensed under an arrangement via MCPS and are available for use on BBC Radio and for the consequent download on BBC Radio iPlayer.
“The licensing solution enables us to include the works on both BBC radio and the BBC’s radio catch-up services, however the rights are not available for television or other audio visual use via the BBC’s collective licensing arrangements with MCPS.”
Bonnie Raitt remains unaffected by the new agreement.
It is unknown what special dispensation the BBC made for Wixen, but a unique deal is almost certain to have been created to appease Young and The Doors estate.
After MBW uncovered the previous ‘ban’, Naomi Asher, Director of Wixen Music UK, explained that her clients favoured a move to a US case-by-case system of licensing.
“The BBC can use Neil Young and the Doors any time they negotiate a license with us to do so in a given programme,” she said.
“All we are saying is that we won’t pre-approve uses or fees if the clients have not had an opportunity to review and approve the uses and fees.
“In the USA, where these artists are based, TV uses are approved and fees negotiated by the artists and songwriters, or their representatives, and our clients are not used to blanket pre-agreed uses and fees.
“This is just basic respect for artists and songwriters wishing to determine how their work is used and at what fees.”Music Business Worldwide