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    Intellectual Property Partner Paul Fakler Presents on Digital Music Rights at SXSW Festival

    Arent Fox Intellectual Property partner Paul M. Fakler speaks at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music conference with a presentation titled “The Digital Music Performance Royalty Apocalypse,” which focuses on the history of the music-streaming industry. The annual conference has expanded significantly in recent years to feature thousands of performers and presenters appearing in more than 100 venues, making SXSW the largest gathering of its kind in the world.

    During the presentation, Mr. Fakler characterizes the music-streaming industry as 15 years of chaos in which not a single streaming service had ever turned a profit on an annual basis due to the unsustainably high royalty rates paid by those services. He then explains how and why the rates have gotten so high, before moving on to address three current developments in the digital music industry that pose existential threats to the digital music streaming industry by potentially driving those royalty rates even higher: 1) the recently-started Webcasting IV rate proceeding before the Copyright Royalty Board; 2) the problem of pre-1972 sound recordings; and 3) recent attempts by certain music publishers to selectively withdraw their songs from the ASCAP and BMI repertories for streaming licensees.

    The well-attended event presentation goes overtime due to a robust question-and-answer session. Few private practice attorneys are asked to speak in the business-side sessions, which are geared toward industry professionals. To learn more about the SXSW conference, click here.