Washington, D.C. — August 9, 2019 — Today marked the end of the formal comment period for the U.S. Department of Justice to receive public input on the consent decrees that govern ASCAP and BMI, the two performing rights organizations that together control 90 percent of the U.S. marketplace for licensing the right to publicly perform musical works. The MIC Coalition, whose members provide music over the nation’s airwaves, via the internet and in tens of millions of stores, hotels, restaurants, bars, taverns, wineries, performance venues and theatres across the country, released the following statement:
It is no surprise that businesses around the country have let the Justice Department know–clearly and plainly–that the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees are as important today as ever and should be preserved without modification. The music marketplace has been built around these consent decrees and if they are terminated or sunset without first establishing a new legal framework to protect these businesses and other licensees, chaos will result.
Thanks to the competitive guardrails provided by these time-tested antitrust consent decrees, the modern music marketplace has successfully evolved to a place where music is valued, creators are compensated, innovation flourishes and consumers enjoy greater choice in music enjoyment than ever before — and ASCAP and BMI are bringing in record revenues. The message from hundreds of businesses to the Justice Department is clear: without these decrees, the music marketplace would be thrown into chaos and music across the country would be silenced.
What Business Owners Across the Country Are Saying About The ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees
“I would like the Department of Justice to know the decrees are important to me because it keeps my products affordable to my customers and allows small venue entertainers to keep working and supporting their families.” — Kentucky Winery
“I would like the Department of Justice to know the decrees are important to me because the music license process is already costly, time consuming, and a nuisance. Eliminating the consent decrees will allow the licensing companies to further steamroll and bully small companies across the country.” — Georgia Entertainment Center
“From the Lowcountry to Upstate, whether you are shopping at the neighborhood grocery store, listening to a high school football game on local radio, or visiting any of our hospitality establishments across our great State, music is critical to our way of life. The ASCAP and BMI consent decrees provide critical music licensing protections for our businesses that ensure songwriters are fairly compensated without running afoul of antitrust laws.” — the South Carolina Association of Broadcasters, the South Carolina Brewers Guild, the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association and the South Carolina Retail Association