Archive for the Music Category

Bob Marley Family Loses Lawsuit Over Hit Records |

Posted in Copyright, Legal, Music on September 15, 2010 by stacyepps

Bob Marley Family Loses Lawsuit Over Hit Records |

Bob Marley’s family lost a lawsuit seeking the copyrights to several of the late Jamaican reggae singer’s best-known recordings.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said the UMG Recordings unit of Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group is the rightful owner of copyrights to five albums that Marley had recorded between 1973 and 1977 for Island Records.

The albums “Catch a Fire,” “Burnin’,” “Natty Dread,” “Rastaman Vibrations” and “Exodus” were recorded with Marley’s band the Wailers. They include some of Marley’s best-known songs, including “Get Up, Stand Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “One Love.”

Marley died of cancer in 1981 at age 36.

Friday night’s ruling is a defeat for Marley’s widow Rita and nine children who had sought to recover millions of dollars in damages over UMG’s effort to “exploit” what they called “the quintessential Bob Marley sound recordings.”

L. Peter Parcher and Peter Shukat, who are lawyers for the family, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. UMG spokesman Peter LoFrumento said the company is pleased with Cote’s ruling.

Marley’s family accused UMG of intentionally withholding royalties from their company Fifty-Six Hope Road Music Ltd, and ignoring a 1995 agreement assigning them rights under the original recording agreements, court papers show.

It also accused UMG of failing as required to consult with them on key licensing decisions, including the use of Marley’s music as “ringtones” on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile phones, the papers show.

But Cote concluded that Marley’s recordings were “works made for hire” as defined under U.S. copyright law, entitling UMG to be designated the owner of those recordings, for both the initial 28-year copyright terms and for renewals.

“Each of the agreements provided that the sound recordings were the ‘absolute property’ of Island,” Cote wrote. “Whether Marley would have recorded his music even if he had not entered the recording agreements with Island is beside the point.”

She added that it was irrelevant that Marley might have maintained artistic control over the recording process. What mattered, she said, was that Island had a contractual “right” to accept or reject what he produced.

Cote also denied the Marley family’s request for a ruling upholding its claims over digital downloads, citing ambiguity in a 1992 royalties agreement.

She directed the parties to enter court-supervised settlement talks, and scheduled an October 29 conference.

The case is Fifth-Six Hope Road Music Ltd v. UMG Recordings Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 08-06143.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Derek Caney)


Taking the Pulse: survey on health insurance and musicians | Future of Music Coalition

Posted in Music on May 11, 2010 by stacyepps

Taking the Pulse: survey on health insurance and musicians | Future of Music Coalition.

Taking the Pulse: a survey on musicians and health insurance

In 2002, Future of Music Coalition conducted an online survey to gauge the level of health insurance among working musicians. Of the nearly 2,700 respondents, 44 percent of them did not have health insurance.

As a response, we launched the HINT project, which has been providing musicians with personalized, artist-friendly advice about their health insurance options since 2005.

With the health care now a national issue, FMC is re-launching the survey from March 1 – April 7, 2010.Musicians, songwriters and composers: Click here to take the survey.

In 2002, Future of Music Coalition conducted an online survey to gauge the level of health insurance among working musicians. Of the nearly 2,700 respondents, 44 percent of them did not have health insurance.

As a response, we launched the HINT project, which has been providing musicians with personalized, artist-friendly advice about their health insurance options since 2005.

With the health care now a national issue, FMC is re-launching the survey in March 2010FMC wants to know:

  • How many musicians are insured?
  • Has the number increased or decreased over the last eight years?
  • What are the factors that make it difficult for musicians to get insured?
  • Do musicians know about the plans offered by some unions and professional organizations?

The Taking the Pulse survey, which will be open from March 1 through April 7, 2010, assesses the level of health insurance among working musicians, asks key questions about artists’ access to coverage and their understanding of the current health insurance landscape.

Musicians, songwriters and composers:  Click here to take the survey
It should take you about 10 minutes to complete. Your answers are anonymous and confidential.

Why FMC is doing this research

With health care now a national issue, it’s important that we understand how many musicians are currently insured, and the factors that make it difficult for musicians to get insured. The data will help us understand what can we do to ensure that this vital segment of the public isn’t falling through the cracks.

FMC’s 2002 study has been cited in a number of related reports and press articles. With a damaged national economy and meaningful health care reform still elusive nearly a decade later, the issue of health care coverage for artists is ever more urgent. Musicians, who contribute greatly to our nation’s cultural and economic well-being, too often go without coverage in order to pursue their craft. This new survey seeks to look once more at those factors that prevent musicians from obtaining coverage.

Help us with outreach

During the month of March, FMC will engage directly with musicians and reach artists through partnerships with music service organizations to encourage thousands of musicians to take the short survey. You can help by encouraging as many musicians as possible to take survey by posting information about it on your blog, your MySpace account, your Facebook page, or as a Twitter update. Sample text and links are below.

Paragraph version for your blog or newsletter

Are you a musician or songwriter? Do you have health insurance? The nonprofit Future of Music Coalition is conducting an online survey during the month of March to assess how many musicians have health insurance. Click here to participate in this survey.

Your answers are anonymous and confidential, and the survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. We urge you to participate so we can really understand the needs of our music community.

Twitter or Facebook status update

Are you a musician or songwriter? Do you have health insurance? Take this survey and tell us about it.

Sound Accounting – Taxes and the Touring Musician by Alyson Miller, CPA

Posted in Music on April 14, 2010 by stacyepps
In light of tax season, although it is a bit late, it is important to know what expenses you can write off on your taxes. So many of us artists, pay expenses associated with shows and touring and many of these are deductible. Please do not neglect to handle your taxes, even if it seems small now, the IRS will come back and get you later. We have seen this happen to many times before!

Sound Accounting – Taxes and the Touring Musician by Alyson Miller, CPA

Posted by Alyson Miller
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Alyson Miller is a CPA who provides specialized accounting and tax services to music and entertainment clients.  She is the founder of Alyson Miller, CPA PLLC a rock and rollaccounting, tax, and business management firm. She has years of music business experience working for both independent and internationally recognized artist and songwriters, record labels, publishing companies and music distributors.

Musicians can save themselves some money and reduce their tax bill if they know what to look for when it comes to filing taxes.   There are many deductions that are specific to being a self-employed musician.

If you are self-employed (i.e., you don’t receive a W-2 from an employer) you will file your income and allowable expenses on a Schedule C as an attachment to your 1040.  The net of the Schedule C is then reported on page 1 or you 1040.

Always keep receipts for everything along with other documentation that you may have such as tour schedules. Here is a list and brief description of the typical allowable expenses.

Travel Expenses

The location has to be far enough away that is it inconvenient to return home otherwise expenses are considered commuting expenses and they are not deductible.

Allowable expenses include:

  • Hotels
  • Airfare
  • Phone calls to home
  • Rehearsal space rental
  • Tips
  • Local transportation like taxis at your destination


  • Meals associated with overnight travel
  • Meal expenses incurred while discussing or conducting business

You are only allowed a deduction for 50% of the meal costs and the IRS requires a receipt and documentation on who, what, where, and why you incurred the meal expense.


  • All equipment (guitars, amp, strings, etc.)
  • Repairs and maintenance on equipment

Any item that generally costs more than $500 is depreciated over 5 years.  What this means is that you can take one-fifth of the costs as an expense each year for 5 years.  You may be able to take a 179 deduction which means you can take the entire cost as an expense in the year you purchase the item.

Vehicle Expenses

There are two methods allowed for vehicle expenses.  You can choose one or calculate both and choose the one that gives you the biggest deduction.

Method 1 – keep actual receipts for:

  • Gas
  • Repairs & maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Property Tax

The IRS also allows a depreciation deduction for your vehicle under this method.

Method 2

  • Keep mileage log of every mile traveled
  • Use standard mileage deduction for each mile traveled (55 cents for 2009; 50 cents for 2010)

Home Office or StudioIf you have a room in your home used exclusively for your business such as a studio you may be able to deduct it.  You can take a percentage of the square footage and apply it to:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage Interest
  • Utilities
  • Property Taxes

Health Insurance

  • Premiums that you pay as a self employed musician are fully deductible on the front page of the 1040.

Other Items

  • CD’s and music downloads
  • Concert tickets
  • Music publications
  • Wardrobe

Don’t get greedy with these items!  Wardrobe must be used exclusively on stage.

Always consult your tax professional about your individual situation.  One size does not fit all so finding a music business accountant is always preferable.



Some Upcoming Events to Take Note of…

Posted in Music on April 14, 2010 by stacyepps

41st Annual GMA Dove Awards

April 21, 2010 |   Nashville, TN

The GMA Dove Awards is Christian/Gospel music’s biggest night of the year, where top artists from every style of gospel music come together for a night of music and celebration as the GMA hands out awards in 43 categories and bestows the industry’s highest honor—the Dove Award.  Among the artists scheduled to appear are Casting Crowns, TobyMac, Natalie Grant, Donald Lawrence, Jason Crabb, and MercyMe.  Although SoundExchange pays digital performance royalties to many 2010 GMA Dove Awards nominees, unclaimed digital performance royalties to 2010 GMA Dove Awards nominated artists, producers, and songwriters represent $115,000.

ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo

April 22 – 24, 2010 |   Los Angeles, CA

The ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO provides a unique opportunity for songwriters, composers, publishers, producers – and those in the industry that support them – to come together in an unprecedented way to share their knowledge and expertise.  The innovative programming offered to attendees has grown to include celebrity Q&A’s, master classes, songwriting and composing workshops, publisher and business panels, one-on-one sessions, DIY career building workshops, showcases and performances, song feedback panels, state-of-the-art technology demos as well as leading music industry exhibitors.  SoundExchange will be sponsoring this year’s Expo and Neeta Ragoowansi, Director, Artist and Label Relations, will be on hand to spread the word about digital performance royalties to attending artists and industry professionals.

Q2Y10 Webinar for Artists

April 27, 2010 |

SoundExchange & The Recording Academy® will come together to present “Q2Y10 Webinar for Artists,” a webinar designed to improve the lines of communication between SoundExchange and the artist community and provide artists with relevant information about their digital performance royalties and activities in Congress that will affect their career.  The Recording Academy® Vice President of Advocacy & Government Relations, Daryl P. Friedman, will be on the call as a special guest to discuss the latest advocacy issues.  All artists who are interested in attending this webinar should register online at

The Music Business Convention

May 14 – 17, 2010 |   Chicago, IL

The National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ (NARM) Annual Music Business Convention is a meeting ground for the most knowledgeable and influential people in the business—a diverse collection of labels, distributors, retailers, online sellers, mobile operators, and music enthusiasts attend the conference each year.  This year, SoundExchange has signed on to co-sponsor the convention’s 2-day Crash Course (May 14-15) which features educational presentations and panel discussions focused on the independent sector in the emerging digital world.  The Crash Course is a must for independent music labels, artists, technology companies and students who wish to remain current in the transforming music economy.

San Francisco MusicTech Summit

May 17, 2010 |   San Francisco, CA

The SF MusicTech Summit brings together visionaries in the music/technology space, along with the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, journalists, musicians and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce.  SoundExchange is excited to be a part of the discussion on the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to deal-making environment.

New Music Seminar – NYC

July 19-21, 2010 |   New York, NY

Earlier in the year, SoundExchange sponsored the Los Angeles installment of the New Music Seminar.  In response to the overwhelming success of the West coast counterpart, the Seminar has been stretched to three days.  The informative event will feature more visionaries speaking on new movements and opportunities that will give you an edge in these exciting times.  Attendees can look forward to workshops on how to make more money right now, mentoring sessions with important industry leaders, and more networking than ever.  Our friends at New Music Seminar are encouraging SoundExchange members to attend by offering a very special discount on registration—use special code NMSNY10 at checkout and enjoy two registrations for the price of one!