A story in Billboard magazine suggesting Canadian music publisher ole has pulled its production music catalogues from ASCAP and moved them to SESAC was "unburdened by research, fact or accurate insight," according to company co-founder, Chairman and CEO Robert Ott.
Asked about the story that appeared in the online edition of the US trade last Friday (April 1), Ott responded by e-mail that he was willing to discuss the topic--but only if FYI agreed to publish his response in full. Below is Robert Ott's response in its entirety.
Ed Christman’s piece in Billboard April 1, was unburdened by research, fact or accurate insight as related to ole. ole (spelled with a lower case “o”) did not in fact move its production music repertoire to SESAC, what we did move did not single out ASCAP, no composers were or will be asked to move, and the actual reason for the change is nowhere to be found in the article.
Aside from the hand-grenade journalism, there is a problem that should be discussed.
MusicAnswers and organizations like it, seemingly run by and for old-guard songwriters, are wrong about the motivation of Publishers. What’s worse is that they may have a conflict of interest. Posting inflammatory, irresponsible messages may gain membership but not benefit for Creators where it really matters.
The issue at hand predominantly affects AV composers and not songwriters. ole is completely aligned with the interests of its TV/Film composers as this repertoire makes up over 80% of ole’s revenue. Our foremost and immediate concern is to ensure that all stakeholders in copyrights we own are paid fully and fairly for their works.
We’re very concerned about what is happening with distribution of composer royalties at the PRO level around the World. AV performing rights account for half or more of the revenue in many PROs. With the rise of over-the-top services that revenue is rising. Yet, the ability of most PROs to negotiate for clean data, accurately allocate these monies and process the sheer data involved, has not kept pace. The result is that monies that rightfully belong to composers, go into the general pool for “market-share” distribution to others. Especially to those with longstanding copyrights and existing market-share.
To this end ole has invested millions beginning in 2010 to create leading-edge data technology that serves our clients and protects them from just this type of misallocation.
Instead of circling the wagons and shooting inwards, it would be encouraging if our Industry understood that we are on the precipice of profound change that will not be amended by knee-jerk politics. Our Collectives must have the long term resources and will to negotiate for clean data versus a quick payday, to invest in technology, to adapt and innovate. The solution will only be as good as our ability to work together.
-- Editor's note: ole controls substantial A/V music and secondary rights including catalogues from Sony Pictures Entertainment, MGM, Miramax, Nelvana, and Nu Image/Millennium, as well as an extensive production music library of over 750,000 tracks including Jingle Punks, Cavendish Music, 5 Alarm Music, MusicBox, Nelvana Production Music, Auracle, and Cue.