The Red Line For Music

The Red Line For Music

The conflict between music publishers and SGAE (The Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers) could be reaching a boiling point. As you may remember from our previous article, “The Wheel of Royalties,” a number of Spanish TV broadcasters and music-publisher affiliates have schemed to play more of the songs they own themselves on the air and collect the royalties, thus leaving tens of millions of dollars less each year for everyone else whose music is played on Spanish TV.

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Music publishing giants Sony/ATV, Universal Publishing, Warner/Chappell, Peer Music, and BMG may leave Spanish rights’ society (SGAE) by the beginning of next year as the argument over “mistreatment” of broadcast rights rages on. Momentum for this shift picked up late last year when reps for Warner/Chappell, Peer Music and EMI, were ousted from the board of directors for surpassing their term limits. SGAE then replaced the publishers on its board with reps of publishers owned or affiliated with Spanish television stations, in a scheme opponents dubbed “The Wheel.” The publishers took up the issue with the courts, which rejected their appeal, Billboard reports. 

Now, the publishers are looking at other options to manage their authors’ royalties. According to local media reports, the companies last Friday effectively handed in their six months’ notice and requested the PRO remove their international repertoire in relation to broadcasting.

Those companies at war with SGAE collectively represent nearly 60% of broadcasting music rights in Spain, including the famous artists Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, and Radiohead to name a few.

SGAE collected 246 million euros in royalties last year, with television and broadcast royalties accounting for more than 12% of the total. While they do not necessarily desire to leave, the collective of publishers have stated that that "if things changed before January 2019” that they may reconsider their decision.

We hope you've enjoyed learning about The Red Line For Music! Do you think the publishers will have to resort to leaving the SGAE? Join the conversation below!