Title: Inflation and US music mechanicals, 1976-2010

Authors: Peter Alhadeff, Caz McChrystal

Addresses: Music Business/Management, Berklee College of Music, 1140 Boylston St., FB-359, Boston, MA 02215-3693, USA. ' School of Business and Economics, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, 2100 Main Street, Stevens Point, WI 54481-3897, USA

Abstract: Recorded music is a commodity bundled with a number of intellectual property rights. This paper illustrates the conflict over the value of one of the most important rights of music, the so-called mechanical rate that the record labels pay to songwriters and their publishers for the reproduction, in a recorded medium, of their work. There has been a serious devaluation of the US mechanical rate against inflation since the Copyright Act of 1976. As Congress and the CARP Tribunal are ultimately involved in setting terms, the implication is that songwriters and their publishers are losing power in the USA against the record labels. For a variety of reasons, the phenomenon seems to be particular to the USA. It has also gone unnoticed in the current music business literature. Scholars who succeed in clarifying musicians| legal rights should also consider basic economics as a useful analytical tool.

Keywords: inflation; record labels; songwriters income; mechanical royalties; US copyright law; Harry Fox Agency; music publishers; music trade; recorded music; European copyright law; USA; United States; musicians rights; economics; legal rights.

DOI: 10.1504/GBER.2011.039186

Global Business and Economics Review, 2011 Vol.13 No.1, pp.1 - 12

Available online: 25 Mar 2011 *

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