Let the Music Play: The Performance Rights License Marketplace Thrives Only with Vigilant Antitrust Enforcement
On January 26, CBS broadcast the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, which celebrated America’s finest recording artists and songwriters. Drawing a global audience with performances by super stars such as Aerosmith, Blake Shelton, and Ariana Grande, the event highlighted the music industry’s talents, innovation, and extraordinary financial success. Yet, what keeps the music flowing in a thriving marketplace is the fair operation of the performing rights license marketplace made possible by vigilant antitrust enforcement. The Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (the Department) is currently reviewing the consent decrees between the federal government and two performance rights organization behemoths: ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) and BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.). While conducting periodic reviews of antitrust law is smart policy, altering or scrapping the music decrees would be a mistake.