New technology has greatly lowered the barrier of entry into the music industry for new artists looking to release recordings and distribute their music. How have these emergent technologies affected copyright law and, subsequently, the salaries of working musicians?
In this episode of Planet Lex, host Dan Rodriguez talks with Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Professor of Law Searle Research Fellow Peter DiCola about music copyright law and how new technology has affected the industry. Peter speaks briefly about his professional history and opens the interview with an explanation of copyright law. He then analyzes how early technology, like the piano roll and the phonograph, challenged notions of whether and how composers should get paid and provides examples of how these questions are still relevant today. Peter then discusses the formation of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and provides insight into how the Copyright Royalty Board determines the price satellite radio and webcasting services should pay for the use of sound recordings. He evaluates the differences in how Congress established licenses for webcasting vs. on-demand internet radio and compares the varying restrictions for each. Peter closes the interview with a discussion of songwriter income reduction and whether the societal devaluation of music even permits these artists to work in the industry full time today.