Get set for 60 days of intense and angry lobbying in the US over personal radio royalties, after the Justice Department announced plans to review the licensing system for ASCAP and BMI. Interested parties are being invited to submit their thoughts on how the licensing system should change, 73 years after the rules were laid down. This is largely – although not entirely – about Pandora, and the recent rows that have seen major music publishers threatening to withdraw their rights from the two licensing bodies in order to strike more favourable direct deals with Pandora and other radio-like digital services. “The antiquated Ascap and BMI consent decrees must be updated, if not eliminated,” as ASCAP put it last week in a separate submission to the US Copyright Office. The New York Times described the new review as likely to spur a “lobbying fight” between the music and tech worlds. Judging by the tone of the licensing debate over the last couple of years, it won’t be pretty.

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