Because I am neither a composer or an artist who receives original royalties, I know very little about licensing. Although I do realize that the digital age has brought an onslaught of copyright issues on all fronts from streaming platforms to dance recitals. Deciding who should be compensated and at what price...
Recently I had stumbled onto some press about the Music Modernizing Act that was just passed by Congress. For some reason in the labyrinth of American music licensing, music prior to 1972 was not included in the jurisdiction of copyright fees?! So while digital music came into light during the 90's, there has been a continuous gap for artists that were unfortunate to come into and out of fame in dates prior to 1972. This great editorial by Neil Diamond written for the LA Times brings great facts to the masses.
He talks about how he is grateful to still be active as a professional years later, both as a performer & a writer. But all his early hits like Red Red Wine, Holly Holy and the mammoth Sweet Caroline (from 1968) are not eligible for payments because of the arbitrary 1972 cutoff. Artists from the Motown, Stax and Atlantic labels vaults would also be in those same situations. All those One Hit Wonders from the Oldies era collect nothing every time one of their fortunate hits is played via Spotify while you are shopping at Trader Joe's! In these days when everyone seemingly wants a piece of the pie, this is sad. Diamond points out that handfuls of these artists are the ones who should be able to use funds in retirement or purchase basic health care. Please read the entire opinion. It puts him a noble light whether you enjoy his music or not.
Neil Diamond - LA Times OpEd