Irving Azoff And Billboard's Editorial Director Bill Werde In conversation At The 2012 Billboard Touring Conference

Irving Azoff

A new music publishing venture has launched — led by former LIVE NATION Chairman Irving Azoff, which will “challenge to the $2 billion market for performing rights dominated by ASCAP and BMI. The company, Global Music Rights, is part of Azoff MSG Entertainment, a joint venture established last year with the Madison Square Garden Company,” reports The New York Times.

Currently, ASCAP and BMI, represent over 95% of the songs available in the U.S. Those two organizations “are governed by decades-old regulatory agreements with the Justice Department. that restrict how they negotiate with outlets that use music. Recently some big music publishers have complained that these rules lead to low royalty rates, and threatened to leave ASCAP and BMI if regulatory changes were not made.”

“I vowed when I started this company that I was going to take care of artists,” Azoff told the paper. “So I tried to identify places where I felt that artists were not getting a fair deal, and the performance rights area jumped out at me. It was a place where I felt I could help our writers.”

Global Music Rights is claiming it can collect royalties up to 30% higher from radio stations and webcasters than are currently paid by ASCAP and BMI.

The Times writes, “on Monday, the Madison Square Garden Company — which has committed $175 million in backing to Azoff MSG Entertainment — said it would consider splitting itself into two companies, one for its sports properties and the other for entertainment. MSG declined to comment about the future of Mr. Azoff’s venture. But if MSG is split, Azoff MSG Entertainment is expected to remain part of the entertainment unit.”

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