With the credit crunch and a difficult economy, those involved in the buying and selling of music copyrights are in a period of “price discovery,” peermusic CFO Bill Gorjance said at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium, held today at the St. Regis Hotel in New York.

Price discovery occurs when sellers expect a certain price which buyers are not ready to pay, which usually results in “great disappointment all around.”

Still, he said there are plenty of smaller deals around as his firm is doing plenty of $1 million-sized deals, but only in Europe, not in the U.S.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman/CEO Martin Bandier said that one of the things holding up deals is that his company is not sure where values are now. “You don’t want to pay Y now only to find out that it will be X in a few months,” he said.

That uncertainty creates problems for copyright buyers that are looking to make a quick buck. A lot of the private equity players that entered into the music publishing business really wanted to get into the “exit business,” said ole chairman/CEO Robert Ott. “But the exit has disappeared.”

Still, there are a lot of smaller deals coming down the pike because songwriters are worried about changes in the tax rates, said peermusic’s Gorjance. With higher taxes on the horizon—and if President Barack Obama has his way, the elimination of the capital gains tax—songwriters are nervous. In fact, Sony/ATV’s Bandier said that one of the company’s superstar artists wanted to get an advance on his 2011 royalty payments in 2010, so that whatever changes occur in taxes don't impact his 2011 income.