David IsraelitePresident/CEO, National Music Publishers' Assn.
What did you wake up thinking about this morning? Topics for our first video blog, which is being shot this morning and will feature me speaking to the camera about issues that affect songwriters. We will launch it in March on our YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter feed and our website. The first blog addresses the three different parts of YouTube and what we are doing to try and make it a marketplace for songwriters.
Describe a lesson you learned from a failure. About five weeks after I started this job in February 2005, Congress held a hearing on music licensing and I was expected to be a witness. Not having come from the music industry, I had to learn about it right away, and as I studied the issue I became convinced that the [music licensing] system was broken and that we would and could fix it. Under pressure from Congress, we launched a legislative initiative known as SIRA, which was known as the Section 115 Reform Act. I was naive in not fully understanding all of the different factions of the music industry that would want to weigh in and would have their own agenda in the legislative process. That legislation failed to pass and seven years later, the system is still broken and we are still working on a solution to the very boring, yet very important topic, of music licensing.
What will define your career in the coming year? Getting to a place where every video with music is generating revenue [that's] being shared with songwriters. On getting publishers paid from official music videos, we are halfway there. The deals with Universal and Warner are done, and we now need to conclude deals with Sony and the indie community to pay publishers. The deal with YouTube's user-generated content is done, but there are still a lot of kinks to work out to ensure that every video with music content is properly identified. YouTube runs the program but the Harry Fox Agency administers it. They are making sure that the Content ID tools work, and we want to get to a place where every individual publisher can use those tools to help identify their music. Ideally, you want the automated fingerprinting ID to work well enough that it catches all songs, identifies who owns the copyrights and then monetizes it so we can pay songwriters.
Name a project that you're not affiliated with that has most impressed you in the past year. What ASCAP does with Congress is fantastic. They bring songwriters to Congress, and you can see the connection that occurs when a member of Congress watches a songwriter perform an original song.
Name a desert island disc. "Boston" is the first album that made me love music. If I could, I would also bring Patty Griffin's A Kiss in Time and the soundtrack to "The Commitments."