Music Licensing

Everyone, from artists to listeners, stands to benefit from a well-designed, functional music licensing system that encourages a robust marketplace. While the emergence of subscription streaming services has given consumers instant access to millions of tracks and injected billions of dollars of revenue into the music industry, it has also shined a spotlight on the legal complexities and inconsistencies that plague this corner of copyright law. Music licensing reform should promote a robust, dynamic marketplace in all aspects of the music industry, from creation to distribution, by lowering barriers to entry for new and innovative services.

PK is working to create a better music marketplace by:

  • Advocating for efficient and transparent licensing practices, including blanket licensing and the creation of public, API-searchable databases;
  • Extending full, federal copyright protection to pre-1972 sound recordings, including 95 year term limits;
  • Supporting the creation of a federal public performance right for terrestrial AM/FM radio; and
  • Ensuring that artists can meaningfully and effectively exercise their termination rights under federal copyright law.


  • The music distribution system should benefit musicians and listeners. Every company in the middle—from record labels to online services—exists to serve those two groups.
  • The music licensing system should encourage a competitive, innovative market of new services that are accountable to both music fans and musicians.
  • The music licensing marketplace should be structured to prevent the largest content owners (major labels and publishers) from stifling competition and entrenching their own gatekeeper positions.

To learn more check out the following:

Meredith Rose testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Music Modernization Act (S. 2823).

We sent a letter to Congress on the Music Modernization Act (S. 2334 and H.R. 4706) and CLASSICS Act (S. 2393 and H.R. 3301).

Meredith Rose participated in the Department of Justice roundtable on the ASCAP and BMI antitrust consent decrees.

We filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of California in the case of Flo & Eddie v. Pandora.

Here are the PK experts on this issue:

Be A PK DIY'er and Donate Any Amount


Choose the amount you would like to donate to help support public knowledge

The Latest