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[RIAA]

An organization that represents the US recording industry; its members include record labels and distributors that collectively create and distribute the vast majority of recorded music sold in the United States. In addition, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights and the rights of artists through consumer, industry, and technical research, and by monitoring state and federal laws, regulations, and policies.

The RIAA was formed in 1952 primarily to administer technical standards in the industry as applied to frequency response in vinyl records during manufacturing and playback. It has become better known for its sales award program for singles and albums, which uses separate thresholds—gold, silver, platinum, and diamond—to gauge the commercial success of a single or album. In the years since the RIAA recognized the first “gold” singles and albums in 1958, these thresholds have occasionally changed. Certification levels are based on units sold; in the early 21st century the levels were 500,000 (gold), one million (platinum), two million (multi-platinum), and ten million (diamond). In ...

Article

Timothy M. Crain

Performing rights organization. It represents songwriters and publishers and their right to be compensated for having their music performed in public. With headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, and London, it is the smallest of the main Performing rights societies in the United States. Unlike the not-for-profit organizations ASCAP and BMI, which distribute all income from performance royalties to their composer and publisher affiliates (minus an administrative fee), SESAC retains a certain amount of the performance royalties from its members. Moreover, membership in SESAC is selective and only granted through an application process. Once admitted, musicians and publishers are paid royalties based upon how much their music is played through monitoring by computer database information and broadcast logs.

SESAC was founded in 1930 by Paul Heinecke, a German immigrant to the United States. Heinecke lead the company until his death in 1972. The original name of the company was the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, although it has subsequently gone simply by SESAC. The society originally strove to support under-represented European stage authors and composers with their American performance royalties. With an established base repertoire of European concert traditions, it turned its attention to American music traditions in the 1930s, including gospel and Christian music genres and eventually moved into mainstream popular musics during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Since the 1960s the company has represented an ever-growing range of writers and genres, including notables such as Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond. In ...

Article

Timothy M. Crain

Nonprofit performance rights organization. It collects license fees and distributes digital public performance royalties on behalf of sound recording copyright owners and featured artists for non-interactive digital transmissions, including digital cable and satellite television services, non-interactive webcasters, webcast transmissions of FCC-licensed radio stations, and satellite radio services. Membership in the organization is comprised of recording artists and sound recording copyright owners (i.e., labels), and is overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of members distributed equally between organizations representing the rights of musicians, such as the American Federation of Musicians, and the rights of recording labels (both major and independent), such as the Recording Industry Association of America.

Before 1995 US copyright law contained no provisions for the performance rights of sound recordings. Due to changing market conditions, primarily the expanding presence of the Internet, Congress passed the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act in 1995 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in ...