The chief of the Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, said there was a “lack of consensus” among stakeholders in the industry.
The consensus was determined via a workshop hosted by the DOJ last summer. Artists like Jon Bon Jovi argued against making changes, as he claimed that artists relied on the consent decrees to make a living, while LeAnn Rimes said the decrees should be terminated. The National Music Publishers Association argued that the decrees should at the minimum be modified.
The consent decrees require ASCAP and BMI to offer licenses to their entire catalog to any entity that requests one, for a fee that is either negotiated or set by a federal judge in a “rate court.”
ASCAP and BMI represent approximately 90% of the public performance market, with the remainder being covered by SESAC or Global Music Rights, which are not bound by the consent decrees.
NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement, “DOJ’s decision not to take action will ensure that ASCAP and BMI continue to fairly and efficiently license musical works in a manner that is pro-competitive. Broadcasters look forward to continuing to work with the performance rights organizations for the mutual benefit of songwriters, music licensees and listeners.”