FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC, (July 20, 2017)— WineAmerica, the national organization of American wineries, and its partner the MIC Coalition (Music, Innovators, Consumers) enthusiastically support the bipartisan legislation introduced today by Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) to establish a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership and licensing information.
The bipartisan Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act is a major step forward in creating a music licensing system that is open and accessible to all stakeholders throughout the music economy – including more than 9,000 wineries located across all fifty states. For the overwhelming majority of wineries – many of which are family owned businesses that bring much needed economic benefit to their agricultural and rural communities – simplifying the music licensing experience is essential.
The U.S. wine industry is unique in that many of the wineries and vineyards are all-in-one agriculture, manufacturing, and retail establishments. “Wine is one of agriculture’s greatest value-added products and generates substantial benefits in the form of jobs, tax revenue, and support for local businesses through wine tourism,” says Tara Good, Vice President of WineAmerica. “Music and live music performances play a huge part in promoting wine tourism and creating a memorable and unique experience.”
Currently, the lack of an authoritative public database makes it prohibitive for the majority of small family-owned wineries to understand which music licenses best fit their needs and make the most sense for their business. In some cases, wineries are declining to host live musicians rather than risk potential liability due to lack of up-to-date and actionable licensing information. According to WineAmerica’s 2016 industry survey, 32% of wineries in the U.S. have either canceled or are considering canceling their live music programs.
“I am proud that WineAmerica has been able to work with the diverse stakeholders represented by the MIC Coalition to bring transparency to music licensing,” says Trent Preszler, Chairman of the Board of WineAmerica and CEO of Bedell Cellars in New York. “Transparency is the only way for wineries to make sound business decisions when it comes to music.”
The Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act is a major step forward in creating a music licensing system that is open and accessible to those who both own and license music. WineAmerica congratulates Congressman Sensenbrenner and Congresswoman DelBene for their leadership and supports the creation of a database that provides all stakeholders in the music marketplace with access to authoritative and fully searchable records of music ownership and licensing information, free-of-charge to users and updated in real time.
WineAmerica is the national voice of the American wine industry. Based in Washington, D.C., WineAmerica represents wineries in 41 states and leads a coalition of state and regional wine and grape associations. As an industry leader, WineAmerica encourages the dynamic growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy. www.wineamerica.org
Tara Good, Vice President