Discovery Networks Corners Composers in Music Royalties Battle
By Jon Burlingame
Posted December 28, 2019
Discovery has informed many of its top composers that, beginning in 2020, they must give up all performance royalties paid for U.S. airings, and that they must sign away their ability to collect royalties on all past shows on its networks.
Music makers surmise that the policy will result in an 80% to 90% drop in their income from these shows. It’s the last straw for many composers who say they will refuse to continue to score such series as “Gold Rush,” “Deadliest Catch” (pictured) and “Alaskan Bush People,” calling the new contract provisions “unprofessional,” “bullying,” “a corporate money grab” and “evil.”
Some estimates suggest that avoiding ASCAP, BMI and SESAC royalty payments might save them $25 million or so – less than 1 per cent of Discovery’s third-quarter 2019 revenue of nearly $2.68 billion. More…
The Facts: The Discovery Channel is is squeezing original music composers to the point that they will no longer earn a living wage in order to boost profits. and save $25 million.
Reflect On: Discovery Channel’s CEO David Zaslav’s 2018 pay tripled to a whopping $129.4 million. Consider the morality of squeezing creative talent beyond their ability to survive to pay for a small percentage of a CEO’s bloated salary.