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Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | February 8, 2016 10:00 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
The Pirate Bay Now Lets You Stream Torrents From Your Browser, Music Streaming Coming
Last week the Torrents-Time browser plug-in turned The Pirate Bay into the world’s biggest video streaming portal. Users now find a “Stream It!” links next to video torrents that can be played in-browser without having to leave the Pirate Bay site.
Torrents Time itself was only released at the beginning of this month by the team behind Popcorn-Time.se — the first major fork of the popular Popcorn Time app. The plugin isn’t just built for The Pirate Bay though — any torrenting site can add support. KickAssTorrents, Videomax, and others have already pledged to add support on their sites for the plugin.
Over the weekend, a spokesperson for Torrents-Time confirmed that in-browser music streaming would be added to its plug-in and major torrent sites “within weeks.” “Our audio functionality is currently undergoing QA procedures,” Torrents-Time’s Fedik Nazar told Hypebot. “We’ll advise when ready, not before we are 100 percent sure of excellent quality, flaw-free operation and no copyrights infringements.”
Music News Recap: Amazon Reportedly Expanding Streaming, SFXE Declares Bankruptcy, Cür Music Launches
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | February 1, 2016 10:06 am | No Comments
Amazon Reportedly Preparing to Launch Standalone Music-Streaming Service
Story of the Week
According to the New York Post (who themselves cite unnamed music industry sources), Amazon is prepping a Spotify-killer. The e-commerce giant has held meetings in the past few weeks to discuss licensing tunes for a full-blown subscription music service that would ape streaming music market leaders Spotify and Apple Music, several sources confirmed.
Amazon already has a music streaming service: Prime Music. The service has launched in the world’s four biggest music markets, and is enjoying moderate success. Yet the service is bundled into Amazon’s Prime membership program, with a small 1.4m-tracks catalogue tuned for mainstream listening. The planned stand-alone music streaming service would come with its own monthly fee. “The music industry wants to see all the tech giants fighting it out to try and really take streaming to the mainstream,” one music industry insider said.
As downloads decline and streaming grows, it may make strategic sense for Amazon to prepare a replacement for its MP3 store – but only if this most data-driven of companies identifies an audience of music fans for whom Prime Music won’t be enough—or of Prime Music users who’d be ripe for an upgrade using their billing relationship with Amazon.
Top Music News Headlines
Cür Music launches to compete with streaming heavyweights. The “hybrid streaming service,” with support from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, intersects internet radio services like Pandora and on-demand services like Spotify.
Spotify Raises Half a Billion — Can It Hold Off Apple Music? Spotify wants to have enough capital for any “consolidation opportunities” that arise, like its 2014 acquisition of The Echo Nest or Seed Scientific in 2015.
Apple’s Free iTunes Radio Has Shut Down. As signaled, Apple’s free ad supported iTunes Radio shut down last week, with the Pandora-like online radio service now only available for Apple Music paid subscribers.
SFX Files For Bankruptcy, Sillerman to Be Replaced as CEO. The company says it will to eliminate “more than $300 million” of its $490 million of debt in part by turning the majority of bondholder debt into equity.
YouTube Wins Latest Round With German Collection Society. The Munich Regional Appeal Court ruled against GEMA, which argued that YouTube is technically a music service and therefore responsible for the infringing content found on its site.
Record Labels Accuse MP3Tunes Founder of Separating from Wife to Hide Assets. “Indeed, the timing is highly suggestive that Robertson may have separated from Burcham for the precise purpose of shielding assets from his creditors.”
Is This The End Of AM Radio? Bobby Owsinski claims that with numerous technological changes taking place, demand for AM radio has been steadily dropping—electric cars like the Tesla Model X or BMW i3 don’t install them since the AM reception is impossible due to the internal electrical noise of the car.
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 26, 2016 12:15 pm | No Comments
Every year billions of digital music streams are played through our partner services and served up by the MediaNet platform. These diverse services encompass on-demand streaming, paid downloads, online radio, and more. MediaNet’s 49M track catalog gives the users of these services unprecedented access to digital music—but which songs are the most popular?
Music News Recap: 25M Listeners Want To Pay For HD Audio (Maybe), Streaming Revenue Doubles, Deezer & SFX Financials
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 25, 2016 10:14 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
25 Million People Are Willing to Pay More for Better Sound Quality (Maybe)
Lossless streaming audio, often referred to as “high-definition” music, is enjoying something of a slow burn. HD audio is the defining feature of TIDAL, and Neil Young’s Pono music player promises to “stand up for sound.” We’ve written before about why most digital music services aren’t high-definition, and it comes down to two points: high cost and low market demand. Now a study unveiled by MusicWatch challenges one of those factors.
MusicWatch has shared research into consumer sentiment about what listeners want in a music streaming subscription. When asked what feature would encourage them to pay for their tunes, far and away the top answer was control over a completely on-demand service at 39%. However, 11% said “sound quality as good as the recording studio.” According to MusicWatch Managing Partner Russ Crupnick, that’s an estimated 25 million people voicing willingness to pay for better audio.
While encouraging for pristine audio evangelists, one of the most interesting facets to the results was that while “recording studio” quality clocked in second, the option of sound that’s “better than MP3; as good as CD or vinyl” would only motivate 6% to upgrade to paying customers. Crupnick interpreted this as a sign that highly technical jargon may not be the best way to explain the benefits or features of better-quality audio. Either way, the question remains whether or not these estimated 25 million people would be willing to pay the premium required for HD audio—especially as they already have the option.
Top News Stories
Is There A Streaming Music Ceiling? According to music industry writer Cortney Harding, streaming services don’t make economic sense for the vast majority of music consumers when free options like YouTube and ad-supported Spotify exist.
App Annie Report 2015: Music Streaming Revenue Doubles. “The decline in digital music sales is a trend that will most likely continue in 2016… and is likely to receive another boost as underpenetrated markets such as Japan finally reach a tipping point.”
Apple Music Reportedly Has 300K Subscribers in Russia. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti claims that “Russia is quite likely to be on the top five of Apple Music biggest markets” – with figures backed up by Billboard’s industry sources there.
Study Finds Digital Music Sales the Least Hurt By Piracy…Eight Years Ago. A new research paper (that focuses on some fairly old data) delves into the relationship between file sharing and music sales.
Deezer Raises $109 Million From WMG Parent and Telecom Giant. CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht says the “vast majority” of the funding from Access Industries and Orange will address Deezer’s biggest challenge, customer acquisition.
SFX Borrows $20M At 20% Interest, Uses Promoter ID&T As Collateral. To avoid bankruptcy, CEO Robert Sillerman have secured a bridge loan under very unfavorable terms to keep the company afloat.
Is There a Music Tech Bubble? Billboard Senior Editorial Analyst Glenn Peoples claims “sky-high valuation” and “runaway funding” mean the music industry should be thinking about life after streaming.
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 19, 2016 10:47 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Soundcloud Strikes Licensing Deal With Universal Music Group
The agreement covers SoundCloud’s planned expansion of advertising on its free service, which has 175 million monthly listeners, as well as its plans to introduce subscription services in the US and other markets later this year.
“At UMG, we have long embraced empowering entrepreneurs and innovative services such as SoundCloud,” said Universal chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, in a statement. “With this partnership, we’re ensuring recording artists, songwriters and labels benefit, both creatively and commercially, from the exciting new forms of music community engagement on SoundCloud. We look forward to working with SoundCloud and supporting the company’s evolution into a successful commercial service.”
SoundCloud now has deals with Universal and Warner; with indie-labels licensing agency Merlin; with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) in the US and with PRS for Music in the UK – having settled the latter’s recent copyright infringement lawsuit. The Universal deal, like those other agreements, covers tracks added to SoundCloud by labels and artists, but also user-generated content: remixes and mash-ups, which have been both one of the key attractions of SoundCloud for music fans, and one of its biggest headaches from a copyright perspective.
Read more on Music Ally
Top News Stories
YouTube Launches in Pakistan, Where It Is Banned. The launch is seen as a positive step in lifting the blockade, put in place after the emergence of an American-made video that depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a negative light.
Apple Will Start Charging for iTunes Radio. The Pandora-like online radio service will only be available for Apple Music paid subscribers paying $9.99 per month, the company said in a statement.
SFX’s Bumpy Ride Continues With $20 Million in New Financing. The troubled EDM promoter, having just defaulted on a loan, revealed Friday it raised $20 million “for itself and certain of its operating subsidiaries.”
The Spotify/Genius Deal Has Potential. Stuart Dredge claims the partnership for displaying contextual content for songs “may be a gimmick that gets quietly forgotten by 2017, but the potential is there for it to be more.”
Labels Still Don’t Get YouTube. Analyst Mark Mulligan says the consumption of music on YouTube has seen incredible growth, but if labels don’t update how they’re using the platform, they risk of being edged out by YouTube’s native content creators.
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 11, 2016 10:26 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
US & UK Streaming Numbers Were Way Up, But At What Cost?
In 2015, overall US music consumption tracked by Nielsen Music grew 15.2 percent to 549.4 million track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums, a 93% increase. The UK now follows an increasingly familiar European narrative of strong streaming growth helping bring total markets back to growth. Sales revenue increased 3.5% to reach £1.1 billion while total streams increased by 85% to reach 53.7 billion, with audio stream representing 49.9% of that total.
Crucially for those in the music industry, this rapid increase in streaming doesn’t come without a cost. While streams increased by 257% between 2013 and 2015, download sales decreased by 23%. And of course the vast majority of that streaming volume came from free streams, not paid. There are a number of theories. One from MusicWatch’s Russ Crupnick claims about 50 million of the 120 million people using music audio and video streaming sites won’t pay to stream—the remainder will be difficult to reach.
Another explanation is digital deflation, a term that explains how content loses value when consumption switches from physical to digital formats. (In economics the term refers to the idea that digital technologies lead to greater productivity and cheaper prices.) It’s too early to say if streaming will further the digital deflation in music, but it doesn’t appear to be reversing the effect. But streaming revenue is more complicated than download revenue. Royalties paid to rights holders can depend on a number of factors: streaming activity, label market share, advertising rates, the number of subscribers to premium services and the amounts paid to those services.
The download to streaming transition is an inevitability, whatever business models are wrapped around it. It is part of the fundamental shift from ownership to access of which streaming music is but single component. It comprises consumers progressively replacing one behaviour with another. We all just have to learn how to thrive in that new ecosystem.
Top News Stories
BPI Study Asks Why Fans Pay For Streaming Music, What Makes Them Convert From Free. The study suggests that there are really a variety of factors including exclusive features that motivate users to lay down their credit card.
iHeartMedia Announces Digital Expansion Into Canada. In partnership with Bell Media, the deal will encompass everything from live and televised events to content on car dashboards, handheld devices and consumer electronics, putting Bell Media ahead of its direct media competitors in Canada.
Breakdown: Pandora’s Ticketly Acquisition in Numbers. In 2014, Ticketfly had revenue of $55.0 million, an operating loss of $8.9 million and a net loss of $9.5 million. In the first three quarters of 2015, it had revenue of $52.8 million, a $12.3 million operating loss and a $13.9 million net loss. (See the full figures here.)
SFX Entertainment Explores Bankruptcy, Hires Restructuring Experts. Only 26 Weeks after a $260M IPO, SFX is exploring the protections available in federal bankruptcy, according to a new SEC filing. It has hired restructuring experts TI Consulting to lead the effort.
40% Of Customers Would Change Providers If Music Came With Their Mobile Plan. A new survey suggests that mobile bundling may be a more effective way to gain users, and confirms why mobile carriers need to be more aggressive with their music offering.
Apple Music’s App Has More Users Than Spotify’s. The Apple Music app is allegedly now the 9th largest smartphone app, with 54.5 million users, outpacing both Spotify and Pandora. Whether these users count as actually “active” however, is questionable.
Researcher Claims Labels Still Don’t Get YouTube, And It’s Costing Them. “Record labels and artists can seize some control of their destiny, by taking a more sophisticated view of YouTube and exploring how to build strategies that work for YouTube in 2016.”
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 4, 2016 10:40 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
U.S. Copyright Office to Review Safe Harbor Provisions
The U.S. Copyright Office announced that it is undertaking a public study of the country’s safe harbor provisions. Section 512 was introduced in 1998 as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and its safe harbor laws provide some liability limitations on usage for Internet-based services.
The rules focus on protecting services from liability due to copyright infringements occurring in user-generated content, such as video or audio creations. To qualify for safe harbor protections, the online platform usually needs to offer a process for quickly addressing any infringements in uploaded material. The Copyright Office will undertake a review of the impact and effectiveness of the existing safe harbor provisions, including the costs and burdens of the notice-and-takedown process for copyright owners of all sizes, online service providers, and the general public.
Read more on RAIN News: http://bit.ly/1UqQ8cY
Top News Stories
Trademark Filings Point To 4 More Apple Music Beats Stations
Apple Music has filed for trademarks for the names B2, B3, B4 and B5 along with accompanying logos for Beats 2, Beats 3 Beats 4 and Beats 5. The logos match the one currently used by Apple Music’s flagship station. Beats 1.
SFX Defaults on Spotify Deal, Loses a Good Company, and Major Exec Prospect
SFX chairman and CEO Robert Sillerman’s troubled dance event company has defaulted on its content agreement with Spotify, refunding the $10 million licensing advance first announced this past summer. Adding to the company’s troubles, SFX has parted ways with the company behind artist management firm TMWRK.
Spotify Hit With $150 Million Class Action Over Unpaid Royalties
David Lowery, retaining the law firm of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, has filed a class action lawsuit seeking at least $150 million in damages against Spotify. The lawsuit comes amidst ongoing settlement negotiations between Spotify and the National Music Publishers Assn. over the alleged use of allowing users to play music that hasn’t been properly licensed.
Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister Remembered: A Hero, Rock Star, Warrior, Pirate, Legend, Human
“With respect to Lemmy, remember this — he rocked hard and true for fans around the world, never resting too long, never selling out. Missing. But never forgotten. Horns and halos, my friend.”
Russia Vows to Ban Most Popular Torrent Sites
Roskomnadzor, which regulates the Russian telecom and media industries, has decided to permanently block the country’s 15 most popular torrent sites next year in a move to crack down on piracy.
Cord Cutters Wreaked Havoc on Entertainment, Media Stocks in 2015
Media giant Viacom reported weaker cable networks profit figures for its latest fiscal year, and Walt Disney and others acknowledged subscriber declines, fueling worries that consumers are cutting the cable cord and tapping the Internet for entertainment.
Music News Recap: Pandora Signs With ASCAP/BMI, Songkick Sues Ticketmaster, Soundcloud & PRS Bury The Hatchet
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | December 28, 2015 9:56 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Pandora Signs Landmark Licensing Agreements With ASCAP And BMI, Drops Rate Court Appeal
After scoring direct licensing deals with many of the world’s biggest music publishing companies, Pandora has cut its most important deals yet – separate multi-year licensing agreements with both ASCAP and BMI.
Pandora announced the signing of two separate multi-year licensing agreements for the combined million track catalogs on ASCAP and BMI, the world’s largest Performance Rights Organizations. Pandora has also agreed to withdraw its appeal of the May 2015 order in the BMI rate case.
While the specific terms of both multi-year agreements remain confidential, both sides call the deal “an innovative approach to public performance licensing.” According to a joint statement, “it allows both ASCAP and BMI to further their goal of delivering improved performance royalties for their songwriters and publishers, while Pandora will benefit from greater rate certainty and the ability to add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time.”
The public performance royalties Pandora also pays to rights holders of master recordings are not affected by this agreement.
Read more on Hypebot: http://bit.ly/1SiOKKR
Top Music News
Songkick Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Antitrust
Songkick alleges in its 68-page complaint that Live Nation and Ticketmaster undertook a concerted effort to hamper its business and that the two companies employed their vastly dominant positions in the live event and ticketing industries to do so.
SoundCloud and PRS Reach Licensing Agreement, Legal Action Off
PRS For Music and SoundCloud have reached a multi-territory licensing agreement, which brings an end to the litigation that was launched by the UK publishing sector’s collecting society against the streaming service earlier this year.
The Beatles Launch Digital Catalog on 9 Music Streaming Services
The Fab Four are adding their back catalogue to streaming services after almost a decade of holding out. The services are: Spotify, Apple Music, Slacker, Tidal, Microsoft’s Groove, Rhapsody, Deezer, Google Play, and Amazon’s Prime Music.
A2IM Interim President Molly Neuman Named Kickstarter’s First Head of Music
Neuman, who temporarily took the reins of the American Association of Independent Music following Rich Bengloff’s departure this past summer, is joining Kickstarter as the company’s first head of music. In a statement on her departure, Neuman indicates her replacement will be sourced from inside A2IM.
Apple Is Reportedly Developing a Hi-Res Audio Format
A report in the Japanese blog Macotakara has sparked rumors that Apple is preparing to release a new audio format that has more than twice the sound quality of a CD. The blog cites “several insiders familiar with Apple” as saying that the company “has been developing hi-res audio streaming up to 96kHz/24-bit.”
SoundExchange Sat on Fewer Unclaimed Royalties at End of 2014
With a significant webcasting rate hike coming in 2016, the music industry might be wondering about the efficiency and effectiveness of SoundExchange. The information from its breakdown of its 2014 year-end account balances shows the organization has continued to improve how it collects and pays out royalties.
Spotify Announces Database to Properly Manage Royalties
Against a backdrop of controversy over not properly licensing songs or paying publishing royalties to music publishers and songwriters, Spotify’s global head of publisher relations James Duffett-Smith writes that the company “will invest in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem.”
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | December 21, 2015 11:20 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Copyright Royalty Board Raises Pandora, Non-Interactive Music Streaming Rates By 20%
In a landmark decision, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board today raised the rates that commercial non-interactive webcasters like Pandora effective January 1st, 2016. But the news could have been much worse for Pandora. Non-interactive webcasters will now pay 17 cents per 100 plays for those listening to free and ad supported streams through 2020, according to a statement from the royalty board. That’s up 20% from the current rate of 14 cents per 100 streams.
The decision can be considered a victory for both sides. SoundExchange had requested a rate of 25 cents per 200′ while Pandora had lobbied for a drop to 11 cents. In addition to Pandora, the rate applys to most internet radio stations including iHeartRadio, AccuRadio, Live365, Shoutcast and the webcasts of terrestrial radio stations.
Starting in 2017 the rates for both subscription and nonsubscription services can be adjusted to reflect the increases or decreases, if any, in the general price level, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Relieved investors sent Pandora stock up 20% in after hours trading.
Read more on Hypebot: http://bit.ly/1IkDf3t
Pandora Pleased at CRB Ruling bu Direct Licenses Are Its Future – “As we noted last month, the CRB rates are likely to play a far less central role in Pandora’s business as we move toward the future. To fully unlock the global and functional potential of our business, we’re aggressively pursuing direct licensing agreements,” said McAndrews. Read More
Pandora’s Rate Ruling Reveals The Cracks In Streaming Economics – wWile on-demand services have little meaningful way of increasing revenue per user with the current model, Pandora has more than doubled revenue per user in 6 years while rights costs have declined in relative terms. Read More
Top Music Industry News Stories
Pandora and Warner/Chappell Sign Direct Licensing Deal – Pandora has cut a multi-year direct publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music, making it the final of the three major music publishers to sign a direct deal with the web radio giant. Read More
BMG Awarded $25 Million in Potentially Landmark Case on U.S. Safe Harbours – The court said that BMG (at this point Round Hill was removed from the litigation) had sufficiently demonstrated that Cox had a deliberately slack approach to dealing with suspected infringers, so that it could keep selling those people internet services. Read More
RIAA Wins $17 Million Lawsuit Against Grooveshark Clone – The judge granted the RIAA and its major label members more than $13 million in piracy damages along with another $4 million for “willful counterfeiting,” reports TorrentFreak. Read More
SoundExchange Payments To Artists, Labels Fall 24% To $204 Million – Just hours before today’s important rate ruling by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, SoundExchange released figures showing $204 million in payments in the 3d Quarter. Read More
Apple Updates Music Data, Which Should Benefit Classical Composers and Performers – A seemingly minor update to iTunes should please Classical music fans and could mean bigger royalty checks for newer composers. Read More
Music Streamers Still Buy Music, Says Study – Streaming is sometimes thought of as replacing any need to buy music, but a recent study from the British Phonograph Industry suggests that streaming my actually be motivating consumers to purchase physical albums. Read More
Imogen Heap Inks ‘Forward-Thinking’ Publishing Deal, Planning ‘Fair Trade’ Payment System – “Things are moving incredibly quickly,” Heap says. “It’s like a tidal wave, moving in a really positive direction like it never has done before for the music industry.” Read More
Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | December 18, 2015 2:49 pm | No Comments
2015 has been a great year for music. Adele smashed every conceivable sales record, Taylor Swift’s 1989 was so popular it helped tip major digital music reform, and hip-hop had another big year in the form of Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and others.
2015 has also been a great year for the MediaNet catalog. When we started the year, we had 39.1 million tracks available for download, stream, and online radio. As we close out the year, our December 2015 track count has increased to 48.2 million tracks. That’s a 23% increase in tracks available to our Partners and their customers! Many of these tracks and albums are unavailable on most digital music platforms, but MediaNet’s deep, long-term relationship with the music industry means we can make even the most sought-after music available to you.
As our CEO Frank Johnson was quoted in September, “It is amazing the volume of catalog growth and amazing that it shows no signs of slowing down. This growth makes the work of matching songs to owners, writers, and publishers even more urgent to ensure everyone is paid for every play.”
Each week MediaNet’s Content Operations Team ingests over 150,000 new tracks into our catalog. These tracks are licensed for download and streaming by major record labels, as well as over 80,000 independent record labels and publishers. MediaNet then provides developers access to high-quality audio files—in 11 formats up to 320kbps —with rights secured across multiple international territories. MediaNet content is delivered through our partner services, websites, and apps to a global network of users and music fans.
MediaNet partners include Beats Music, CÜR Music, Pulselocker, Songza, iMesh, Univision, and many more of the worlds best-loved music apps. MediaNet also offers a full range of publishing and rights administration services, including license acquisition, publisher payments for labels, rights management, high-quality compliant reporting, and more. Our rights-managed catalog allows us to reach a level of accuracy and efficiency unmatched in the digital music space.
As 2015 ends and 2016 begins, you can be sure MediaNet will continue to expand our catalog with music from all corners of the world, and provide it to our partners at the highest quality. Thank you to all our Partners, labels, publishers, artists, and everyone else who makes these incredible milestones possible.
Ready to connect to the MediaNet suite of services? Let’s chat!
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Insights, News, Announcements, and Updates on MediaNet and the ever-changing world of music, technology, industry, and law.
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- Pirate Bay Introduces Streaming, Merlin Announces Price Cut, The Grammy’s Get a PAC
- February 8, 2016
- Music News Recap: Amazon Reportedly Expanding Streaming, SFXE Declares Bankruptcy, Cür Music Launches
- February 1, 2016
- The Top 146 Songs of 2015 in the U.S. & Canada
- January 26, 2016
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