MediaNet Blog

Soundcheck: Your 5-Minute Recap Of Last Week’s Most Important Music News

Posted by Glen Sears | June 29, 2015 9:00 am | No Comments

Story Of The Week

Merlin, WIN, Beggars, IMPALA, and Other Indies Agree To Bring Over 20,000 Artists Into Revised Apple Music Ecosystem
The weeks leading up to tomorrow’s Apple Music launch have been nothing if not eventful. After announcing huge artists for the new Beats One radio station and securing Taylor Swift as a fan, Apple Music scored another coup last week. Huge indie labels and organizations are now flocking to the new streaming service, and bringing with them enormous libraries of music.

It wasn’t without an uphill battle. Organizations such as independent music licensor Merlin boycotted Apple Music after it became public that Apple wouldn’t pay royalties to songwriters during the service’s 90-day free trial. Despite the fact that this is fairly standard practice across the industry, many (including Swift, an independent artist herself) looked to Apple to set the tone for the future of streaming music, saying “I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

After Apple announced it would pay on its free trial of Apple Music, indie labels, publishers, and associations came around quickly. Beggars Group, one of indie music’s largest label groups, summed up the greater feelings toward Apple: “Over the last few days we have had increasingly fruitful discussions with Apple. We are now delighted to say that we are happy to endorse the deal with Apple Music as it now stands, and look forward to being a big part of a very exciting future.”

Other Important Headlines

TIDAL Parent Aspiro Removes CEO Andy Chen, Replaces Him With The CEO He Replaced – As the streaming company struggles to gain foothold, more shakeups on their Executive Team. Read More

Spotify Buys Beats’ Analytics Provider Seed Scientific – Spotify doubles down on data-driven recommendations and services, now boosted by the purchase of a data firm who previously served its primary competitor. Read More

American Idol Winners Sue Sony Music: “Your Equity Stake In Spotify Cheats Artists” – “…Together, and individually, Sony and the other major record labels therefore have significant power to exert control over Spotify in order to not only dictate how revenue will be paid, but wrongfully and in bad faith divert money from royalties that must be shared to other forms of revenue that they can keep for themselves.” Read More

SiriusXM Settles Lawsuit, Agrees To Pay $210 Million For Use Of Pre-1972 Recordings – They’ll also be able to play pre-1972 music through 2017. After that, they’ll have to come to new agreements. Read More

Linkin Park Looks For New Music Revenue, Ends Up At Harvard, Starts Venture Capital Firm – “To be clear, we are still in the music business, but creating and selling music now plays more of a supporting role in our overall business mix.” Read More

Courtney Love Attacked in Paris, Uber Driver Held Hostage by ‘Mob of Taxi Drivers’ – Love tweeted her experience during Paris’ protests-turned-violent against rideshare company Uber. Read More

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Soundcheck: Your 5-Minute Recap Of Last Week’s Most Important Music News

Posted by Glen Sears | June 22, 2015 8:00 am | No Comments

Taylor Swift Apple Music Royalties Indie Labels

Story Of The Week

Apple U-Turns, Decides To Pay Royalties On Free Trial After Taylor Swift Open Letter
Over the weekend, pop queen Taylor Swift took to Tumblr in an effort to shed light on Apple’s non-paying 3-month free trial. “I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free three month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.”

Apple was already under fire from major indie labels and the larger music/tech blogosphere over its royalty payment model. Apple claimed that, while it paid no royalties for its trial period (an industry standard), it paid higher percentages than other streaming services on the back end as compensation.

Ultimately, the combined threat of losing major indie label associations like the AAIM and Swift’s major publicity pull forced Apple to pivot. Taking to Twitter, Eddy Cue (Apple VP of Internet Software & Services) responded “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period.”

Other Important Headlines

Blake Morgan Lobbies The NMPA & Congress To Pay Performers and Labels For Radio – Currently, only songwriters and music publishers receive payments in the U.S., while throughout the rest of the world artist and labels are paid by terrestrial radio. Read More

SoundCloud To Limit Tracks Streamed Via API to 15,000 Plays per Day – The move comes as Soundcloud continues to work toward controlling and monetizing its platform. Read More

EFF and Cloudflare Say Web Firms Shouldn’t Be the Major Labels’ Watchdogs – Web companies are pushing back at a recent federal court order that would force them to become copyrightenforcers for music labels when an infringing site’s owner can’t be found. Read More

Pandora Paid Pharrell Just $6300 For 105 Million “Happy” Plays – “We’re projecting over a billion dollars of revenue next year,” said Pandora founder Tim Westergren, “and we’re sharing that revenue very fairly with the artist community.” Read More

EDC Las Vegas Tops 130,000 Attendees Its First Night – One of the world’s largest EDM festivals just keeps growing, despite major desert heat and Vegas expense. Read More

Dance Music’s Tech Leaders Discuss Disruption at EDMbiz – “Isn’t modern innovation taking someone’s idea and making it better? You just can’t fight the Internet. At the end of the day, the internet’s going to beat you every time.” Read More

New Music Seminar attendees: Don’t forget that MediaNet’s own Frank Johnson will be speaking about digital music infrastructure in an NMS Intensive on Tuesday with music journalist Larry LeBlanc! More details here.

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MediaNet CEO Frank Johnson To Speak About Digital Music Infrastructure At NMS2015

Posted by Glen Sears | June 19, 2015 12:39 pm | No Comments

New Music Seminar MediaNet NMS2015

New Music Seminar 2015 is fast approaching, and the lineup of speakers is full of heavy-hitters. For those who don’t know, NMS “is about belief in building the music business, belief in change, and belief in long-term success for artists and businesses alike. We provide a platform for discourse by the voices who disrupt the conventional, tackle key issues, and give a stage for emerging artists to shine. NMS is the place to network, engage, and discuss the future of music and business.”

On Tuesday, June 23rd MediaNet CEO Frank Johnson will take the hot seat in an NMS Intensive on digital music and streaming data architecture. The 15-minute question and answer session will be moderated by long-time music journalist and Celebrity Access writer Larry LeBlanc. The talk will focus on what it takes to be a competitor in the modern digital music arena, and what accurate reporting and fulfillment can do to ensure rights holders get paid every time the play button is pressed.

Click here for more information on New Music Seminar, and if you’re planning to attend don’t forget to register!

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FAQ: 5 U.S. Digital Music Use Types & the Licenses You Need

Posted by Glen Sears | 11:08 am | No Comments

Digital Music License Royalties

There you are, on the cusp of planning or building your digital music service. Maybe you’re creating an online radio station. Maybe something as simple as covering a song and posting the video online. Whatever your project, if it contains copyrighted music you need a license. Probably more than one. It’s critical that everyone gets paid each time the play button is pressed.

The question is: what license(s) do you need? Mechanical? Performance? Do I have to negotiate? Is it compulsory? What about synchronization? Where do I go to obtain the licenses?


MediaNet Music Fulfillment Now Powers Freeform Development Apps

Posted by Glen Sears | June 18, 2015 1:55 pm | No Comments

MediaNet Freeform

Today MediaNet, the world’s premier B2B digital music service and royalty administrator, is proud to announce that our Content Fulfillment system has been employed to power Freeform’s family of new music apps.

Founded by former Google Play Head of Global Content Programming Tim Quirk, Freeform creates emergent music apps that “reimagine the digital listening experience, creating entire worlds for fans to discover.” Freeform’s platform and vision for the future of the album was recently featured in Fast Company’s Tech Forecast.

“Freeform is building a platform that will let artists quickly and easily build mobile apps to distribute their work, and emulate the wildly profitable playbook of free-to-play mobile games. Freeform artist apps make musicians money by giving fans the free music they want, then making it fun and easy to buy more. Artists choose whether or not to use our platform, they choose what music to distribute through it, and they set their own prices.

For MP3 delivery, we knew we needed a Partner that artists, labels, and publishers trust with their content. MediaNet helps us ensure the fans get their music reliably, while content owners get paid promptly and accurately.” – Tim Quirk

MediaNet’s 40 million track Content Fulfillment system is being used to distribute downloads, report licensing, and pay royalties on songs purchased via Freeform apps. MediaNet provides these songs in high-quality file formats, up to 320kbps, with rights secured across multiple international territories.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Tim and the Freeform Team. Tim has been at the forefront of digital music, and a long-time thought leader. His advocacy ensures actual music is not lost in all the discussion of technology, instead bringing artists and their music closer to fans.

MediaNet’s deep musical catalog and industry-leading reporting solutions ensure that when artists sell rich, customizable digital albums on the Freeform platform, the fan experience is seamless. All music owners are paid accurately and correctly for every play.” – MediaNet CEO Frank Johnson

About MediaNet
Launched in 2001 as one of the first legal digital music distribution platforms, MediaNet ( maintains the world’s largest B2B rights-managed global catalog of more than 40 million tracks, matched to over 3.6 million rights holders including composers, publishers, administrators, PROs, collection societies, performers, labels, and distributors.

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June 15th Soundcheck: Last Week’s Music News In Review

Posted by Glen Sears | June 15, 2015 10:00 am | No Comments

Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, hugs Beats by Dre co-founder and Apple employee Jimmy Iovine at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 8, 2015

As you might have guessed, last week’s news cycle was absolutely dominated by the announcement of Apple’s new streaming platform, aptly named Apple Music. After the initial coverage of the Apple Music event itself, the internet ignited with a generous portion of backlash, calling multiple parts of the new service into question. Meanwhile, competing streaming services reacted with various degrees of snark.

Top Apple Music Stories

“Apple Music Is A Major Mess, and It Won’t Beat Spotify” – Mashable publishes an opinion piece on the new Apple Music service, criticizing the company for not being able to “get its musical act together.” Read More

Billy Corgan Rails Apple Music & Freemium Models On Twitter – “If you find yourself defending the biz practices of a billion dollar corp against that of a lone artist, you’re lost.” Read More

Rdio Reacts To Apple Music With The Ultimate Troll – “Welcome Apple, Seriously.” ad goes live in the snarky style of Apple’s own classic “Welcome IBM” ad. Read More

Apple Shines Spotlight On Unsigned Artist Who Doesn’t Exist – In its attempt to distance its launch event from the derided TIDAL launch, Apple focused on unsigned artists like Loren Kramar. Only problem? “The 26 year old visual artist (and magazine editor) from NYC who has zero existence as a musician on the web.” Read More

Apple Being Investigated For Pressuring Labels To Withdraw “Freemium” Support – New York And Connecticut attorneys general are searching Apple’s dealings with major labels such as Universal Music Group (which flatly denies the allegations) for possible antitrust violations. Read More

Apple Music Will Stream At 256kbps Instead Of 320kpbs – While some companies claim 320kbps is “the industry standard,” iTunes has held the 256kbps standard for almost 10 years. Read More

In Other News

Going To The Ends Of The Earth For Digital Music Royalties – Music publisher Kobalt announced it will use its American Music Rights Association to investigate “over 900,000” obscure international sources for additional royalties for its songwriters. Read More

Line Music Streaming Service Aims at Japan, Where CD Is Still King – Over 80% of music sales in the country are on physical media like CDs. The new Line service will charge 500 yen (about $4) a month for a basic plan that allows 20 hours of streaming each month. Read More

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FAQ: The Basics of Core Music Licenses

Posted by Glen Sears | June 12, 2015 2:10 pm | No Comments

basics of music licenses

In almost every situation, before you can use a copyrighted piece of musical content, you need to obtain at least one license. This license entitles you to use the work, and also requires you to pay various types of royalties to the copyright owners. In many cases, more than one type of license is required.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics of music licenses, who they are obtained from, and what they are used for.

Master Recording License

Gives the holder of the license the right to use a recording made by someone else. Master recording licenses are controlled directly by the rights holder, usually the artist or record label. A master recording license must be obtained for each song required for a project. These projects typically include things like compilation CDs.

Mechanical License

Gives the holder of the license the right to copy or duplicate a song. Mechanical licenses are controlled by the song’s publisher or songwriter(s), sometimes both. A mechanical license entitles the rights holder to mechanical royalties, which are paid every time the song is “reproduced.” Projects that require mechanical licenses typically include CD pressings and cover songs.

Public Performance License

Gives the holder of the license the right to “publicly perform” a work of music. Performance licenses are controlled by the songwriter, or the songwriter’s Performing Rights Organization. These PROs include ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and others. The term “public performance” includes much more than just live performances. DJ sets, background music in businesses, presentations and meetings, and digital radio & streaming services all require performance licenses.

Sync License

Gives the holder of the license the right to “synchronize” a musical work to another visual medium, usually video. Sync licenses are controlled by the composer, songwriter, or publisher; sometimes all three. Projects that require sync licenses typically include theme songs for television, video advertising, movie soundtracks, and video games.

Print License

Gives the holder of the license the right to reproduce lyrics or sheet music for a musical work. Print licenses are controlled by the song’s publisher or songwriter(s), sometimes both. Projects that require a print license typically include sheet music books and lyrics websites.

Compulsory License

Allows an individual or company to obtain a music license without first seeking the rights holder’s consent. In exchange, that individual or company pays the rights holder a set fee for the license called The Statutory Rate. Projects that can receive a compulsory license are jukeboxes, digital broadcasts, Public Broadcasting Service, Cable TV broadcasts of local stations, and mechanical licenses for an album or digital recording (also called a compulsory mechanical license).

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Everything You Need To Know About Apple Music

Posted by Glen Sears | June 8, 2015 12:30 pm | No Comments


Apple’s WWDC 2015 is already in full steam, announcing sweeping changes to OSX, iOS, the iPad, and Apple’s integration into digital life.

But no announcement has been more anticipated than the relaunch of Apple’s new music service, now confirmed to be named Apple Music. The event brought in industry heavy-hitters Jimmy Iovine, Drake, Trent Reznor, The Weeknd, and Eddy Cue. For those of you that weren’t able to catch the live blogs, here are the most pertinent details.

Jimmy Iovine’s intro

“It’s really an honor to be here. I’m here because in 2003 the record industry was confused…we had this giant invader from the north: technology…These guys really do think different. Technology and art can work together, at least at Apple. In 2015, the music industry is a fragmented mess. If you want to stream music, you can go over here! If you want to stream video, you can check this out! There needs to be a place where music can be treated less like digital bits and more like the art it is…not just the top tier artists but the kids at home too.”


Apple Music attempts to combine many digital music services into one app. Music contains a streaming service (similar to Spotify or Beats), a 24/7 global radio station, and Beats Connect, an integrated social service for artists to connect with fans and vice versa. The move comes at a time when services like TIDAL are also consolidating services like ticket purchasing and exclusive releases. Apple may be late to the game, but their enormous influence in both the music industry and consumer electronics market may give them an advantage.

The service will be available June 30th, available for both iOS and Android. The first three months of Apple Music are free to all subscribers. Membership will then cost $9.99/month or $14.99/month for up to six family members.

*Apple Music is available on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC starting June 30. Apple Music will be coming to Apple TV and Android phones this fall.


Music Streaming Service

Imagine iTunes if it could stream. The entire Apple Music catalog contains “over 30 million songs” and includes all your iTunes purchases and ripped CDs (via iCloud). Along with self-serve streaming, Apple has doubled down on human-curated playlists “not based on genre, beats, or research.” There is also a new “For You” category of Music, which combines human playlists with more traditional algorithmic playlists. In addition, Siri’s new features will allow complex commands such as “Play me the best songs from 1994.”

Beats 1 Radio

Beats 1 radio is a 24/7 station broadcasting in 100 countries. The service employs three influential DJs: Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. The service will feature all genres “from indie rock to classical to folk to funk.” It also allows users to skip as many songs as they like. The service will offer more than just music, employing its star DJs for interviews, guest hosts, and music industry news–likely related to exclusive content offered on the service.

Beats Connect

Lets unsigned artists connect with fans. In essence it’s a miniature version of Apple’s failed music/social network Ping. Artists can share information and updates with fans, and fans in turn can interact with those updates. Artists will reportedly be sharing lyrics, backstage and studio photos, or videos. According to Apple’s press release, artists may even release new tracks directly to fans via the social platform.


The Apple Music announcements today put Apple in direct competition with Spotify, TIDAL, Soundcloud, Pandora, and more. Beyond Apple’s influence and market cap, the greatest advantage Apple Music has is its integration. Not only is Apple Music offering a multitude of services (with most of its competitors having similar but incomplete offerings), but Apple Music is deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Siri integration, use of your existing iTunes library, family sharing via iCloud, and direct connection to your Apple ID make Apple Music a serious contender.

All photos courtesy of The Verge

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Soundcheck: Last Week’s Music News In Review (6/1)

Posted by Glen Sears | 9:00 am | No Comments

Apple WWDC 2015

Last week, all eyes were on Apple and the launch of their new music service (built from their acquisition of Beats last year). As the details of the new service, rumored to be called Apple Music, competitors and partners scrambled to dig their feet in leading up to WWDC this week. You can view a live blog of the entire WWDC2015 keynote and events here.

Soundcloud, Merlin Reach Royalty Deal For 20,000 Indies – Today’s Merlin deal includes many of the biggest indies including Beggars Group, Domino, Secretly Group, Epitaph, Ninja Tune, PIAS, Warp Records, Armada Music and Kontor Records. Read More

The Full Impact of Streaming Music – In NPR’s first of a week of in-depth pieces, author Jacob Ganz delves deep into streaming music and why it “solves a long-time [music industry] paradox: one of ownership.” Read More

50 Cent Slams TIDAL… – “They probably could’ve did something more exciting if they reached out, because the people you saw there don’t even own the rights to their music,” he said, the latest in a string of musicians to speak out against the service. Read More

…But TIDAL is Doubling Down On Its Populist Message – Jay-Z and Senior Executive Vania Schlogel spoke in-depth with The Verge about TIDAL’s failed launch, happiness in the face of a challenge, their platform, and their recent deal with Ticketmaster. Read More

Back On The Ranch, ‘Russian Google’ Launches Internet Radio – The search giant Yandex has launched a new ad-supported streaming music service, Yandex.Radio, which allows a user to listen to around 100 ready-made “stations.” Read More

Songkick, CrowdSurge Merge, Raising $16 Million For Direct To Fan Ticketing – Countering TIDAL’s announced deal with Ticketmaster, Songkick’s discovery platform is merging with CrowdSurge to create “the largest artist-ticketing service in the world.” Read More

Did Streaming Music Inadvertently Bring DRM Back To Life? – “…it’s no longer the labels pushing DRM on the music services; it’s the services themselves, because locking you into a single ecosystem guarantees you’ll keep paying their monthly subscription fees and hopefully buy into the rest of their ecosystem.” Read More

For more news recaps visit the MediaNet Blog page!

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Soundcheck: Last Week’s Music News Highlights (5/25)

Posted by Glen Sears | June 1, 2015 9:00 am | No Comments

soundcheck music news medianet may 25

Last week was all about copyright and intellectual property. As we continue to face the fallout over the leaked Spotify/Sony contract, more and more about the way intellectual property is handled comes into question. Some are even beginning to question the very nature of copyright law.

Whatever deals are made between rights holders and companies, MediaNet always continues to fulfill those digital contracts and ensure that Every Play Counts. And now, the news.

Steve Albini: “Copyright Has Expired” – The Nirvana engineer, Chicago music titan, and long-time industry critic lays out his feelings on the very nature of copyright, intellectual property, and how he’s “not Jay-Z.” Read more

NMPA Sues Wolfgang’s Vault – The live concert footage website has come under fire from almost 30 music industry organizations for its library that “disseminates concert videos and audio recordings through multiple websites.” Read more

Hollywood Studios Under Fire Over Recycled Soundtracks – The American Federation of Musicians is suing the largest music and film studios for violating their collective bargaining agreement and reusing old soundtrack material. Read more

Shazam Announces QR & Visual Recognition… – The move will expand the ailing company, which hasn’t turned a profit since 2006, into new media markets and may alter the way musicians and bands market their music. Read more

…But Also Must Pay BMI 2.5 Percent Of All Revenue – After a protracted court case, a judge found reason to require Shazam to increase its payments to BMI from 1.75 to 2.5%, revealing much about royalty calculations. Read more

Music Companies Attempt To Keep “.Music” To Themselves – A conglomerate of industry organizations claim they want to “create a safe haven for legal music consumption under a trusted, secure and authentic .music top-level domain.” Read more

U2 Tour Manager Dennis Sheehan Dies – “We’ve lost a family member, we’re still taking it in. He wasn’t just a legend in the music business, he was a legend in our band. He is irreplaceable.” Read more

Looking for more Music Newsweek recaps? Read all MediaNet Soundcheck’s here.

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