MediaNet Blog

Judge Rules that ‘Happy Birthday’ Is Now Public Domain, and Last Week’s Top News

Posted by Glen Sears | September 28, 2015 12:57 pm | No Comments

medianet soundcheck music news happy birthday copyright

Story of the Week

‘Happy Birthday’ Song Copyright Ruled to Be Invalid
The world’s most popular English language song is potentially free from copyright after a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that filmmakers challenging Warner/Chappell Music’s hold on “Happy Birthday to You” should be granted summary judgment.

According to the opinion on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge George H. King, “Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”

Read more:

Other Important Headlines

Pandora’s CEO Explains Why ‘Free’ Music Is Worth So Much… “All evidence indicates that the overwhelming majority of Americans cannot, or will not, pay a monthly subscription fee.” Read More

… And NMPA Head Says ‘Free’ May Work for Pandora But is Devastating to Songwriters – “Perhaps one of the reasons many Americans do not pay for music is because Pandora has told them they no longer need to, since Pandora expects songwriters to subsidize its business by paying them almost nothing.” Read More

RIAA Boss Speaks Out On Compulsory Licenses & Safe Harbors – “Government-set licensing has enabled services like Sirius XM to use music at below-market rates, based on a decades-old subsidy that has long outlived its purpose.” Read More

Deezer’s IPO Filing Shows Both Potential and Problems – Analysts believe the IPO will value the company at about €1 billion, but aren’t sure investors put money into a company that currently pays over three-quarters of its revenue to rights holders and doesn’t generate revenue on two out of five subscribers. Read More

Turns Out The Pirate Bay Servers Weren’t Seized After All – The headline grabbing server raid that preceding the Bay going offline last December didn’t actually affect any of their servers, with the authorities – deliberately or by mistake – taking machines hosting another piracy operation called EZTV. Read More

Apple Music Has 15M Users, 7.5M Ready To Pay – Around half of those who signed up for Apple Music have not turned off auto-pay, which means they’ll convert from free to paid customers on September 30th. Read More

TomorrowWorld Limits Day 3 Access After Heavy Rainfall Strands Thousands – “”Today, Sunday September 27, TomorrowWorld will be accessible only to visitors currently camping onsite at DreamVille. We take the safety of all of our visitors very seriously. The rainfall since Thursday resulted in limited capacity of festival parking fields, drop-off locations, and the shuttle system. Festivalgoers with day tickets, guest list tickets, and anyone not already camping at DreamVille will unfortunately not be able to access today’s events. Food and entertainment will be provided for the visitors already situated in DreamVille. The refund policy for affected visitors will be announced as soon as possible.” Read More

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MediaNet Digital Music Catalog Now Offers Over 45M Tracks

Posted by Glen Sears | September 22, 2015 9:00 am | No Comments

MediaNet Catalog Reached 45 Million Tracks and Songs

Today MediaNet is thrilled to announce that our digital music catalog has surpassed 45 million tracks! Our global music catalog includes content provided by major labels, independent labels, aggregators, and distributors, ensuring your customers can always find the content they crave.

“It is amazing the volume of catalog growth and amazing that it shows no signs of slowing down,” says MediaNet CEO Frank Johnson. “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 features the only catalog which internally matches sound recordings directly to rights holders, ensuring maximum accuracy and industry-leading reporting. Want to talk about how MediaNet can power your music service? Let’s chat!

How Important Is Music Metadata? A Case Study Through Genre

Posted by Amy Vandergon | September 16, 2015 1:34 pm | No Comments

digital music metadata medianet

Here at MediaNet’s Content department, we spend a lot of time staring at metadata tags. We have become metadata whisperers, noticing genre-wide trends, peculiarities, and common mistakes. We nurture any problem data, and once it’s fixed we release it into our catalog. Over time we have noticed three genres in particular that often need data intervention: Classical, hip hop, and electronic dance music (EDM).

Beyond the metadata similarities, these three genres are all quite different. However, they do share some additional common characteristics, including a heavy reliance on patterns, multi-movement works, and the integration of dance.

Patterns are important in every genre, but perhaps more so for these three. Classical music laid the groundwork of tonality, or the patterns of pitches our ears expect. Baroque fugues, for example, contain tightly-repeated harmonic and melodic sequences. In both hip hop and EDM, patterns manifest through repetitive samples and beat structures.

All three genres have many multi-movement works. Just as any classical symphony should be listened to in its entirety, so too should Kanye West’s The College Dropout or Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (or any live DJ set, for that matter).

Unique styles of dance, such as the minuet and waltz, were popularized through the classical music tradition. Hip hop has spawned a wide variety of dance styles, including breaking and krumping. An entire subculture of dance has been created through the popularization of EDM. Even more important than the musical similarities of these genres is the ability of each to enact social change, becoming a voice and distraction for the oppressed.

Olivier Messiaen wrote and premiered his Quatuor pour la fin du temps, inspired by the Book of Revelation, while imprisoned in a German POW camp. N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton highlighted the poverty, drug abuse, and police brutality that continue to run rampant in that city. EDM is a direct descendant of disco, which began in jazz halls in Occupied France that were only allowed to play recorded music. Disco and early EDM developed largely through the work of homosexual, black, female, and Latino communities – groups which have a history of devalued cultural contributions.

Now let’s look at the practical problems they pose when it comes to metadata tags.

  • There are several contributor options (composer, conductor, performer, etc.) and multiple accepted spellings of composers’ names (like Stravinsky/Strawinski/Strawinsky or Schoenberg/Schönberg).
  • Artists in hip-hop and EDM often change spellings or have multiple variants (like Jay Z/Jay-Z or Puffy/P. Diddy/Puff Daddy).
  • EDM artists often get credited on their own or as part of collaborations (e.g. Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Axwell Λ Ingrosso).

When it comes to artist names, accuracy is important in all genres. Should the album be attributed to “Drake” or “Nick Drake?” Should the artist name be “Sammy” or “DJ Sammy?” For classical music, the preferred format is typically “First Last.” “André Previn” is correct, rather than “A. Previn,” “Previn, André,” or “Previn”. In some cases, special characters are necessary (e.g. “Béla Bartók” instead of “Bela Bartok”).

What would happen if we didn’t intervene? Every time an album is submitted with a mistake in the artist name, that album will not show in a search for the correct artist name. Let’s use the example of André Previn. Here are some of the name variations that have made their way into our system:

medianet metadata screenshot 1

To fix this issue, we look at which spelling has the highest amount of data in our system and compare it with additional research. Our research confirmed that the proper, accepted spelling is “André Previn.” The other records were automatically created by incorrect metadata. As you can see, using the proper é character is important here, as are spelling, formatting, and spacing (poor “AndréPrevin” is afflicted with a missing space).

If a label were to submit an André Previn album under the name “Andri Previn,” it would prove difficult for a listener to find. The album would not show up under the accepted “André Previn” name. We merge these entries so the associated albums show up under “André Previn.” After we correct and merge this metadata, our database automatically reassigns anything further submitted under the names above to “André Previn.”

Our Content Operations Team repairs these inconsistencies every day. With more than 25,000 new artists submitted to our catalog each month, you can see how valuable proper submission is to database integrity. Every incorrectly submitted new artist must be repaired by hand. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Accurate data is paramount to good systems and great user experience. We know how much work goes into preparing, recording, and distributing an album. We all care greatly that it is represented accurately in our system. Accurate metadata submission means users will find the albums they want to hear, and that means more earnings for rights holders. Data submitted to us without the need for intervention makes this process go much more quickly. In short, proper submission = better, faster returns.

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BBC Planning Its Own Music Streaming Service, and the Week in Review

Posted by Glen Sears | September 14, 2015 2:19 pm | No Comments

bbc new music streaming service medianet

Story of the Week

The BBC says it is planning to launch a ‘New Music Discovery Service’, which would make the 50,000 tracks broadcast by the BBC every month available to stream for a limited period. This digital platform will go one better than the ‘BBC Playlister’ initiative launched in 2013, which allowed listeners and viewers to transfer playlists of radio DJs’ shows to Spotify and other services.

This time, the BBC will directly compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple for the attention of music fans – with a fully-fledged online music streaming service, owned and hosted by the Beeb. “We must evolve our music offering so that it serves new audience needs and habits and allows us to remain a strong partner and contributor to the UK creative sector.”

There is no set timeline for launch, although it’s certainly more than just an idea, with the BBC revealing that it has already developed a digital music proposal with the music industry.

Read More:

Other Important Headlines

95 Percent of Streaming Music Catalogs Are ‘Irrelevant’ to Consumers, Study Finds – “Indeed, just 5% of streaming catalogues is regularly frequented. Most of the rest is irrelevant for most consumers.” Read More

PRS For Music To Review Over 40 Public Performance Tariffs – The UK publishing sector’s collecting society is simplifying, streamlining and consolidating over 40 of its “tariffs”, in order to make it easier to acquire public performance licences for songs. Read More

BMI Reports Record Breaking $1 Billion Revenue – The performing rights organization reported its highest ever revenue collection of over $1 billion, and with it comes its largest ever distribution of $877 million to songwriters, composers and music publishers. Read More

Music Nerd? Here’s What You Need to Know From Apple’s “Hey Siri” Keynote – For music junkies there were a number of big announcements. We’ve detailed the most notable below. Read More

Digital Usage Continues to Rapidly Rise in Latin America – Digital usage continued to rise in the region between April 2014 through April 2015, according to a new comScore report, “Latin America Digital Future in Focus.” Read More

Should One Co-Writer Have the Power to License a Collaborative Work? – “This is a complicated subject but it basically means that if either of these PROs controls any part of a song, no matter how small, they would be required to license the entire song without the approval of those who control the remainder.” Read More

Google Was Processing 23 Copyright Takedowns A Second Last Month – The takedown notices to which we refer are those issued under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act against the Google search engine. Read More

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Music Nerd? Here’s What You Need to Know From Apple’s “Hey Siri” Keynote

Posted by Glen Sears | September 9, 2015 12:11 pm | No Comments

In typical Apple fashion, we’ve been waiting for months after the cryptic announcement of “Hey Siri, give us a hint” made its way onto the net. Apple’s September keynotes reliably announce a new version of the iPhone, iOS, and other mobile products. This time around, announcements were expected for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. The keynote also promised updates about iOS 9 and watchOS 2.

For music junkies there were a number of big announcements. We’ve detailed the most notable below.

iPad Pro

One of the many expected announcements was a larger iPad aimed at the portables market. Apple delivered with the iPad Pro, sporting a whopping 12.9 inch screen which includes a full-size virtual keyboard…or keyboard. With CPU and graphics performance better than 80% of portable PCs, this new iPad will likely able to power full-on audio applications—or act as a studio-grade, touch enabled software synthesizer.

apple ipad pro moogapple-iphone-6s-live-_0721

For consumers, movie watching should be a pleasure with 5.6 million pixels on screen. Four speakers power the iPad Pro audio experience, with auto-balanced stereo and frequency information depending on how the iPad is held. “We thought this display deserves a great sound system.” In addition, the iPad Pro can now be controlled using Apple’s new stylus, Apple Pencil. Funny enough, the new Apple Pencil flies firmly in the face of the late Steve Jobs, who notably was once quoted as saying “God gave us 10 styluses, let’s not invent another…nobody wants a stylus.”

Apple TV

Apple TV has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Apple line. All of that changed today as Apple announced the new Apple TV. Rengineered to be based on iOS, the new system revolves around apps just like your favorite mobile devices. These apps can be controlled by touchscreen remote, or by an updated Siri who can be asked things like “Show me that Modern Family episode with Edward Norton.”


For music lovers, the new Apple TV has a full Apple Music interface that can be controlled using the remote, as well as using Siri. You can even ask for sports and weather updates while watching or listening. The Apple TV remote can also be turned sideways to be used as a gaming controller. Guitar Hero is on board.

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

It wouldn’t be a September keynote without a new iPhone. One of the primary new features is 3D Touch, a combination of the Macbook’s Force Touch capability and taptic feedback. Whether this technology will have implications for music has yet to be seen, but there are a number of possible scenarios in which pressure-sensitive touch could be useful.

4K video recording could help the iPhone continue its entrance into music video and festival production.


Worth mentioning, Apple also announced a new iPhone Upgrade Program. This program allows you to pay a monthly fee rather than purchasing your unit, much like carrier installment plans. The program will allow you to choose your carrier, provides unlocked yearly phone upgrades, and includes the Applecare+ warranty plan. Plans start at $32/month.


Yep. OneRepublic played the “Hey, Siri” event. Music is still clearly an integral part of Apple’s DNA. If you’re into that kind of thing.

apple-iphone-6s-live-_2442 apple-iphone-6s-live-_2489 apple-iphone-6s-live-_2485


Notably missing from the “Hey, Siri” event? Any formal updates about Siri. Here is the link to the not-yet-updated Siri page.

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Digital Song Sales Hit Seven-Year Low, and the Week in Review [Soundcheck]

Posted by Glen Sears | September 8, 2015 11:49 am | No Comments

digital music streaming sales nielsen billboard

Story of the Week

Digital Song Sales Hit Seven-Year Low, Streaming Continues to Rise
15.66 million. The lowest weekly number in nearly eight years for digital songs sold in the U.S. According to Nielsen, the week ending Aug. 27 had the smallest weekly sum for song downloads since the week ending Dec. 9, 2007, when 15.64 million were sold.

Not surprisingly, as sales plummet streaming continues its ascent, with the same frame marking the highest week of total U.S. on-demand audio and video streams: 6.6 billion. The streaming surge follows as consumers adapt to free and low-cost streaming services (like Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music) and shift away from the pay-to-own model.

Read More:

Other Important Headlines

Google Brings Its Music Streaming Service to Japan’s Unique Digital Music Market – Google followed Apple and brought Play Music All Access to Japan on Friday, giving the world’s second-largest music market subscription services from two huge technology companies. Read More

Comscore Data Shows 44 Million In U.S. Have Used Apple Music – That number is much higher than the 10 million global user figure “leaked” by supposed industry insiders last month. Read More

Why Profit Isn’t An Issue For Apple Music – “Apple has always primarily been a hardware company, and has a history of operating many of its services, like iTunes, at a loss.” Read More

StubHub Claims Many Users Don’t Want To See Out-of-Pocket Prices – “We have many different types of users at StubHub. A significant number of users prefer to comparison shop while other users prefer to just see the out of pocket price when making purchasing decisions.” Read More

ReverbNation Has Been Hacked – Change Your Password Now! – Law enforcement agents say that in January of 2014, an individual, who has since been charged, illegally accessed a vendor’s computer systems and gained access. Read More

Pandora To Celebrate 10 Years With Ad Free Listening Tomorrow, September 9th – They’re calling it Listener Love Day – a full day of music with no ads from 12:00am ET, Wednesday, September 9 thru 12:00am ET, Thursday, September 10. Read More

The ‘Friend’ Who Killed a Grooveshark Executive Faces Life In Prison – According to details released by Florida’s Sixth Circuit State Attorney’s Office this morning, Torres faces formal sentencing October. That could include life in prison. Read More

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