Posted by Glen Sears | October 26, 2015 1:51 pm | No Comments
Story of the Week
Apple Music, YouTube Red Mark a Momentous Week for Digital Music
The week of October 19 is the week digital music met its future. Long dominated by early entrants and standalone companies, the music subscription market was rocked by the world’s two largest technology companies, Apple and Google.
Monday’s news that Apple Music has 6.5 million subscribers and Wednesday’s unveiling of YouTube Red, the company’s upcoming subscription service, are two hugely important steps in helping, or properly enticing, consumers to make the transition from buying music to streaming for free to paying a monthly fee to access — but not own outright — a large collection of audio tracks and videos. If the jump from cassettes to CDs crossed over a hurdle, going from downloads to paid streaming requires scaling a 10-foot wall.
Read more on Billboard: http://bit.ly/1NwNsbD
Top News Stories
Pandora Stock Falls 36% Friday As Investors Lose Faith – Investors reacted poorly to another bad earnings report and slowing listener growth amidst increased competition. The company reported a third quarter loss of $85 million or 40 cents a share. Read More
Posted by Glen Sears | October 21, 2015 12:23 pm | No Comments
It’s been a lot of years coming, but today YouTube finally announced its landmark new paid subscription service, ‘YouTube Red.’ The service will cost $9.99/month, and it launches on October 28th in the U.S. with other territories to follow. The move promises to be excellent news for rights owners, especially as YouTube also announced a standalone ‘YouTube Music’ app that will compete directly with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.
One primary advantage for end-users will be the removal of ads for all Red subscribers. While this is an exciting and oft-lauded feature of paid services, it’s worth remembering that the majority of YouTube’s ads can already be skipped after 5 seconds. Whether this will be a killer feature for the new service has yet to be seen.
Additionally for end-users, YouTube’s Red-enabled apps will now support better background playing and offline features. Videos and songs will be available for offline use in a variety of qualities (for storage management), and even playlists will be included in the fun.
For musical artists and rights holders the most exciting aspect is YouTube Music, the public version of YouTube’s beta Music Key service. YouTube Music will integrate with Google Play Music, so subscribers to one service will automatically have access to the other. Additionally, YouTube is touting its “discovery” features, which appear to mirror the set-it-and-forget-it functionality of Pandora. YouTube Music is clearly intended to follow the pathway set out by Apple Music, wherein a gigantic installed base will be expected to lead to increased member numbers.
Rights owners should be excited as well, as The Verge claims YouTube has fully “convinced its big music label, television network, and movie studio partners. Many of these big media companies requested a more favorable cut of the subscription revenue than the service was offering to the average YouTuber, on the grounds that their premium content would be the main driver of subscriptions. But YouTube held out, and in the end almost all the big players came along. The only one that hasn’t is Disney, but YouTube plans to forge ahead regardless, saying it has 98 percent of its content covered by agreements with rights holders.”
Finally, a lion’s share of the money collected from Red subscriptions will likely be poured into “Originals,” YouTube’s new exclusive content offering. By partnering top YouTube stars with television and movie producers, YouTube will attempt to capture a part of the market currently being owned by online content providers like Netflix and Hulu.
The real question: will people start paying for a service that’s been free for over a decade? We have to wait and see.
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Posted by Glen Sears | October 20, 2015 9:35 am | No Comments
MediaNet loves the holidays. We love the cold and rain (and when we get it, the snow). We love sending out holiday cards to our friends, loved ones, and valued business partners. And we love giving back.
Global waste is a huge problem, with almost 6 million tons of extra home waste generated per holiday season. Additionally, in 2014 energy-related carbon emissions increased for the second consecutive year according to the USIEA. While we love to celebrate the holidays, we also want to make sure we’re doing it in a responsible, sustainable way.
Since 2012 MediaNet has used the e-card service eCO2 Greetings for our electronic holiday greetings. These e-cards produce no paper waste, and give back to the environment by planting trees worldwide to help offset carbon emissions. MediaNet is proud to announce that through our partners eCO2 Greetings and American Forests, this year we will be contributing 50 trees to the worldwide Global Releaf campaign.
E-cards are a fantastic way to spread holiday cheer without making a negative impact on the environment. 46,852,306 trees have already been planted through American Forests. We encourage all our partners to consider using a service like eCO2 that not only eliminates card waste, but plants new trees to further strengthen the environment we share.
Posted by Glen Sears | October 19, 2015 10:39 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Spotify U.K. Subscription Revenues Climb as Overall Profits Fall
The U.K. arm of Spotify experienced strong growth in its subscription and advertising revenues last year, but still posted a £1.2 million ($1.5 million) loss after taxation, according to the company’s latest set of financial results, which cover the year 2014.
The rise in sales was not enough, however, to prevent the London-based company reporting an overall loss for the year after taxation of £1.2 million ($1.5 million) — a significant slide when compared to the previous calendar year when Spotify recorded a profit of £2.6 million ($4 million).
The loss can be partially attributed to a sizeable rise in cost of sales — a category that includes royalties paid to labels and publishers — which jumped from £96.2 million ($148 million) in 2013 to £124.4 million ($191.7 million) last year. “Individual company reports are not necessarily a reflection of the whole company, one way or the other,” a Spotify spokesperson maintained in a statement provided to Billboard.
Read more on Billboard: http://bit.ly/1GeFiF5
Condé Nast Buys Pitchfork – Confirming the buy, which includes all Pitchfork ventures, so the spin-off live events too, Condé Nast’s newly appointed big cheese Bob Sauerberg told reporters: “Pitchfork is a distinguished digital property that brings a strong editorial voice, an enthusiastic and young audience, a growing video platform and a thriving events business. We look forward to bringing Pitchfork to the network of best-in-class brands of Condé Nast”. Read More
Posted by Glen Sears | October 12, 2015 2:46 pm | No Comments
It doesn’t take a law professor to understand that musical copyright is a complex beast. Just look at all the artists up in arms about Soundcloud takedowns, or MediaNet’s own exploration of the dizzying spiral of music ownership. Copyright laws are always passed with the intention of protecting rights owners, but as time passes and new technologies arise these protections can have counterproductive consequences.
The Library of Congress’ own Congressional Research Service has identified these protection gaps in a 37-page report called “Copyright Licensing in Music Distribution, Reproduction, and Public Performance.” The report, authored by attorney Brian Yeh, outlines the basics of musical copyright law then identifies 4 major areas where copyright law needs to be updated to support the current musical ecosystem.
Any reader interested in the history of how copyright law came to be should take the time to read the first 16 pages of the report. Yeh does a masterful job of explaining how various facets of musical copyright work together, as well as providing the context under which various protections were instituted. The real meat of the report, however, starts at page 18. Here The CRS outlines the 4 major areas it believes copyright law should be updated for 2015 and beyond.
Federal Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
As recent news may have informed you, digital radio services are required to license sound recordings, but due to a loophole only those sound recordings produced after 1972. According to the report “such pre-1972 sound recordings constitute approximately 15% of all digital radio transmissions and would have provided about $60 billion in music royalties for recording artists in 2013, according to one industry estimate.”
While some states have taken it upon themselves to pass legislation to close this gap, there still exists no federal protection for the rights holders of these sound recordings. Two pieces of legislation, The Fair Play Fair Pay Act and the RESPECT Act, have been offered up to bolster protection for pre-1972 recordings, but both lack total protections for rights owners. In addition, the report states these measures could “have the effect of dissuading digital music services from including the ‘golden oldies’ in their music catalogs.”
Extending the Performance Right in Sound Recordings to AM/FM Radio Broadcasts
Despite extending public performance copyright protections to sound recording owners in 1995, these protections did not include AM/FM radio transmissions. “Thus, public performance of sound recordings through non-digital audio transmissions does not trigger any obligation on the part of the radio broadcaster to pay royalties to the sound recording copyright holder.”
In 2013 the Register of Copyrights testified to a House Judiciary Committee that Congress should extend “full” public performance rights to sound recordings in all types of transmissions. While the Fair Play Fair Pay Act would extend copyright protections to all types of broadcast, an opposing piece of legislation called the Supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act would direct Congress not to impose any new performance fees or royalties for over-the-air broadcasts of sound recordings by local radio stations.
Standards for Setting Royalty Rates for Public Performance of Sound Recordings
An entity called the Copyright Royalty Board calculates the royalty rate applicable to “compulsory” licenses by applying a standard that is specified in the Copyright Act. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act established different standards for the compulsory license depending on the type of digital service and whether the service existed at the time of the DMCA’s enactment.
“The Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 (H.R. 1733) would require the Copyright Royalty Board to set performance royalty rates for satellite radio and cable music providers by applying the same ‘willing buyer/willing seller’ standard that the CRB currently uses in determining Internet radio webcasters’ royalty rates, instead of using the 801(b) standard.”
The Internet Radio Fairness Act was introduced in order to “level the playing field for Internet radio services” and reform the current royalty rate calculation system. However, organizations like SoundExchange oppose such legislation as they suspect it would cause services like Pandora to pay less in royalties than they do now.
Modification of Consent Decrees Governing Songwriter Performance Royalties
In 1976 performing rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI were legislated to be subject to “consent decrees,” for fear that they would monopolize the royalty collection process. As such, all agreements with PROs must be submitted to the Circuit Court of New York to verify their veracity.
In June 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced that it would initiate a review process to examine the operation and effectiveness of these consent decrees, after ASCAP, BMI, and other parties in the music industry raised concerns that the consent decrees have been unable “to account for changes in how music is delivered to and experienced by listeners.”
The Songwriter Equity Act, with support from a consortium of hospitality companies, seeks to help increase the performance royalty payments from PROs, which includes keeping consent decrees on the books.
What Does It All Mean?
Copyright law is a complex beast. The deeper you dive, the more complex it becomes. At the end of the day, the changes proposed by the CRS will only help so long as the technologies we use support these regulations, rather than circumvent them.
MediaNet believes that all rights holders should be paid for every play. We have created an end-to-end licensing, distribution, fulfillment, reporting, and payment system that ensures all payments are delivered to the letter of the law.
Like many large pieces of legislation, U.S. copyright law will never be “complete.” All we can do in the mean time is ensure that all rights holders are getting their fair share of payment for creative works.
MediaNet features the only digital music catalog that 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 experience? Let’s chat!
Posted by Glen Sears | 12:24 pm | No Comments
Story of the Week
Pandora Buys Ticketfly for $450 Million
Pandora’s acquisition of ticketing company Ticketfly, announced today, marks a seismic shift in the way digital music companies serve artists. While artists and labels continue to publicly debate streaming royalties and harbor great uncertainty about their future, the leading Internet radio service made a move that will strengthen the link between listening and live events, and provide a potential financial boon for artists. Rights holders will still push for higher royalties, but artists will push for tools that help their careers in other ways.
Artists stand to win big, as they seek ways to leverage streaming services in order to reach fans new and old. They will eventually be able to tap into Pandora’s 80 million monthly listeners, nearly all of them in the United States, creating a bridge between listening — which currently results in a 0.14-cents royalty per ad-supported stream — and the live events that can account for the majority of an artist’s revenue. Whereas most promotional channels are expensive, Pandora provides a direct path, free of charge, to the fans most likely to buy concert tickets.
Read More on Billboard: http://bit.ly/1G1IgN7
Copyright Judges Approve Public Radio Pay to SoundExchange – As a result of the settlement, NPR, American Public Media, Public Radio International, Public Radio Exchange and up to 530 originating public radio stations as named by Corporation for Public Broadcasting will pay $2.8 million annually, divided into in 5 installments, through 2019. Read More
Aurous, the Popcorn Time for Music, Is Now Live – “It has been a long time coming, but Aurous has been released for alpha testing on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Enjoy music how you want to for free.” Read More
25 Percent of Instagram’s Top Accounts Are Music-Related – According to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, music has become a very important aspect of the photo-intensive app, which is exactly what’s happened on other social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Vine. Read More
New California Law Extends Privacy Rights to Electronic Data – California now requires police to get a court order before they can search messages, photos and other digital data stored on phones or company servers in the nation’s most-populous state. Read More
Apple Music: We Won’t Play Free Music “Shell Game… Building An Audience On The Back Of The Artists” – According to senior exec Jimmy Iovine, Apple Music has no intention of “building an audience on the back of the artists” by offering a free ad supported music option as Spotify does. Read More
Deadmau5 Ditches Universal, Goes Indie With Kobalt – The masked Canadian producer, who rode the EDM boom up to the ranks of its top earners — reportedly commanding upward of $500,000 per show and raking in an estimated $15 million in 2014 — is bringing his recordings, publishing and Mau5trap label to Kobalt, the upstart independent publishing and music-rights platform that counts Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney and Skrillex among its clients. Read More
Posted by Glen Sears | October 5, 2015 10:26 am | No Comments
The Story of the Week
Amazon Prime (Finally) Signs Deal for Universal Music Artists
Subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service — the company’s music and video streaming, and shipping discount, service — can now stream the likes of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Lana Del Rey, Maroon 5, Of Monsters and Men, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Ellie Goulding, Drake, Lorde, Jessie J and Eminem.
Universal Music Group, long a holdout from Prime, struck a deal with the Seattle-based company earlier this week. While a total number of artists included in UMG’s licensing wasn’t made public, sources tell Billboard the number stands at around 1,000 and includes genres like jazz and classical, which skew to an older demographic that Prime is seen as being strong with.
Read More on Billboard: http://bit.ly/1Z49usC
Apple Music Launches in China – Apple has officially launched its streaming music service in China. The company announced Wednesday that Apple Music will cost 10 RMB per month, or only $1.50 US, but not before users exhaust a three-month trial membership. Read More
Tidal Hits One Million User Milestone, Announces Celeb-filled Live Show – Under the snappy title TIDAL X: 1020, the show will feature performances from artists like Beyoncs, Jay-Z, Prince, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and TI. Read More
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