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Digest: Spotify Inks Long-Term Deal With Merlin, Google Play Now Samsung’s Default Music Service, SAG-AFTRA Fund

Posted by Glen Sears | April 24, 2017 9:21 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Spotify Locks Down Long-Term Licensing Pact With Merlin
Spotify and independent label organization Merlin have agreed to a multi-year licensing agreement that ensures an uninterrupted flow of music from non-majors to the music streaming leader, plus extends to Merlin members the same flexible release option that was core to a recent deal with Universal Music Group.

“This new agreement lays the path to future sustainable growth for us both, and we look forward to remaining an integral part in the service’s continued success,” said Merlin CEO Charles Caldas in a statement.

Other Music News Highlights

Spotify Has Launched A Facebook Messenger Bot For Music Discovery And Sharing. The bot, originally uncovered by TechCrunch, includes search, recommendations, sharing a 30 second song clip within Messenger, or launching Spotify to hear the full song.

Streaming May Have Slowed Piracy, But It Certainly Hasn’t Stopped It. According to a late 2016 study by Ipsos for the IFPI which surveyed 12,600 internet users in 13 countries, more than 1/3 said they had still accessed copyright infringing music over the previous 6 months.

Google Play Music Becomes Default Music Service On All Samsung Mobile Devices. Google also promised to add more “special features in Google Play Music just for Samsung customers, including expanded cloud music storage and integration with Samsung’s Bixby voice control system.

How Royalties Are Paid On All Three Pandora Music Services. Glenn Peoples explains, in welcome detail, the new royalty distribution processes for all of Pandora’s new streaming tiers.

AFM/SAG-AFTRA Fund Pays Royalties to Oft-Neglected Backup Singers, Session Musicians. The joint fund, the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, distributed about $60 million in royalties in 2016 to backup singers and session musicians, who otherwise might not receive music royalties at all.

YouTube Settlement Helps Push GEMA Collections Up 15% In 2016. The PRO collected $1.14B on behalf of its 70,000 members and rights owners last year; That’s up 15% — or $166.9M — from 2015’s $969.7M.

Deezer Is Exploring User Centric Licensing. MiDIA’s Mark Mulligan claims that “The general consensus among labels I have spoken to is cautious optimism..One of the key concerns was that the model could penalize some indie labels.”

Digest: Fans More Willing To Pay For Music, Amazon’s Music Plans, Slacker Lays Off Staff

Posted by Glen Sears | April 17, 2017 9:20 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Fans Have A Growing Willingness To Actually Pay For Music
Music fans are showing a growing willingness to actually pay for music, and that is helping to drive the current growth in the recorded music industry. In fact, the value of those fans grew 11% last year driven by tens of millions of $10 per month on-demand subscriptions, according to MusicWatch’s Annual Music Study.

Read the full story on Hypebot

Other Music News Highlights

“Music Streaming Still Needs To Get A Lot Easier For Consumers.” In an exclusive interview with MBW, Steve Boom discusses Amazon’s ambitions in digital music, streaming’s potential to grow globally, the tricky subject of artist exclusives and free vs. paid- plus the small matter of how we’re all going to listen to music in future.

Slacker Radio Has Laid Off 25% Of Its Staff. “Slacker Radio is laying off approximately 25% of the team as part of our ongoing effort to focus on efficiency and accelerate the path towards profitability.”

Pandora Is Now Talking To Private Equity Firms In Search Of Cash. Pandora is in talks with private equity firms Providence Equity Partners, Silver Lake, KKR and others; tandem talks with other potential partners about strategic investments and even sale are continuing, and Pandora hired Centerview Partners last July to explore strategic options.

TuneCore Now Offers Musicians and Indie Labels Fast, Low Cost Royalty Advances. TuneCore launched TuneCore Direct Advance in collaboration with Lyric Financial — a new service provides U.S.-based TuneCore customers the option of quick, automated advances on their future distribution sales revenue.

U.K. Recorded Music Industry Grew By 5.1% in 2016. Mark Mulligan of MiDIA Research gives his quick take on another streaming music success, and why there may be more to the story.

Digest: SOCAN & SODRAC Set To Join Forces, Spotify Signs UMG Deal, May Avoid IPO

Posted by Glen Sears | April 10, 2017 9:40 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

SOCAN Set To Join Forces With Reproduction Rights Body SODRAC
Canadian music rights bodies SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada) and SODRAC (Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada) are actively discussing the possibility of combining operations.

‘The integration of the management of public performance rights and reproduction rights could have many advantages and would reduce operating costs for rights holder members of each organization, and promises to increase efficiencies, leverage licensing relationships, and reduce operating costs, resulting in even more money to go to those who have earned royalties for their music and streamlined licensing for businesses using music,’ read a press release.

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide

Other Music News Highlights

Canadian Music Rights Groups Hope to Make ‘Quick Progress’ on Merger. Baptiste expects to have board approval “within the next few months,” but notes that timeline could change: “We are meeting again. It’s going to be up to the board of SOCAN and the board of SODRAC to decide, but we hope to make quick progress on this.”

Spotify Signs Long-Term Deal With Universal, Opens Door on Windowing. The agreement, announced last week, represents the end of Spotify’s long-standing policy of granting all of its users — both free and premium alike — access to complete albums on their release dates.

Universal And Spotify’s Deal Is An Even Bigger Deal Than It Looks. Mark Mulligan writes that “Although the big focus across the industry so far is, understandably, on what this means for Spotify, it is also part of a bigger story, namely that of the maturation of the streaming market and its associated business models.”

Could Spotify ‘IPO’ (Without An IPO) As Early As September? Much has been made of Spotify’s imminent IPO, but a new report suggests the streaming service is instead considering a different approach – through a direct listing on a US stock exchange.

Google Play Music Launches in India, Undercuts Apple. Google is offering users its streaming service and radio stations for an initial discounted price of Rs 89 per month ($1.40) for those that sign up within 45 days, reports the India Times.

Major Scandal At The Copyright Office With $25 Million ‘Fake Budget’ Line Item. According to a Techdirt report, Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante put in place a fake twenty-five million dollar budget line item, and then intentionally deceived congress about it.

YouTube, Creators Respond To Monetization Threshold Change. Many throughout the industry have had strong reaction to YouTube’s changes to their monetization rules, including YouTube itself.

Digest: Dissecting the RIAA 2016 Year-End Report, Report Claims Safe Harbor Costs Industry $1B, Emoticast Raises $5M

Posted by Glen Sears | April 3, 2017 9:20 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Five Takeaways From the RIAA’s Year-End Music Industry Report
When the RIAA released its revenue statistics for 2016 yesterday (March 30), the headlines were about the industry’s remarkable growth — U.S. recorded music sales grew 11.4 percent, bolstered by the strength of streaming. That’s the first double-digit growth since 1998. But a closer look at the numbers reveals a few other notable trends.

Read the full story on Billboard

Other Music News Highlights

With Streaming’s Explosion, Where Does the U.S. Music Business Go From Here? The question now is whether this nascent recovery will continue — and whether an industry dominated by streaming can eventually return to a level close to its 1999 revenue peak of $14.6 billion.

Streaming Subscription Revenue Rises 133% In Australia To Top $80M. The wholesale value of Australia’s recorded music market has risen for a second consecutive year as the growth in income generated from ad-funded streaming dramatically slows.

Report: Safe-Harbor Costs United States Music Business “Nearly $1B A Year.” “Using 2015 data, we find that that a plausible royalty rate increase could produce increased royalty revenues in the U.S. of $650 million to over one billion dollars a year,” claims the Phoenix Center report.

SoundExchange Is Distributing SiriusXm Settlement Funds For Pre-1972 Recordings. The distribution began in the Fall of last year, but “as we distribute these funds in the future, recording artists will notice a line item on their statements that identifies “Pre-72 Settlement” royalties,” SoundExchange said in a statement on Wednesday.

Emoticast Raises $5M As Sean Parker, will.i.am, David Guetta Back Mobile Music Messenger. Emoticast has global licenses with major label groups Universal Music and Warner Music; and major publishing groups, including Sony ATV, Warner Chappell, Universal, Sony BMG and PRS/Impel.

Paul McCartney Claims Sony Is Devaluing His Beatles Rights. His lawyer also tells a judge that without resolution to his attempt to reclaim rights, McCartney would be exposing himself — and others — to liability.

Pandora Under Pressure Even As Music Industry Warms To Westergren. Activist investors have come to view Pandora very differently from its users, with Corvex Management LP, which owns 8.8% of Pandora and may increase its stake to as high as 15%, pressuring Pandora to either get profitable quickly or sell.

Report: Apple Music Had 20% More Users Last Month Than Spotify or Pandora. 90 day free trials helped Apple Music amass 20% more unique monthly users in the U.S. in February than Spotify or Pandora, says a just-released study by Verto Index.

Native Instruments Buys Remix-Licensing Startup MetaPop. MetaPop recently announced that it had successfully licensed more than 20,000 bootleg remixes, with the company paying rightsholders 70% of the subsequent revenues; remixers 15%, and keeping a 15% cut for itself.

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