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YouTube & ASCAP Announce Landmark Data Sharing Agreement, SOCAN Beats Royalty Records, Believe Digital Seeking Sale

Posted by Glen Sears | June 19, 2017 8:58 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

YouTube, ASCAP to Share Data in First-Ever Voluntary Deal
In what is the performance rights group’s first-ever fully-negotiated, voluntary licensing deal with the decade-old video hub not prompted by a rate-court proceeding, ASCAP will combine its database of 10.5 million musical works with YouTube’s data exchange, a move that ASCAP’s CEO Elizabeth Matthews says will result in bigger payouts.

Other Music News Highlights

Canada’s SOCAN Collected Record-Setting $249M In Royalties For 2016. The PRO said it recorded “new highs on almost every front,” with nearly 4,500 businesses that use music became “licensed to play” with SOCAN and 6,500 additional songwriters, composers and music publishers signed up for membership.

Merlin Deals Paying Out The Equivalent Of Nearly $1M A Day To Independent Labels. Before the end of March, Merlin’s admin fee for these members was 2% of total revenues – it proudly reduced this to 1.5% in April – suggesting its total collections in the 2016/2017 period stood at around $360M.

Believe Digital Actively Seeks Sale, Major Players Show Interest. Global independent distributor, label services provider, and TuneCore owner Believe Digital is for sale, sources tell Hypebot, and a two to three week deadline has been set for initial bids.

Sony/ATV’s Martin Bandier Calls on Spotify, Apple Music, And YouTube To Credit Songwriters. While he acknowledged that songwriters and publishers are beginning to benefit from the uptick in revenues with the rise of streaming, he was quick to note that “songwriters and music publishers, while we’re headed in the right direction, the fruits of our labor are not being equitably rewarded and we are not benefiting from the streaming revolution as meaningfully as we should.”

Spotify Revenues Hit $3.3B In 2016 – But Net Losses Soared To $597M. The streaming giant’s revenues saw healthy growth of 52%, but the ongoing cost of debt and widening operations costs ballooned its net losses over 133%.

Digest: SiriusXM Buys $480M Stake in Pandora, Pandora Unloads Ticketfly, 3 Takeaways from Midem 2017

Posted by Glen Sears | June 12, 2017 10:07 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

SiriusXM to Buy $480M Stake in Pandora
Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of SiriusXM will purchase news convertible preferred stock of Pandora, while SiriusXM has already bought $172.5 million of preferred stock representing a stake of 19 percent in Pandora’s, or a 16 percent stake when converted.

Other Music News Highlights

Pandora Sells Ticketfly To Eventbrite For $200M, A $250M Loss. The Ticketfly transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017 — Eventbrite is funding the acquisition using a combination of $150 million in cash and a $50 million note payable to Pandora.

Analysis: What Pandora’s Ticketfly Sale and SiriusXM Investment Means. The money from the deals, coupled with the $199 million that the company disclosed in 2016 year-end report, gives the company a total of $856 million in cash—buying Pandora time to prove it can build a successful, profitable on-demand music service.

3 Big Takeaways From Midem 2017. Zach Fuller of MiDIA Research shares his top three takeaways from the annual conference addressing the latest developments in the music industry.

YouTube Has A New Label Relations Boss: SoundCloud’s Stephen Bryan. Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube, said: “At YouTube, we have over a billion viewers and thousands of label partners and Stephen is going to be the bridge that brings them together.

Taylor Swift’s Catalog Now On Other Streamers As Apple Music Loses Key Exclusive. Recently Spotify eliminated a key Taylor Swift objection to streaming, adding the ability to window releases.

Concord Acquires Imagem, Sony Merges Red & The Orchard, MiDIA Releases “State of Streaming” Report

Posted by Glen Sears | June 5, 2017 9:44 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Concord Bicycle Music Acquires Imagem In $600 Million Deal, Sources Say
The acquisition of Imagem, first reported by the New York Times, would make Bicycle Music the sixth largest music publisher in the world, Billboard estimates.

Other Top Music News

Concord’s Imagem Buy Marks The Birth Of A Major Player In Music. The last music industry acquisition of a comparable size would have been Sony Corp’s $750m acquisition of the 50% in Sony/ATV it didn’t already own, which completed in August last year.

Sony Merges The Orchard and Red Essential Into Single Division. Based in central London, the new enterprise will take The Orchard name and be led by Red Essential co-managing directors Ian Dutt and Mike Chadwick.

Announcing MIDiA’s State Of The Streaming Nation 2 Report. MIDiA’s 2nd annual benchmark of the global streaming business presents a definitive assessment of the global market, combining an unprecedented breadth and depth of supply side, demand side and market level data, as well as revenue and user forecasts out to 2025.

What Will Spotify’s $43 Million Class Action Settlement Mean For Publishers? Since it’s an opt-out settlement, songwriters and publishers who own works registered with the U.S. Copyright Office are assumed to be included unless they say otherwise.

SoundCloud’s Stephen Bryan Headed To YouTube, Say Sources. As Chief Content Officer at SoundCloud, Bryan was instrumental in closing deals with Universal, Sony, and Warner – agreements which enabled SoundCloud to launch on-demand streaming tier SoundCloud Go.

Napster Makes 20M Indie Tracks Available In Japan With Rakuten Partnership. “Today, we’re excited to partner with Rakuten, a world-class brand, to extend the Napster experience into Asia and bring the Japanese music community access to over 20 million tracks through our partnership with Rakuten Music.”

Warner/Chappell Strikes Multi-Territory Deal With France’s SACEM. The deal specifically covers the administration and licensing of mechanical rights to YouTube, Deezer and French streaming service Qobuz.

Canadians Listen to Way More Radio Than Americans, Study Finds. Edison Research results showed that AM/FM radio stations account for 61 percent of all Canadian listening, whether over-the-air or via streaming, with the U.S. at 50 percent.

Digest: MiDIA Research Teases Yearly Report, TIDAL Loses 3rd CEO, Spotify Settles

Posted by Glen Sears | May 30, 2017 9:38 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

MiDIA Research: Who’s Leading The Streaming Pack?
YouTube and Spotify emerge as the leading services with 25.1% and 16.3% WAU (weekly active user) penetration respectively. However, at the other end of the spectrum, Deezer swaps its top half of the table subscriber count ranking for the bottom ranking for WAUs with just 2.3%.

Other Music News Highlights

Spotify Settles Class Action Lawsuits With $43.4 Million Fund. Under the agreement, which will need to be approved by the court, the streaming company will set up a fund worth $43.4 million to compensate songwriters and publishers whose compositions the service used without paying mechanical royalties.

Judge Agrees Broadcasters Have First Amendment Right to Refuse Advertisements. According to a California federal judge ruling in a case involving SiriusXM, not running an ad is an exercise in free speech.

TIDAL Loses Its Third CEO In Two Years As Jeff Toig Exits. “As part of Tidal’s continued expansion this year we will be announcing a new CEO in the coming weeks,” TIDAL said in a statement.

SoundCloud Announces Departure of Content Chief Stephen Bryan. During his three years in the role, Bryan helped secure the label and publishing deals needed to launch the SoundCloud Go line of on-demand subscription tiers.

IMS Biz Report: Global Electronic Market Up 3% to $7.4 Billion. The report, which looked at industry data from 2016, reported the dance music market was up 3% to $7.4 billion dollars, up from $7.1 billion the year before.

Digest: Pandora & SiriusXM Might Be Back On, Paypal Sues, DOJ Appeals in BMI Case

Posted by Glen Sears | May 22, 2017 10:42 am | No Comments

Story of the Week

SiriusXM’s Pandora Buyout Could Be Back On
That’s according to a new report from the New York Post, which suggests that Sirius recently restarted talks with Pandora’s banks and is currently “discussing the size of a potential offer.”

Top Music News Highlights

Pandora Sued By PayPal For Alleged ‘Harmful’ Logo Infringement. PayPal’s suit, filed on May 19, claims: “The similarities between the logos are striking, obvious, and patently unlawful. Just like the PayPal logo, the Pandora logo is a capital P in block style, sans serif, with no counter, in the same deep-blue color range.”

Merlin Agrees Multi-Year Licensing Deal With HD Music Firm MQA. The partnership will enable the number of independent labels represented by Merlin to encode their master recordings in MQA’s master quality audio technology.

Department of Justice Appeals Consent Decree Ruling, BMI Hits Back. The DOJ claims that BMI is seeking to include a special exception for split works and it notes that while BMI has the right to license some of these split works on a full-works basis, it is asking the court to create an exception for all split works so that it can provide fractional licenses for those songs.

France’s Sacem Posts Record Revenues of $1.5 Billion. Of that total, $1.3 billion was paid out to members and affiliate neighboring rights organizations (up 2% on 2015) with just under $67 million invested in almost 2,000 creative and cultural sustainability projects – including financial support for music venues and festivals – to help “ensure long term growth for the industry.”

The MP3 Is Dead, Long Live The MP3. The last of the patents related to the MP3 format expired (or will very soon), so patent-holder Fraunhofer IIS has nothing left to license.

Digest: Spotify Nearing WMG Deal and May List Directly, SoundExchange Acquires CMRRA, eMusic Relaunches

Posted by Glen Sears | May 15, 2017 9:28 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Warner Music Boss Nears Royalty Deal With Spotify
Sources tell On the Money that Warner and Spotify are getting this close to a new royalty agreement and a deal could be signed by June; if inked, Daniel Ek’s Spotify would be on the way to its long-planned IPO — expected in the final quarter of 2017.

Top Music News Headlines

Spotify Valued At $13bn – And Is Pushing Ahead With A Direct Listing. The move would be the biggest test yet for the direct listing process, which for companies willing to list shares without raising capital eliminates the need for a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite an initial public offering (IPO) along with many associated fees.

SoundExchange Moves Into Publishing Rights By Acquiring Canadian Body CMRRA. The organization has been thriving in recent years, but its business model faces some undeniable threats: SoundExchange’s biggest source of revenues, Pandora, is failing to grow its listener base – and recently inked direct licensing deals for the first time to cover its new three-tiered streaming product.

Pandora Secures At Least $150m Investment But May Still Sell. Pandora’s revenues grew by 6.3% year-on-year to $316m in the first quarter of 2017, however, the company’s net loss increased from $115.1m in Q1 2016 to $132.3m a year later, with a 9.4% hike in content acquisition costs to $187.4m one of the key reasons.

Australian Streaming Guvera Service Has Shut Down. According to CEO Herft’s letter to shareholders, the company will look into selling or commercializing some of its “valuable” intellectual properties in an attempt to get back on its feet.

eMusic Relaunches As Indie-Centric Music Service. The “fully overhauled and upgraded” eMusic is based around a music ownership model rather than an access streaming model and offers users free and discounted downloads, cloud-based storage, universal access on any device and a catalog of 32 million titles exclusively from independent labels.

Smule Raises $54M At $604M Valuation. Social music startup Smule has raised $54 million in a strategic financing round led by Tencent, used to expand the service, which has 54 million monthly active users creating over 20 million songs daily, into Asia.

Google Releases Study Defending YouTube’s Value To Music Biz; Trade Bodies Hit Back. According to a European study carried out by RBB Economics, if music content was removed from YouTube around 85 percent of the time that users spend on the platform would switch to lower value channels, such as TV, radio or internet radio.

iTunes and Apple Music Coming to Microsoft’s Windows Store. Microsoft said that once the app is released to the Windows Store, users of its just-revealed Windows 10 S operating system will get a “complete” iTunes experience, including Apple Music and full support for iPhone syncing.

Universal Music Group Revenue Rises 12.7%, Biggest Q1 In 15 Years. A UMG company spokesman said that the first quarter revenue was its highest first quarter total since UMG reported 1.365 billion euros ($1.48 billion) back in the first quarter of 2002.

Digest: WMG Signs Deal With YouTube, VKontakte Launches Streaming, The Orchard Expands in Europe

Posted by Glen Sears | May 8, 2017 9:40 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Warner Music Group Extends Deal With YouTube
Warner Music Group has extended its recorded music and publishing deals with YouTube, according to the video platform and a memo by WMG CEO Stephen Cooper obtained by Billboard. The memo said WMG was able to secure “the best possible deals under very difficult circumstances” and that term for the deal is shorter so to allow for “more options in the future.”

Other Important Music News

Everything You Need To Know About The “Difficult” WMG, YouTube Deal. Hypebot breaks down the nitty-gritty details of the WMG/YouTube deal and aggregates responses, as well as analysis, from around the internet.

Irving Azoff Hopes Warner Music Avoided ‘Step Backwards’ On YouTube Deal. “I trust that Warner took its responsibility to its artists and insisted on two crucial points: both better control for artists and increased compensation,” Mr. Azoff said in an email.

‘Russia’s Facebook’ Launches Fully Licensed New Spotify Rival. With over 100 million active users, Russian Facebook VKontakte (VK) has the same sized audience as Spotify’s last confirmed active user base (across both freemium and premium users).

SoundExchange Q1 Collections Down Thanks To Pandora Direct Deals. In these new agreements, Pandora is paying rights owners directly and SoundExchange is continuing to pay artist royalties directly for the service’s ad-supported tier.”

Sony’s The Orchard Buys Independent Distributors Finetunes And Phonofile. The move effectively means Sony has acquired four independent European distributors in little over a year; the company swooped for both Essential Music & Marketing (UK) and Century Media (DE) in 2016 for a combined price of just under $21m.

German Music Publishers Hold ‘Historic’ Meeting to Show Unity Amid Royalty Sharing ‘Crisis.’ Germany’s music publishers are coming to terms after a court decided in November that performing rights society GEMA is not required to give them an equal share of all income.

Digest: Musical.ly Partners With Apple Music, Merlin Drops Fees, Spotify Bets on Blockchain

Posted by Glen Sears | May 1, 2017 9:26 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Musical.ly, Apple Music Ink New Partnership
With the new partnership, Musical.ly users will be able to stream full-length songs — rather than just 15-second clips — from Apple Music’s catalog directly within the Musical.ly app, with the further option to save particular songs to their own playlists within Apple Music and access Musical.ly-branded playlists via the streaming service as well.

Other Music News Highlights

Apple Music To Reportedly Relaunch With More Video, Original Programming. “A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists. I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.”

Merlin Reduces Fees For Indies 25%. “On the back of our new agreement with Spotify, I am proud to announce yet another reduction in our Administration Fee,” Charles Caldas, CEO, Merlin said. “Together it means Merlin continues to deliver maximum value to our members’ digital business, and highlights our ongoing commitment to provide ever greater efficiencies.”

Spotify Hires Mediachain Labs, Blockchain Developers. When applied to the music industry, blockchain technology resembles a secure-but-shared ledger that connects data “blocks” containing data about every song and its rights holders.

Bill to Make Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee Approved by U.S. House. The next stop for this reform effort will be the Senate, where thus far legislation to accomplish that end has not been approved.

VKontakte (Russia’s Facebook) Launches Built-In Music Streaming Service. The built-in music service allows users to choose between the subscription-based and ad-supported models, giving them access to tracks licensed from Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Merlin Network and local labels.

Universal Music Group Valued At $22bn – Three Times What It Was Worth In 2013. That’s according to top brass at UMG parent Vivendi, speaking at its annual shareholders’ meeting April 25th in Paris.

Streaming Income For TuneCore Artists grew 85% Last Year. Streaming revenue for TuneCore artists was up 85% with top streaming stores including Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify and Google Play. Publishing revenue for TuneCore artists was up 42% percent from 2015, and sync revenue up 28%.

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.

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Recent posts

YouTube & ASCAP Announce Landmark Data Sharing Agreement, SOCAN Beats Royalty Records, Believe Digital Seeking Sale
June 19, 2017
Digest: SiriusXM Buys $480M Stake in Pandora, Pandora Unloads Ticketfly, 3 Takeaways from Midem 2017
June 12, 2017
Concord Acquires Imagem, Sony Merges Red & The Orchard, MiDIA Releases “State of Streaming” Report
June 5, 2017

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