MediaNet Blog

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

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | 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, Editorial Content Manager | 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, Editorial Content Manager | 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, Editorial Content Manager | 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.

Digest: Spotify Close To Major Label Deals, Budging on Windowing, UMG Partners For VR Experiences

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | March 20, 2017 9:30 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Spotify To Sign New Licensing Deals With Major Labels ‘Within Weeks’?
The Financial Times is reporting optimistic news: it says that “licensing talks have picked up considerably” between the Spotify and Universal Music Group – and even that “deals [with the major labels] could be inked within weeks.”

According to the FT’s sources, Spotify has changed stance on one crucial point: finally agreeing to allow blockbuster album releases to be ‘windowed’ on its premium tier.

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide.

Other Music News Highlights

Spotify Softens Stance on Windowing New Music In Exchange For Lower Royalty Rates. The concession, which Spotify has long resisted, would reportedly be in exchange for the labels agreeing to reduced royalty fees for songs — the proposed deals are seen as a crucial step as Spotify tries to clear the path for an IPO in 2018.

Drake Has Reportedly Generated More Than $50m On Spotify. A spokesperson said: “Drake continues to break Spotify records, including his own, and is now the number one streamed artist and the first to reach over 10 billion streams.

Universal Inks Deal With MelodyVR For ‘Revolutionary Music VR Experiences.’ MelodyVR says it will be creating experiences with UMG artists including sell-out concerts, live performances, immersive music videos and intimate behind-the-scenes content.

Chance The Rapper Says Apple Music Paid $500,000 For 2 Week “Coloring Book” Exclusive. “I just wanna remain transparent, folks out there without a deal need to know they’re doing everything right just keep at it…I think (an) artist can gain a lot from the streaming wars as long as they remain in control of their own product.”

Pandora Not For Sale, Will Be Profitable This Year, Says Pandora CEO As Stock Falls. Pandora founder and CEO Tom Westergren made some bold claims during a CNBC appearance Monday — Wall Street seemed unimpressed, pushing the stock -6.3% to $11.60 by midday Tuesday.

Performance Rights in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Kicked to California Supreme Court. The development is the latest in a high-stakes showdown that’s been unraveling since Flo & Eddie of The Turtles brought class actions against Sirius XM and Pandora for broadcasting hits like “Happy Together.”

Ticketmaster Expands ‘Verified Fan’ Program To Combat Bots, Ticket Scalping. Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan uses a combination of expert systems and customer data such as purchasing history in an effort to identify fans purchasing tickets and cut down on automated ticket buying systems or bots.

Digest: Spotify Acquires Sonalytic To Improve Pub Data, Pandora Premium Launching, NMPA Goes To Court

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | March 13, 2017 10:14 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Spotify Acquires Audio Detection Startup Sonalytic To Improve Publishing Data
Spotify has acquired Sonalytic, a UK based startup that specializes in audio identification that enables us to connect creators and rights-holders to monetization opportunities.

Spotify says it will use Sonalytic audio detection to improve its personalized playlists and to match songs with compositions to improve their publishing data system. Publishing data and subsequent payments have been a source of tension between the music streamer and music publishers and songwriters.

Read the full story on Hypebot.

Other Music News Highlights

Opinion 1: “Spotify Could Use It’s New Acquisition To Take On Shazam.” Hypebot reports that, “in addition to its public intent to use Sonalytic’s audio detection to improve its personalized playlists and to match songs with compositions to improve their publishing data system, Spotify could use it to build its own Shazam.”

Opinion 2: “Could Sonalytic Help Spotify Build, Not Buy SoundCloud?” “If Spotify is so minded, then, it could use Sonalytic’s technology to build its own version of the kind of technology SoundCloud has been developing – and thus open up Spotify’s platform to the kind of mixes, mash-ups and other user-generated content that has been the engine behind SoundCloud’s growth.”

Pandora Premium $9.99 On Demand Streaming To Launch Wednesday. Invites for a free trial will be sent to select users this Wednesday; and an option to upgrade will be available to all listeners over the coming weeks.

Liberty: We’d Buy Pandora… For $1bn Less Than We Offered Last Year. At the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Florida, Greg Maffei stated that Liberty believes Pandora’s “stock is overvalued. We will not pay the current market price so I think it’s very unlikely we’re going to end up buying them.”

Amazon Is Getting Involved In The Music Festival Business. The plans will involve a “physical festival presence” which could include “on-site food and product delivery, custom tour merchandise for purchase, artist meet and greets, and convenience amenities such as free Wi-Fi, water, charging stations, and restrooms”.

4,000 Songwriters Sign NMPA Petition As Copyright Royalty Rate Hearings Heat Up. The NMPA, in a statement last week, said, “This week the most important trial most people have never heard of will begin in Washington, D.C.”

“I Don’t See A YouTube Value Gap.” Believe boss Denis Ladegaillerie claims his digital distribution and artist services company earns 20% of its overall revenues worldwide from YouTube, and sees it as a vital revenue and promotion tool.

Digest: Facebook Is Hiring A Licensing Expert, YouTube Is Launching a TV Service, Global Music Revenue at 15-Year High

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | March 6, 2017 9:09 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Facebook Is Hiring A Legal Music Licensing Boss
According to a freshly-posted job advert, the company is seeking a Legal Director of Music Licensing, based at its HQ in Menlo Park, California. “In this role, you will be responsible for solving cutting-edge licensing issues on a global scale, with an opportunity to help shape the future of music use on Facebook.”

It explains: “This position will partner closely with internal business counterparts in driving licensing negotiations, as well as coordinating with product, engineering, operations, finance and legal teams in support of the company’s evolving music licensing needs.”

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide

Other Music News Highlights

YouTube to Launch Live TV Service. The new service will include content from all four broadcasters as well as some cable channels, all for $35 a month, the company announced Tuesday at an event for press and partners at YouTube Space LA.

Global Recorded Music Industry Reached $16.1bn In 2016. Discussing the numbers, MiDIA’s Mark Mulligan said: “The recorded music industry changed gear in 2016 and revenue looks set to be on an upward trajectory over the next few years.

SoundCloud Launches $4.99-A-Month Fully On-Demand Streaming Product. “SoundCloud Go answers the call from our users who want the ability to take the huge catalog of content found in SoundCloud’s free, ad-supported offering with them anytime, anywhere, without interruptions, at a very affordable price.”

Spotify Tops 50m Subscribers As Growth Rate Slows Down. It’s an impressive climb, and over double the latest equivalent figure from Apple Music – but actually represents a slowdown in subscriber growth percentage terms.

A Look At The 11 Startups Named To TechStar Music’s Inaugural Class. Bas Grasmayer of Music Tech Future takes a brief look at the eleven startups TechStar Music has inducted into their inaugural startup investment class.

Digest: Dubset Announces Major Funding, BMI/RMLC Interim Licensing Rate, “YouTube Can Do Better”

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | February 27, 2017 9:27 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Dubset Announces $4 Million Funding Round
Dubset Media is getting an injection of funds as it attempts to solve one of dance music’s most frustrating issues. The company, led by CEO Stephen White, announced this morning (Feb. 27) it had completed a $4 million round of Series A funding led by Boston-based equity firm Cue Ball Capital.

In 2015, Dubset — a dance-centric digital distributor based in New York City — introduced a new technology called MixBANK, which identifies individual tracks within DJ mixes, allowing copyright owners to get paid when their work is sampled or remixed within a DJ mix.

MediaNet is proud to be a Series A investor for Dubset, along with Neoteny 3, Resolute Venture Partners and Redwood Venture Partners.

Read the full story on Billboard.

Other Music News Highlights

The Value Of Music Publishing, In 5 Figures. The Midemblog staff take a look at five of Billboard’s latest top 10 publishers in figures and find out how they’re making news.

BMI and Radio Industry Group Agree to Interim Licensing Rate. Broadcast Music Inc. and the Radio Music License Committee have agreed to set an interim rate of 1.7 percent of radio revenue, while the two sides either negotiate a final rate, or failing that, go to rate court to determine the final number.

Coalition of 15 Music Orgs File Complaint Over DMCA. The substance of the filing is fairly similar to what various music business organizations have said before: By setting up a system where rightsholders need to ask websites to remove content uploaded by users, the DMCA erodes the value of music.

Techstars Music Reveals Start-Ups For Inaugural Accelerator Program. Each company will receive a $120,000 investment, mentorship form a vast pool of professionals, support for life, and undergo an intensive three month incubation program out of Techstars’ new L.A. office — in exchange for 6% equity in each company.

‘YouTube Can Do Better’: Cee Lo, Evanescence, Rush Among Artists Calling for DMCA Action. Unlike most such filings, which tend to consist of pages of anecdotes and arguments, the video — titled “YouTube Can Do Better” — couldn’t be much simpler.

Universal Music Group’s Publishing Revenues Have Grown 18% In Two Years. According to new Vivendi data reported in Paris, UMG’s publishing revenues reached €792m ($876m) in 2016, up 4.8% on 2015 in real terms, and up 6.7% at constant currency/perimeter.

Spotify Adds 3 Original Music Business Focused Podcasts. It’s part of a push to add more original content to the music streamer, while still rejecting the exclusive releases favored by some of its major rivals.

Alex Da Kid: “There’s Going To Be A Resurgence In Independent Music Companies.” Universal recently spent big bucks on signing a ‘unique and innovative’ multifaceted deal with the Grammy-winning Brit’s KIDinaKORNER – a combined record label, publisher, production house and marketing agency.

MIDiA: Global Recorded Market Music Market Shares, 2016. MIDiA has created a recorded music market share model to provide a unique view of where the revenue flows in the global business.

Digest: Songkick Accuses Ticketmaster of Hacking, Landmark Anti-Piracy Measure in U.K., YouTube Launches Live Streaming

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | February 21, 2017 9:24 am | No Comments

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Top Story Last Week

Songkick Alleges Live Nation & Ticketmaster Hacked Trade Secrets
Songkick’s long-running lawsuit against Live Nation and Ticketmaster alleging antitrust violations, anticompetitive behavior and intentional interference has taken another turn. In an amended complaint filed in U.S. District Court in California, Songkick is now alleging that a former CrowdSurge executive and current Ticketmaster employee, Stephen Mead, hacked into CrowdSurge’s protected computers and acquired trade secrets and confidential information, which he then funneled to Ticketmaster in order to improve the ticketing giant’s Artist Services division. (Songkick acquired CrowdSurge in June 2015; this lawsuit was initially filed in December 2015.)

In the new filing, Songkick claims Mead resigned from CrowdSurge in July 2012 and walked out with as many as 85,000 documents, including “a suite of proprietary service offerings; financial information, such as ticket sales, merchandise revenues, quarterly profitability, and forecasts of various kinds; cost and pricing data; customer information; and other non-public information of economic value.”

Read the full story on Billboard.

Other Music News Highlights

Spotify-Backed Startup ‘Soundtrack Your Brand’ Raises $22 Million. The Stockholm-based firm, which was founded by Beats Music co-founder Ola Sars and ex-Spotify executive Andreas Liffgarden, provides businesses with a modern platform for playing and curating licensed music in public.

U.K. Labels and Google Partner on Landmark Anti-Piracy Measure. Search engines Google and Bing will step up their efforts to demote and restrict access to copyright infringing websites, following the agreement of a voluntary code of practice between rights holders and tech companies in the U.K.

BMG Awarded $8M More From Cox In $25M Music Piracy Battle. U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady said that without such an award, the cost of suing a company like Cox would “deter other potential plaintiffs from seeking to enforce their rights.”

Universal Music and MQA Announce Hi-Res Streaming Collaboration. “Universal’s timeless catalog and impressive artist roster will fuel music streaming services worldwide and enable the premium listening experience for all music fans.”

YouTube Unleashes Power Of Live Streaming. The new service called “Super Chat” allows users of the service to “get a creator’s attention” by buying a variety of emoji and chat messages which are then pinned to the top of the chat window for up to five hours.

Digest: Soundcloud Loses Two Top Execs, Grammys Recap, Songwriters Threaten To Sue DOJ

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | February 13, 2017 9:54 am | No Comments

SoundCloud Ltd. Co-Founders Unveil U.K. Subscription Service

Top Story Last Week

A Month After Posting Heavy Losses, SoundCloud Loses Two Top Execs
The news comes five weeks after the Berlin-based company filed a fiscal report for 2015 showing annual revenues up 21.6% to €21.1m ($22m), but net losses accelerating 30.9% to €51.22m ($52m). SoundCloud’s co-founder Alexander Ljung noted in the filing that the company may “run out of cash” before the end of 2017 if it cannot secure further financing.

In reaction to Strigel and Harder’s departure, a SoundCloud spokesperson told the Financial Times: “After five or so years, they felt it was time to move on to new adventures.”

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide.

Other Music News Highlights

Grammys 2017 Review: Adele, Tribe and Beyonce Make it an Award Show to Remember. “Such an ending only amplifies the unusual amount of raw feeling produced by the entirety of this year’s Grammys — the excitement, the righteous fury, even the brief moments of humiliation which made these ceremonies so gripping.”

Songwriters Say They Have Standing to Sue the Justice Department Over Consent Decrees. On Tuesday, plaintiffs in this case told a DC Circuit judge they have sufficient standing and concrete injuries to bring constitutional claims over the Justice Department’s latest interpretation of consent decrees stretching back decades.

Google Combines YouTube, Google Play Music Teams, Unified App Appears Likely. “Music is very important to Google and we’re evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we’ll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made.”

Dr. Luke Claims That Kesha Owes Him $1.3 Million in Royalties. “In December 2016 alone, Defendant received payments under her contracts with Plaintiffs in excess of $650,000 — In sharp contrast, Defendant admits that she owes Plaintiff KMI over $1.3 million in ancillary royalties that she has failed to pay.”

Universal Music Wins Battle To Manage Prince Recordings. The multi-year deal struck with the late star’s estate assigns Universal exclusive licensing rights to Prince’s NPG recordings, as well as his (reportedly considerable) vault of unreleased tracks.

For Continued Growth, Music Streaming Needs Product & Pricing Innovation. Analyst Mark Mulligan says “the next phase of the streaming market requires a more sustainable approach to pricing strategy, coupled with some serious product innovation.”

Nearly Half Of US Music Subscribers May Have Amazon Prime Music. According to Parks Associates, given estimates of 102.5m broadband households in the US at the end of 2015, that could mean upwards of 15 million households using Amazon Prime Music.

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Digest: Spotify Inks Long-Term Deal With Merlin, Google Play Now Samsung’s Default Music Service, SAG-AFTRA Fund
April 24, 2017
Digest: Fans More Willing To Pay For Music, Amazon’s Music Plans, Slacker Lays Off Staff
April 17, 2017
Digest: SOCAN & SODRAC Set To Join Forces, Spotify Signs UMG Deal, May Avoid IPO
April 10, 2017

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