MediaNet Blog

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.

Digest: Big Players Back dotBlockchain, ESPN Reaches Licensing Settlement, Sprint Reveals TIDAL Details

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | February 6, 2017 9:38 am | No Comments

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Top Story Last Week

SOCAN, CD Baby, SongTrust And FUGA Back DotBlockchain
The dotBlockchain Music Project (dotBC), which aims to solve data, rights, ownership and payment issues in the music industry, has won backing from SOCAN and subsidiary MediaNet, plus Songtrust, CDBaby and FUGA. The partners will contribute technical and financial resources to the project, which will allow dotBC to accelerate its product development efforts.

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide

Other Music News Highlights

ESPN Reaches Settlement in Music Licensing Dispute. The deal resolves a rate-setting proceeding that ESPN initiated a year ago when it sued BMI for allegedly not being reasonable in licensing negotiations.

Netflix Taps BMG for Music Publishing Rights Outside U.S. The exclusive agreement covers elements such as scores, featured songs, transition cues and themes for all Netflix-owned original programming, including TV series, docs and feature films.

Canada’s SOCAN Announces 8 Percent Growth in Revenue, Huge Jump in Streaming. “SOCAN’s work to lead the global transformation of music rights continues, benefitting music creators and publishers even more in terms of royalties identified, collected, and distributed in Canada and worldwide,” said CEO Eric Baptiste, in a statement.

Why Did Sprint Pay $200m For TIDAL? Now we know: because Sprint Corporation CEO Raul Marcelo Claure is using TIDAL as a “test case” to see if exclusive content can help close the gap on rivals like AT&T.

SoundExchange Pays Out Record $884 Million. The record comes amid uncertainty over how SoundExchange revenue will be affected by an increasing number of direct deals between digital broadcaster and rightsholders.

Report Claims Spotify IPO Could Slip Back To 2018. TechCrunch heard from multiple sources that the company is weighing a plan to delay an IPO until 2018 to build up a better balance sheet and work on shifting its business model to improve its margins.

Nielsen Completes Acquisition of Gracenote. With the deal, Nielsen significantly expands its footprint for data measurement via Gracenote’s global database and technology solutions that spans across multichannel video programming distributors, smart televisions, streaming music services, connected devices, media players and in-car infotainment systems.

Digest: Radio Royalty Battles Restart in Congress, SoundExchange Audits DSPs, Apple Moves iTunes to Ireland

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 30, 2017 9:29 am | No Comments

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Top Story This Week

SoundExchange Issues Audit Notices for Many Digital Music Services
Federal Register notices have recently been issued to audit certain companies in various music spaces, including satellite radio, webcasters, broadcasters who stream, and business establishment services. While notices of these audits are public, the results are not. All that is publicly known is that a number of services will have to deal with SoundExchange’s auditors, who under CRB rules must be Certified Public Accountants.

Read the full story on Broadcast Law Blog

Other Music News Highlights

Radio Royalties Battle Lines Being Drawn With New Congress. According to the NAB, 115 members of Congress have signed the non-binding resolution, dubbed the Local Radio Freedom Act, which resists efforts by labels to gather royalty payments for radio play.

Apple Moving International iTunes Business to Ireland. Apple announced its intentions to move its iTunes business to Ireland in September when it transferred an estimated $9 billion of iTunes assets.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Saw Revenues Grow 10% Last Year. While it’s true that Sony/ATV’s core UK company – Sony/ATV Music Publishing Ltd – saw revenues of £53m (+10.3%) in its last fiscal year, along with operating profits of £2.26m (-15.2%), further calculations give a fuller picture of the publisher’s commercial performance.

Sony International Boss Edgar Berger Exits After 12 Years. News of Berger’s exit comes in the same month we learned that Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton – the figure ultimately responsible for Sony Music and Sony Pictures – is also out, leaving to focus on his role as Chairman of Snap Inc’s board.

Russia Permanently Blocks DailyMotion, Citing Copyright Law. The Moscow city court ruled that DailyMotion had repeatedly violated Russia’s copyright law by hosting shows from Russian TV network Pyatnitsya!, owned by Gazprom’s TV arm Gazprom Media.

Digest: Sprint Buys 33% of TIDAL, MusicFirst Lobbies Congress, YouTube Red Expanding in 2017

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 23, 2017 9:21 am | No Comments

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Top Story This Week

Sprint Buys 33% of Jay Z’s Music Streaming Service Tidal
Sprint Corp. acquired a 33 percent stake in music-streaming service Tidal as the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier turns to media streaming to attract more customers with exclusive content.

Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s chief executive officer, will join the Tidal board and musician Jay Z will continue to run the business, according to a statement Monday. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Sprint paid $200 million for the stake, according to a report in MusicBusinessWorldwide.

Read the entire story on Bloomberg

Other Music News Highlights

MusicFirst Coalition Pens Letter to Congress on Radio, Copyright Concerns. Dated Jan. 18, the letter outlines the group’s main aims in its pursuit of “market-based principles [that] drive compensation for all artists and creators whenever and however their music is played.”

CEO Susan Wojcicki Promises YouTube Red Expansion In 2017. “We’ll continue to roll out YouTube Red in new markets throughout 2017, giving creators another meaningful way to earn revenue from their content and fans access to brand new original series and films.”

Donald Trump Expected to Appoint Ajit Pai as New FCC Chairman. In his time at the FCC, Pai has been extremely vocal about his unhappiness with the agency’s heavy hand, and has signaled an intent to roll back the FCC’s “open internet” rules, also known as Net Neutrality.

Is Apple Getting Serious About Original Content? The iPhone maker is exploring producing original television shows and movies to turn its Apple Music subscription service into what Apple executive Jimmy Iovine described Jan. 14 as “an entire cultural, pop cultural experience.”

Have $9.99 Streaming Subscriptions Reached A Saturation Point? MiDIA Research’s Mark Mulligan wonders, based on the financially polarizing pricing structure currently being implemented by the streaming industry, if the number of customers willing to pay $9.99 has hit a saturation point.

Garth Brooks’ Ghost Tunes Folding Into Amazon Music. A digital and physical distribution platform billed as an alternative to iTunes that launched a little over two years ago, Ghost Tunes is apparently folding into Amazon Music.

Sony/ATV Responds Publicly To Paul McCartney Lawsuit. McCartney filed the lawsuit last week in the Southern New York District Court, claiming that Sony/ATV had repeatedly failed to confirm it would transfer US copyrights to the songwriter when the company’s legal rights expire.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Digest: Soundcloud Is/Isn’t Running Out of Cash, SESAC Sells to Blackstone (for Maybe A Lot?)

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | January 9, 2017 9:47 am | No Comments

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Top Story This Week

SoundCloud ‘May Run Out Of Cash This Year’ As It Posts $54M Loss
SoundCloud’s losses grew faster than its revenues in 2015 – with the company now admitting that, should its subscription service flop, its funding may run dry this year, according to a new filing at Companies House (UK).

“The assumption of a successful launch of the new subscription service is the key element of [our] financial projections for the next three years… [This] bears financial risks regarding the operating results and cash flows of the group. The occurrence of these risks can seriously affect the ability of the group to generate sufficient cash to cover the planned expenditures and could require the Group to raise additional funds which have not yet been agreed.”

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide

Other Music News Highlights

SoundCloud Responds To Cash Crunch Claims. In a statement, Soundcloud told journalists: “We are on a very positive path to achieving our aim of enabling all creators to be paid for their work, while also building a financially sustainable platform where our connected community of creators, listeners and curators can continue to thrive.”

Blackstone to Acquire Music Rights Organization SESAC. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but this marks Blackstone’s first step in a new strategy to hold onto private investments longer than most equity firms, a point highlighted by SESAC CEO John Josephson in the announcement.

Was Blackstone’s SESAC Acquisition a $1 Billion Deal? Ed Christman looks at the tea leaves in the Blackstone/SESAC acquisition that “might well be $1 billion deal,” including company financials and Wall Street reports.

BMI Files Action Against RMLC Over Royalty Rate Proposal. “The RMLC can point to no changed circumstances that warrant a reduction in BMI’s interim or final rate,” the BMI filing states. “BMI believes that the market developments will support a final rate of greater than 1.7 percent of gross revenue payable to BMI.”

BMG Responds To Appeal In Cox Communications Dispute. “Cox claims that BMG’s notices are ‘littered with flaws’, but Cox was able to identify errors in a tiny handful of the 1.8 million BMG notices at issue — the evidence showed that Rightscorp’s system was ‘well over 99%’ accurate.”

SiriusXM Ends 2016 With More Than 31 Million Subscribers. The company also said that it expects to meet or exceed its 2016 guidance for revenue, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), as well as free cash flow when it reports its full financials next month.

All Three Major Labels, Pandora and RIAA Announce Support for Hi-Res Audio Streaming. The announcement came during, and from, the 50th Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where the DEG sponsored a hi-res “Audio Pavilion.” The exhibition manifested its “Stream the Studio” message with a fully-equipped world-class recording facility filled with hi-res devices and showcasing a series of live demo sessions with award-winning engineers.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Recent posts

Digest: Spotify Close To Major Label Deals, Budging on Windowing, UMG Partners For VR Experiences
March 20, 2017
Digest: Spotify Acquires Sonalytic To Improve Pub Data, Pandora Premium Launching, NMPA Goes To Court
March 13, 2017
Digest: Facebook Is Hiring A Licensing Expert, YouTube Is Launching a TV Service, Global Music Revenue at 15-Year High
March 6, 2017

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