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Digest: SoundExchange Revenue To Drop in 2017, Alibaba Investing $7.2 Billion in Entertainment

Posted by Glen Sears | January 3, 2017 9:50 am | No Comments

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Top Story This Week

SoundExchange Could See Collected Revenue Shrink by $200 Million in 2017
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, a recent shift to direct licensing likely lead to slower growth in 2016 and a precipitous drop this year as collections could decrease by about $200 million, according to Billboard estimates.

The primary reason for this loss is that some of the major satellite, digital radio and cable music players have begun moving away from using a compulsory license for recorded music and are instead signing direct deals with record labels.

Read the full story on Billboard

Other Music New Highlights

European Entertainment Stocks Mostly Down in 2016. European entertainment industry stocks are on track to mostly finish 2016 lower amid concerns about economic trends and advertising revenue momentum, as well as Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and individual challenges.

Apple Music Beats Spotify, Pandora To Rank 9th In Mobile Usage, Says Nielsen. Despite heavy iOS focus and status as a paid subscription service, with 20 million paid users, about two-thirds of the app’s overall 68.4 million 2016 users accessed the app’s limited free offerings.

Alibaba Set to Invest $7.2 Billion on Entertainment Content. The unit’s new CEO Yu Yongfu said that the company planned to invest heavily in content, adding that he “didn’t come to play,” according to an internal memo seen by Reuters and confirmed by a company spokesperson.

RIAA Exec Q&A: 2017 Will be a “Critical Year” for Music Law. “While litigation can be an important tool, it often takes a long time and the results are unclear,” says Steve Marks. “Solutions between business and industry partners can clear a path through thorny legal issues.”

SoundCloud Touts Music Discovery, Creator Updates In Year End Report. SoundCloud is touting improvements in both music discovery and tools for creators in its year-end wrap up—2016 was the year that the music streamer finally added a paid subscription service and began paying more, but not all, creators.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Dubset Launches Remixes on Streaming, Techstars Announces Music Startup Incubator, Azoff Goes After “Pirates”

Posted by Glen Sears | October 10, 2016 10:16 am | No Comments

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Spotify And Apple Music Dubset Deals Start To Pay Off

Startup Dubset Media is trying to license the kind of remixes and mash-ups previously only available on SoundCloud for other streaming services, with Apple Music and Spotify already on its slate of distribution deals.

TechCrunch reported that one of the first Dubset-licensed remixes has gone live on Spotify and Apple Music: a DJ Jazzy Jeff remix of Anderson Paak’s ‘Room In Here’. Interestingly, on Spotify the track’s rightsholder is listed as Dubset Media.

“Mixes are coming next,” Dubset boss Stephen White told TechCrunch. “Content owners have been very supportive. The publishing and label deals we have under license provides a large catalogue to work with.”

Read the full story on Music Ally.

Top Music News Stories

Techstars to Launch Accelerator for Music-Industry Tech Startups. It is the second music-focused accelerator to start in recent months, [paywall] after artist-management firm Th3rd Brain started one to help launch careers for individual musicians.

Irving Azoff Claims YouTube “Pirates” Are “Really Evil.” The CEO and Chairman of Azoff MSG Entertainment, Irving Azoff, is leveling some heavy criticism at YouTube in very public war as he attempts to get the popular video sharing site to properly compensate artists for their music.

What Is Google Daydream And What Does It Mean For Music VR? There are a growing number of VR/music startups who are expected to explore the Daydream platform alongside Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and other VR platforms.

Amazon Reportedly to Launch Amazon Music Unlimited and Echo-Only Streaming Service. A new post from German blogger Carsten Knobloch points to a clue hidden deep in the code for the Amazon Music app for the Fire TV media streamer that shows the company is due to launch their new music service soon.

Deezer Partners With Feature.fm to Let Artists Pay for Sponsored Plays. Feature.fm promises “unprecedented exposure” to artists who find themselves outside the radio system, offering a self-service way to upload music, choose a target audience and then monitor its performance — for a fee.

Download Revenue To Shrink 50% As Streaming Music Grows To 950 Million Users. According to the latest forecast by Strategy Analytics, streaming will account for 95% of all mobile music use, and that will grow the market to $12 billion by 2022.

TuneCore Acquires JustGo, Relaunches It As A Free Social Media Tool. TuneCore Social offers streamlined posts to Facebook, Twitter, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, YouTube, and Instagram, plus scheduled posts and analytics.

Spotify Reportedly Dealing With Malware Issue On Its Free Service. Spotify has acknowledged the issue, blaming “an isolated issue with an ad on our free tier” and promising that “We have now identified the source of the problem and have shut it down.

BitTorrent Reportedly Fires Co-CEOs, Shutters Streaming Service. During Delamar and Johnson’s brief tenure, the company launched BitTorrent Live, an app featuring 16 channels of live streaming content from independent video producers.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: The Whole Story on the Frank Ocean Apple Music Exclusive, Spotify’s Label Contracts Expire, Closing the Value Gap in Europe

Posted by Glen Sears | August 29, 2016 9:14 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

What the Frank Ocean Apple Music Exclusive Deal Means for UMG, Artists, and Labels
When Frank Ocean’s latest album ‘Blond’ dropped, it did so like a nuclear bomb, sending shockwaves throughout the music industry. In one of the audacious release strategies of recent years, Ocean and his team at 360 fulfilled the final album contractual commitment to Universal Music by ushering his breaking-the-mold visual album ‘Endless’ onto Apple Music.

But no sooner had Universal executives started daydreaming about Grammys then along came what turned out to be the ‘actual’ album ‘Blonde’, self released by Ocean (Universal contractual commitments now of course conveniently fulfilled) and, for now at least, exclusively available on Apple Music. Universal boss Lucian Grainge then reportedly sent a memo to the entire company outlawing exclusive deals with streaming services.

Sean Glass – a former Apple Music employee – wrote: “Contrary to what you read, there’s no scary Apple board room conspiracy where corporate is plotting to take over creativity via artist exclusives. There’s one guy who is behind ALL of these campaigns — and he is light years ahead of everyone else. He works intimately with each artist as a creative peer, and develops an amazing plan, this is no simple land grab. He works closer with the artists than labels do.”

That ‘one guy’ is very likely Larry Jackson – a Jimmy Iovine protege, who is tasked with striking artist relationships that result in exclusive deals for Apple.

Mark Mulligan of MiDiA Reseach claims, “Streaming exclusives (and indeed label services deals) work best when an artist has already established a brand and an audience. Most often that means after an artist has had a record label recording career. Apple cannot be relied upon to build anything more than a handful of artist brands.”

“Labels still account for the vast, vast, vast majority of music listening. Make no mistake, a momentous value chain shift is taking place, with more power and autonomy shifting to the creators, but that is a long journey and ‘Blond’ is but one part of this much bigger shift.”

Read the entire story on Music Business Worldwide & MiDiA Music Industry Blog.

Top Music News Stories

Spotify Is Out Of Contract With All Three Major Labels – And Wants To Pay Them Less. Spotify continues to be licensed by all three majors on a rolling month-by-month basis, and the possibility of UMG, Sony or Warner catalogues being pulled is widely regarded as out of the question.

Should We Believe All The Negative Hype Surrounding New DOJ Rules On PROs? Dave Brooks of Amplify offers an alternative perspective on the recent Department of Justice ruling, suggesting that the rules may in fact help rather than harm venues and event producers.

European Commission Seeks Solutions for YouTube Value Gap. Plans for user-generated platforms like YouTube and DailyMotion to require licenses or sign-up to revenue sharing deals with rights holders are reportedly being considered by the European Commission.

Playlists Dominate Listening For Most Music Streamers. Streaming music users love playlists and use them to drive their music consumption, according to a new survey and infographic just released by the analysts at Music Watch.

Amazon’s Echo-Only Music Streaming Service Again Rumored. The service will cost half of the now-standard $10-per-month that Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal (minus hi-res) and Amazon’s own rumored, full-feature service will cost.

Soundcloud Logs 175 Million Monthly Listeners To Massive 135 Million Track Catalog. New Soundcloud stats show just how big its footprint is, both in terms of listenership and the size of its music catalog — but most of their listeners are free and monetizing them, along with making such a massive catalog user-friendly, presents a challenge.

The Coming Arms Race In Online Music: Artist Services. Digital music industry veteran Tim Quirk examines the coming arms race in the music industry, with online music services competing to offer artists programs and features which enable them to generate revenue beyond just streaming royalties.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Apple Music Hits New Milestone, Universal Metadata Standards, ASCAP has Another $1Bn Year

Posted by Glen Sears | May 2, 2016 9:36 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Apple Music Grows to 13 Million Subscribers
Apple Music has surpassed 13 million subscribers, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed Tuesday. That represents growth of 2 million subscribers since the company last disclosed numbers in February.

Apple announced the growth in Apple Music subscribers as part of its fiscal second-quarter earnings release, during which it reported its first revenue declines since 2003.

But, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant still has a ways to go before it catches up to streaming heavyweight Spotify. The company boasts 30 million paying subscribers as of March.

Read more on Apple Insider.

Top Music News Stories

Spotify Denies Security Breach After Report of Stolen Passwords, Addresses. According to a report at TechCrunch, some users’ email addresses, passwords and other account information appeared on the Pastebin website.

Future Of Music Coalition CEO Casey Rae On The Value Of Universal Data Standards. Let’s commit to universally deployed data standards on both sides of the music copyright, common database environments for expedient matching and resolution of discrepancies, along with a protocol for universal information updates when additional data is modified by authorized parties.”

A Surprisingly Interesting Dive Into Classical Music Metadata. Breaking down how such metadata works, and what standards need to be followed in order to ensure that DSP’s classical content remains up to snuff.

Pandora’s First Quarter Financials: Ad Revenue Jumps Along With Music Costs. With revenue jumping 29 percent from nearly $231 million in the corresponding quarter in the prior year, Pandora continues its growth story—but its losses also widened, to $115.7 million from the $48.3 million loss it had in the corresponding quarter in the prior year.

ASCAP Reports $1 Billion in Revenue, Again. Within that, domestic receipts grew to $716.8 million, up 9.3 percent from the prior year’s total of $655.8 million. ASCAP also increased domestic distribution by 6.2 percent, to $573.5 million.

YouTube Changes Content ID to Allow Money Collection During Rights Investigations. Internet video giant YouTube has made a change in its Content ID evaluation process that will benefit creators whose work has been improperly challenged by a rights holder.

Regulatory Filing Reveals UMG’s Massive Effort To Block Pirates. A Universal Music Group filing with the U.S. Copyright office designed to bolster the case that Safe Harbor standards need an overhaul, reveals the lengths that the company went to limit piracy on Taylor Swift’s 2014 release ‘1989.’

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Pandora Releases Financials, Reportedly Courts Buyers, Apple Passes Spotify Geographically [Music News Recap]

Posted by Glen Sears | February 16, 2016 10:13 am | No Comments

pandora financials and possible sale

Story of the Week

Pandora Releases Financials: Huge Revenue & Losses, $120M to Battle Spotify, May Be Courting Buyers
Music-streaming service Pandora announced its latest financial results last night, revealing revenues of $1.16B in 2015, but a net loss of $169.7M. Pandora is preparing to expand from its current radio-like model to fully on-demand, subscription – including outside the US. CEO Brian McAndrews said that 2016 will primarily be a year of licensing negotiations and product development for Pandora, with its global rollout beginning in earnest in 2017.

“Of the investments we are outlining, $120M of it is earmarked specifically to develop and launch new music services that we believe will accelerate revenue growth in 2017 and beyond,” said CFO Michael Herring.

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Interestingly, a New York Times report, published just hours before Pandora released fourth quarter and 2015 earnings, claims the Internet radio company has engaged Morgan Stanley to meet potential buyers. A Pandora representative told Billboard the company “decline[s] to comment on rumor or speculation.”

McAndrews has admitted that intensifying competition is having an effect on Pandora’s listener growth, but the CEO was also bullish about whether any of those rivals are a serious threat. “Over the years, we have seen more than 30 imitators and so-called Pandora-killers. And yet, Pandora has thrived where others have not, becoming the mobile service with the highest engagement across the consumer internet.”

(more…)

YouTube Finally Launches a Music App + Your Top Music News

Posted by Glen Sears | November 16, 2015 11:12 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

YouTube (Finally) Releases Its Music App
YouTube is already, not-so-secretly, the king of the music streaming hill, with 60 percent of people saying they use YouTube to listen to music some or most of the time, according to Edison Research’s “Infinite Dial 2015” report. The majority — 83 percent — of 12-24 year-olds say YouTube is how they keep up-to-date with music. “YouTube as a music channel is as mainstream as all of online audio put together,” the report says.

YouTube has been the subject of scrutiny over its pay to creators and rights holders, though those figures seem to be rising sharply, having paid $3 billion to rights holders since the company’s launch in 2005, a figure that stood at $1 billion in February 2014. With subscriptions bringing in additional revenue that volume will continue to tick upwards. (Randomly, the company’s blog post on the app launch points out that a windowing strategy for new releases — or at least, singles — isn’t encouraged. “Just this month,” Fowler writes, “Adele’s ‘Hello’ became the fastest rising video of the year on YouTube, while also breaking the record for first week download sales.” Whether that could be true for any other artist in the world remains to be seen.) The company says it has solved the problem of monetizing user-generated content — Billboard is still awaiting an answer on the complicated question of payouts on derivative works like Boiler Room sets.

In a congested market, YouTube has every advantage, and the two that matter most especially: money and ubiquity. Now they have a useful music app, too — as long as you pay.
Read more on Billboard: http://bit.ly/1ONpkVo
(more…)

Apple Music Becomes the 2nd Largest Digital Music Service, and Last Week’s Top News

Posted by Glen Sears | October 26, 2015 1:51 pm | No Comments

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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
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Pandora’s Groundbreaking, Spendy Acquisition of Ticketfly, and last week’s Top News

Posted by Glen Sears | October 12, 2015 12:24 pm | No Comments

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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

Top Stories

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

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Music Nerd? Here’s What You Need to Know From Apple’s “Hey Siri” Keynote

Posted by Glen Sears | September 9, 2015 12:11 pm | No Comments

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In typical Apple fashion, we’ve been waiting for months after the cryptic announcement of “Hey Siri, give us a hint” made its way onto the net. Apple’s September keynotes reliably announce a new version of the iPhone, iOS, and other mobile products. This time around, announcements were expected for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. The keynote also promised updates about iOS 9 and watchOS 2.

For music junkies there were a number of big announcements. We’ve detailed the most notable below.

iPad Pro

One of the many expected announcements was a larger iPad aimed at the portables market. Apple delivered with the iPad Pro, sporting a whopping 12.9 inch screen which includes a full-size virtual keyboard…or keyboard. With CPU and graphics performance better than 80% of portable PCs, this new iPad will likely able to power full-on audio applications—or act as a studio-grade, touch enabled software synthesizer.

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For consumers, movie watching should be a pleasure with 5.6 million pixels on screen. Four speakers power the iPad Pro audio experience, with auto-balanced stereo and frequency information depending on how the iPad is held. “We thought this display deserves a great sound system.” In addition, the iPad Pro can now be controlled using Apple’s new stylus, Apple Pencil. Funny enough, the new Apple Pencil flies firmly in the face of the late Steve Jobs, who notably was once quoted as saying “God gave us 10 styluses, let’s not invent another…nobody wants a stylus.”

Apple TV

Apple TV has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Apple line. All of that changed today as Apple announced the new Apple TV. Rengineered to be based on iOS, the new system revolves around apps just like your favorite mobile devices. These apps can be controlled by touchscreen remote, or by an updated Siri who can be asked things like “Show me that Modern Family episode with Edward Norton.”

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For music lovers, the new Apple TV has a full Apple Music interface that can be controlled using the remote, as well as using Siri. You can even ask for sports and weather updates while watching or listening. The Apple TV remote can also be turned sideways to be used as a gaming controller. Guitar Hero is on board.

iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

It wouldn’t be a September keynote without a new iPhone. One of the primary new features is 3D Touch, a combination of the Macbook’s Force Touch capability and taptic feedback. Whether this technology will have implications for music has yet to be seen, but there are a number of possible scenarios in which pressure-sensitive touch could be useful.

4K video recording could help the iPhone continue its entrance into music video and festival production.

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Worth mentioning, Apple also announced a new iPhone Upgrade Program. This program allows you to pay a monthly fee rather than purchasing your unit, much like carrier installment plans. The program will allow you to choose your carrier, provides unlocked yearly phone upgrades, and includes the Applecare+ warranty plan. Plans start at $32/month.

OneRepublic

Yep. OneRepublic played the “Hey, Siri” event. Music is still clearly an integral part of Apple’s DNA. If you’re into that kind of thing.

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Siri

Notably missing from the “Hey, Siri” event? Any formal updates about Siri. Here is the link to the not-yet-updated Siri page.

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Next Big Sound Drops Massive Music Industry Insights, and EDM Takes a Huge Hit [Soundcheck]

Posted by Glen Sears | August 17, 2015 10:50 am | No Comments

Next Big Sound Music Industry Data

Story of the Week

Next Big Sound Releases “Data To Date: The Rise of Social and Streaming” Report
Read More: http://bit.ly/1UOKZfV
Hot on the heels of Berklee’s report on transparency in the music industry, Pandora-owned digital music analytics firm Next Big Sound released their own report on streaming music and how we share music socially. To create this report NBS analyzed one trillion plays across YouTube, Vevo, Vimeo, Spotify, Rdio, SoundCloud, and Pandora.

“What really blew our minds when tallying these totals was that the number of online plays in just the first six months of the year far exceeds what we tracked in all of 2014, even before the addition of Pandora’s data. And social is growing like a weed as well. We tracked close to 14 billion new followers, page likes, and stations added in the first half of the year, already more than three quarters of the total from last year.

Let’s take a moment to consider what impact this could have on the music industry at large. For musicians, their piece of the streaming pie will only continue to grow, let’s shift our focus from the decline in sales, and instead focus on maximizing digital revenue from streaming and social interaction with fans.”

Other Important Headlines

Berklee’s Rethink Music Releases Fair Music Report Followup – According to Allen Bargfrede, “in spite of living in an age where music is more accessible than ever before, the commercial end of the business has a long way to go as far as getting artists the money they deserve.” Read more

SoundExchange Launches PLAYS Search Engine – Money earned from digital plays often, for one reason or another, ends up in the wrong hands, and even services like SoudExchange can misdirect funds. Enter the PLAYS Search Engine, a tool which allows artists to track where their money is going. Read More

What Apple Music’s 11 Million Trialists Really Mean – How successful has Apple Music actually been? While an initial report of 11 million trial subscribers certainly looks good on paper, the question remains over how many of these trial users will turn into paid subscribers. Read More

Sillerman’s Bid to Take SFX Private Fails, Stock Tumbles – Sillerman’s offer of $5.25 per share for the company became increasingly untenable as the stock continued to decline to its current $1.55 per share — a 20.1 percent decline from Thursday’s closing price. SFX has released a statement on Friday saying it is exploring “strategic alternatives” for its future. Read More

EDM Artist Laidback Luke Pens Op-Ed On Pay to Play for Festival Lineups – “Corporate investors are now involved and they often extend offers to promoters that they can’t refuse. Such investments require return, and lineup strategy and conversation gets weighed down even more by charts and apps that continuously poll the audience about what they like, who they are going to see on the day, and what they want and appreciate.” Read More

Rdio Announces Live Broadcast Radio Function With 500 U.S. Stations Onboard – The partnership with Cumulus Media includes Los Angeles’ 95.5 KLOS, San Francisco’s KFOG, and New York’s NASH FM 94.7 all stations now operating on the Rdio platform. Read More

Columbia House, Former ‘Music Club,’ Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy – Columbia House was once famous for operating a mail-order business that enticed consumers with the prospect of “11 records or tapes for $1.” Now the company finds itself in massive debt to the people who once provided its products—labels. Read More

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