MediaNet Blog

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.

RECAP: DOJ Appeals Stanton BMI Decision, Cox Appeals BMG Verdict, Facebook Moves Toward Media

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | November 14, 2016 9:23 am | No Comments

congress-650px

Dept. of Justice Appeals BMI Consent Decree Decision

Story of the Week
The Department of Justice has filed a notice that it is appealing a September ruling by federal Judge Louis Stanton that concluded fractional licensing is allowed under the BMI consent decree. This appeal, which was expected, comes after the Judge KO’d the DOJ’s interpretation that the consent decree requires 100 percent licensing, AKA full-works licensing.

“While we hoped the DOJ would accept Judge Stanton’s decision, we are not surprised it chose to file an appeal,” BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the DOJ continues to fight for an interpretation of BMI’s consent decree that is at odds with hundreds of thousands of songwriters and composers, the country’s two largest performing rights organizations, numerous publishers and members of the music community, members of Congress, a U.S. Governor, the U.S. Copyright Office and, in Judge Stanton, a federal judge.”

“We believe Judge Stanton’s decision is correct and look forward to defending our position in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.”

Read the full story on Billboard.

Top Music News Stories

Cox Communications Appeals Against $25m BMG Verdict. Cox has said it is entitled to a new trial against music publisher BMG Rights Management because of several errors by a federal judge in Virginia.

Amazon Music Unlimited lands in the UK, Germany, and Austria. One month after the new on-demand streaming service launched in the U.S. Amazon has brought the service to the U.K.; Germany and Austria are close behind.

Apple Aquires Tech, Talent Of Bankrupt Music Streamer Omnifone. According to sources from TechCrunch, Apple hired at least 16 employees and purchased select technology from Omnifone, an early player in streaming music services.

SoundCloud On Acquisition Talk: ‘There Is A Lot Of Interest In Us.’ “We are very determined that we are building a sustainable platform,” he said. “We are focused on the long game here and it has been a long time coming.”

Napster Posted A $1.6m Profit For Its Latest Quarter. Napster recorded a net profit of just over $1.6m in the third quarter of 2016, according to the financial results of RealNetworks, which has a 42% ownership stake in the music streamer.

“Facebook Is Finally Ready To Become A Media Company.” According to analyst Mark Mulligan, Facebook “is now about to start looking and behaving much more like a media company, but in doing so it will rewrite the rule book on what a media company is.”

Orlando Buys Pulse Nightclub, Plans to Turn It Into Memorial. “This location is now a permanent part of Orlando’s history, it’s the site of the most tragic event that has ever occurred in the City of Orlando. We want our entire community to be a part of this site.”

Finally last week, the music industry lost a major talent in Leonard Cohen. As a songwriter, poet, singer, and popular icon, Cohen contributed so much to our industry and will be remembered fondly in our hearts.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Labels Sue YouTube MP3 Ripper, Congress Urges ‘100% Licensing’ Decision U-Turn, Shazam Finally Profits

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | October 3, 2016 8:53 am | No Comments

youtube-bb13-topline-2016-billboard-650-1548

Major Record Labels Sue Over Ripping Audio Tracks from YouTube Videos

Story of the Week

Universal, Warner Bros, Sony and other big record labels are suing the operators of YouTube-mp3.org, a service that allows its users to rip the audio from videos streamed on YouTube. The plaintiffs filed a copyright lawsuit in California federal court, stating, “Stream ripping has become a major threat to the music industry, functioning as an unlawful substitute for the purchase of recorded music and the purchase of subscriptions to authorized streaming services.”

With a few simple mouse clicks, the lawsuit reports, infringing copies of sound recordings are made available in MP3 format. The plaintiffs suggest that “tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream ripping services each month.”

Google, which owns YouTube, is not a party in this lawsuit, but the record labels also claim the defendants are illicitly circumventing technology measures that YouTube has implemented to control access to and prevent copying of works.

Read the full story on Billboard

Top Music News Stories

Legal Threats Have Almost No Impact on Music Piracy, Study Finds. The study, published in the journal Risk Analysis, found that most people perceive the risks of music piracy as being simply too low to affect their behavior.

Congress Members Send A.G. Letter Urging Dept. of Justice to Reverse Songwriting Decision. “We believe a well-functioning music marketplace benefits America’s music-loving public, businesses that use music to connect with their customers, and, especially, more than one million songwriters and composers whose creative work is the lifeblood of the entire American music economy.”

Sony Completes Deal For Michael Jackson’s Share Of Sony/ATV. Announced earlier this year, the acquisition took its time to happen due to regulatory interest among other factors.[paywall]

Spotify, Rumored to Be Mulling a SoundCloud Acquisition, Probably Can’t Afford It Right Now. if it was working with the $700 million valuation that Twitter put on it, Spotify would have to spend 43 percent of its available funds to buy a company that, at least at first blush, seems a strange purchase.

Shazam Hits 1 Billion Downloads and Turns a Profit. The London-based firm on Thursday announced that revenue from advertisers has surpassed other sources, including from music partners for its ubiquitous app, to propel it into profitability before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization.

Irving Azoff to New YouTube Music Chief Lyor Cohen: ‘We Are Counting On You.’ “We are counting on you, Lyor, to lead YouTube to provide fair payments to artists and give them more creative control. Congratulations, Lyor, I know you can get it done.

Rdio’s Bankruptcy: A Labyrinth of Financial Winners, Losers and Lawsuits. Ed Christman takes a close look at the financial winners of losers of Rdio’s bankruptcy, which was imposed on the company as a condition of Pandora’s purchase.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Judge Rules Against ‘100 Percent Licensing,’ IFPI Releases New Reports, TIDAL Posts Big Losses

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | September 19, 2016 8:43 am | No Comments

bmi rate court overturn 100 percent licensing

Story of the Week

Federal judge rules against Dept. of Justice’s ‘100 Percent’ Licensing decision
In a surprise move, BMI’s rate court judge ruled on Friday that fractional licensing is allowed under the consent decree the performing-rights organization operates under, according to a statement from BMI.

According to Stanton’s ruling, “The consent decree neither bars fractional licensing nor requires full-work licensing,” which is the exact opposite of what the DOJ argued when it gave ASCAP and BMI one year to employ full-works licensing.

Since the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees are similar, some hope that the ASCAP rate court Judge Denise Cote will follow suit, should the matter come before her. Now the question becomes, will the Dept. of Justice turn to Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit? “The Department of Justice has received the Order and is reviewing it,” a DOJ spokesperson said in a statement.

Read the full story on Billboard

Top Music News Stories

IFPI makes stream-ripping latest front in YouTube row… The IFPI commissioned research firm Ipsos to survey fans in 13 countries, and claims that the study reveals almost half of 16-24 year-olds now use stream-ripping software, making it a more popular form of music piracy than file-sharing.

…and finds that one-third of under-25’s now pay for a streaming service. South Korea, Sweden and Mexico are identified as the most popular (per population) markets for subscription services, with about four in every ten people paying for a music subscription. In the U.S. and U.K., the number was around two in every ten; in Japan around one in every ten.

Tidal posts $28M net loss in 2015, more than double the year before. It’s been a big year for Tidal, as the company has released exclusive albums from Beyonce, Kanye West and Rihanna…but the company has more than doubled its net losses while increasing its revenue only 30 percent.

Recorded music sales up in Sweden as streaming revenue grows 10%. The results help banish fears that Sweden’s streaming growth had hit a saturation point – a worry first raised when Sweden’s overall recorded music income dipped by 0.4% in 2014.

Pandora launches Pandora Plus, an improved version of its $5 subscription service. “Whether a listener wants to take advantage of our enhanced ad-supported experience, our ground-breaking subscription radio service, or our fully interactive on-demand option coming later this year, we have a solution tailored for you at a price point you can afford,” Westergren said in a statement.

Spotify reaches 40m subscribers six months after passing 30m. Spotify isn’t claiming that all 40 million subscribers are paying $9.99 a month: its milestone is purely about the number of people on its services.

Warner Brothers reports its own site as illegal. As the popularity of takedown notices continues to grow, some are taking things a little too far including, it seems, Warner Brothers Pictures, a company which accidentally requested Google remove Warner Brothers’ own website from its search results.

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, Editorial Content Manager | August 29, 2016 9:14 am | No Comments

frank-ocean

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: U.S. Publishers In Uproar Against DOJ Consent Decree Ruling, EU Privacy Shield, Streaming Nets Labels $15M Daily

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | August 8, 2016 9:42 am | No Comments

05MUSIC-superJumbo

Story of the Week

U.S. Publishing Industry in Uproar Over DOJ Licensing Plans
The Justice Department announced on Thursday that it had concluded a two-year investigation into the complex world of music licensing and decided against making changes to the regulatory agreements that govern Ascap and BMI, two large clearinghouses for performing rights that process about $2 billion in royalty payments each year.

The DOJ also added a new requirement, saying that for Ascap and BMI to comply with the existing regulations, they must offer “100 percent licensing” of their songs. Since then, members of the publishing community have been having their say, and it should not surprise you to hear that they are pretty much 100% against the plans – with many questioning the motivation behind the DoJ’s move.

“Where will this consistent erosion and undermining of the fundamental rights of authors and composers end? How is it that policy makers, on both sides of the Atlantic, have put themselves in the business of making decisions that are disastrous for the music community, but curiously beneficial for others?” is how IMPF president Pierre Mossiat put it in a statement condemning the plans.

Read the full story on Music Ally & The New York Times

Top Music News Stories

An Alternative View Of The DoJ’s ASCAP/BMI Consent Decree Review. “When the Department says that the PROs are required to offer 100% licensing, it conforms to the default rule of copyright law: so long as one author agrees to let a PRO license their work, the PRO has permission to license the whole work to users.”

European Regulators Greenlight Sony/ATV & Jackson estate Deal. “The transaction will not materially increase Sony’s market power vis-a-vis digital music providers compared to the situation prior to the merger,” Reuters reports an EU competition enforcer as saying of the approval.

Joint EU, U.S. Digital Privacy Shield Comes Into Effect. The “EU-U.S. Privacy Shield” ensures that everyone in the European Union has rights when their data is processed, such as the right to ask a company for information about the data they hold about them on U.S. servers, or to amend their records if the data are outdated or inaccurate.

Warner Music Group And Vevo Reach Deal After 7 Year Impasse. The deal does not extend to Vevo on YouTube, but is part of an extensive reboot for Vevo, including a redesign and new initiatives in programming and branding.

Lenders Crush Sillerman’s Plan To Pull SFX From Bankruptcy. Bob Sillerman’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy and retain some of his SFX assets was foiled by the same lenders he originally dealt with to finance the company, after they filed a new restructuring agreement with dramatically different – and significantly less favorable – terms.

Every Day Major Music Companies Earn $10M Millon, Indies $5 Million In Streaming Revenue. With average payments hovering around $.00575 per play, its easily arguable that Spotify, Apple Music, and others are not returning sufficient revenue to creators, but in aggregate streaming has become a major source of revenue for independent and major labels.

US and Swiss Collection Societies Partner to Form ‘Mint.’ SESAC Holdings, the U.S. company that owns the collecting society SESAC and the Harry Fox Agency, is launching a joint venture with SUISA, the Swiss collecting society.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Apple Makes News With Spotify & TIDAL, U.S. DOJ Imposes New Regulation on Songwriters

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | July 5, 2016 9:59 am | No Comments

JayZ

Story of the Week

Apple In Talks To Buy Tidal Says Wall St. Journal, But New York Times Says ‘No Way’
Apple is in talks to acquire Tidal, the Wall Street Journal blasted late last week; and hours later re/code sources confirmed the conversations. But respected New York Times music journalist Ben Sisario quotes his sources as saying that Apple has no intention of purchasing Jay Z’s music streaming service.

Whoever turns out to be right, Apple buying Tidal is an intriguing concept. For both sides, the pros would seem to outweigh the cons. This would not be the first time that bad feelings and bravado have been overcome by a big check.

Read the full story on Hypebot.

Top Music News Stories

TIDAL Subscriber Count Significantly Lower Than Expected. A chart from analytics firm Statista show it with only 3 million subscribers.

Spotify Says Apple Won’t Approve New version of App Because It Doesn’t Want Competition. The firm says Apple turned down a new version of the app while citing “business model rules” and demanded that Spotify use Apple’s billing system if “Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.”

Justice Department Won’t Alter Music Industry Royalty Rules. Justice Department lawyers told representatives of Ascap and BMI that the two groups, called performing rights organizations, must adopt a policy known as “100 percent licensing,” which means that any party that controls a part of a composition can issue a license for the use of the whole thing.

Global Music Market Expected To Grow Over The Next 5 Years. The market growth is attributed to the rising number of vendors and their expanding reach in developing markets, the popularity of concerts, growing number of music schools, and prevalence of digital music formats.

Music Is Almost As Important As Coffee For Monday Morning Motivation, Says New Survey. A new Spotify Ipsos survey, conducted in the US, Australia, Brazil, France and Sweden, found that music is just as likely as caffeine to motivate people on a typical Monday.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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U.S. DOJ Considering Baffling New Licensing Rules, and Apple Music Is (or Isn’t) Succeeding [Soundcheck]

Posted by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager | August 3, 2015 10:58 am | No Comments

DOJ music licensing publishing ASCAP BMI

Story of the Week

The Dept. of Justice Said to Be Considering a Baffling New Rule Change for Song Licensing
Read More: http://bit.ly/1DlaKQK
According to numerous sources, the DoJ has sent a letter to two performance rights societies (ASCAP & BMI) governed by the consent decree, telling them that on “split works” songs — songs written by multiple writers — any writer or rights holder can issue a license for 100 percent of the song. In other words, the long-established industry practice of each rights owner greenlighting their particular portion of a song in order to establish a license — also known as fractional licensing — may no longer be allowed.

Currently, if a song has multiple writers, each writer must give permission for a song to be licensed for a cover, streaming service, or sync with film. These new laws, if verified and eventually passed, “would turn music publishing into the Wild West.” “If the DoJ follows through on this position, it could upend every agreement between co-writers and producers,” says one publishing executive.

Other Important Headlines

RIAA and Other Groups Revisit Case Against Cnet Over Downloads in New Letter – A 16-member coalition sent a letter stating that the CBS-owned property “has made various computer, web, and mobile applications available that induce users to infringe copyrighted content by ripping the audio or the audio and video from what might be an otherwise legitimate stream.” Read More

SFX Gives Sillerman Two Weeks to Secure Financing For Takeover Bid – After finding no other bidders, the SFX board says Sillerman has two weeks to provide proof of secured financing for his proposed (and overdue) takeover of the EDM promoter. Read More

Apple Music Racked Up 10 Million Subscribers in Less Than a Month… Three weeks after Apple Music’s launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “millions and millions of customers” had already signed up for the new streaming service. Read More

…But Apple Music Streams Just 4% Of Spotify, Says Indie Distributor – Independent music digital distributor DashGo, monitoring activity for its artists, says that, so far, streams from Apple Music are only 4% of what they see from Spotify. Read More

Soundcloud Subscription Tier Is Coming – While the exact details haven’t been revealed yet, it’s believed that the service will offer a free tier with a capped number of streams and downloads per month, and a paid tier where both are unlimited. Read More

No Happy Birthday Decision After New “Smoking Gun” Evidence Submitted – The judge overseeing the ‘Happy Birthday’ copyright dispute has pushed back any decision making for at least another week. Read More

1000 Musicians Gather To Lure Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters To Italy – It’s the most impressive video you’ll watch all week. Read More

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