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

Posted by Glen Sears | April 24, 2017 9:21 am | No Comments

Daniel-Ek-CEO-Spotify-Tokyo-Conference-2016-billboard-1548

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

Posted by Glen Sears | 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.

RECAP: NMPA and Internet Assoc. Send Trump Wish-Lists, SACEM Helps Take Down What.CD, Streaming Trial-Hoppers

Posted by Glen Sears | November 21, 2016 9:10 am | No Comments

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Music Publishers Send President-Elect Trump Their Wish List

Story of the Week
Many in the music community have argued that the Obama administration has a too cozy relationship with tech, particularly Google. David Israelite, who helms the National Music Publisher’s Association, hopes a Trump Oval Office could be more friendly to music rights holders than the Obama Administration, and laid out a wish list in a letter to the president-elect.

“Intellectual property has been the victim of increasing pressure by Internet and digital companies who want to make other people’s private property free. The ultimate victim will be the music itself, after all incentives to create have been removed. We can resist this trend by advocating for strong and fair copyright policies which are the bedrock of our great nation’s artistic tradition.”

“Songwriters are under attack by overregulation and degradation by Washington bureaucracy. We are hopeful that your administration is a sign of change for them – and that under your leadership they will be able to profit from the work they produce in a fair and free-market way, as other property owners do.”

Read the full letter on Hypebot.

Top Music News Stories

Tech Giants Send Trump a Roadmap on Copyright, Encryption, Net Neutrality. A trade group that represents Facebook, Google and Amazon also sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump on Monday that included a roadmap of key policy priorities covering topics like immigration and net neutrality, as well as copyright and patent reform.

U.S. Copyright Office Wants More Feedback On Safe Harbors. Announcing its second call for submissions, the U.S. Copyright Office wrote last week that this was “an opportunity for interested parties to reply or expand upon issues raised in written comments [previously] submitted and during the public roundtables held in May.”

Commercial Radio Group Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights. A group representing 10,000 commercial radio stations has filed a lawsuit against Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights, hoping to force the performance rights organization to submit to Department of Justice-controlled pricing, similar to other PROs like ASCAP and BMI.

SACEM Confirms Role In What.Cd Shutdown. According to the rights group, What.CD’s closure “puts an ends to activities estimated to cost music creators €41 million,” or roughly $43 million.

BMG Deepens Ties With Chinese E-Commerce Giant Alibaba. Included in the expanded agreement is a three-year extension of the two companies’ existing digital music distribution agreement that gives Alibaba’s digital music platforms Ali Music, Xiami, and Ali Planet access to BMG’s catalog.

Prince’s Estate Sues Roc Nation Over Tidal’s Claim on Streaming Rights. Roc Nation and Tidal believe that an arrangement with NPG dated Aug. 1, 2015 gave it the right to “exclusively stream [Prince’s] entire catalog of music, with limited exceptions,” which NPG alleges is not true.

More Than 25% Of Music Subscribers May Be ‘Trial Hoppers.’ In a new study MiDiA Research claims that more than a quarter of music subscribers hop from one trial to another with different email addresses.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Google & Music Industry Spar Over Piracy Report, Apple Wants To Simplify Licensing, Crowdmix Goes Bust

Posted by Glen Sears | July 18, 2016 9:42 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

“How Google Fights Piracy” Report Makes Youtube, Search Defense
Google has published a new version of its ‘How Google Fights Piracy Report.’ It’s the third revision in four years for the report, which makes the company’s defence against creative industry attacks on its approach to copyright, from user-generated content on YouTube to piracy sites’ ranking on Google’s search engine.

“Google takes the challenge of online piracy seriously – we continue to invest significant resources in the development of tools to report and manage copyrighted content, and we work with other industry leaders to set the standard for how tech companies fight piracy.”

Some new figures: there are now more than 50m active reference files in the Content ID database, and more than 8,000 partners using the system – “a 38% increase since our 2014 report”. Meanwhile, Google says that 98% of copyright issues on YouTube are resolved using Content ID, with 90% resulting in monetisation for the original rightsholder.

Read the full story on Music Ally.

Top Music News Stories

BPI and IFPI Say Google’s Fight Piracy Report is ‘Greenwash.’ “Although we welcome the measures Google has taken so far, it is still one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet. Google has the resources and the tech expertise to do much more to get rid of the illegal content on its services.”

YouTube’s Payment Rate to Labels Halved in 2015, Analyst Finds. According to findings by Midia Research provided to the Financial Times, the site increased payments to rights holders by 15 percent last year (to $740 million), but at the same time streams on YouTube and Vevo jumped 132 percent, totaling 751 billion.

Apple Proposes Simplified Statutory Licensing Scheme to D.C. The company’s proposal to the Copyright Royalty Board suggests a simple, “all-in” statutory rate that would be “fair, simple and transparent, unlike the incredibly complicated structure that currently exists” — a rate of $0.00091 per interactive stream, or 9.1 cents per hundred plays.

Indie Music Trade Groups A2IM, AIMP, CMPA Issue Joint Response To DoJ 100% Licensing Position. Condemnation of a new U.S. Department of Justice position allowing 100% licencing of songs has been nearly universal within the music publishing community.

Songwriters: The DOJ Got It Right. Your Sky Is Not Falling. Jody Dunitz, ex-EVP of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, calls 100% licensing “another gift from the DOJ to songwriters.”

Omnifone Business and Assets To Be Sold For $10M To Mystery U.S. Firm. The administrator’s report also outlines the key moments in Omnifone’s slide into administration, including the cancellation of contracts with Sony and SiriusXM, as well as another client, streaming service Guvera – currently facing troubles of its own – stopping paying Omnifone for its services.

Quick Take: Crowdmix Bites The Dust. Analyst Mark Mulligan claims Crowdmix failed because “music is fundamentally not important enough to enough people to build any sort of scale of social network around it.”

VKontakte and Universal Music Near Licensing Deal. The leading Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted two people close to the negotiations as saying that a deal between VKontakte and UMG could be signed within days, covering, in addition to VKontakte, Mail.ru Group’s two other social networks, Odnoklassniki and Moi mir.

U.S. Teens Love On-Demand Music Streaming — Especially YouTube. The Music Business Association claims that for this age group, on-demand streaming accounts for 51% of their daily listening time, compared to 20% for downloads/files, 12% for AM/FM radio and 9% to internet radio like Pandora.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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YouTube Finally Launches ‘YouTube Red’ Paid Subscription

Posted by Glen Sears | October 21, 2015 12:23 pm | No Comments

YouTube Red paid subscription launched
It’s been a lot of years coming, but today YouTube finally announced its landmark new paid subscription service, ‘YouTube Red.’ The service will cost $9.99/month, and it launches on October 28th in the U.S. with other territories to follow. The move promises to be excellent news for rights owners, especially as YouTube also announced a standalone ‘YouTube Music’ app that will compete directly with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music.

One primary advantage for end-users will be the removal of ads for all Red subscribers. While this is an exciting and oft-lauded feature of paid services, it’s worth remembering that the majority of YouTube’s ads can already be skipped after 5 seconds. Whether this will be a killer feature for the new service has yet to be seen.

Additionally for end-users, YouTube’s Red-enabled apps will now support better background playing and offline features. Videos and songs will be available for offline use in a variety of qualities (for storage management), and even playlists will be included in the fun.

For musical artists and rights holders the most exciting aspect is YouTube Music, the public version of YouTube’s beta Music Key service. YouTube Music will integrate with Google Play Music, so subscribers to one service will automatically have access to the other. Additionally, YouTube is touting its “discovery” features, which appear to mirror the set-it-and-forget-it functionality of Pandora. YouTube Music is clearly intended to follow the pathway set out by Apple Music, wherein a gigantic installed base will be expected to lead to increased member numbers.

Rights owners should be excited as well, as The Verge claims YouTube has fully “convinced its big music label, television network, and movie studio partners. Many of these big media companies requested a more favorable cut of the subscription revenue than the service was offering to the average YouTuber, on the grounds that their premium content would be the main driver of subscriptions. But YouTube held out, and in the end almost all the big players came along. The only one that hasn’t is Disney, but YouTube plans to forge ahead regardless, saying it has 98 percent of its content covered by agreements with rights holders.”

Finally, a lion’s share of the money collected from Red subscriptions will likely be poured into “Originals,” YouTube’s new exclusive content offering. By partnering top YouTube stars with television and movie producers, YouTube will attempt to capture a part of the market currently being owned by online content providers like Netflix and Hulu.

The real question: will people start paying for a service that’s been free for over a decade? We have to wait and see.

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