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RECAP: U.K. Digital Economy & Piracy Reports, Rdio Goes After Sony, Spotify May Abandon Freemium

Posted by Glen Sears | July 11, 2016 10:02 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

U.K.’s Digital Economy Bill Introduced, Would Allow Retransmission Fees
The U.K. government on Tuesday unveiled its Digital Economy Bill, which includes a part that could pave the way to U.S.-style retransmission consent fees and which wants to make the U.K. “the most digital nation in the world.”

The new bill also includes measures designed to strengthen protections for citizens. Among others, it will “protect children from online pornography by requiring age verification for access to all pornographic sites and applications” and “increase the sentencing options for people who infringe [on] copyright laws online, bringing sentences into line with the current penalties available for ‘physical infringement’.”

“We have consistently called for major pay-TV platforms to pay U.K. public service broadcasters (PSBs) fairly for the ‘transmission’ of their channels ending what is effectively a multi-million pound subsidy — and this is clearly a welcome first step in that direction,” an ITV spokesman said. “This is simply about ITV, and other PSBs, being paid fairly for their investment in original U.K. content so that we can continue to invest in the programs viewers love.”

Read the full story on Billboard.

Top Music News

Concerns Loom Over U.K. Music Business’ Future in Wake of Brexit Vote. Two weeks on from the U.K.’s historic decision to leave the European Union, no one is any the wiser about what or how big an impact it will have on the nation’s economy, 64 million population or future.

YouTube Leads Music Consumption While Piracy Dips, According to U.K. Government Survey. An estimated 78 million music tracks were accessed illegally online in the United Kingdom in a three month period, but levels of digital piracy are gradually beginning to decline, according to new research from the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

What the Dept. of Justice’s Decision Means for Music Publishing. Almost everyone in the music-publishing business has expressed frustration with the Department of Justice’s recent decision not to amend the antitrust consent decree, but they don’t seem to agree on how this decision will affect the music industry — or even exactly what it means.

Sony Music Investigated by Rdio for Alleged Collusion in Streaming Music. The label responds that the suggestion of antitrust violations are “nothing but speculation and conjecture” and pretext for avoiding $17 million claims plus allegations of fraud.

Soundcloud Aims Straight At Spotify, Apple Music With “Artist Stations.” “The algorithm behind Stations serves content in a different way than the Suggested Tracks feature we recently launched — Stations serve a longer queue of songs that are a mixture of similar, new, and popular tracks related to the track or artist you started the Station from, for an experience closer to listening to the radio.

Users Leave Apple Music 3X Faster Than They Do Spotify. Apple Music has a problem with users dropping the service called their churn rate – “the annual percentage rate at which customers stop subscribing to a service” – and Apple Music’s is three times that of Spotify.

The End Of Freemium For Spotify? Analyst Mark Mulligan argues “that mid-priced subscriptions are crucial to driving the streaming market, and the burgeoning success of Spotify’s mid-priced-subscriptions-by-stealth strategy provides a bulging corpus of supporting evidence.”

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Recap: Sony Accuses Rdio of Fraud, TuneCore Arrives in Germany, Streaming Hits New Milestone

Posted by Glen Sears | April 11, 2016 10:02 am | No Comments

pandora rdio medianet soundcheck

Story of the Week

Sony Music Files Fraud Lawsuit Against Rdio Executives Over Pandora Deal
In a new lawsuit, Sony Music alleges it was defrauded of millions when the on-demand service Rdio came to agreement with Pandora and subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November.

The complaint states: “Unbeknownst to SME, at the same time that Rdio was negotiating the amendment to its Content Agreement with SME, it was simultaneously negotiating its deal with Pandora — under which Rdio would file for bankruptcy; Pandora would buy Rdio’s assets out of bankruptcy; defendant Bay (as part-owner, executive officer, and director of Rdio’s secured creditor) would expect to be first in line to receive proceeds of the Pandora deal; and SME (as an unsecured creditor) would receive pennies on the dollar for the amounts owed to it under the amended Content Agreement.”

Sony says that Rdio purposely kept its Pandora negotiations and impending bankruptcy secret so as to hold back Sony from demanding immediate payment of the $5.5 million and “inducing” extensions and a restructuring of payment obligations.
Read more on Billboard.

Top Music News Stories

TuneCore Launches In Germany. This marks the fifth international expansion for the company which added the UK and Australian markets in 2015.

Rhapsody, Napster Launch The Listener Network Designed To Make Music More Social. Powered by its patent-pending Music Intelligence Engine, The Listener Network connects Rhapsody and Napster users globally to form communities of music lovers with similar tastes to share and discover new music.

Streaming Hits 67.5 Million Subscribers But Identity Crisis Looms. “17% of music buyers account for 61% of spending…The question the music industry must now answer is how seriously does it want to treat the opportunity represented by these [remaining] consumers?”

iHeartMedia Gets More Time To Resolve Its Massive Debt Problems. Interest on the debt is a drag on earnings; in spite of generating $6.5 billion in revenues in 2015, iHeart paid $1.8 billion in interest expense and ended with a total net loss of $651 million.

Bandcamp Has Paid Artists $150M in 8 Years. Amidst the current streaming wars, Bandcamp has largely stayed above the fray without directly competing with the biggest players but serving as an alternative favored in large part by independent artists and labels.

3 Major Players That Could Disrupt The Streaming Music Industry. According to Hugh McIntyre of Forbes, Amazon, Samsung, and Soundcloud have enough leverage and resources to potentially be considered viable challengers.

SFX Bankruptcy Court Allocates $15 Million In Payments To Artists. The judge overseeing the SFX bankruptcy gave top tier EDM artists and their agents reason to celebrate this week with the allocation of $15 million to be paid to artists performing at the beleaguered promoter’s festivals this summer.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Pandora Acquires Rdio For $75 Million + Your Top Music News

Posted by Glen Sears | November 23, 2015 11:38 am | No Comments

pandora rdio medianet soundcheck

Story of the Week

Pandora Acquires Bankrupt Rdio For $75 Million, Plans Global Expansion
Consolidation in streaming music has begun, though perhaps a bit earlier than expected. Pandora is acquiring “the technology and intellectual property” of streaming music service Rdio for $75 million, and will use the assets to compete with Spotify, Apple Music and others.

The bid comes as Pandora, whose user growth has slowed to just 3%, searches for new avenues of expansion. “We seek to be the definitive source for music discovery and enjoyment globally,” Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews told Variety. The music streamer plans to offer “full on-demand paid subscription” over time. “We plan to substantially broaden our subscription business.”

McAndrews said that Pandora chose Rdio because it had “the best product” in subscription streaming. “We just were really enamored with their product.”
Read more on Hypebot: http://bit.ly/1XmbxV5

Top News Stories

Pandora Didn’t Buy Rdio Because It Was $220m In Debt – “The business was challenged, and financially would have been a drain for us,” Pandora CFO Mike Herring told analysts. The scale of that challenge was revealed overnight in Rdio’s bankruptcy filing. Read More

The Pros And Cons Of Pandora’s Rdio Acquisition – On the surface it seems like a huge positive for the company, but there are also a few potential land mines that come with the deal. Read More

Spotify Claims Users Listen 1.7bn Hours Each Month – The listening statistics closely match those published by Pandora. Once Pandora moves into on-demand in 2016 – licensing deals allowing – the two companies could become fierce rivals. Read More

Bye Bye Beats, So Long Zune – Apple, Microsoft Retire Major Digital Music Brands – Two major digital music brands are being retired. Apple is shuttering its Beats Music service and pushing users to Apple Music; and Microsoft is shuttering one of the original digital music services Zune. Read More

New Board Elected For Digital Rights Group Merlin – North American reps include Epitaph, CV America, Secret City Records, Tommy Boy and the Secretly Group. “[We are] delighted that so many of our members took the opportunity to vote in this election.” Read More

Surprising Discoveries

Adele’s ’25’ Won’t Be On Streaming Services – This is sure to increase 25’s chances of breaking *NSYNC’s record for the biggest first-week sales of the Nielsen/SoundScan era (1991-present). Read More

Robert Sillerman Pulls Third Bid to Buy Back SFX – In a company memo acquired by The Wall Street Journal, he explained that with prices so low ($0.41/share as of Thursday morning), “the time is not right to go forward on this path.” Read More

YouTube To Pay Fees For Some Video Makers To Fight Takedowns – The video giant said on Thursday that it would pick up the legal costs of a handful of video creators that the company thinks are the targets of unfair takedown demands. Read More

RIAA Introduces A Hi-Res Music Logo – The logo, and a definition of what constitutes hi-res, are intended to be displayed by distributors so music consumers will have no confusion over what kind of fidelity to expect. Read More

Curious why all music streaming services aren’t ‘high-definition?’ Read our explanation of the huge infrastructure costs on Medium.

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