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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: MegaUpload’s RIAA & MPAA Lawsuits Frozen, MROs and PROs Had Big Year, Amazon To “Disrupt” Ticketing

Posted by Glen Sears | November 28, 2016 9:24 am | No Comments

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Court Freezes MegaUpload’s MPAA and RIAA Lawsuits

Story of the Week
A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to place the cases filed by the music and movie companies on hold until April next year, while the criminal case remains pending. Meanwhile, Megaupload is “working hard to ensure that critical evidence on decaying hard drives is preserved.”

Last December a New Zealand District Court judge ruled that Kim Dotcom and his colleagues can be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges, a decision that was appealed earlier this year. While all parties await the outcome of this appeal, the criminal case in the United States remains pending. The same goes for the civil cases launched by the MPAA and RIAA in 2014.

Fearing that these might influence the criminal proceedings, Megaupload’s legal team previously managed to put these civil actions on hold, and this week another extension was granted. The downside of yet another delay is that the evidence remains at risk of being destroyed. Much of the Megaupload data is stored on hard drives, which according to hosting provider Cogent, are not in the best shape.

Read the full story on TorrentFreak.

Top Music News Stories

SoundExchange Paid Out $264m In Q3 – Its Biggest Quarter In Two Years. According to the US company’s latest data, it delivered $263.5m to labels and artists in the three months to end of September (Q3), up 29.2% on the previous year.

Music Rights Societies Collected €7.5 Billion Last Year, Says CISAC Report. “2015 saw an overall increase of 21.4% in our members’ collections from digital platforms and this is strongly encouraging. Yet, the share of digital income out of total royalties collected by our members is fairly low, at 7.2% only”.

CD Baby Acquires Show.co, Soundrop To Expand Artist Services. The deal continues a trend of established new music industry players including ReverbNation, PledgeMusic, TuneCore acquiring startups to expand their distribution offerings.

Amazon Planning To “Disrupt” Global Ticketing Industry. In one of the recent job postings, Amazon said it is looking to hire new employees “to develop our international expansion strategy for Europe and Asia.” The company has also been hiring Amazon Tickets employees at its headquarters in Seattle, potentially signaling plans for a U.S. ticketing business.

Black Friday Sparks Streaming Discount Deals. Spotify, Amazon, and Google have all launched new discount deals [paywall] which, while not all explicitly Black Friday branded, launched alongside the general shopping mania of the event.

Downtown Music CEO Sends Post-Election Letter To Staff. “As first steps, we are taking this opportunity to add volunteer hours, to be used at your discretion, alongside vacation, sick, and personal days. In addition, we are planning to ramp up the number of philanthropic and community building activities company-wide.”

Fidel Castro Dies: The Politics of Music Under the Cuban Leader’s Reign. Billboard writer Leila Cobo takes a deep look at the “often damaging, but also uplifting” impact Castro had on the Cuban music industry and its artists.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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RECAP: Amazon Standalone Streaming Rumors, Majors’ Deal With Publishers, RIAA Battles Pirate Bay

Posted by Glen Sears | June 13, 2016 8:23 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Amazon to Launch Standalone Music-Streaming Service
Amazon’s Prime Music has, through its inclusion in the broader Prime membership, quietly become one of the most popular music-streaming services in the world. Now Amazon is planning to launch a standalone version, including a cut-price subscription option for owners of Amazon’s Echo connected-speaker.

Rumours of the service have been bubbling for some time: back in January, there were reports of Amazon holding licensing talks with music rightsholders for a standalone service. Over the weekend, Reuters reported that those plans have progressed: the $9.99 service will “likely be launched in late summer or early fall” with a “competitive catalogue of songs” to rivals.

Another $9.99-a-month streaming service may not be cause for wild celebrations, but plans to cut its price for owners (or new buyers) of Amazon’s Echo speaker are more interesting. We’ve been hearing rumours that ‘Project Purple’ (as one source described it to us) would see Echo owners pay $2-$3 a month to access the service from just that speaker.

Read the full story on Music Ally.

Top Music News Stories

Two of Three Majors Reach Settlement with Publishers on Digital Sales Rates. While the NMPA and sources at UMG & WMG wouldn’t comment — beyond confirming the agreement — sources tell Billboard it will keep mechanical rates flat for track downloads and CDs and that the mechanical rate, if approved by the CRB, would remain at the current rate of 9.1 cents per song; and 24 cents for ringtones.

SoundExchange Calls for Appeal of New Webcasting Rates, Saying They ‘Erode the Value of Music In Our Economy.’ “SoundExchange believes, respectfully, that the webcasting rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board in the Web IV proceedings do not reflect a fair market price for music and will erode the value of music in our economy,” according to a statement on its website.

Rhapsody/Napster Restructures, Laying Off Staff, Closing San Francisco Office. “As part of our plan to better position Rhapsody/Napster for long-term profitability and accelerated growth in a competitive global market, we have a new, streamlined structure for the company that unfortunately impacts a number of positions across our global offices.”

RIAA Demands Takedown Of ThePirateBay.Org, EasyDNS Refuses. Following The Pirate Bay’s return to its original .org domain, the RIAA has demanded that the popular search engine be once again taken down, a request complicated by the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much legal precedent to do so.

Inside the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Lawsuit: Everything You Need to Know. As with 2015’s “Blurred Lines” trial, after which a jury ordered Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams to pay $7.4 million (later reduced to $5.3 million) in damages for infringing Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up,” the stakes are high.

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Recap: Pandora Founder Back as CEO, RIAA Releases 2015 Industry Numbers, YouTube Monetization Explained

Posted by Glen Sears | March 28, 2016 10:38 am | No Comments

Pandora CEO

Story of the Week

Pandora Names Founder Tim Westergren CEO As Part Of Broad Executive Restructuring
Brian McAndrews is out and founder Tim Westergren is in, as the CEO of Pandora, effective immediately. The move is part of a broader restructuring at Pandora, aimed at restoring investor confidence and in anticipation of a possible future sale. Tim Westergren has long been the public face of Pandora, preaching his Music Genome gospel to literally anyone who would listen. Pushed aside in the board room as the company grew and went public, Westergren is now back in charge as Pandora’s new CEO—which is likely great news for artists.

A former touring musician, Tim Westergren has always been a champion of Pandora’s efforts to provide artist data and marketing opportunities. “I am incredibly excited about the future of Pandora. We’re on the cusp of realizing an extraordinary vision: fundamentally changing the way listeners discover and enjoy music, and the way artists build and sustain their careers,” said Westergren. “We are pursuing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a massive, vibrant music marketplace. We have the audience, the technology infrastructure, the monetization engine and most importantly the right team with the passion and commitment to do it.”

Current independent member Jim Feuille is Chairman of the Board. “Tim is the ideal CEO for Pandora as we embark on our next phase of growth,” he said in a statement. “As the original founder, Tim carries the vision for how Pandora can transform the music industry and he is uniquely able to connect with listeners, music makers and employees.”

Read more on Hypebot…

Top Music News Headlines

U.S. Recording Industry Sees Slight Uptick in Revenue Last Year, Streaming Dominates Digital. The 2015 numbers, released last week by the RIAA, arrive bearing both good and bad news for the players in the digital music space.

Vinyl Sales Made More Than YouTube, Spotify and Soundcloud Ads Combined… RIAA figures revealed that vinyl sales made $416 million, while the combined total ad revenue from streaming sites Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube accounted for only $385 million.

…But Vinyl Sales May Not Have Made More Than Streaming. The RIAA’s vinyl revenue number is based on gross retail sales, but the ad supported streaming revenue number it is compared to is only the net amount paid to labels.

Cracker Barrel Joins the Vinyl ‘Revolution.’ The Southern-themed retailer and roadside restaurant chain with a long track record in country, bluegrass, and faith-based CD sales has officially entered the still-booming vinyl market for the first time, with an exclusive numbered collector’s edition of country duo Joey & Rory’s Hymns That Are Important To Us.

“The Music Industry Finds Itself Fighting Over Pennies While Waving Goodbye To Dollars.” [CHART] A New York Times analysis of the statistics shared this week by the RIAA leads to a sobering conclusion: “…the big sales numbers that have sustained the recorded music business for years are way down, and it is hard to see how they could ever return to where they were even a decade ago.”

Where’s The Money? YouTube Revenues Explained. Chris Castle clears the fog surrounding how revenue from YouTube uploads is determined, as well as how the video sharing site’s content management system functions—and whether or not monetization is the best choice for you.

SoundCloud’s Next Move Will Change the Streaming Game (Again). “It’s a very organic, user-friendly ­experience that’s really social,” says a major-label executive who has seen a ­demonstration that includes the paid tier. “It’s true to the way SoundCloud works now.”

BandsInTown and Ticketmaster Debut In-App Ticket Purchases. With the likes of Pandora and Spotify thinking hard about how ticketing fits in to their businesses, startups like Dice iterating rapidly, and Songkick planning big things after its merger with CrowdSurge, it’s an encouraging time for the live market.

Grant Bussinger Claims We Need An Open Source Music Industry. Warped Records’ Head of Digital claims “There is as an opportunity to leverage the same resources and adopt the same guiding principles that have seen success everywhere else.”

Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet

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Music News Recap: Music’s Role in Digital Content Shrinking, FCC Announces Audits, RIAA Wins Piracy Case

Posted by Glen Sears | February 29, 2016 10:11 am | No Comments

Digital music has a small role in all digital content, and its share is getting smaller

Story of the Week

The Role of Music in Digital Content is Small And Shrinking
At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, MiDiA Research’s Mark Mulligan focused on digital music and its relation to mobile apps and sources like video in the broader digital content ecosystem. One of the themes of the address was how the streaming music business relies on almost the same model as mobile games like Clash Of Clans—by counting on a very small percentage of the total audience to pay the bills.

The difference of course is the average paying user’s overall contribution. A Clash of Clans “King” user averages $290.41/year while for UMG the annual contribution of a streaming music subscriber is $29.77. Mulligan gives credit to UMG for breaking streaming records, but insists that getting music streaming to scale isn’t enough when only 10% of streaming music users are paying customers.

Yet the most impactful takeaway from the speech is how small digital music’s role is in the broader ecosystem. Digital music (at retail values) will be just 10% of digital content revenue by 2020, down from 16% in 2015. Not only is digital music relatively small, but it will continue to lose market share. Online video, which is at an earlier stage of its development, is already bigger (at retail value) than the entire recorded music business (at trade value), while mobile app revenue is double that of online video.

Read more on the MidiA Blog here.
(more…)

Judge Rules that ‘Happy Birthday’ Is Now Public Domain, and Last Week’s Top News

Posted by Glen Sears | September 28, 2015 12:57 pm | No Comments

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Story of the Week

‘Happy Birthday’ Song Copyright Ruled to Be Invalid
The world’s most popular English language song is potentially free from copyright after a federal judge ruled on Tuesday that filmmakers challenging Warner/Chappell Music’s hold on “Happy Birthday to You” should be granted summary judgment.

According to the opinion on Tuesday from U.S. District Judge George H. King, “Because Summy Co. never acquired the rights to the Happy Birthday lyrics, Defendants, as Summy Co.’s purported successors-in-interest, do not own a valid copyright in the Happy Birthday lyrics.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/1Wu1grw

Other Important Headlines

Pandora’s CEO Explains Why ‘Free’ Music Is Worth So Much… “All evidence indicates that the overwhelming majority of Americans cannot, or will not, pay a monthly subscription fee.” Read More

… And NMPA Head Says ‘Free’ May Work for Pandora But is Devastating to Songwriters – “Perhaps one of the reasons many Americans do not pay for music is because Pandora has told them they no longer need to, since Pandora expects songwriters to subsidize its business by paying them almost nothing.” Read More

RIAA Boss Speaks Out On Compulsory Licenses & Safe Harbors – “Government-set licensing has enabled services like Sirius XM to use music at below-market rates, based on a decades-old subsidy that has long outlived its purpose.” Read More

Deezer’s IPO Filing Shows Both Potential and Problems – Analysts believe the IPO will value the company at about €1 billion, but aren’t sure investors put money into a company that currently pays over three-quarters of its revenue to rights holders and doesn’t generate revenue on two out of five subscribers. Read More

Turns Out The Pirate Bay Servers Weren’t Seized After All – The headline grabbing server raid that preceding the Bay going offline last December didn’t actually affect any of their servers, with the authorities – deliberately or by mistake – taking machines hosting another piracy operation called EZTV. Read More

Apple Music Has 15M Users, 7.5M Ready To Pay – Around half of those who signed up for Apple Music have not turned off auto-pay, which means they’ll convert from free to paid customers on September 30th. Read More

TomorrowWorld Limits Day 3 Access After Heavy Rainfall Strands Thousands – “”Today, Sunday September 27, TomorrowWorld will be accessible only to visitors currently camping onsite at DreamVille. We take the safety of all of our visitors very seriously. The rainfall since Thursday resulted in limited capacity of festival parking fields, drop-off locations, and the shuttle system. Festivalgoers with day tickets, guest list tickets, and anyone not already camping at DreamVille will unfortunately not be able to access today’s events. Food and entertainment will be provided for the visitors already situated in DreamVille. The refund policy for affected visitors will be announced as soon as possible.” Read More

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