MediaNet Blog

Digest: Radio Royalty Battles Restart in Congress, SoundExchange Audits DSPs, Apple Moves iTunes to Ireland

Posted by Glen Sears | January 30, 2017 9:29 am | No Comments

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Top Story This Week

SoundExchange Issues Audit Notices for Many Digital Music Services
Federal Register notices have recently been issued to audit certain companies in various music spaces, including satellite radio, webcasters, broadcasters who stream, and business establishment services. While notices of these audits are public, the results are not. All that is publicly known is that a number of services will have to deal with SoundExchange’s auditors, who under CRB rules must be Certified Public Accountants.

Read the full story on Broadcast Law Blog

Other Music News Highlights

Radio Royalties Battle Lines Being Drawn With New Congress. According to the NAB, 115 members of Congress have signed the non-binding resolution, dubbed the Local Radio Freedom Act, which resists efforts by labels to gather royalty payments for radio play.

Apple Moving International iTunes Business to Ireland. Apple announced its intentions to move its iTunes business to Ireland in September when it transferred an estimated $9 billion of iTunes assets.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Saw Revenues Grow 10% Last Year. While it’s true that Sony/ATV’s core UK company – Sony/ATV Music Publishing Ltd – saw revenues of £53m (+10.3%) in its last fiscal year, along with operating profits of £2.26m (-15.2%), further calculations give a fuller picture of the publisher’s commercial performance.

Sony International Boss Edgar Berger Exits After 12 Years. News of Berger’s exit comes in the same month we learned that Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton – the figure ultimately responsible for Sony Music and Sony Pictures – is also out, leaving to focus on his role as Chairman of Snap Inc’s board.

Russia Permanently Blocks DailyMotion, Citing Copyright Law. The Moscow city court ruled that DailyMotion had repeatedly violated Russia’s copyright law by hosting shows from Russian TV network Pyatnitsya!, owned by Gazprom’s TV arm Gazprom Media.

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.

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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.

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RECAP: SoundExchange Wants Major Rate Increases, NMPA Wants Facebook Publishing Deals, Pandora Premium Launch Date,

Posted by Glen Sears | October 31, 2016 10:02 am | No Comments

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SoundExchange Asks U.S. Copyright Royalty Board For Major Rate Increases

Story of the Week
SoundExchange has submitted a new rate proposal and testimony in the SDARS III royalty rate proceeding from which the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will set rates for the years 2018-2022 for Sirius XM’s satellite radio service, as well as, cable/satellite TV music services provided by Music Choice and Muzak.

SoundExchange has proposed a rate that is the greater of either 23% of revenue or $2.48 per subscriber per month in 2018 with annual increases. The current rates for Sirius XM are 10.5% of Sirius XM’s “Gross Revenues” in 2016 and 11% in 2017. For Music Choice and Muzak, SoundExchange has proposed a per subscriber per month rate starting at $ 0.019 per subscriber per month with annual increases. The current rate is 8.5% of Gross Revenues in both 2016 and 2017.

The CRB will hold a hearing beginning April 19, 2017, which will last several weeks. After final briefing by the parties, the CRB will issue its rate determination by December 15, 2017.

Read the full story on Hypebot.

Top Music News Stories

Are Higher Royalty Payments Really Coming Soon From Sirius XM? Bobby Owsinski claims “SoundExchange likes to reach for the stars when it comes to proposed rates; though these seem reasonable for everyone involved in the music business, effectively doubling a rate does put any distributor in an immediate financial hole.”

NMPA Calls For Facebook To Sign Music Publishing Deals. “Facebook’s inactivity and unresponsiveness has left publishers no other choice but to attempt to remove the music that amounts to stealing from their songwriters — To aid in this effort, NMPA and our member publishers have sent thousands of takedown requests, but this is merely a drop in the bucket.”

Does The Music Industry Need To Dump Non-Discretionary Pricing? MiDiA Research’s Mark Mulligan claims in a new blog piece that one of streaming music’s top priorities “should be to ensure that European music fans get a fair deal compared to their US peers.”

Pandora Premium Set For January After December Unveiling. “It will have all the features of Plus, so the rewinding, skipping, offline etc — but it will now include the ability to search and play, the ability to build and share playlists, taking everything offline and many, many more Pandora features that we can’t reveal now for competitive purposes,” said CEO Westergren.

Apple Music Revenues Up 22% Despite Device Decline. Despite falling device sales, “App Store revenue continued to skyrocket, while Music revenue grew by 22% thanks to the growing popularity of Apple Music,” CEO Tim Cook told analysts.

Universal Music, Avenged Sevenfold To Launch VRLIVE Virtual Reality Concert Platform. “We are excited about our partnership with Universal Music Group as it gives us the opportunity to provide the viewing audience with unprecedented levels of access,” stated VRLIVE Founder and CEO Heiner Lippman.

Sub Pop’s Founder Launched A Fun Music Remixing App. 8Stem is an extremely slick mobile app for iOS that turns remixing into a simple drag and drop process — Find a song you like (Seattle-based Merge signee Telekinesis jumped out at me), click Remix This, and the app will lay it out, broken down into wave forms and sections.

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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.

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Recap: 68% Smartphone Users Stream Daily, French Sales Falling, U.S. Publishing Settlement Looms

Posted by Glen Sears | March 14, 2016 10:43 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

68% Of Smartphone Users Stream Music Daily
Illustrating just how pervasive streaming music has become, a new study shows that 68% of smartphone users listen to an average of 45 minutes of streaming music daily. By comparison, 71% watch video daily on their smartphones, but only for an average of 24 minutes.

According to a new Parks Associates study, digital media usage varies based on OS brand and carrier. iPhone users consume more media than Android and other operating systems. T-Mobile and Sprint customers have the highest incidence of daily music consumption among U.S. carriers – over 75% of subscribers for T-Mobile or Sprint listen to streaming music daily, versus 66% of Verizon users.

Mobile Music Streaming statistics

“Currently Amazon Prime Music is the most popular paid music subscription service among U.S. broadband households, thanks to its inclusion in Amazon Prime, but the streaming music war has intensified as the large connected entertainment companies are driving to consolidate their offerings,” said Harry Wang, Director, Health & Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. “Apple launched Apple Music, and Google is consolidating its music offerings across its Play content store and YouTube platform. Consumers are getting more music options as the competition for users escalates.”

(via Hypebot)

Top Music News Stories

More Than 50% Americans Listen To Online Radio Weekly. The number of listeners is up from 44% last year, according to new Edison Research survey, with 126 million Americans over age 12 now listening weekly.

French Music Sales Plummeted Last Year. France was hit particularly hard with a 7% drop in 2015, and although streaming was up, it was hardly enough to counteract overall plummeting sales.

Tuesday Was The Most Important Day For Direct To Fan Music Since CDBaby & Tunecore. Three significant players in music tech placed big bets that the future of the new music industry lies in the powerful connection between artists and fans; and those companies that enable that direct connection will be the winners.

Sony Develops App For Streaming Royalty Reports. The app is only available to Sony artists in Sweden (where the app was developed) at the moment, but is expected to be rolled out to Sony artists globally later in the year.

SoundExchange Launches Free 20 Million Song Search Database. From music streamers lawsuits to takedowns on iTunes, song identification has become a major issue. To help solve the problem, SoundExchange has launched free ISRC Search Site that includes 20 million songs.

Allison Moore Hired As Chief Revenue Officer As Paid Launch Nears. New deals with the major labels require monetization and recent filings point to a company bleeding cash at alarming rate. Now an experienced digital executive has been hired to sort out the mess.

Settlement May Be In Sight For U.S. Publishing Royalties Suit. While the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) may well be on the verge of brokering a deal with Spotify that could in turn help its rivals sort out their publishing-licensing problems, that may not be the final word.

FCC Plans to Expand Low-Income Assistance to Broadband Ahead of Privacy Rules. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler posted a lengthy letter to his office’s website that laid out the Commission’s plans for Lifeline, a federal program which provides a $10 per month subsidy to the lowest-income Americans for wired phone services.

Last week famed producer and “fifth Beatle” George Martin passed away at the age of 90. His mark on popular music will last many generations, and our thoughts go out to his family and friends. Read a retrospective of his life and career here.

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Music News Recap: Pandora Signs With ASCAP/BMI, Songkick Sues Ticketmaster, Soundcloud & PRS Bury The Hatchet

Posted by Glen Sears | December 28, 2015 9:56 am | No Comments

Pandora ASCAP BMI

Story of the Week

Pandora Signs Landmark Licensing Agreements With ASCAP And BMI, Drops Rate Court Appeal
After scoring direct licensing deals with many of the world’s biggest music publishing companies, Pandora has cut its most important deals yet – separate multi-year licensing agreements with both ASCAP and BMI.

Pandora announced the signing of two separate multi-year licensing agreements for the combined million track catalogs on ASCAP and BMI, the world’s largest Performance Rights Organizations. Pandora has also agreed to withdraw its appeal of the May 2015 order in the BMI rate case.

While the specific terms of both multi-year agreements remain confidential, both sides call the deal “an innovative approach to public performance licensing.” According to a joint statement, “it allows both ASCAP and BMI to further their goal of delivering improved performance royalties for their songwriters and publishers, while Pandora will benefit from greater rate certainty and the ability to add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time.”

The public performance royalties Pandora also pays to rights holders of master recordings are not affected by this agreement.

Read more on Hypebot: http://bit.ly/1SiOKKR

Top Music News

Songkick Sues Live Nation and Ticketmaster for Antitrust
Songkick alleges in its 68-page complaint that Live Nation and Ticketmaster undertook a concerted effort to hamper its business and that the two companies employed their vastly dominant positions in the live event and ticketing industries to do so.

SoundCloud and PRS Reach Licensing Agreement, Legal Action Off
PRS For Music and SoundCloud have reached a multi-territory licensing agreement, which brings an end to the litigation that was launched by the UK publishing sector’s collecting society against the streaming service earlier this year.

The Beatles Launch Digital Catalog on 9 Music Streaming Services
The Fab Four are adding their back catalogue to streaming services after almost a decade of holding out. The services are: Spotify, Apple Music, Slacker, Tidal, Microsoft’s Groove, Rhapsody, Deezer, Google Play, and Amazon’s Prime Music.

A2IM Interim President Molly Neuman Named Kickstarter’s First Head of Music
Neuman, who temporarily took the reins of the American Association of Independent Music following Rich Bengloff’s departure this past summer, is joining Kickstarter as the company’s first head of music. In a statement on her departure, Neuman indicates her replacement will be sourced from inside A2IM.

Surprising Discoveries

Apple Is Reportedly Developing a Hi-Res Audio Format
A report in the Japanese blog Macotakara has sparked rumors that Apple is preparing to release a new audio format that has more than twice the sound quality of a CD. The blog cites “several insiders familiar with Apple” as saying that the company “has been developing hi-res audio streaming up to 96kHz/24-bit.”

SoundExchange Sat on Fewer Unclaimed Royalties at End of 2014
With a significant webcasting rate hike coming in 2016, the music industry might be wondering about the efficiency and effectiveness of SoundExchange. The information from its breakdown of its 2014 year-end account balances shows the organization has continued to improve how it collects and pays out royalties.

Spotify Announces Database to Properly Manage Royalties
Against a backdrop of controversy over not properly licensing songs or paying publishing royalties to music publishers and songwriters, Spotify’s global head of publisher relations James Duffett-Smith writes that the company “will invest in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem.”

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