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Spotify and Sony Reach Deal, Amazon Music Grows, Facebook Reveals Music Plans

Posted by Glen Sears | July 17, 2017 10:04 am | No Comments

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Spotify Sony Deal Confirmed. The terms include windowing, which would allow the label group to keep some tracks and albums from the music streamer’s free tier for up to two weeks.

German Music Publishers Say It’s ‘High Time’ the EU Acted on YouTube. “These online platforms are still not giving creative people reasonable and fair remuneration. This is a grave injustice and cannot be tolerated any longer.”

Judge Voids Prince $31 Million Universal Music Deal. The request was filed by UMG after the company learned that many of the tracks it had paid for were still under contract with Warner Music Group.

Amazon Is Now The 3rd Biggest Music Subscription Service. Mark Mulligan of MiDIA Research states, “Amazon can now discard its dark horse guise and be revealed for what it is: one of the top streaming music players.

Facebook Reveals Plans To Negotiate With Existing Digital Music Platforms. “This role will lead Facebook’s strategy and negotiations with digital music services, as well as collaborate with our product, media partnerships and platform partnerships teams to ensure a coordinated and best-in-class approach.”

Warner Music Group Acquires Songkick Concert Discovery App. The surprise deal, which appears motivated by the startups protracted legal battle with Ticketmaster, includes Songkick’s concert discovery app and web site, but not its ticketing business.

SoundCloud Responds Reports Of Impending Insolvency. Soundcloud CEO Alex Ljung responded to a TechCrunch report claiming the company would be insolvent in 50 days, saying “There are a number of inaccuracies within the TechCrunch article.”

Lyor Cohen Details YouTube’s Future Product Plans. YouTube’s Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen sat down with the board of directors of A2IM recently and detailed the video channel’s priorities and product plans for 2017.

Concord Acquires Imagem, Sony Merges Red & The Orchard, MiDIA Releases “State of Streaming” Report

Posted by Glen Sears | June 5, 2017 9:44 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Concord Bicycle Music Acquires Imagem In $600 Million Deal, Sources Say
The acquisition of Imagem, first reported by the New York Times, would make Bicycle Music the sixth largest music publisher in the world, Billboard estimates.

Other Top Music News

Concord’s Imagem Buy Marks The Birth Of A Major Player In Music. The last music industry acquisition of a comparable size would have been Sony Corp’s $750m acquisition of the 50% in Sony/ATV it didn’t already own, which completed in August last year.

Sony Merges The Orchard and Red Essential Into Single Division. Based in central London, the new enterprise will take The Orchard name and be led by Red Essential co-managing directors Ian Dutt and Mike Chadwick.

Announcing MIDiA’s State Of The Streaming Nation 2 Report. MIDiA’s 2nd annual benchmark of the global streaming business presents a definitive assessment of the global market, combining an unprecedented breadth and depth of supply side, demand side and market level data, as well as revenue and user forecasts out to 2025.

What Will Spotify’s $43 Million Class Action Settlement Mean For Publishers? Since it’s an opt-out settlement, songwriters and publishers who own works registered with the U.S. Copyright Office are assumed to be included unless they say otherwise.

SoundCloud’s Stephen Bryan Headed To YouTube, Say Sources. As Chief Content Officer at SoundCloud, Bryan was instrumental in closing deals with Universal, Sony, and Warner – agreements which enabled SoundCloud to launch on-demand streaming tier SoundCloud Go.

Napster Makes 20M Indie Tracks Available In Japan With Rakuten Partnership. “Today, we’re excited to partner with Rakuten, a world-class brand, to extend the Napster experience into Asia and bring the Japanese music community access to over 20 million tracks through our partnership with Rakuten Music.”

Warner/Chappell Strikes Multi-Territory Deal With France’s SACEM. The deal specifically covers the administration and licensing of mechanical rights to YouTube, Deezer and French streaming service Qobuz.

Canadians Listen to Way More Radio Than Americans, Study Finds. Edison Research results showed that AM/FM radio stations account for 61 percent of all Canadian listening, whether over-the-air or via streaming, with the U.S. at 50 percent.

Digest: MiDIA Research Teases Yearly Report, TIDAL Loses 3rd CEO, Spotify Settles

Posted by Glen Sears | May 30, 2017 9:38 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

MiDIA Research: Who’s Leading The Streaming Pack?
YouTube and Spotify emerge as the leading services with 25.1% and 16.3% WAU (weekly active user) penetration respectively. However, at the other end of the spectrum, Deezer swaps its top half of the table subscriber count ranking for the bottom ranking for WAUs with just 2.3%.

Other Music News Highlights

Spotify Settles Class Action Lawsuits With $43.4 Million Fund. Under the agreement, which will need to be approved by the court, the streaming company will set up a fund worth $43.4 million to compensate songwriters and publishers whose compositions the service used without paying mechanical royalties.

Judge Agrees Broadcasters Have First Amendment Right to Refuse Advertisements. According to a California federal judge ruling in a case involving SiriusXM, not running an ad is an exercise in free speech.

TIDAL Loses Its Third CEO In Two Years As Jeff Toig Exits. “As part of Tidal’s continued expansion this year we will be announcing a new CEO in the coming weeks,” TIDAL said in a statement.

SoundCloud Announces Departure of Content Chief Stephen Bryan. During his three years in the role, Bryan helped secure the label and publishing deals needed to launch the SoundCloud Go line of on-demand subscription tiers.

IMS Biz Report: Global Electronic Market Up 3% to $7.4 Billion. The report, which looked at industry data from 2016, reported the dance music market was up 3% to $7.4 billion dollars, up from $7.1 billion the year before.

Digest: Pandora & SiriusXM Might Be Back On, Paypal Sues, DOJ Appeals in BMI Case

Posted by Glen Sears | May 22, 2017 10:42 am | No Comments

Story of the Week

SiriusXM’s Pandora Buyout Could Be Back On
That’s according to a new report from the New York Post, which suggests that Sirius recently restarted talks with Pandora’s banks and is currently “discussing the size of a potential offer.”

Top Music News Highlights

Pandora Sued By PayPal For Alleged ‘Harmful’ Logo Infringement. PayPal’s suit, filed on May 19, claims: “The similarities between the logos are striking, obvious, and patently unlawful. Just like the PayPal logo, the Pandora logo is a capital P in block style, sans serif, with no counter, in the same deep-blue color range.”

Merlin Agrees Multi-Year Licensing Deal With HD Music Firm MQA. The partnership will enable the number of independent labels represented by Merlin to encode their master recordings in MQA’s master quality audio technology.

Department of Justice Appeals Consent Decree Ruling, BMI Hits Back. The DOJ claims that BMI is seeking to include a special exception for split works and it notes that while BMI has the right to license some of these split works on a full-works basis, it is asking the court to create an exception for all split works so that it can provide fractional licenses for those songs.

France’s Sacem Posts Record Revenues of $1.5 Billion. Of that total, $1.3 billion was paid out to members and affiliate neighboring rights organizations (up 2% on 2015) with just under $67 million invested in almost 2,000 creative and cultural sustainability projects – including financial support for music venues and festivals – to help “ensure long term growth for the industry.”

The MP3 Is Dead, Long Live The MP3. The last of the patents related to the MP3 format expired (or will very soon), so patent-holder Fraunhofer IIS has nothing left to license.

Digest: Spotify Nearing WMG Deal and May List Directly, SoundExchange Acquires CMRRA, eMusic Relaunches

Posted by Glen Sears | May 15, 2017 9:28 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Warner Music Boss Nears Royalty Deal With Spotify
Sources tell On the Money that Warner and Spotify are getting this close to a new royalty agreement and a deal could be signed by June; if inked, Daniel Ek’s Spotify would be on the way to its long-planned IPO — expected in the final quarter of 2017.

Top Music News Headlines

Spotify Valued At $13bn – And Is Pushing Ahead With A Direct Listing. The move would be the biggest test yet for the direct listing process, which for companies willing to list shares without raising capital eliminates the need for a Wall Street bank or broker to underwrite an initial public offering (IPO) along with many associated fees.

SoundExchange Moves Into Publishing Rights By Acquiring Canadian Body CMRRA. The organization has been thriving in recent years, but its business model faces some undeniable threats: SoundExchange’s biggest source of revenues, Pandora, is failing to grow its listener base – and recently inked direct licensing deals for the first time to cover its new three-tiered streaming product.

Pandora Secures At Least $150m Investment But May Still Sell. Pandora’s revenues grew by 6.3% year-on-year to $316m in the first quarter of 2017, however, the company’s net loss increased from $115.1m in Q1 2016 to $132.3m a year later, with a 9.4% hike in content acquisition costs to $187.4m one of the key reasons.

Australian Streaming Guvera Service Has Shut Down. According to CEO Herft’s letter to shareholders, the company will look into selling or commercializing some of its “valuable” intellectual properties in an attempt to get back on its feet.

eMusic Relaunches As Indie-Centric Music Service. The “fully overhauled and upgraded” eMusic is based around a music ownership model rather than an access streaming model and offers users free and discounted downloads, cloud-based storage, universal access on any device and a catalog of 32 million titles exclusively from independent labels.

Smule Raises $54M At $604M Valuation. Social music startup Smule has raised $54 million in a strategic financing round led by Tencent, used to expand the service, which has 54 million monthly active users creating over 20 million songs daily, into Asia.

Google Releases Study Defending YouTube’s Value To Music Biz; Trade Bodies Hit Back. According to a European study carried out by RBB Economics, if music content was removed from YouTube around 85 percent of the time that users spend on the platform would switch to lower value channels, such as TV, radio or internet radio.

iTunes and Apple Music Coming to Microsoft’s Windows Store. Microsoft said that once the app is released to the Windows Store, users of its just-revealed Windows 10 S operating system will get a “complete” iTunes experience, including Apple Music and full support for iPhone syncing.

Universal Music Group Revenue Rises 12.7%, Biggest Q1 In 15 Years. A UMG company spokesman said that the first quarter revenue was its highest first quarter total since UMG reported 1.365 billion euros ($1.48 billion) back in the first quarter of 2002.

Digest: Musical.ly Partners With Apple Music, Merlin Drops Fees, Spotify Bets on Blockchain

Posted by Glen Sears | May 1, 2017 9:26 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Musical.ly, Apple Music Ink New Partnership
With the new partnership, Musical.ly users will be able to stream full-length songs — rather than just 15-second clips — from Apple Music’s catalog directly within the Musical.ly app, with the further option to save particular songs to their own playlists within Apple Music and access Musical.ly-branded playlists via the streaming service as well.

Other Music News Highlights

Apple Music To Reportedly Relaunch With More Video, Original Programming. “A music service needs to be more than a bunch of songs and a few playlists. I’m trying to help Apple Music be an overall movement in popular culture, everything from unsigned bands to video. We have a lot of plans.”

Merlin Reduces Fees For Indies 25%. “On the back of our new agreement with Spotify, I am proud to announce yet another reduction in our Administration Fee,” Charles Caldas, CEO, Merlin said. “Together it means Merlin continues to deliver maximum value to our members’ digital business, and highlights our ongoing commitment to provide ever greater efficiencies.”

Spotify Hires Mediachain Labs, Blockchain Developers. When applied to the music industry, blockchain technology resembles a secure-but-shared ledger that connects data “blocks” containing data about every song and its rights holders.

Bill to Make Register of Copyrights a Presidential Appointee Approved by U.S. House. The next stop for this reform effort will be the Senate, where thus far legislation to accomplish that end has not been approved.

VKontakte (Russia’s Facebook) Launches Built-In Music Streaming Service. The built-in music service allows users to choose between the subscription-based and ad-supported models, giving them access to tracks licensed from Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Merlin Network and local labels.

Universal Music Group Valued At $22bn – Three Times What It Was Worth In 2013. That’s according to top brass at UMG parent Vivendi, speaking at its annual shareholders’ meeting April 25th in Paris.

Streaming Income For TuneCore Artists grew 85% Last Year. Streaming revenue for TuneCore artists was up 85% with top streaming stores including Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify and Google Play. Publishing revenue for TuneCore artists was up 42% percent from 2015, and sync revenue up 28%.

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

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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: SOCAN & SODRAC Set To Join Forces, Spotify Signs UMG Deal, May Avoid IPO

Posted by Glen Sears | April 10, 2017 9:40 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

SOCAN Set To Join Forces With Reproduction Rights Body SODRAC
Canadian music rights bodies SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors & Music Publishers of Canada) and SODRAC (Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada) are actively discussing the possibility of combining operations.

‘The integration of the management of public performance rights and reproduction rights could have many advantages and would reduce operating costs for rights holder members of each organization, and promises to increase efficiencies, leverage licensing relationships, and reduce operating costs, resulting in even more money to go to those who have earned royalties for their music and streamlined licensing for businesses using music,’ read a press release.

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide

Other Music News Highlights

Canadian Music Rights Groups Hope to Make ‘Quick Progress’ on Merger. Baptiste expects to have board approval “within the next few months,” but notes that timeline could change: “We are meeting again. It’s going to be up to the board of SOCAN and the board of SODRAC to decide, but we hope to make quick progress on this.”

Spotify Signs Long-Term Deal With Universal, Opens Door on Windowing. The agreement, announced last week, represents the end of Spotify’s long-standing policy of granting all of its users — both free and premium alike — access to complete albums on their release dates.

Universal And Spotify’s Deal Is An Even Bigger Deal Than It Looks. Mark Mulligan writes that “Although the big focus across the industry so far is, understandably, on what this means for Spotify, it is also part of a bigger story, namely that of the maturation of the streaming market and its associated business models.”

Could Spotify ‘IPO’ (Without An IPO) As Early As September? Much has been made of Spotify’s imminent IPO, but a new report suggests the streaming service is instead considering a different approach – through a direct listing on a US stock exchange.

Google Play Music Launches in India, Undercuts Apple. Google is offering users its streaming service and radio stations for an initial discounted price of Rs 89 per month ($1.40) for those that sign up within 45 days, reports the India Times.

Major Scandal At The Copyright Office With $25 Million ‘Fake Budget’ Line Item. According to a Techdirt report, Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante put in place a fake twenty-five million dollar budget line item, and then intentionally deceived congress about it.

YouTube, Creators Respond To Monetization Threshold Change. Many throughout the industry have had strong reaction to YouTube’s changes to their monetization rules, including YouTube itself.

Digest: Spotify Close To Major Label Deals, Budging on Windowing, UMG Partners For VR Experiences

Posted by Glen Sears | March 20, 2017 9:30 am | No Comments

spotify-video

Top Music News Story

Spotify To Sign New Licensing Deals With Major Labels ‘Within Weeks’?
The Financial Times is reporting optimistic news: it says that “licensing talks have picked up considerably” between the Spotify and Universal Music Group – and even that “deals [with the major labels] could be inked within weeks.”

According to the FT’s sources, Spotify has changed stance on one crucial point: finally agreeing to allow blockbuster album releases to be ‘windowed’ on its premium tier.

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide.

Other Music News Highlights

Spotify Softens Stance on Windowing New Music In Exchange For Lower Royalty Rates. The concession, which Spotify has long resisted, would reportedly be in exchange for the labels agreeing to reduced royalty fees for songs — the proposed deals are seen as a crucial step as Spotify tries to clear the path for an IPO in 2018.

Drake Has Reportedly Generated More Than $50m On Spotify. A spokesperson said: “Drake continues to break Spotify records, including his own, and is now the number one streamed artist and the first to reach over 10 billion streams.

Universal Inks Deal With MelodyVR For ‘Revolutionary Music VR Experiences.’ MelodyVR says it will be creating experiences with UMG artists including sell-out concerts, live performances, immersive music videos and intimate behind-the-scenes content.

Chance The Rapper Says Apple Music Paid $500,000 For 2 Week “Coloring Book” Exclusive. “I just wanna remain transparent, folks out there without a deal need to know they’re doing everything right just keep at it…I think (an) artist can gain a lot from the streaming wars as long as they remain in control of their own product.”

Pandora Not For Sale, Will Be Profitable This Year, Says Pandora CEO As Stock Falls. Pandora founder and CEO Tom Westergren made some bold claims during a CNBC appearance Monday — Wall Street seemed unimpressed, pushing the stock -6.3% to $11.60 by midday Tuesday.

Performance Rights in Pre-1972 Sound Recordings Kicked to California Supreme Court. The development is the latest in a high-stakes showdown that’s been unraveling since Flo & Eddie of The Turtles brought class actions against Sirius XM and Pandora for broadcasting hits like “Happy Together.”

Ticketmaster Expands ‘Verified Fan’ Program To Combat Bots, Ticket Scalping. Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan uses a combination of expert systems and customer data such as purchasing history in an effort to identify fans purchasing tickets and cut down on automated ticket buying systems or bots.

Digest: Spotify Acquires Sonalytic To Improve Pub Data, Pandora Premium Launching, NMPA Goes To Court

Posted by Glen Sears | March 13, 2017 10:14 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Spotify Acquires Audio Detection Startup Sonalytic To Improve Publishing Data
Spotify has acquired Sonalytic, a UK based startup that specializes in audio identification that enables us to connect creators and rights-holders to monetization opportunities.

Spotify says it will use Sonalytic audio detection to improve its personalized playlists and to match songs with compositions to improve their publishing data system. Publishing data and subsequent payments have been a source of tension between the music streamer and music publishers and songwriters.

Read the full story on Hypebot.

Other Music News Highlights

Opinion 1: “Spotify Could Use It’s New Acquisition To Take On Shazam.” Hypebot reports that, “in addition to its public intent to use Sonalytic’s audio detection to improve its personalized playlists and to match songs with compositions to improve their publishing data system, Spotify could use it to build its own Shazam.”

Opinion 2: “Could Sonalytic Help Spotify Build, Not Buy SoundCloud?” “If Spotify is so minded, then, it could use Sonalytic’s technology to build its own version of the kind of technology SoundCloud has been developing – and thus open up Spotify’s platform to the kind of mixes, mash-ups and other user-generated content that has been the engine behind SoundCloud’s growth.”

Pandora Premium $9.99 On Demand Streaming To Launch Wednesday. Invites for a free trial will be sent to select users this Wednesday; and an option to upgrade will be available to all listeners over the coming weeks.

Liberty: We’d Buy Pandora… For $1bn Less Than We Offered Last Year. At the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Florida, Greg Maffei stated that Liberty believes Pandora’s “stock is overvalued. We will not pay the current market price so I think it’s very unlikely we’re going to end up buying them.”

Amazon Is Getting Involved In The Music Festival Business. The plans will involve a “physical festival presence” which could include “on-site food and product delivery, custom tour merchandise for purchase, artist meet and greets, and convenience amenities such as free Wi-Fi, water, charging stations, and restrooms”.

4,000 Songwriters Sign NMPA Petition As Copyright Royalty Rate Hearings Heat Up. The NMPA, in a statement last week, said, “This week the most important trial most people have never heard of will begin in Washington, D.C.”

“I Don’t See A YouTube Value Gap.” Believe boss Denis Ladegaillerie claims his digital distribution and artist services company earns 20% of its overall revenues worldwide from YouTube, and sees it as a vital revenue and promotion tool.

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Recent posts

Spotify and Sony Reach Deal, Amazon Music Grows, Facebook Reveals Music Plans
July 17, 2017
Soundcloud Has A Really Bad Week, Apple and Deezer Show Interest, Concord Grabs ex-Warner Catalog
July 10, 2017
Pandora CEO May Be Stepping Down, Apple Music Wants Lower Royalty Payments, TuneCore Nears $1B Revenue
June 26, 2017

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