MediaNet Blog

YouTube & ASCAP Announce Landmark Data Sharing Agreement, SOCAN Beats Royalty Records, Believe Digital Seeking Sale

Posted by Glen Sears | June 19, 2017 8:58 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

YouTube, ASCAP to Share Data in First-Ever Voluntary Deal
In what is the performance rights group’s first-ever fully-negotiated, voluntary licensing deal with the decade-old video hub not prompted by a rate-court proceeding, ASCAP will combine its database of 10.5 million musical works with YouTube’s data exchange, a move that ASCAP’s CEO Elizabeth Matthews says will result in bigger payouts.

Other Music News Highlights

Canada’s SOCAN Collected Record-Setting $249M In Royalties For 2016. The PRO said it recorded “new highs on almost every front,” with nearly 4,500 businesses that use music became “licensed to play” with SOCAN and 6,500 additional songwriters, composers and music publishers signed up for membership.

Merlin Deals Paying Out The Equivalent Of Nearly $1M A Day To Independent Labels. Before the end of March, Merlin’s admin fee for these members was 2% of total revenues – it proudly reduced this to 1.5% in April – suggesting its total collections in the 2016/2017 period stood at around $360M.

Believe Digital Actively Seeks Sale, Major Players Show Interest. Global independent distributor, label services provider, and TuneCore owner Believe Digital is for sale, sources tell Hypebot, and a two to three week deadline has been set for initial bids.

Sony/ATV’s Martin Bandier Calls on Spotify, Apple Music, And YouTube To Credit Songwriters. While he acknowledged that songwriters and publishers are beginning to benefit from the uptick in revenues with the rise of streaming, he was quick to note that “songwriters and music publishers, while we’re headed in the right direction, the fruits of our labor are not being equitably rewarded and we are not benefiting from the streaming revolution as meaningfully as we should.”

Spotify Revenues Hit $3.3B In 2016 – But Net Losses Soared To $597M. The streaming giant’s revenues saw healthy growth of 52%, but the ongoing cost of debt and widening operations costs ballooned its net losses over 133%.

Digest: Facebook Is Hiring A Licensing Expert, YouTube Is Launching a TV Service, Global Music Revenue at 15-Year High

Posted by Glen Sears | March 6, 2017 9:09 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Facebook Is Hiring A Legal Music Licensing Boss
According to a freshly-posted job advert, the company is seeking a Legal Director of Music Licensing, based at its HQ in Menlo Park, California. “In this role, you will be responsible for solving cutting-edge licensing issues on a global scale, with an opportunity to help shape the future of music use on Facebook.”

It explains: “This position will partner closely with internal business counterparts in driving licensing negotiations, as well as coordinating with product, engineering, operations, finance and legal teams in support of the company’s evolving music licensing needs.”

Read the full story on Music Business Worldwide

Other Music News Highlights

YouTube to Launch Live TV Service. The new service will include content from all four broadcasters as well as some cable channels, all for $35 a month, the company announced Tuesday at an event for press and partners at YouTube Space LA.

Global Recorded Music Industry Reached $16.1bn In 2016. Discussing the numbers, MiDIA’s Mark Mulligan said: “The recorded music industry changed gear in 2016 and revenue looks set to be on an upward trajectory over the next few years.

SoundCloud Launches $4.99-A-Month Fully On-Demand Streaming Product. “SoundCloud Go answers the call from our users who want the ability to take the huge catalog of content found in SoundCloud’s free, ad-supported offering with them anytime, anywhere, without interruptions, at a very affordable price.”

Spotify Tops 50m Subscribers As Growth Rate Slows Down. It’s an impressive climb, and over double the latest equivalent figure from Apple Music – but actually represents a slowdown in subscriber growth percentage terms.

A Look At The 11 Startups Named To TechStar Music’s Inaugural Class. Bas Grasmayer of Music Tech Future takes a brief look at the eleven startups TechStar Music has inducted into their inaugural startup investment class.

Digest: Dubset Announces Major Funding, BMI/RMLC Interim Licensing Rate, “YouTube Can Do Better”

Posted by Glen Sears | February 27, 2017 9:27 am | No Comments

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Top Music News Story

Dubset Announces $4 Million Funding Round
Dubset Media is getting an injection of funds as it attempts to solve one of dance music’s most frustrating issues. The company, led by CEO Stephen White, announced this morning (Feb. 27) it had completed a $4 million round of Series A funding led by Boston-based equity firm Cue Ball Capital.

In 2015, Dubset — a dance-centric digital distributor based in New York City — introduced a new technology called MixBANK, which identifies individual tracks within DJ mixes, allowing copyright owners to get paid when their work is sampled or remixed within a DJ mix.

MediaNet is proud to be a Series A investor for Dubset, along with Neoteny 3, Resolute Venture Partners and Redwood Venture Partners.

Read the full story on Billboard.

Other Music News Highlights

The Value Of Music Publishing, In 5 Figures. The Midemblog staff take a look at five of Billboard’s latest top 10 publishers in figures and find out how they’re making news.

BMI and Radio Industry Group Agree to Interim Licensing Rate. Broadcast Music Inc. and the Radio Music License Committee have agreed to set an interim rate of 1.7 percent of radio revenue, while the two sides either negotiate a final rate, or failing that, go to rate court to determine the final number.

Coalition of 15 Music Orgs File Complaint Over DMCA. The substance of the filing is fairly similar to what various music business organizations have said before: By setting up a system where rightsholders need to ask websites to remove content uploaded by users, the DMCA erodes the value of music.

Techstars Music Reveals Start-Ups For Inaugural Accelerator Program. Each company will receive a $120,000 investment, mentorship form a vast pool of professionals, support for life, and undergo an intensive three month incubation program out of Techstars’ new L.A. office — in exchange for 6% equity in each company.

‘YouTube Can Do Better’: Cee Lo, Evanescence, Rush Among Artists Calling for DMCA Action. Unlike most such filings, which tend to consist of pages of anecdotes and arguments, the video — titled “YouTube Can Do Better” — couldn’t be much simpler.

Universal Music Group’s Publishing Revenues Have Grown 18% In Two Years. According to new Vivendi data reported in Paris, UMG’s publishing revenues reached €792m ($876m) in 2016, up 4.8% on 2015 in real terms, and up 6.7% at constant currency/perimeter.

Spotify Adds 3 Original Music Business Focused Podcasts. It’s part of a push to add more original content to the music streamer, while still rejecting the exclusive releases favored by some of its major rivals.

Alex Da Kid: “There’s Going To Be A Resurgence In Independent Music Companies.” Universal recently spent big bucks on signing a ‘unique and innovative’ multifaceted deal with the Grammy-winning Brit’s KIDinaKORNER – a combined record label, publisher, production house and marketing agency.

MIDiA: Global Recorded Market Music Market Shares, 2016. MIDiA has created a recorded music market share model to provide a unique view of where the revenue flows in the global business.

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.

Digest: Sprint Buys 33% of TIDAL, MusicFirst Lobbies Congress, YouTube Red Expanding in 2017

Posted by Glen Sears | January 23, 2017 9:21 am | No Comments

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Top Story This Week

Sprint Buys 33% of Jay Z’s Music Streaming Service Tidal
Sprint Corp. acquired a 33 percent stake in music-streaming service Tidal as the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier turns to media streaming to attract more customers with exclusive content.

Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s chief executive officer, will join the Tidal board and musician Jay Z will continue to run the business, according to a statement Monday. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Sprint paid $200 million for the stake, according to a report in MusicBusinessWorldwide.

Read the entire story on Bloomberg

Other Music News Highlights

MusicFirst Coalition Pens Letter to Congress on Radio, Copyright Concerns. Dated Jan. 18, the letter outlines the group’s main aims in its pursuit of “market-based principles [that] drive compensation for all artists and creators whenever and however their music is played.”

CEO Susan Wojcicki Promises YouTube Red Expansion In 2017. “We’ll continue to roll out YouTube Red in new markets throughout 2017, giving creators another meaningful way to earn revenue from their content and fans access to brand new original series and films.”

Donald Trump Expected to Appoint Ajit Pai as New FCC Chairman. In his time at the FCC, Pai has been extremely vocal about his unhappiness with the agency’s heavy hand, and has signaled an intent to roll back the FCC’s “open internet” rules, also known as Net Neutrality.

Is Apple Getting Serious About Original Content? The iPhone maker is exploring producing original television shows and movies to turn its Apple Music subscription service into what Apple executive Jimmy Iovine described Jan. 14 as “an entire cultural, pop cultural experience.”

Have $9.99 Streaming Subscriptions Reached A Saturation Point? MiDIA Research’s Mark Mulligan wonders, based on the financially polarizing pricing structure currently being implemented by the streaming industry, if the number of customers willing to pay $9.99 has hit a saturation point.

Garth Brooks’ Ghost Tunes Folding Into Amazon Music. A digital and physical distribution platform billed as an alternative to iTunes that launched a little over two years ago, Ghost Tunes is apparently folding into Amazon Music.

Sony/ATV Responds Publicly To Paul McCartney Lawsuit. McCartney filed the lawsuit last week in the Southern New York District Court, claiming that Sony/ATV had repeatedly failed to confirm it would transfer US copyrights to the songwriter when the company’s legal rights expire.

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Industry News Recap: YouTube Spars With IFPI Over $1B Royalties, Sony Unifying Arms, Pandora goes Premium

Posted by Glen Sears | December 12, 2016 9:28 am | No Comments

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YouTube Reports $1 Billion Paid to Recording Industry Through Advertising This Year

Story of the Week
After a year of sustained and withering criticism from the recorded music industry — and one day after Lyor Cohen began as its global head of music — YouTube has announced a topline stat intended as a strong defense of its business model and its contributions to the global recording industry.

In a blog post this morning YouTube’s Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl writes that “in the last 12 months, YouTube has paid out over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone.” (Google itself reported ad revenue of $19.8 billion in the third quarter.) In a study released earlier this year, Statista found that 63 percent of Americans had listened to music on the platform at some point.

Read the full story on Billboard.

Top Music News

IFPI Hits Back At YouTube Over $1bn Payouts Claim. “Google has today issued more unexplained numbers on what it claims YouTube pays the music industry. The announcement gives little reason to celebrate, however…YouTube is generating revenues of just over $1 per user for the entire year. This pales in comparison to the revenue generated by other services…For example, in 2015 Spotify alone paid record labels some $2 billion, equivalent to an estimated $18 per user.”

YouTube Strikes Settlement Deal Over Unpaid Royalties with NMPA. The dollar amount of the settlement were not disclosed — a press release on the news says “millions of dollars in previously unclaimed music royalties” — music publisher sources had previously speculated to Billboard that it could land in the same range as the $30 million payout by Spotify.

Sony Eyes Unification Of Record, Publishing Arms. Sony Corp. is considering a major reorganization, and the recorded music division Sony Music Group and music publisher Sony/ATV possibly would unite in a division separate from film and gaming.

Global Music Publishing Royalties By The Numbers. Glenn Peoples comments on the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers recently-issued report which has shed some light on the world of music publishing, with free on-demand services once again being targeted.

Apple Music Reaches 20M Subscribers, Adding 1M A Month. Apple is enjoying the fruits of this growth too: the company recently said its music revenue was up 22% in the third quarter thanks to Apple Music, with services a bright spot for the company amid declining hardware sales.

Pandora Reveals Its Spotify Competitor, Pandora Premium. After a just under a year of re-engineering Rdio, the well-liked streaming service it purchased last December for $75 million, and the launch of a mid-tier subscription service in September, Pandora has pulled the curtain off of its all-you-can-eat streaming service, called Pandora Premium, expected to be released in the first quarter of next year.

Australian Creators Launch Campaign Against Proposed Copyright Reform. “At a time when copyright is working in practice as it should, and just when the culturally-rich and economically vital business of music is getting back on its feet, it’s difficult to fathom why measures such as those relating to safe harbour expansion or so-called ‘fair use’ should be contemplated by government”.

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RECAP: GEMA & YouTube Reach Deal, YouTube Red Struggles, Napster & Spotify Expand

Posted by Glen Sears | November 7, 2016 9:39 am | No Comments

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GEMA Finally Loosens Its Grip on YouTube in Germany

Story of the Week
It’s been one of the biggest stand-offs in digital music history – but YouTube and German collection society GEMA have finally reached a licensing agreement. The deal means that scores of previously unlicensed – and therefore previously unavailable – music videos will now be playable in the region.

YouTube’s Head of International Music Partnerships, Christophe Muller said: “We’re committed to ensuring that writers, composers and publishers continue to be paid fairly, and that our users are able to enjoy their favorite songs and discover new music on the platform.
Read the details of the deal on Music Business Worldwide.

Top Music News Stories

Report Claims 1.5m Paying Subscribers For YouTube Red. The Verge claims, “According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, YouTube Red had 1.5 million paying subscribers as of late summer, with another 1 million users signed up on a trial basis.”

Vimeo to Begin Offering Subscription Video Services. The company, which has long made money off of its premium subscription for video creators, now wants to create a consumer-facing subscription business.

Pan-European Licensing Hub ICE Signs Deal With SoundCloud. The deal follows a licensing agreement between SoundCloud and U.K. collecting society PRS for Music in December last year that brought an end to PRS’ suit against the Berlin-based startup over unpaid royalties.

Sony Sees Music Revenues Jump Thanks to Streaming. The company also writes that its acquisition of the other half of Sony/ATV from Michael Jackson’s estate was finalized last month, (September), for which it paid $750 million.

Napster Announces a Slate of Partnerships to Inflate Its User Base. The streaming service laid out its plans for partnering with Sprint, Virgin Mobile, airline Lufthansa, retailer Aldi, and Boost Mobile and increasing their number of monthly active users.

Spotify Acquires Subscriber Analytics Firm Preact. Preact is a four-year-old startup that utilizes machine learning and audience behavior metrics via social media to draw and retain subscribers.

Is Facebook The Musicians Friend Or A Massive Infringer? In this piece from Artist Rights Watch, Chris Castle dives into what he sees as the evils of Facebook’s copyright infringement; “After making itself what seems to be a necessary evil for artists, Facebook hides in plain sight while still avoiding proper licensing and evoking the DMCA.”

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RECAP: Labels Sue YouTube MP3 Ripper, Congress Urges ‘100% Licensing’ Decision U-Turn, Shazam Finally Profits

Posted by Glen Sears | October 3, 2016 8:53 am | No Comments

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Major Record Labels Sue Over Ripping Audio Tracks from YouTube Videos

Story of the Week

Universal, Warner Bros, Sony and other big record labels are suing the operators of YouTube-mp3.org, a service that allows its users to rip the audio from videos streamed on YouTube. The plaintiffs filed a copyright lawsuit in California federal court, stating, “Stream ripping has become a major threat to the music industry, functioning as an unlawful substitute for the purchase of recorded music and the purchase of subscriptions to authorized streaming services.”

With a few simple mouse clicks, the lawsuit reports, infringing copies of sound recordings are made available in MP3 format. The plaintiffs suggest that “tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream ripping services each month.”

Google, which owns YouTube, is not a party in this lawsuit, but the record labels also claim the defendants are illicitly circumventing technology measures that YouTube has implemented to control access to and prevent copying of works.

Read the full story on Billboard

Top Music News Stories

Legal Threats Have Almost No Impact on Music Piracy, Study Finds. The study, published in the journal Risk Analysis, found that most people perceive the risks of music piracy as being simply too low to affect their behavior.

Congress Members Send A.G. Letter Urging Dept. of Justice to Reverse Songwriting Decision. “We believe a well-functioning music marketplace benefits America’s music-loving public, businesses that use music to connect with their customers, and, especially, more than one million songwriters and composers whose creative work is the lifeblood of the entire American music economy.”

Sony Completes Deal For Michael Jackson’s Share Of Sony/ATV. Announced earlier this year, the acquisition took its time to happen due to regulatory interest among other factors.[paywall]

Spotify, Rumored to Be Mulling a SoundCloud Acquisition, Probably Can’t Afford It Right Now. if it was working with the $700 million valuation that Twitter put on it, Spotify would have to spend 43 percent of its available funds to buy a company that, at least at first blush, seems a strange purchase.

Shazam Hits 1 Billion Downloads and Turns a Profit. The London-based firm on Thursday announced that revenue from advertisers has surpassed other sources, including from music partners for its ubiquitous app, to propel it into profitability before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization.

Irving Azoff to New YouTube Music Chief Lyor Cohen: ‘We Are Counting On You.’ “We are counting on you, Lyor, to lead YouTube to provide fair payments to artists and give them more creative control. Congratulations, Lyor, I know you can get it done.

Rdio’s Bankruptcy: A Labyrinth of Financial Winners, Losers and Lawsuits. Ed Christman takes a close look at the financial winners of losers of Rdio’s bankruptcy, which was imposed on the company as a condition of Pandora’s purchase.

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RECAP: Pandora Nearing On-Demand Deals, Dubset Inks Deal with Sony/ATV, More News in U.S. Publishing

Posted by Glen Sears | August 22, 2016 9:16 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

Pandora Nears Deals For On-Demand Streaming
Pandora Media Inc. is aiming to start expanding its internet-radio service as soon as next month, offering its hallmark free tier as well as two new monthly subscription options that will mark its foray into on-demand music streaming, said people familiar with the matter.

While the music industry broadly supports the new paid tiers, some record-label executives are still wary of granting Pandora permission to launch its free service in new foreign markets without the ability to control which songs they put on the free tier.

The foreign expansion could jump-start growth for Pandora, which has seen its listenership plateau in recent years at about 80 million active monthly users. Most listeners use Pandora’s free tier, with about 4 million subscribing to an ad-free version of its service, Pandora One, for $5 a month.

Read the full story on The Wall Street Journal

Top Music News Stories

Dubset Inks Deal With Sony/ATV. The Sony/ATV news comes on the heels of Dubset’s landmark rights agreement with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), giving hundreds of independent songwriters and publishers access to an emerging new royalty system.

Russian Collection Societies Break Ties Amidst Fog of Fraud. Earlier this month, several rights holders registered with RAO called for the organization’s management to be replaced and that fundamental changes to its charter be made, amidst major allegations of embezzlement.

What Is YouTube Red Paying Artists? Digital Music News claims to have been leaked an earnings statement from a “chill electronica catalog” showing the per stream and per-publisher royalty payouts for YouTube Red.

Samsung is shutting down Milk Music in September. Samsung will be shutting down Milk Music on September 22nd, urging its Galaxy and Note smartphone users to switch over to Slacker Radio, which powered the system.

Streaming Music Business Bigger Than Previously Thought. Glenn Peoples from Pandora claims “These adjusted streaming numbers are a good reminder there’s more to the streaming market than on-demand services that dominate the media’s attention.”

“Dept. of Justice’s New Decision Could Wreak Havoc on International Rights.” “When it needs fixing… don’t break it further.” Gadi Oron, the Director General of CISAC, laments the global implications of a new decision.

A Primer for the World of Music Licensing and Its Pricing. To help readers better understand this labyrinthine world, Ed Christman at Billboard put together an explainer, organized from simple to complex.

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RECAP: MiDiA Research Uncovers Trove of YouTube Intelligence, Guvera Shutters in Australia, WMG & Vevo Close to Deal

Posted by Glen Sears | August 1, 2016 9:40 am | No Comments

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Story of the Week

MIDiA Takes A Deep Dive Into YouTube As A Music Business
MIDiA Research has released a report on YouTube and the video platform’s impact on the music economy. With YouTube commanding a massive audience, but still drawing criticism and skepticism from artists and labels, the report adds much-needed data to explain the service’s role.

“Safe Harbour-enabled UGC is no longer the threat it once was, with just 2% of music video views from unofficial uploads,” MIDiA Research says. That statement, backed by research detailed in the report, is an interesting contradiction of some rights-holder complaints that UGC (user-generated content), and the regulation surrounding UGC platforms, do not adequately protect artists, labels, and songwriters.

The report examines several facets of YouTube’s business, including details about the most popular videos and distinct trends in listener behaviors. It revealed that three-quarters of music video views happen through official sources, and a further 76% of those are uploads from distributor Vevo. It also found that audience behaviors are quite sophisticated, with sizable listener groups only listening to the audio or navigating directly to an artist’s channel.

Read the full story on RAIN News

Top Music News Stories

Warner Music Group and Vevo Close to Reaching Content Deal. For Warner Music Group, this comes in a year when the company seems to be focusing its efforts in making more licensing deals, having partnered with Facebook, and signing a deal with social video sharing app musical.ly to let its music be licensed for the platform.

Canadian Music Industry Reaches $66M Settlement With Piracy Site isoHunt. The court found that isoHunt and Fung were liable for $55 million in damages and an additional $10 million in punitive damages, plus another million in court costs.

SOCAN And Audiam Talk Tech, Streaming And 21st-Century PROs. It’s unusual to see a PRO acquiring a music/tech company, let alone two in quick succession; Music Ally spoke to SOCAN chief executive Eric Baptiste and Audiam boss Jeff Price [paywall] to explore its strategy.

Troubled Music Streaming Startup Guvera Closes Up Shop in Australia. “Born and launched into Australia in 2008, we have had the best time bringing all the latest tunes to the ears of our listeners here; unfortunately, and with a heavy heart, the time has come to pull back from our operations in the country.”

SoundCloud Is For Sale, But They’re Having Trouble Finding A Buyer. In June, SoundCloud raised $70 million from Twitter in a $100 million funding round at reported valuation of $700 million — now Soundcloud is for sale.

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Recent posts

YouTube & ASCAP Announce Landmark Data Sharing Agreement, SOCAN Beats Royalty Records, Believe Digital Seeking Sale
June 19, 2017
Digest: SiriusXM Buys $480M Stake in Pandora, Pandora Unloads Ticketfly, 3 Takeaways from Midem 2017
June 12, 2017
Concord Acquires Imagem, Sony Merges Red & The Orchard, MiDIA Releases “State of Streaming” Report
June 5, 2017

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