Posted by Glen Sears | December 12, 2017 3:58 pm | No Comments
(Additional contribution by Dan Charlson)
Many people ask us, “Why should I use MediaNet? Building a digital music product can’t be that difficult or expensive.” After 15 years in the digital music industry, there’s one thing we know for sure—building a digital music product alone is that difficult and expensive.
Music licensing is deeply complex. Multi-format file distribution requires massive server resources. Most importantly, paying royalties accurately to the law requires a content library that intelligently tracks ownership information for labels and publishers. Only MediaNet has a library like that, available through our MN Open API or Enterprise solutions.
There are four major areas MediaNet offers product teams and developers the tools they need:
- Catalog and Label Relationships (Majors, Indies, Aggregators)
- Content Fulfillment and Delivery (API, Download/Streaming Servers, CDN)
- Rights & Royalty Reporting and Administration (Labels, Publishers, PROs)
- Data Access & Management (XML Feeds, Metadata, Trending, Analytics)
Complications in digital music arise when data must be sent between providers for different services. Some companies offer APIs for catalog and metadata, others can administer royalty payments. MediaNet is the company can do it all under one roof, with full transparency at a time when the music industry is turning against the black box.
Beyond accountability and convenience, the MediaNet Platform is dependable and up-to-date, with rock-solid servers. MediaNet has powered the world’s best-loved music apps. Diverse services like Beats Music, MOG, Google Play, Songza, Yahoo! Music, AOL Music, MTV Urge, Turntable.fm, and so many more. Those services have enjoyed deployment in nine territories—US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Australia, and South Africa.
In short, startups and enterprise clients use MediaNet because we:
- Manage the most complicated digital music installations in the world. If it’s complicated, we get the call.
- Are pure B2B; we have no consumer-facing product.
- Are the only company with the tools to ensure all rights holders are paid for every play.
- Are prepared for the scale of any start-up’s growth; if you go viral, our system won’t even hiccup.
Think of your music service like an iceberg. The visible parts of your service are your focus: user interface, client applications, marketing, ecommerce, and customer support. Everything else? MediaNet does the invisible work, operating out of sight to power your service. We’ve built the tools, systems, and processes to power these services simultaneously, at scale and with maximum availability.
Our music catalog is always growing. MediaNet processes 200,000 new tracks, and 1-2 million updates to our library, per week. We add an average of 5M tracks every year to our catalog. We manage over 2 petabytes of physical storage for these files in 11 formats. Despite the availability of scalable cloud storage, our methodology is more stable and costs less over the long term than using a cloud service.
Growth at this level requires a dizzying amount of data management. Content deliveries (assets, art, XML feeds addressing metadata, rights, and pricing) in multiple formats being delivered from 1000’s of sources that cover over 50 territories and currencies—all while maintaining proper ownership chains for every track so rights owners can be paid.
Additionally, we work with global Content Distribution Network (CDN) partners to deliver an optimal streaming experience to end users everywhere. Akamai, Level3, Verizon-EdgeCast, and Limelight CDN technology ensure that our massive library of groomed content is delivered at better speeds and lower cost than individual services can achieve. We pass 100% of those savings onto our partners (that’s you).
MediaNet is a unique company. We’re the only B2B digital music platform on the planet with a digital content library that intelligently understands the entire ownership structure of each track. We process data at levels only search giants like Google and Facebook can. We have one foot in technology, and the other foot in the music industry.
MediaNet offers the only available digital music platform that can license, distribute, report, and pay under one roof. Call or email us to find out exactly what we can do for you.
Get started right away with the most powerful B2B digital music platform on the planet.
Posted by Glen Sears | November 4, 2017 1:12 pm | No Comments
(Additional contribution by Dan Charlson & Amy Vandergon)
Structuring data so it can be easily interpreted and transported is critical for modern digital music infrastructures. The most common structured data solutions are called Markup Languages, which take an exceptionally simple approach to structure.
Markup languages simply mark sections of a document (hence “markup”) with a descriptive label called a “tag.” These tags are then used by other software to properly display or ingest that data.
Markup languages typically consist of regular words rather than code syntax and symbols. This makes them more user-friendly, often possible to interpret by eye alone. The two most popular markup languages are HTML and XML. XML is also known by its long-form name: eXtensible Markup Language.
What is XML?
Markup languages don’t actually perform operations. Their job is to describe and organize data for software that understands those descriptions, and can execute the data. HTML is made up of tags (<head>, <body>, <div>, <p>, etc) that were agreed upon when the language was built. Every HTML developer must use only these tags to categorize data, or the software built to interpret and display the data (web browsers) will not render the elements correctly.
XML differs in that it allows a developer to create any tag they like. This is why it is known as extensible. XML developers are not limited to a predefined set of tags to describe elements of data. Data can be organized with any tag imaginable. While XML resembles HTML, its data structuring potential is far greater. In a sense, XML is a framework that allows you to create your own language for describing and transporting data.
Computer systems often contain data in incompatible formats. To move data between these systems, large amounts must be converted and incompatible data is often lost. Industries, organizations, and developer communities agree on XML specifications or standards for this reason. This makes the creation of compatible software programs easy, regardless of how they’re built or where they’re situated.
XML is a common choice for exporting structured data and for sharing data between programs or companies.
How does XML service digital music?
Let’s say Company A wants to send Company B information about a new music album. If they were using email, Company A would simply write the information down in an easy-to-understand human format. Company B could then take that information and enter it properly into their system.
Title – Album Title
Artist – Album Artist
Track 1 – Track Name
Track 2 – Track Name
Track 3 – …
But—what if Company A wanted to send the information from their system directly into Company B’s system? Since the systems are almost certainly not compatible, there must be an intermediary step where the data is re-written in a common language. This is where XML comes in. The two companies agree on a set of XML tags and their hierarchy (referred to as a “schema”), then map those values to their own systems. It may look something like this:
While to a human the data looks virtually identical, digital systems can process data written in a common tongue much more easily. XML allows digital music services to transmit and synchronize massive amounts of content information between incompatible systems easily and accurately.
How does MediaNet use XML?
As shown above, XML is a critical part of digital music data delivery to MediaNet. Without XML feeds, content data being added to or updated in our library would require large databases or spreadsheets. Each addition (or batch of additions) would require a human to package it and send it to us, where another human would then integrate it into our system.
Thanks to XML, this is not necessary. Every time a new piece of data needs to be added to the MediaNet catalog by our Content Partners, it is simply added to the feed and picked up by our system.
MediaNet maintains its own sophisticated XML content ingestion schema. It consists of over 30 top-level elements, expanded into 100s of metadata sub-values indicating data points such as rights, territory, currency, and usage for every track, album, artist, and composer. All told, a typical album can consist of more than 3,000 lines of XML markup—information that ensures data is ingested into our systems accurately and completely.
What challenges does XML pose?
While the beauty of XML is its dead-simple nature, that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges in using it. Beyond the inherent possibility of coding errors, the most common XML challenge is also one of its most useful features: automation.
Using XML with custom software platforms means the schema must be agreed upon at both ends of the feed. Both tags and the acceptable values inside these tags are built into the automated software that receives them. This automation can easily be tripped up if the XML schema or acceptable values are improperly entered.
Most systems require XML information to be two things:
- Well-formed – meaning that it adheres to the XML spec itself
- Valid – that it properly follows the schema
Errors in either of these categories can cause XML data transfers to stutter or fail entirely.
How does MediaNet help solve those challenges?
Such automation and data input errors can, but don’t have to, halt or destroy XML data transport. MediaNet uses a 3-part system to resolve feed errors, enhance data, and keep transports running smoothly:
- Erroneous data is identified and filtered from the feed into a separate error queue, leaving the rest of the feed free to ingest into our system.
- Our Content Operations Team prioritizes and manages our error queue daily to avoid long-stay metadata errors, and resolves many in the process.
- Our Rights Management Team manually uncovers and verifies additional information and data to ensure rich, accurate entries.
While our systems are automated by using the most effective language for collaborative data exchange, ensuring the highest possible quality of data still requires a human touch.
MediaNet’s data is the cleanest, most accurate data in the music industry because our database is built on an unbeatable combination of enterprise technology and human intuition. We are almost always able to resolve XML feed errors without any need for Content Partner involvement.
XML is the humble technology that drives many of the most successful digital music technologies. Digital music infrastructure costs would rise dramatically without it. The degree of difficulty for integrating systems would increase.
Most importantly, the extensibility of digital music systems to flex and change with need would disappear.
Posted by Glen Sears | August 14, 2017 9:22 am | No Comments
SoundCloud Accepts $170 Million Rescue, Taps New CEO to Replace Alex Ljung. The Raine Group, a boutique merchant bank, joined with the Singapore-based investment company Temasek, in leading a $169.5 million investment round that infuses SoundCloud with much-needed cash, and former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor succeeds founder Alex Ljung as chief executive.
3 Things Soundcloud Should Do To Stay Afloat. The Next Web suggest that “beyond just reshuffling upper management, there are a few things the company can do to stay alive, now that it’s starting a new chapter with a leaner team.”
TIDAL Names 4th CEO In 2.5 Years, Former Kobalt, Sony Exec Richard Sanders. Sanders joins as Kanye West threatens a major lawsuit, but buoyed by a $200 million investment from Sprint, which acquired a 33% stake of TIDAL in January.
Amazon Is Eyeing U.S. Ticketing Business. According to Reuters, Amazon sees the U.S. ticketing market as a “ripe” field for business development by the e-commerce giant, driven by consumer dislike of ticket fees and venue owners and sports leagues who want alternatives for ticket distributors.
Posted by Glen Sears | August 7, 2017 9:19 am | No Comments
Could A Major Label Have Rescued Soundcloud? According to MBW, “SoundCloud’s first-on-the-ground relationship with millions of musicians could be of immense strategic A&R value to any large rights-holder interested in being first to frontline signings.”
Spotify Is Set To End 2017 With 70M Subscribers And $5B In Revenue. Spotify’s growth rate looks healthy, according to Music Business Worldwide’s deep dive into their numbers, but they still believe “doubts remain over the long-term viability of Spotify’s current model.”
Apple In Talks Over $1B Buyout Of Major Music & Movie Company In India. Eros is the largest movie producer in India, with the music recordings associated with these movies housed under subsidiary Eros Music.
Facebook Is Hiring For A Music Publishing Head In Europe. Facebook’s ad for the EMEA publishing role notes that the successful candidate will also “collaborate with our product and media partnerships teams to ensure a coordinated and best-in-class licensing structure.”
Sony Music Revenue, Operating Income Up Double Digits In First Quarter. Streaming and physical sales rise, digital downloads fall and Harry Styles’ debut album leads the way in the company’s fiscal Q1 report.
Judge Rules KickassTorrents Founder Artem Vaulin Properly Charged. Vaulin is currently in a jail cell in Poland after the 31-year-old was charged last year by U.S. authorities with running one of the world’s most popular places to illegally obtain movies, television shows, songs and video games.
SoundCloud May Have New Equity Deals, YouTube Red Merging with Google Play, SESAC Strikes U.S. Radio Deal
Posted by Glen Sears | July 31, 2017 9:25 am | No Comments
SoundCloud Nears Deal To Sell Majority Stake To Private Equity Firms. A pair of private equity firms are reportedly close to each taking a separate stake in the unprofitable music streamer that would collectively mean the acquisition of a majority of the company.
YouTube Red And Google Play Music To Merge, Says Lyor Cohen. Cohen didn’t talk timescale or details, but Google has issued its own statement to The Verge confirming that the plans are afoot, following its decision to combine the two services’ teams in February this year.
SESAC Strikes Landmark US Radio Deal. The private US-based licensing organization has reached a new deal with the Radio Music License Committee, which the PRO claims will result in substantially larger rates for its clients that ASCAP’s equivalent agreement.
Pandora Shuts Down In Australia And New Zealand After 5 Years. “We’re honored to have connected so many listeners with the music they love these past few years. Thank you for your loyalty and the opportunity to serve you.”
Facebook Takes Another Big Step Towards The Music Biz With Source3 Buyout. The move is being looked on in many quarters as evidence that Facebook wants to shore up the ability of its Rights Manager platform in order to catch copyright infringing videos on its platform.
ASCAP, BMI Are Building A Joint Song Database. The database, which will be publicly available initially via ASCAP’s and BMI’s websites, will feature aggregated information from both repertories.
ASCAP-BMI Song Database Plan Rollout Questioned. Some industry executives said the nearly two-year-long effort to create a single database is a step in the right direction, but others are disappointed that it omits key data and for now excludes SESAC and Global Music Rights.
PBS CEO Warns Federal Cuts Will Mean ‘A Number’ of Stations Will Shut Down. Many of those stations are in rural and underserved areas, she said, with residents who either don’t have access to cable or satellite or can’t afford it and who rely on over-the-air broadcasting.
Posted by Glen Sears | July 17, 2017 10:04 am | No Comments
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.
Posted by Glen Sears | July 10, 2017 10:25 am | No Comments
SoundCloud Lays Off 40 Percent of Staff, Commits to ‘Independent Future’
In a statement on SoundCloud’s blog announcing the move, co-founder and CEO Alex Ljung wrote that the layoffs were due to a long-term desire to achieve profitability through cost reduction and revenue growth, in order to be “in control of SoundCloud’s independent future.”
After Laying Off 173 Employees, Does SoundCloud Really Have A ‘Path To Profitability’? According to Music Business Worldwide, in the context of SoundCloud’s recent financial results, it arguably doesn’t seem very realistic.
How Soundcloud Could Transform Deezer’s Market Narrative. Mark Mulligan claims that, despite this shift in its public narrative, Soundcloud remains a uniquely valuable asset in the streaming landscape, one that would give another streaming service a distinct competitive advantage.
Radio Still Has A Wider Weekly Reach Than Smartphones, TV. With all of the press and meteoric growth of streaming, it easy to discount radio, but for sheer monthly reach, nothing beats it, according to a new chart.
Concord Buys Yet Again In Multi-Million Dollar Deal With Warner. Concord has, in the past few weeks, fully acquired a bundle of recorded music rights as part of Warner’s post-Parlophone divestment process, including the Atlantic catalogue of US Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jewel.
Because Confirms Acquisition Of London Records Catalog. Because stands to acquire some standout London Records catalog from Warner’s post-Parlophone divestment process, including classic albums by the Happy Mondays (like Bummed, pictured), who were originally signed to Factory Records.
Pandora CEO May Be Stepping Down, Apple Music Wants Lower Royalty Payments, TuneCore Nears $1B Revenue
Posted by Glen Sears | June 26, 2017 10:56 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Pandora CEO Tim Westergren May Be Stepping Down, According to a New Report
According to Recode, Pandora hasn’t selected a replacement for Westergren, sources say; he will likely stay on at the company he founded 17 years ago until a new CEO is in place.
Top Music News Highlights
Pandora [P] Stock Up On Report Of CEO Westergren’s Exit. Wall Street seemed to approve of the potential changes at Pandora, with Pandora stock up 2.78% to $8.51 by mid-day trading.
Apple Wants To Reduce Royalty Rate It Pays Record Labels. According to a report from Bloomberg, the Cupertino giant’s long-term licensing deals with the labels for both Apple Music and iTunes are due to expire at the end of this month.
TuneCore Artists Nearing $1 Billion in Revenue. The company said that as of May 31, artists have earned more than $920 million on the strength of over 75 billion streams and downloads.
Elon Musk’s Tesla Looks Set To Launch Its Own Music Streaming Service. Tesla is reportedly looking at launching multiple tiers of pricing, starting with a ‘Pandora-like web radio offering’.
The BPI Has Now Sent 312M Takedowns To Google. In the last month alone, the BPI has requested 11.2m URLs to be removed from Google’s public search listings, with Google’s transparency report revealing that 99.8% of URLS reported by the body are ultimately removed.
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
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: SiriusXM Buys $480M Stake in Pandora, Pandora Unloads Ticketfly, 3 Takeaways from Midem 2017
Posted by Glen Sears | June 12, 2017 10:07 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
SiriusXM to Buy $480M Stake in Pandora
Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of SiriusXM will purchase news convertible preferred stock of Pandora, while SiriusXM has already bought $172.5 million of preferred stock representing a stake of 19 percent in Pandora’s, or a 16 percent stake when converted.
Other Music News Highlights
Pandora Sells Ticketfly To Eventbrite For $200M, A $250M Loss. The Ticketfly transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017 — Eventbrite is funding the acquisition using a combination of $150 million in cash and a $50 million note payable to Pandora.
Analysis: What Pandora’s Ticketfly Sale and SiriusXM Investment Means. The money from the deals, coupled with the $199 million that the company disclosed in 2016 year-end report, gives the company a total of $856 million in cash—buying Pandora time to prove it can build a successful, profitable on-demand music service.
3 Big Takeaways From Midem 2017. Zach Fuller of MiDIA Research shares his top three takeaways from the annual conference addressing the latest developments in the music industry.
YouTube Has A New Label Relations Boss: SoundCloud’s Stephen Bryan. Cohen, Global Head of Music at YouTube, said: “At YouTube, we have over a billion viewers and thousands of label partners and Stephen is going to be the bridge that brings them together.
Taylor Swift’s Catalog Now On Other Streamers As Apple Music Loses Key Exclusive. Recently Spotify eliminated a key Taylor Swift objection to streaming, adding the ability to window releases.
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- 4 Reasons to Use MediaNet for Developing Your Digital Music Product
- December 12, 2017
- Why XML (and XML Accuracy) Is Critical for Digital Music
- November 4, 2017
- SoundCloud Rescued and Installs New CEO, TIDAL Names New CEO Too, Amazon Eyes U.S. Ticketing
- August 14, 2017
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