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.
Posted by Glen Sears | May 1, 2017 9:26 am | No Comments
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: 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
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.
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.
RECAP: Google & Music Industry Spar Over Piracy Report, Apple Wants To Simplify Licensing, Crowdmix Goes Bust
Posted by Glen Sears | July 18, 2016 9:42 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
“How Google Fights Piracy” Report Makes Youtube, Search Defense
Google has published a new version of its ‘How Google Fights Piracy Report.’ It’s the third revision in four years for the report, which makes the company’s defence against creative industry attacks on its approach to copyright, from user-generated content on YouTube to piracy sites’ ranking on Google’s search engine.
“Google takes the challenge of online piracy seriously – we continue to invest significant resources in the development of tools to report and manage copyrighted content, and we work with other industry leaders to set the standard for how tech companies fight piracy.”
Some new figures: there are now more than 50m active reference files in the Content ID database, and more than 8,000 partners using the system – “a 38% increase since our 2014 report”. Meanwhile, Google says that 98% of copyright issues on YouTube are resolved using Content ID, with 90% resulting in monetisation for the original rightsholder.
Top Music News Stories
BPI and IFPI Say Google’s Fight Piracy Report is ‘Greenwash.’ “Although we welcome the measures Google has taken so far, it is still one of the key enablers of piracy on the planet. Google has the resources and the tech expertise to do much more to get rid of the illegal content on its services.”
YouTube’s Payment Rate to Labels Halved in 2015, Analyst Finds. According to findings by Midia Research provided to the Financial Times, the site increased payments to rights holders by 15 percent last year (to $740 million), but at the same time streams on YouTube and Vevo jumped 132 percent, totaling 751 billion.
Apple Proposes Simplified Statutory Licensing Scheme to D.C. The company’s proposal to the Copyright Royalty Board suggests a simple, “all-in” statutory rate that would be “fair, simple and transparent, unlike the incredibly complicated structure that currently exists” — a rate of $0.00091 per interactive stream, or 9.1 cents per hundred plays.
Indie Music Trade Groups A2IM, AIMP, CMPA Issue Joint Response To DoJ 100% Licensing Position. Condemnation of a new U.S. Department of Justice position allowing 100% licencing of songs has been nearly universal within the music publishing community.
Songwriters: The DOJ Got It Right. Your Sky Is Not Falling. Jody Dunitz, ex-EVP of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, calls 100% licensing “another gift from the DOJ to songwriters.”
Omnifone Business and Assets To Be Sold For $10M To Mystery U.S. Firm. The administrator’s report also outlines the key moments in Omnifone’s slide into administration, including the cancellation of contracts with Sony and SiriusXM, as well as another client, streaming service Guvera – currently facing troubles of its own – stopping paying Omnifone for its services.
Quick Take: Crowdmix Bites The Dust. Analyst Mark Mulligan claims Crowdmix failed because “music is fundamentally not important enough to enough people to build any sort of scale of social network around it.”
VKontakte and Universal Music Near Licensing Deal. The leading Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted two people close to the negotiations as saying that a deal between VKontakte and UMG could be signed within days, covering, in addition to VKontakte, Mail.ru Group’s two other social networks, Odnoklassniki and Moi mir.
U.S. Teens Love On-Demand Music Streaming — Especially YouTube. The Music Business Association claims that for this age group, on-demand streaming accounts for 51% of their daily listening time, compared to 20% for downloads/files, 12% for AM/FM radio and 9% to internet radio like Pandora.
Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet
Posted by Glen Sears | July 5, 2016 9:59 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
Apple In Talks To Buy Tidal Says Wall St. Journal, But New York Times Says ‘No Way’
Apple is in talks to acquire Tidal, the Wall Street Journal blasted late last week; and hours later re/code sources confirmed the conversations. But respected New York Times music journalist Ben Sisario quotes his sources as saying that Apple has no intention of purchasing Jay Z’s music streaming service.
Whoever turns out to be right, Apple buying Tidal is an intriguing concept. For both sides, the pros would seem to outweigh the cons. This would not be the first time that bad feelings and bravado have been overcome by a big check.
Top Music News Stories
TIDAL Subscriber Count Significantly Lower Than Expected. A chart from analytics firm Statista show it with only 3 million subscribers.
Spotify Says Apple Won’t Approve New version of App Because It Doesn’t Want Competition. The firm says Apple turned down a new version of the app while citing “business model rules” and demanded that Spotify use Apple’s billing system if “Spotify wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions.”
Justice Department Won’t Alter Music Industry Royalty Rules. Justice Department lawyers told representatives of Ascap and BMI that the two groups, called performing rights organizations, must adopt a policy known as “100 percent licensing,” which means that any party that controls a part of a composition can issue a license for the use of the whole thing.
Global Music Market Expected To Grow Over The Next 5 Years. The market growth is attributed to the rising number of vendors and their expanding reach in developing markets, the popularity of concerts, growing number of music schools, and prevalence of digital music formats.
Music Is Almost As Important As Coffee For Monday Morning Motivation, Says New Survey. A new Spotify Ipsos survey, conducted in the US, Australia, Brazil, France and Sweden, found that music is just as likely as caffeine to motivate people on a typical Monday.
Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet
Posted by Glen Sears | May 9, 2016 10:05 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
TuneCore Encourages Members To Opt-In To $25M Spotify NMPA Settement, Artist Advocates Cry Foul
Spotify and the NMPA are contacting artists and publishers encouraging them to sign on to the $25 million settlement they negotiated over unreported and unpaid royalties for unlicensed streams. This week, TuneCore reached out to the artists using their music publishing platform encouraging them to opt-in.
TuneCore sent an email this week to the tens of thousands of independent songwriters that use its Publishing Administration services, encouraging them to opt-in to a $25 million settlement with Spotify over the use of unlicensed tracks negotiated by the NMPA. The email has drawn fire from artists advocates including former TuneCore CEO and founder Jeff Price and musician David Lowery, who has filed a lawsuit against Spotify.
Musician and outspoken industry critic David Lowery, who has filed a lawsuit against Spotify and is seeking class action status to include other artists and publishers, is equally incensed.
Top Music News Stories
PRS for Music Reports Record Revenues for 2015, Leaders Chide the ‘Value Gap.’ “It’s been an exceptional year for us, revenue was up in all our main revenue streams — online, international, public performance and broadcast — and the growth strategy that we have been pursuing for a number of years is now really beginning to pay off.”
Digital Music Firm Omnifone Placed Into Administration. B2B digital-music firm Omnifone has been placed into administration, resulting in the layoff of up to 70 staff as it seeks a buyer for the company’s technology assets—it is unclear at the present time what the administration means for their services.
Streaming Now Top Recorded Revenue Source for Warner Music. The label group’s streaming income has now overtaken both its physical revenues and its downloads sales – streaming actually overhauled the latter in the first quarter of 2015, so a year later it has now also surpassed physical.
You need a digital music services business partner you can count on to provide rock-solid catalog, delivery, and publishing administration.
Old Music Is Selling More Than New Music. Nielsen’s latest music report is out and, as always, it’s very revealing about what we listen to in the U.S. Perhaps it’s biggest revelation is that, for the first time, old music (known as catalog sales) outsold new music in 2015.
Apple Music Reportedly Set for Major Overhaul. Apple is planning sweeping changes to its year-old music streaming service after the first iteration of the product was met with tepid reviews and several executives brought in to revive the company’s music strategy departed.
‘It’s a System That Is Rigged Against the Artists’: The War Against YouTube. Most label executives aren’t expecting YouTube to have a change of heart — they’re trying to change the law under which it operates.
vKontakte Launches A (Licensed!) Music-Streaming AppThe company has courted controversy – and lawsuits – within the music industry in the past with the widespread availability of user-uploaded copyrighted music on its platform — however, having signed agreements with Sony Music and Warner Music as well as some Russian publishers, vKontakte is trying to go legit.
Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet
Posted by Glen Sears | September 14, 2015 2:19 pm | No Comments
Story of the Week
The BBC says it is planning to launch a ‘New Music Discovery Service’, which would make the 50,000 tracks broadcast by the BBC every month available to stream for a limited period. This digital platform will go one better than the ‘BBC Playlister’ initiative launched in 2013, which allowed listeners and viewers to transfer playlists of radio DJs’ shows to Spotify and other services.
This time, the BBC will directly compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple for the attention of music fans – with a fully-fledged online music streaming service, owned and hosted by the Beeb. “We must evolve our music offering so that it serves new audience needs and habits and allows us to remain a strong partner and contributor to the UK creative sector.”
There is no set timeline for launch, although it’s certainly more than just an idea, with the BBC revealing that it has already developed a digital music proposal with the music industry.
Other Important Headlines
95 Percent of Streaming Music Catalogs Are ‘Irrelevant’ to Consumers, Study Finds – “Indeed, just 5% of streaming catalogues is regularly frequented. Most of the rest is irrelevant for most consumers.” Read More
PRS For Music To Review Over 40 Public Performance Tariffs – The UK publishing sector’s collecting society is simplifying, streamlining and consolidating over 40 of its “tariffs”, in order to make it easier to acquire public performance licences for songs. Read More
BMI Reports Record Breaking $1 Billion Revenue – The performing rights organization reported its highest ever revenue collection of over $1 billion, and with it comes its largest ever distribution of $877 million to songwriters, composers and music publishers. Read More
Music Nerd? Here’s What You Need to Know From Apple’s “Hey Siri” Keynote – For music junkies there were a number of big announcements. We’ve detailed the most notable below. Read More
Digital Usage Continues to Rapidly Rise in Latin America – Digital usage continued to rise in the region between April 2014 through April 2015, according to a new comScore report, “Latin America Digital Future in Focus.” Read More
Should One Co-Writer Have the Power to License a Collaborative Work? – “This is a complicated subject but it basically means that if either of these PROs controls any part of a song, no matter how small, they would be required to license the entire song without the approval of those who control the remainder.” Read More
Google Was Processing 23 Copyright Takedowns A Second Last Month – The takedown notices to which we refer are those issued under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act against the Google search engine. Read More
Posted by Glen Sears | September 9, 2015 12:11 pm | No Comments
In typical Apple fashion, we’ve been waiting for months after the cryptic announcement of “Hey Siri, give us a hint” made its way onto the net. Apple’s September keynotes reliably announce a new version of the iPhone, iOS, and other mobile products. This time around, announcements were expected for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. The keynote also promised updates about iOS 9 and watchOS 2.
For music junkies there were a number of big announcements. We’ve detailed the most notable below.
One of the many expected announcements was a larger iPad aimed at the portables market. Apple delivered with the iPad Pro, sporting a whopping 12.9 inch screen which includes a full-size virtual keyboard…or keyboard. With CPU and graphics performance better than 80% of portable PCs, this new iPad will likely able to power full-on audio applications—or act as a studio-grade, touch enabled software synthesizer.
For consumers, movie watching should be a pleasure with 5.6 million pixels on screen. Four speakers power the iPad Pro audio experience, with auto-balanced stereo and frequency information depending on how the iPad is held. “We thought this display deserves a great sound system.” In addition, the iPad Pro can now be controlled using Apple’s new stylus, Apple Pencil. Funny enough, the new Apple Pencil flies firmly in the face of the late Steve Jobs, who notably was once quoted as saying “God gave us 10 styluses, let’s not invent another…nobody wants a stylus.”
Apple TV has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Apple line. All of that changed today as Apple announced the new Apple TV. Rengineered to be based on iOS, the new system revolves around apps just like your favorite mobile devices. These apps can be controlled by touchscreen remote, or by an updated Siri who can be asked things like “Show me that Modern Family episode with Edward Norton.”
For music lovers, the new Apple TV has a full Apple Music interface that can be controlled using the remote, as well as using Siri. You can even ask for sports and weather updates while watching or listening. The Apple TV remote can also be turned sideways to be used as a gaming controller. Guitar Hero is on board.
iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
It wouldn’t be a September keynote without a new iPhone. One of the primary new features is 3D Touch, a combination of the Macbook’s Force Touch capability and taptic feedback. Whether this technology will have implications for music has yet to be seen, but there are a number of possible scenarios in which pressure-sensitive touch could be useful.
4K video recording could help the iPhone continue its entrance into music video and festival production.
Worth mentioning, Apple also announced a new iPhone Upgrade Program. This program allows you to pay a monthly fee rather than purchasing your unit, much like carrier installment plans. The program will allow you to choose your carrier, provides unlocked yearly phone upgrades, and includes the Applecare+ warranty plan. Plans start at $32/month.
Yep. OneRepublic played the “Hey, Siri” event. Music is still clearly an integral part of Apple’s DNA. If you’re into that kind of thing.
Notably missing from the “Hey, Siri” event? Any formal updates about Siri. Here is the link to the not-yet-updated Siri page.
Posted by Glen Sears | June 8, 2015 12:30 pm | No Comments
Apple’s WWDC 2015 is already in full steam, announcing sweeping changes to OSX, iOS, the iPad, and Apple’s integration into digital life.
But no announcement has been more anticipated than the relaunch of Apple’s new music service, now confirmed to be named Apple Music. The event brought in industry heavy-hitters Jimmy Iovine, Drake, Trent Reznor, The Weeknd, and Eddy Cue. For those of you that weren’t able to catch the live blogs, here are the most pertinent details.
Jimmy Iovine’s intro
“It’s really an honor to be here. I’m here because in 2003 the record industry was confused…we had this giant invader from the north: technology…These guys really do think different. Technology and art can work together, at least at Apple. In 2015, the music industry is a fragmented mess. If you want to stream music, you can go over here! If you want to stream video, you can check this out! There needs to be a place where music can be treated less like digital bits and more like the art it is…not just the top tier artists but the kids at home too.”
Apple Music attempts to combine many digital music services into one app. Music contains a streaming service (similar to Spotify or Beats), a 24/7 global radio station, and Beats Connect, an integrated social service for artists to connect with fans and vice versa. The move comes at a time when services like TIDAL are also consolidating services like ticket purchasing and exclusive releases. Apple may be late to the game, but their enormous influence in both the music industry and consumer electronics market may give them an advantage.
The service will be available June 30th, available for both iOS and Android. The first three months of Apple Music are free to all subscribers. Membership will then cost $9.99/month or $14.99/month for up to six family members.
*Apple Music is available on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC starting June 30. Apple Music will be coming to Apple TV and Android phones this fall.
Music Streaming Service
Imagine iTunes if it could stream. The entire Apple Music catalog contains “over 30 million songs” and includes all your iTunes purchases and ripped CDs (via iCloud). Along with self-serve streaming, Apple has doubled down on human-curated playlists “not based on genre, beats, or research.” There is also a new “For You” category of Music, which combines human playlists with more traditional algorithmic playlists. In addition, Siri’s new features will allow complex commands such as “Play me the best songs from 1994.”
Beats 1 Radio
Beats 1 radio is a 24/7 station broadcasting in 100 countries. The service employs three influential DJs: Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. The service will feature all genres “from indie rock to classical to folk to funk.” It also allows users to skip as many songs as they like. The service will offer more than just music, employing its star DJs for interviews, guest hosts, and music industry news–likely related to exclusive content offered on the service.
Lets unsigned artists connect with fans. In essence it’s a miniature version of Apple’s failed music/social network Ping. Artists can share information and updates with fans, and fans in turn can interact with those updates. Artists will reportedly be sharing lyrics, backstage and studio photos, or videos. According to Apple’s press release, artists may even release new tracks directly to fans via the social platform.
— Apple Music (@applemusic) June 8, 2015
The Apple Music announcements today put Apple in direct competition with Spotify, TIDAL, Soundcloud, Pandora, and more. Beyond Apple’s influence and market cap, the greatest advantage Apple Music has is its integration. Not only is Apple Music offering a multitude of services (with most of its competitors having similar but incomplete offerings), but Apple Music is deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Siri integration, use of your existing iTunes library, family sharing via iCloud, and direct connection to your Apple ID make Apple Music a serious contender.
All photos courtesy of The Verge
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