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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Shonda D. Nicholas Celebrates her Birthday & the Spirit of House with 'Get My Life'

Click on the link below to listen + buy "Get My Life" today! :)

Mixtape Sessions is extremely proud to present "Get My Life," the exciting new single from Mixtape Sessions recording artist Shonda D. Nicholas! "Get My Life" is a track that combines soul, house, funk and house - a perfect storm for the dance floor! For her Mixtape Sessions debut, Shonda wrote a gut wrenching song about spiritual salvation and personal progress, in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. She both sings and preaches, putting out the clarion call for dance floor denizens around the world to celebrate the redemptive spirit of House. "Get My Life" liberates as much as it electrifies with pulsating rhythms and a killer horn section, courtesy of Mr. Dave Watson of Chops Horns. Enjoy this incredible jam!

(S. Nicholas, A. Cruz)
Lyrics written by Shonda D. Nicholas.
Music written and produced by Adam Cruz.
Lead vocals performed by Shonda D. Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Shonda D. Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Vocal arrangements by Adam Cruz.
Horns performed by Dave Watson.

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam Cruz at EbbnFlow Studios in Bloomfield, NJ.
Published by Shonda D Nicholas (ASCAP) and Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).
Executive Produced by Adam Cruz.

Dave Watson appears courtesy of Chops Horns at:
Cover photo used by permission, courtesy of Shonda D. Nicholas Photography.
Cover art design by Adam Cruz.

©2018 Mixtape Sessions Music, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Distributed by The Cruz Music Group, a Division of Mixtape Sessions Music, LLC.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

YouTube Takes Over Vevo Music Ads

Written by Steve Dent — Vevo has struck a deal with YouTube that will significantly change the ads you see played on your favorite artist's music videos, ReCode has reported. Rather than ads for other Vevo videos, as you mostly see now, you're likely to see the same ads that Google puts on videos from its "preferred" channels. That's because YouTube will be able to sell Vevo clips directly to its own advertisers, taking a cut of the revenue and passing the rest on to Vevo.

Vevo is owned by music labels Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. It was formed in the first place to capitalize on the extreme popularity of YouTube music videos from the likes of Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Until now, Vevo sold its own ads for music videos, effectively cutting YouTube out of much of the action.

At YouTube's Brandcast event, however, Google told advertisers that Vevo videos are now fair game for advertisers. "This gives you the unprecedented opportunity to advertise against virtually all music in the world," said YouTube's chief business officer Robert Kyncl.

YouTube recently changed the way you see artist videos, creating Official Artist Channels that put all of an artists work -- from concert footage, album cuts, song lyrics and official music videos -- all in one place. That had the effect of stripping Vevo's branding from many artists' channels.

The new move, as ReCode notes, also reduces Vevo's role, letting labels interact more directly with YouTube. From a consumer standpoint, it doesn't seem like a benefit, as you're more likely to see ads from brands rather than promos for other videos you might want to see.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

What you need to know about the MLC, a New Copyright Licensing Organization

Written by John Miranda — The Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) was approved in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 25th, receiving broad bipartisan support, with 415 votes in its favor. Due to its near universal support in Washington, it is poised to pass the Senate and be signed into law by the President.

The MMA contains many important provisions which will alter the music copyright royalty landscape, including a modification of the judge assignment system for ASCAP and BMI’s rate proceedings in the federal court of the Southern District of New York, as well as the types of evidence and legal standards that judges are allowed to consider in copyright royalty rate proceedings.

However, the MMA’s biggest impact will come from the establishment of the Mechanical Licensing Collective (“MLC”).

This is a new copyright licensing organization which will create and maintain the world’s most thorough database of music composition copyrights and their owners, collect mechanical royalties from digital music streaming services, and transmit those royalties to copyright holders based on the ownership claims set forth in the database.

Specifically, streaming services will pay mechanical royalties to the MLC based on the number of streams each song has racked up. Then, it is up to various music composition copyright holders to enter claims on their songs in order to receive their proper royalty payments.

It is important to note that the MLC concerns only music composition “mechanical royalties”.

It will not collect royalties related to sound recordings, a separate copyright which is negotiated privately between record labels and streaming services. Additionally, it does not collect royalties for the public performance of music compositions; those royalties will still be collected by performance rights organizations such as ASCAP and BMI.

The MLC will collect royalties owed to the owners of “music composition” copyrights, i.e., the rights in the underlying songs themselves, not specific recordings or renditions of the songs, whenever such songs are “reproduced” via a digital stream or download.

At the moment, digital streaming services file a Notice of Intention (“NOI”) with the Copyright Office whenever they stream a song and, for whatever reason, cannot track down the copyright owner. This was initially considered more efficient than forcing music users to track down unknown copyright holders. However, with the advent of digital music services which stream millions of songs, the Copyright Office has been inundated with countless NOI filings, all of which represent mechanical royalty payments that song owners will never see.

The MLC takes care of this by providing a “blanket mechanical license” for digital streaming of music compositions, a license which is likely to result in significantly more payments, which in turn should end up in the hands of the proper copyright owner, due to the MLC’s master database. To the extent they still exist, this will also pertain to digital download services, such as old school iTunes.

It is also important to note that the MLC pertains only to “interactive” streaming services, such as Spotify, not “non-interactive” internet radio services such as Pandora, since the non-interactive services do not owe the mechanical royalties at issue.

How will the MLC help digital streaming services and music composition copyright holders?

The MLC basically ensures that streaming services will pay more mechanical royalties, royalties which they are currently able to avoid paying due to the NOI procedure with the Copyright Office.

So how does the MMA help streaming services?

To start, it’s important to remember that mechanical licenses have always caused headaches in the streaming world, since the licenses are “compulsory,” in that explicit permission is not necessary so streaming services do not have to negotiate directly with music composition copyright holders. Instead, they send an NOI to the owner of the copyright and pay the mechanical royalty through an organization such as Harry Fox Agency or Music Reports.

When they can’t find the copyright owner, they go the route of submitting an NOI to the Copyright Office, paying nothing at all. This issue never arose with sound recording copyrights, since streaming services must get direct permission from record labels and recording copyright owners to use those works. Accordingly, there was never any mystery surrounding the owner of such copyrights — if the owner could not be found, then the streaming service could not get permission to use the song. But the record labels often provided the streaming services with little information about who owned the songs underlying their recordings.

Furthermore, unlike performance royalty collection societies, such as ASCAP and BMI, which issue blanket licenses to broadcasters, restaurants, and other entities which play the music compositions of others, there has never been an organization which provides blanket licenses for the mechanical copyright.

So a lot of mechanical royalties have gone unpaid, with streaming services unable to locate their proper recipients. This oversight has resulted in massive class action litigation against streaming services, lawsuits which cost millions in legal fees in a best case scenario, and could potentially bankrupt the digital streaming industry in a worst case scenario (i.e., a negative verdict at trial).

Well, the digital music services no longer have to worry about the constant lawsuits and potential sky-high class action liability. The MMA forces streaming services to concede that the mechanical royalty is in fact owed for music streams, a legal point which has been litigated in the aforementioned proceedings, but allows the services to completely escape liability as long as they pay for the MLC’s blanket license and accurately report their music usage to the MLC.

The main way that the MLC helps the owners of music composition copyrights is by increasing royalty payments, since the NOI route will no longer serve as an easy escape hatch for streaming services.

Additionally, copyright owners will be able to stake claims to their songs via the MLC’s grand music ownership database. According to the bill, the database will be free, public, and searchable, hopefully resulting in more accurate matching for songwriters. It will also break down ownership shares of song copyrights, making the database even more informative, although it will likely be a battleground in future disputes between songwriters, producers, and publishers.

Finally, one of the MMA’s other provisions changes the standard for setting mechanical royalty rates, which are set by the federal judiciary, currently standing at around 9 cents per reproduction of a song.

The MMA changes the royalty rate setting standard to “willing buyer, willing seller,” which is likely to make the rate higher. All around, music composition copyright holders are going to see paychecks in the mail more frequently and in larger amounts, thanks to the MLC.

What will the MLC look like?

The MLC’s primary function will be to take a gross payment from the streaming services based on a Monthly Usage Report, and distribute it to the proper copyright owners of the song, usually split 50/50 between music publisher and songwriter. The organization will be an “independent not-for-profit organization” selected by the Copyright Office, much like SoundExchange, the MLC’s analogue in the world of sound recording performance copyrights for non-interactive internet radio services.

It is possible that a pre-existing organization such as Harry Fox Agency, Google’s RightsFlow, or Music Reports, will handle the duties for the Copyright Office, but the Office could just as soon charter their own organization, like SoundExchange. The MLC will be subject to administrative review every five years, and will be funded by administrate fees paid by the digital music services. The MLC’s governing board will be populated exclusively by music publishing and songwriting representatives, but there will be an “advisory committee” split 50/50 between representatives from the worlds of digital streaming.

Considering that the MLC has not yet been established, but the MMA’s most important provisions are all predicated on the existence of this institution, all of the music industry’s major constituencies have questions about the MLC’s finer details.

And most of these questions are yet to be answered by the Copyright Office. However, despite the unresolved ambiguities, the passage of the MMA will hopefully result in less legal uncertainty for both music services and copyright holders in the digital streaming age.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Google Play Out... YouTube Remix In

Written by Nick Summers — Google will reportedly shutter Google Play Music as part of a long-rumored audio and video cleanup. According to Droidlife, the subscription streaming service — a rival to Spotify, Apple Music and others — will be replaced by YouTube Remix later this year. The new offering will reportedly offer both on-demand music and video clips sourced from YouTube. In short, it'll be Play Music and YouTube Music (the fate of which is still unclear) mashed together. YouTube Remix has been teased since mid-2017 and was slated for a March 2018 release by Bloomberg last December. (Obviously, that didn't happen.) Droidlife is now reporting that Google Play Music users will be forced to migrate by the end of 2018.

The death of Google Play Music will be a disappointment to some. It's a capable service with smart, personalized playlists, a decent web interface, and a "locker" system for streaming your personal library. The latter feature is quite rare — Amazon is ending its equivalent service, leaving Apple Music as the only realistic alternative. For diehard record collectors, this could be a huge problem if Google decides to axe its own locker system with the introduction of YouTube Remix. Still, the rumored app is (another) opportunity for Google to simplify its music and video services. It's unclear, though, if that will be enough to close the gap with Spotify.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

For the First Time in Decades, Wall Street Is Betting on Music

Written by Amy X. Wang — UPDATE: Spotify has reported its first quarterly earnings as a public company, posting – as expected – revenue of €1.14 billion ($1.36 billion) and a monthly active user base of 170 million, 75 million of whom are premium subscribers. But Spotify also reported a loss of €1.01 ($1.21) a share, compared to Wall Street's expectation of a loss of €0.23 ($0.27) per share. In after-hours trading, shares in the company were down about 9%.

The music industry isn’t where investors typically go to get rich quick. The business, despite its sheen of lucrative glamour, took a painful nosedive two decades ago when cheap digital downloads and piracy edged out physical CD sales; its pitiful revenues and unpredictability have caused Wall Street to slap a semi-permanent caution sticker onto it.

The mood, though, is changing. Spotify is due to report its first-ever earnings after the market’s close on Wednesday – and banks are uncharacteristically optimistic. Morgan Stanley issued a research note this week that makes a bull case for both the newly public music-streaming company and the music industry at large. The firm estimates that Spotify’s number of paying subscribers (i.e. those on the $10-a-month premium tier) could grow from its current 70 million subscribers to around 200 million by the end of 2022. “We argue the strong value proposition of paid streaming services will drive penetration higher over time," analyst Benjamin Swinburne wrote. Translation: Music streaming is a desirable enough product that more and more people will sign up to pay for it.

J.P. Morgan sent a similar note of encouragement to clients, calling Spotify a force in an under-penetrated market. Analyst Doug Anmuth pointed out that the company has managed to boost its monthly active user base by 38% annually, and suggested that it could do for music what Netflix did for video content. “We believe Netflix is the closest operating comp to Spotify, as both benefit from the secular shift to streaming through subscription-based models,” he wrote.

Netflix and Spotify don’t make for an exact comparison. The latter, for one, has yet to turn a profit under its current business model, which offers users both a premium tier and an ad-supported free tier. (Guess which of those two is losing money?) As Spotify’s revenues swell, so do the losses it has to incur from licensing payouts made to record labels, songwriters and music publishing companies, and many in the industry fret that Spotify’s free tier will interfere with its path toward profitability.

The banks, though, seem less worried – or perhaps they’re just betting on Spotify’s ability to convert more free users into paying ones. Spotify opened on the New York Stock Exchange on April 3rd at $166 a share, taking on a valuation of around $29 billion. Its first earnings report is expected to yield promising numbers, and Swinburne wrote in his note that investors would do well to take advantage of this “music renaissance.”

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

DAY 3 of Top 10 Albums that Shaped My Life

Nirvana – MTV Unplugged (1994)

There are some albums that come at that just the right time in your life. You have an attachment to certain songs or places or things depending on the memory it conjures up. Nirvana seems like an unlikely choice for someone like me, but everything about Kurt Cobain and Nirvana spoke to me. I’m a pretty huge house music fan. Always have. But I also love a lot of different bands and sounds and Nirvana resonated with me from the start. I loved “Nevermind” and “In Utero,” but when MTV announced that Nirvana would be invited as part of their live series, I couldn’t wait to see and hear what they’d come up with. After all, the concept was to strip away the electronics and offer live acoustic performances. It lived up to my high expectations in every way. Nirvana took chances with their hits and offered unforgettable covers from the likes of The Vaselines, The Meat Puppets and David Bowie. Kurt Cobain was in top form vocally and his performance seemed so honest that it pierced my soul and stayed in my memory.

I still can’t believe that someone who could affect my heart and soul so profoundly could think that we would all be better without him. If he only knew…. Or maybe he already did and it didn’t resonate with him like his artistry did with me.

Watch Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged by clicking play or on the link below:

In South Sudan 'copyright laws do not exist'

Written by Hiba Morgan — Many South Sudanese artists are opting to have their works produced in other countries where there is copyright legislation.

Writers, poets and musicians in South Sudan have little control over their work.

And the lack of copyright laws means it is likely other people will make more money from their songs or literary works than they do.

Al Jazeera's Hiba Morgan has more from the capital Juba.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

DAY 2 of Top 10 Albums that Shaped My Life

Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore Janet Jackson. There are so many layers to her artistry, if you pay attention. In the late 1980s, there seemed to be so much pressure on Janet to become as successful as her brother and while she shared trademark moves and a string of successful hits like her brother, she is an artist all her own. Her third album, “Control,” was regarded as her debut album even though the “Janet Jackson” and “Dream Street” albums didn’t garner any hits. These early albums had their own charm though, but no one seemed to notice her until “Control.” With its huge success, I could sense the pressure around her.

As a fan, I had been paying attention to her early on; from Good Times to Fame to Different Strokes and beyond. But this all pales in comparison to the Rhythm Nation album itself. She took a leap that turned any preconceptions we had of her on their head. It was an album with a strong statement, a strong concept, and a penetrating set of hit songs. It was an album you had to hear from beginning to end. I loved how socially conscious Janet was in her lyrics and how she challenged the public’s perception of her as this squeaky clean person. She was socially conscious, yes, but she was also sexy, smart and thoughtful. The hidden meanings were there as well. For example, the title of the album is Rhythm Nation 1814 contains hidden meanings.

The first meaning of “1814” is that R (Rhythm) is the 18th letter in the alphabet and N (Nation) is the 14th. Hence 1814. The second meaning is pretty awesome as Janet explained, “While writing Rhythm Nation, I was kidding around saying, “God you guys, I feel like this could be the national anthem for the 90’s…Just by a crazy chance we decided to look up when Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem and it was September 14, 1814.”

Listen to the album by clicking on the link below:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Music Modernization Act alters how old recordings are reimbursed by Apple Music & Spotify

Written by Stephen Silver — The new Music Modernization Act bill has passed the House of Representatives that aims to bring laws for music licensing and royalty payments into alignment with modern technologies, like streaming through Apple Music and Spotify.

H.R. 5447, known as the Music Modernization Act, aims to do three things- modernize music licensing, compensate "legacy artists for their songs service and important contributions to society" and allocate to music producers. Key provisions include the streamlining of the musical licensing system and royalty protection for music made before 1972.

The Act combines three previous pieces of legislation —the CLASSICS Act which applied to works written or recorded before 1972, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, Musical Works Modernization Act for songwriters and publishers, and MP Act for producers and engineers.

The bill changes things for Apple Music and other streaming services in one key way: So long as the streaming services comply with the law including establishment of a data base of authors and composers for all the music they host, they cannot be sued for damages. Apple Music's competitors have faced suits about reimbursement in the past.

In 2015, Pandora paid $90 million to settle a royalties lawsuit from the major record labels over those pre-1972 recordings. Additionally, early in 2017, Spotify was sued for $1.6 billion in claims that it violated the copyrights of tens of thousands of songs, including work by Tom Petty, Neil Young and members of Rage Against the Machine and Weezer.

The National Music Publishers Association, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Recording Academy, ASCAP, and SoundExchange all support the bill. It does not appear Apple, or any of its direct competitors in the streaming subscription space, have taken a position on the Act.

"Today's vote sends a strong message that streaming services and songwriters can be on the same side —pushing for a better future for all," David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, said in a statement following passage. "We now look forward to the Senate advancing the MMA and it ultimately becoming law.

The bill passed the House unanimously, with 415 yesses; the remaining members of the House were not present for the vote. It was also sponsored by a wildly ideologically diverse coalition of lawmakers, including Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN, Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).

Several members of Congress, including Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Steve Scalise (R-LA), tweeted their support of the measure while noting the specific musical heritage of their home states.

Billboard's Robert Levine argues in an editorial on April 20 that the Senate should tweak and pass the House's bill with the goal of "getting as much unclaimed royalties as possible to the publishers and songwriters who actually earned it."

The opposition

While most of the music industry supports the legislation, opponents unsurprisingly include Sirius XM and the music content provider Music Choice. Dae Bogan, who met with the Congressional Budget Office recently, expressed concerns about what the bill would mean for DIY musicians.

Bogan wrote that he had spoken to an analyst with the Congressional Budget Office, and the analyst had spent a total of two days learning about copyright and music publishing. Bogan added that "plenty of music industry professionals" have limited knowledge of these issues and how they work, so the government's speedy approach isn't rare, but is still not a good foundation to build a law on.

"In a word, I am all here for improving royalty rates, ensuring the fair treatment of music copyrights and moving towards a more equitable representation of music creators," Bogan wrote. "However, the MMA is not quite there yet and passing it as-is, with all of its ambiguity, would be a shame."

What it doesn't do

As is normally the case when a piece of legislation is passed by a massive bipartisan majority, the Music Modernization Act is far from radical, and leaves much of the status quo untouched. It addresses some problems with monetization by artists without solving all of them.

Musicians continue to be paid much less via streaming, with figures as low as $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream on Spotify according to one report. The new legislation seems unlikely to move that number significantly —unless you're an artist with a pre-1972 work.

The legislation does not address the primary means for artist revenue generation —concerts.

What's next

The U.S. Senate is set to hear the legislation May 15. The Trump Administration has not said whether the president will sign the bill.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Music Business Insiders say Google's big streaming music plans won't beat Spotify or Apple

Written by Greg Sandoval — YouTube Vice President of Product Management Matthew Glotzbach unveils their new paid subscription service YouTube Red. Here are some basic points to know:

  • Reports indicate YouTube will make another attempt at creating a paid music service to compete with Spotify and Apple Music.
  • Previous YouTube subscription services were uninspired and never made much impact.
  • Analysts say that's because there's no motivation for Google to "put its shoulder" into a paid service when there's so much money in ads.
  • Some music industry big shots say YouTube is doing more to improve the relationship with the music industry.

Click here to read more from this article's source.