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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Join us on Dec 2 for New Jersey Drive: an art, music, & coats+blankets drive - Bloomfield




new jersey drive:
an art, music & coats+blankets drive

saturday december 2 nine to one am
afro brazilian cultural center of nj
554 bloomfield ave, bloomfield, nj
this event costs 10 dollars to get in

brought to you by dwildmusicradio.com
music by adam cruz & duce martinez
playing new jersey house music only
sound provided by bnb productions

this event is by nj artists for nj artists!
network with other new jersey creatives!

facebook invite here

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Justice Department charges Iranian man for HBO hacking allegations


Written by Colin Lecher — The Justice Department announced today that it has charged an Iranian man with this year’s hack of HBO, a high-profile security breach that led to the early release of TV episodes and scripts.

In an indictment, prosecutors allege that Behzad Mesri gained server access to HBO by hijacking employees’ accounts. With that access, according to the indictment, Mesri stole unaired episodes of shows like Ballers and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as scripts for other shows, including Game of Thrones. Financial documents and logins for social media accounts were also taken.

When he had the data, prosecutors allege, Mesri reached out to HBO and demanded about $5.5 million — and later $6 million — in bitcoin as a ransom for the stolen data. Mesri, who prosecutors claim has worked as a hacker for the Iranian military, faces charges of computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and extortion.

The charges are the latest chapter in an embarrassing story for HBO. In August, as the hack was unfolding, the company reportedly offered a $250,000 “bug bounty” payment to the hacker, although it’s unclear whether it actually intended to pay the ransom.

“Because Mesri is in Iran, we are unfortunately unable to arrest him today,” acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim said during a press conference livestream today.

“While Mesri remains at large, there will be some real consequences for him,” Kim continued. “For the rest of his life, and he’s a relatively young man, he will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here to face these charges.”

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

Private Investors Are Buying Up Royalties


Written by Andy Hermann — Like a lot of independent artists, Mickey Shiloh was struggling to make ends meet. An L.A.-based professional songwriter now focused on launching her solo career, she had run up a lot of credit card debt on various expenses — promotion, Facebook ads, forming her own LLC (called Michaela, after her full first name). At one point, she even wrote herself a personal check for $20,000, trying to manifest the money she needed into existence.

Despite having numerous songwriting credits with such top-tier artists as Janet Jackson, Pitbull and Britney Spears, the royalties on her back catalog were netting her only about $2,000 a year. "I was in a really terrible publishing deal," says the 25-year-old San Mateo native, who signed with producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and his wife when she was just 17. "And that’s not a reflection on them," she is quick to note. "I learned a lot of great things from Darkchild and I always consider him a great mentor." But for songwriters who started their careers in the mid-2000s, when the industry as a whole was struggling with declining revenues, her situation is not uncommon. "It was just the business [at the time] was not good."

Having been through the industry wringer, Shiloh was naturally skeptical when a colleague told her about Royalty Exchange, a company that enables songwriters to auction off portions of their back catalogs to private investors, often for ample sums. “I was automatically like, this is not real. This is a scam," she says. But after researching the company and concluding that it sounded legit, she decided to give it a shot. After a three-day auction, her back catalog sold for $20,500 — the equivalent, as she puts it, of a 10-year advance on future royalties.

"Now tell me that's not manifestation!" Shiloh declares, recalling the check for $20,000 she had written to herself just a few weeks earlier. "It was like I got a $500 signing bonus," she jokes.

Royalty Exchange was founded in 2011 as a sort of auction house for copyright holders, particularly in music. Although it completed some high-profile auctions early on, selling off the rights to everything from Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" to the catalog of Disney composer Frank Churchill, it struggled to raise enough capital to stay afloat — likely because the music industry as a whole, at the time, was not seen as a smart investment.

But since relaunching under new ownership and management in March 2016, Royalty Exchange seems to have found its footing. The "world’s first online marketplace for buying and selling royalties," as the Denver-based company now describes itself, has completed "about 200 deals" since the relaunch, according to president/chief financial officer Jeff Schneider, and claims to have an active pool of more than 22,000 investors looking for a chance to buy up the rights to a potentially lucrative song or catalog.

Though the songs being put on the auction block are often familiar (a 25 percent songwriter's share of Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything," for example, sold in July 2016 for $73,000), the names of the actual rights holders are not. Schneider describes them as the "ecosystem" surrounding the artists whose names are attached to the hits — behind-the-scenes people, including professional songwriters like Shiloh as well as managers, producers, studio musicians and independent labels and music publishers, who don't have the luxury of leveraging their fame to pay the bills.

"If [the big-name artists] needed capital today, they can go on tour; they could sign a new publishing deal with an advance," Schneider explains. "We’re servicing a lot of the people who don’t necessarily have all those same financial options available to them.”

Some rights holders, like Shiloh, opt to sell off their entire back catalog. Others may choose to auction off only a percentage of their royalties, or sell some songs and hold on to others. “We provide songwriters a flexible solution," Schneider says.

The goal, according to the company's director of communications, Antony Bruno, is to "make music royalties an investible asset." And his company's auction model, he argues, is only the beginning. "We’re at the early stages of it, but eventually this could be an asset class where millions, even a billion dollars of capital could be deployed ... which would really change the way music in general is financed.”

Hearing song catalogs described as an "asset class" can be a little unnerving — and historically, selling off or otherwise rescinding the rights to one's catalog has generally been viewed as a mistake. The music industry is littered with tales of artists, from George Clinton to John Fogerty, who signed away rights to their publishing and lived to regret it. But Schneider argues that such stories are largely relics of an old music industry, which companies like Royalty Exchange aim to supplant. “If you look at who those buyers were [in the past], they were usually the labels or the publishers," he notes. "These rights holders — songwriters, producers — had no other viable option. What we do is, by bringing competition into marketplace, we make sure that the songwriter gets the fair and best deal that’s available in the market."

Songwriters and other rights holders choose to sell for any number of reasons, Bruno says. Many, like Shiloh, are looking to pay down some debt and invest in other areas of their career, like new recording equipment or promotion for their latest music. (Shiloh, among other things, spent some of the money on a music video.) In the case of some independent labels and publishers, he says, they may use the money to invest in the software needed to track royalties for all the catalog they own or manage on behalf of their artists — a process that, in the age of streaming, has become increasingly complex.

Occasionally, rights holders turn to Royalty Exchange simply to cut the cord from that complexity. One songwriter, after a successful auction, sent Bruno a photo of the keyboard on which he composes his music. "It was covered in paperwork," Bruno says. "It was literally a visual example of, ‘This paperwork is getting in the way of my creating music.'”

That was partly the motivation for Shiloh, as well — a clean break with her songwriter-for-hire past, so she can focus on her future as a truly independent, DIY artist. “I’m just really happy that a company like Royalty Exchange exists and it enables artists like me and songwriters that have a dense back catalog to just sell it off," says Shiloh, who now claims to make more than $100,000 a year through Sound Better, a sort of Task Rabbit for music industry professionals. "Because the new industry is on the way and it’s not gonna matter in 10 years."

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Ideology or Free Speech: What Does YouTube Value More?


Written by Jared Cummings — YouTube is under fire for allegedly discriminating against conservative content creators whose political opinions differ from the company’s own left-wing bias. Prager University (PragerU), a conservative nonprofit that produces brief educational videos on current events, is suing YouTube and its parent company, Google, for allegedly violating PragerU’s free speech rights by censoring 37 videos that express conservative opinions.

If this is true, then it follows a disturbing trend of YouTube and Google’s censorship of conservative content creators like Ron Paul, Steven Crowder, Michelle Malkin, Pamela Geller, and Dave Rubin.

Whatever your beliefs, arbitrary censorship of free speech is wrong and alarming.

YouTube claims “free expression” is one of its “core values.” YouTube esteems itself as “a metaphor for the democratizing power of the Internet and information” where anyone can “Broadcast Yourself.” This will no longer be the case if PragerU can prove YouTube demonetized and restricted viewer access to videos on subjects like religious persecution, abortion, and gun rights based solely upon PragerU’s conservative ideology.

These demonetized videos are removed from the company’s advertisement pool, ensuring the video can no longer earn revenue for PragerU. When YouTube restricts a video it becomes inaccessible to viewers at a public library or school, and users under 18. Critically, all viewers not signed into the website are assumed to be under 18—meaning anyone without a YouTube account is prevented from watching the video.

Put simply, YouTube’s alleged actions cripple PragerU’s mission to educate young Americans about history and politics.

PragerU’s Compelling Evidence

In the last twelve months, YouTube has “restricted” and “demonetized” at least 18% of PragerU’s public video library (37 / 196 videos as of Oct 2017). However, other left-leaning political channels with videos on the same or similar topics were not penalized.

The lawsuit points to “uncensored videos discussing the same issues by speakers and channels like Crash Course, NowThis, AJ+ (Al Jazeera), Buzzfeed, Bill Maher, TedTalkx, the History Channel” some of which “contain profanity and graphic depictions of mature content.” According to the lawsuit this evidence,

"leaves little doubt that Google/YouTube are… censoring PragerU because of its political identity or viewpoint not the content of its speech."

PragerU’s situation is unique. Unlike forms of speech which are harmful and not protected by the First Amendment—including pornography, copyright infringement, and terrorism—PragerU “videos do not contain any profanity, nudity, or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content,” the lawsuit claims. Pete Wilson, the former California governor and legal representative for PragerU, adds, “The censored videos fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.”

YouTube’s Catch-22

From YouTube’s perspective, this situation is lose-lose. If the company tightens its ad-pool algorithms to exclude potentially controversial videos in order to appease the interests of certain advertisers, content creators lose out on revenue and the company is accused of “economically censoring” free speech. If it refuses to change its algorithms, though, advertisers might walk away.

This past March, AT&T, Verizon, and Johnson & Johnson—three of the biggest advertisers in the U.S.—along with 250 other brands pulled “hundreds of millions of dollars in business” over concerns that YouTube was not doing enough to police “offensive and extremist content.”

Phillip Schindler, Google’s Chief Business Officer, responded immediately by ensuring ad-buyers will have more control over which videos are paired with their advertisements:

"[W]e’ve been conducting an extensive review of our advertising policies and tools, and why we made a public commitment last week to put in place changes that would give brands more control over where their ads appear.  
We know advertisers don’t want their ads next to content that doesn’t align with their values. So starting today, we’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content. This includes removing ads more effectively from content that is attacking or harassing people based on their race, religion, gender or similar categories [emphasis added]."

But who determines what content is “hateful, offensive and derogatory?” The answer is multi-faceted.

Inherent Liberal Bias

Google and YouTube are subsidiaries of the publicly traded corporation Alphabet Inc., which, understandably, is accountable to shareholders and business partners to earn a profit. It needs both advertisers and content creators to make money from search results, video hosting, and other services. Unfortunately, due to the near infinite supply of content creators, YouTube tends to cater to the very specific demands of its advertisers – many of whom have more liberal or centrist political views. So do many of the executives and employees of Alphabet.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt both personally donated to and expressed support for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. Alphabet’s employees reportedly donated $1.6 million to Hillary Clinton, and $359,000 to Bernie Sanders, in their 2016 presidential campaigns. Donald Trump got a paltry $23,000 from them.

Most recently, Google fired James Damore after his 10-page memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” was leaked to the press.

The software engineer challenged Google’s gender- and race-based diversity initiative, which calls for more women and minorities to be hired. Damore, who characterizes himself as a classical liberal, suggested that biological and personality differences between men and women contribute to the gender gap in Google’s hiring. Google then fired Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

Google and YouTube deny that political views influence their algorithms.

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sean Parker says Facebook was made to exploit human 'vulnerability'


Written by Olivia Solon — Facebook’s founders knew they were creating something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” from the outset, according to the company’s founding president Sean Parker.

Parker, whose stake in Facebook made him a billionaire, criticized the social networking giant at an Axios event in Philadelphia this week. Now the founder and chair of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Parker was there to speak about advances in cancer therapies. However, he took the time to provide some insight into the early thinking at Facebook at a time when social media companies face intense scrutiny from lawmakers over their power and influence.

Parker described how in the early days of Facebook people would tell him they weren’t on social media because they valued their real-life interactions.

“And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be,’” he said.

“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying,” he added, pointing to “unintended consequences” that arise when a network grows to have more than 2 billion users.

“It literally changes your relationship with society, with each other. It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains,” he said.

He explained that when Facebook was being developed the objective was: “How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?” It was this mindset that led to the creation of features such as the “like” button that would give users “a little dopamine hit” to encourage them to upload more content.

“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”

Parker, who previously founded the file-sharing site Napster, joined the Facebook team in 2004 five months after the site had launched as a student directory at Harvard. Parker saw the site’s potential and was, according to Zuckerberg, “pivotal in helping Facebook transform from a college project into a real company”.

In 2005, police found cocaine in a vacation home Parker was renting and he was arrested on suspicion of possession of a schedule 1 substance. He wasn’t charged, but the arrest rattled investors and he resigned shortly after.

Thanks mostly to his brief stint at Facebook, Parker’s net worth is estimated to be more than $2.6bn. He set up the Parker Foundation in June 2015 to use some of his wealth to support “large-scale systemic change” in life sciences, global public health and civic engagement.

Parker is not the only Silicon Valley entrepreneur to express regret over the technologies he helped to develop. The former Googler Tristan Harris is one of several techies interviewed by the Guardian in October to criticize the industry.

“All of us are jacked into this system,” he said. “All of our minds can be hijacked. Our choices are not as free as we think they are.”

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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Should YouTube views be counted on the Billboard charts?


Written by Claire Atkinson — Under pressure from the music labels and Apple Music, Billboard magazine is ending its practice of giving equal weight to paid streams and free streams in its music charts.

Currently a single that is bought from Apple’s download store or streamed on its paid subscription service is viewed the same as a free stream on YouTube for the purposes of Billboard’s “Hot 100.” Next year, Billboard said it will prioritize paid streams, meaning artists might be more inclined to promote their songs on paid services such as Apple's to boost their chances of rising up the charts.

The decision is a blow to Google’s YouTube, which had hoped to broaden its representation and was in talks with Billboard about being included in the album charts. YouTube has a gigantic free ad-supported video streaming business.

Billboard said late Thursday on its website that it is retooling the formulation of its charts, which are compiled by Nielsen Music. “Beginning in 2018, plays occurring on paid subscription-based music services (such as Amazon Music and Apple Music) or on the paid subscription tiers of hybrid paid/ad supported platforms (such as SoundCloud and Spotify) will be given more weight in chart calculations than those plays on pure ad-supported services (such as YouTube) or on the non-paid tiers of hybrid paid/ad-supported services," Billboard said.

The statement went on the clarify that video streams would not count into the album chart calculations.

Jimmy Iovine, who is head of Apple Music, has been arguing against YouTube growing its influence.

He told NBC News that artists say they work with YouTube to promote their records because it currently counts the same as a paid stream. “How can the record industry let that go down? It is not in their interest to promote a free tier.” He also described YouTube as “fake news,” meaning that its traffic is open to manipulation.

Iovine said he’s been in discussion with Billboard on the topic and says the music industry should be all pulling in the same direction, supporting ways of getting artists paid.

The music labels receive a much bigger cut from paid streaming services than they do from YouTube’s advertising. Independent labels have also been agitating for change.

Darius Van Arman, who is chairman of the A2IM coalition of independent labels and also has his own company, Secretly Group, agrees with Iovine. “YouTube streams should not count towards music consumption charts, because when someone streams a video, it is not clear whether they are doing so for the visuals or for the audio. Something that has nothing to do with music could be driving the views.”

“If there is consensus that YouTube streams should count towards music consumption charts, then at the very least it should be weighed significantly less than those streams from properly licensed, on-demand services that reflect more active choosing by consumers.”

YouTube didn't return several emails for comment.

The Billboard charts receive enormous press and give artists and their teams a big ego boost that goes with a top position. Billboard, owned by Eldridge Industries, which also houses Hollywood Reporter, blends music sales with consumption via the radio, Apple Music and many other outlets to generate its rankings. But the company explained in its statement on Thursday that it has to juggle the changing ways of listening to music to reflect popularity.

Music label executives are already irked by YouTube streams inclusion in the Billboard’s singles chart, “The Hot 100.” These executives point out how easy it is to increase traffic via bots and that YouTube decides what to serve up to users after they select a video. YouTube requires no login information, making it extremely easy to access. There is however no evidence that anyone has manipulated views on YouTube, though Google has admitted to fake traffic in some parts of its ad network.

To give some idea of the scope of YouTube’s influence on music, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” hit one billion streams worldwide within 100 days of the song’s release. In October, it hit four billion streams making it the most streamed song of all time. The song spent a record 16 weeks at number one in the summer.

On the front line of the pitch for Google is Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music. Cohen is a well-known figure to the labels. He is a former CEO of Warner Music's recorded music division before going on to launch his own music label, called 300, with Google's financial backing.

He and Iovine were once fierce rivals in the world of rap music. In the '90s, Cohen ran the record label Def Jam and Iovine was co-founder of Interscope Records.

The backdrop of the charts conflict is a long-running dispute between the music labels and YouTube over payment for music played there.

The music labels are arguing in Brussels in front of the European Commission and at the U.S. Copyright Office for a change in the provisions of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which essentially gives tech platforms protection from legal action for distributing illegal content. It was enacted to help protect the growth of the internet — largely AOL at the time — and well before anyone envisaged a YouTube with a billion views per month.

Of the three big global music companies, only Warner Music Group has struck a new license with Google for use of its music this year. And even then it complained loudly about its poor deal, after the fact. Universal Music Group and Sony Music Group are still haggling about a fairer cut of revenue from songs played on YouTube, with or without a license.

YouTube’s ad revenue is estimated at $3.5 billion in 2017, according to eMarketer, and while it also has a small subscription business, YouTube pays out micro-pennies for plays. The music labels call it the “Value Gap.”

YouTube has argued that its system identifies most violations and in turn has helped create a huge new revenue stream for the music labels.

Officials at the three music labels didn't comment.

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Is Facebook Eavesdropping on You from your phone or not?


Written by Rob Pegoraro — One of Facebook’s (FB) top executives on Tuesday denied many users’ worst fear about the social network — that its apps surreptitiously listen to your speech to target you with ads.

“No, we’re not using anyone’s microphone to do any of that,” Messenger head of product Stan Chudnovsky told CNBC’s Laurie Segall at Web Summit, a tech conference in Lisbon, Portugal. “None of that is happening.”

But many Facebook users won’t believe him or Facebook’s earlier denials. History and the available evidence make it not crazy to suspect the social network, while the sophisticated tracking systems that inventory our interests online remain too opaque for normal humans to decipher.

So it’s easy to go with the simplest theory for a frighteningly accurate ad: An app has been tuning into your everyday chit-chat without permission.

The “Facebook is listening” meme

The story goes like this: Soon after having a seemingly private conversation with your phone nearby, Facebook began showing ads for something you mentioned—something you hadn’t liked or mentioned on Facebook.

The idea that an app you trusted to connect you with friends would violate your confidence like that should horrify anybody. Sadly, there are precedents for such a profit-driven privacy invasion.

Think of the mobile apps shipped with “SilverPush” code that listened to high-frequency audio beacons in TV ads so mobile marketers could know what commercials you watched. Or the Lenovo apps that shipped with “Superfish” software to serve ads matching images you saw online.

To add to the paranoia, once an app has permission to use the microphone—which Messenger needs for calls to friends and Instagram requires to record video—you won’t see a further indication that it’s listening when the app’s open.

If you’re really worried, you can yank Facebook’s apps’ access to the microphone: Open your phone’s Settings app, then tap Privacy (in iOS) or Apps (in Android). But that will make Messenger and Instagram less useful, and it doesn’t rule out Facebook exploiting some vulnerability to bypass those restrictions

My own attempts to test this theory—by talking to myself about travel destinations with its app open, an exercise that left me feeling like a dork—have yet to yield matching ads.

Ad tracking is a giant black box

In his Summit appearance, Chudnovsky offered a different explanation for these uncanny ad matchups: “People spending a lot of time on Facebook and in Messenger.”

But you and your friends don’t need to spend time on Facebook for it to sense your interests, as the company touts in pitches to advertisers for tools like its Pixel cross-site tracking code.

“Facebook lets you define and reach the exact target audience you want,” one page brags.

Advertisers can’t target you by name—something I’ve seen when running ads on Facebook for posts on my public page—but they can set such precise targeting criteria that knowing a potential customer by name becomes unnecessary.

“They do use many other signals, so it’s likely that in these cases, the ads are simply eerily accurate,” Jules Polonetsky, CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, wrote in an e-mail.

To its credit, Facebook does let you see what advertisers know about you if you click through to your ad preferences. When did you last look at that? Don’t worry, Facebook knows.

‘Can you imagine the outcry?’

There’s one easy reason to disbelieve the Facebook-is-listening thesis: Legally and politically, such a thing would be suicidal for Facebook.

“Facebook has very publicly and specifically denied using the microphone for ad targeting, so they would face significant FTC liability if they were,” Polonetsky said.

And keeping such activity from the Federal Trade Commission—which already has Facebook under a 20-year settlement over alleged misconduct that includes regular monitoring of its privacy practices—would be an immense challenge with massive downside risks.

“Can you imagine the outcry?” e-mailed Rich Mogull, CEO of the security-research firm Securosis. “You couldn’t keep something like that secret for long.”

Besides, he added, covert audio recording in the background “would also kill your battery and violate App Store terms of service.” To a mobile-app vendor, Apple (AAPL) may represent a higher authority than the FTC.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Subscribe and listen to all of our episodes for FREE


Written by Adam Cruz — Haven't check out all of our episodes of the Freedom Radio Hour and the Mixtape Sessions Master Class? You're in luck! All of our episodes are available for your listening pleasure for FREE! Subscribe below!




Subscribe FREE to the Freedom Radio Hour podcasts on iTunes at: http://tinyurl.com/FRHiTunes




The Freedom Radio Hour has established itself as THE most comprehensive music business news show with topics covering music streaming, copyright, publishing, royalties and more. The Freedom Radio Hour is your #1 source for the latest scoop in the music industry.

The Freedom Radio Hour is a weekly DJ mix and talk radio program hosted by DJ Adam Cruz and Eddie Nicholas. The show features a fresh DJ mix and a 15-minute informative talk segment, covering music business news and trends from around the globe. The program airs on FM radio on Capital Radio 91.6FM The Heartbeat of Sudan and on the web at: dwildmusicradio.com

In addition to the launch of the new season, The Freedom Radio Hour premiers its beta version mobile app. Music business news and trends from around the world, including breaking news, music business minute, video episodes, DJ mixes and much more can be accessed through the Freedom Radio Hour App. The continued development of this new segment calls for feedback from those who access the show through the app as developers work to improve functionality to maximum efficiency and enjoyment

Download the app to mobile devices!

Android users:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=Freedom+Radio+Hour

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https://itunes.apple.com/gm/app/freedom-radio-hour/id977647474?mt=8

Listen to the show at: http://freedomradiohour.com

TUNE IN ALL DAY FRIDAYS 12PM EST >> FREEDOMRADIOHOUR.COM

About Adam Cruz:
As a DJ, Adam spins an energetic blend of Jazz, Funk, Latin, and soulful Dance music. As a virtuoso, Eddie brings a fantastic spin to the program, based on his experiences as a recording artist, performer and host. When they're not hard at work promoting their partners or their projects, Adam and Eddie continue to build a solid base of loyal listeners, broadcasting their weekly "Freedom Radio Hour" and "Mixtape Sessions Master Class" shows live on Capital Radio 91.6FM The Heartbeat of Sudan and on the web at: dwildmusicradio.com. For more information, visit: freedomradiohour.com, djadamcruz.com and mixtapesessions.com.

For press inquiries and for bookings, contact: bookings@mixtapesessions.com

About Eddie Nicholas:
Eddie Nicholas is an incredible vocalist, stage performer and event promoter. Since his 1995 break out hit “You Make Me Carry On” on Strictly Rhythm was released, Eddie has performed all over the world. When he’s not performing, Eddie can be seen co-hosting many annual music festivals including the Lincoln Park Music Festival, the Trenton House Music Festival and the Orange Park House Music Festival, just to name a few. For 2017, Eddie is finalizing songs for his debut “Do You Wanna Dance?” LP.

For more information, visit: eddienicholas.com and for bookings, contact: dekmusic@aol.com




Subscribe FREE to the Mixtape Sessions Master Class podcasts on iTunes at: http://tinyurl.com/MMCiTunes

Every week, Adam Cruz hosts the Mixtape Sessions Master Class, a tasty yet tasteful radio program, featuring an energetic blend of Jazz, Funk, Latin, and soulful Dance music. The Mixtape Sessions Master Class broadcasts weekly Fridays at 2pm EST and 11pm Sudan Time in Africa on Capital RADIO FM 91.6 The Heartbeat of Sudan and on the web at: dwildmusicradio.com.

On this week's episode, host DJ Adam Cruz features fantastic music from Tuxedo, Breakbot, CLASSIXX, Jesse Kivel, Holy Ghost!, Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, BIG SEAN, DāM-FunK, Flea, Computer Jay, Mndsgn, SHIGETO, Kaleena Zanders, Sango, Xavier Omär and Kaytranada!

Visit Adam Cruz and Mixtape Sessions on the web at: djadamcruz.com for more of this fantastic music!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Why is YouTube Struggling to Place Ads On Music Videos?


Written by Ed Christman — Music companies are sure about one thing when it comes to YouTube: They wish it would pay more to stream their tunes. But they're far less certain about the reason so few of the video streams containing their music carry ads these days.

"We have been MacGyvering this all year trying to find the smoking gun," says one label executive. "Something just doesn't add up."

In what's becoming one of the music business' most perplexing mysteries, the percentage of music-filled video plays that are monetized with advertising has fallen during the past five years in the United States, the world's most robust advertising market, according to dozens of music executives interviewed by Billboard with similar accounts.

While that percentage has stabilized in 2017, and some report higher YouTube payments this past summer, data compiled from interviews with more than 24 executives -- including 18 at labels and in management representing over 60 percent of the U.S. recorded-music market -- ​still shows that only between 35 percent and 45 percent of music video streams in the United States carry ads, down from 60 percent in 2012, taking into account both official music videos and user-uploaded clips containing their music. That means 55 percent to 65 percent of domestic YouTube music plays pay nothing to content owners, though YouTube pays labels a share of its ad revenue, and not on a per-stream basis. Free services such as Pandora and Spotify, by contrast, pay for every play.

It's easy to see how YouTube's aggressive expansion into developing, hard-to-monetize markets such as Africa is diluting average monetization rates globally, as YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen pointed out in an August blog post.

Some in the music industry don't mind the low monetization rates linked to overseas growth, because their artists are getting exposure and at least making money in markets where they never earned anything before.

But in the United States, "a lot of people are wondering why YouTube isn't doing a better job at selling advertising against music," says an indie-label executive.

YouTube declined to provide any data on the percentage of music videos that carry ads, but the company disputed the validity of Billboard's findings.

"We are not seeing any meaningful difference in the percentage of views with ads for music content, year over year. Moreover, pulling together data based on off-the-record conversations with industry sources and hearsay lacks data science and credibility," a spokeswoman said in an email. "In the U.S., YouTube pays out more per thousand streams on its advertising-supported platform than any other advertising service," delivering over $1 billion to the music industry every 12 months while introducing new mobile and desktop ad formats in recent years. "All indicators are strong, and both ad revenue and subscription revenue are growing at a healthy pace," she added.

Record company sleuths are investigating a wide range of possibilities for the shrunken slice of music clips getting monetized, from potential miscalculations by advertisers to a new filter intended to screen for "hate" videos. They are hoping that solving the mystery could help them understand how to eke out more revenue from the video behemoth. In 2016, YouTube parent Alphabet said its Google and YouTube properties generated $79 billion in advertising revenue.

Less advertising on YouTube's free music videos gives viewers less incentive to subscribe to its ad-free tier, YouTube Red, the type of paid service that is fueling most of the music industry's growth.

One possible cause for the growing proportion of unmonetized music-video streams in the United States on YouTube is that YouTube's advertisers didn't expect smartphone use to explode as quickly as it did, resulting in a faster-than-anticipated consumption of their high-priced premium and reserved ads, and leaving many videos ad-less, according to music executives.

While no one doubts that rapid growth in mobile video viewing is at least one factor squeezing the fraction of views that get monetized, one music executive expressed skepticism that Alphabet "wasn't ready for this unexpected buildup of views," given it's a "company that has built its foundation on data and can build cars that drive themselves and contact lenses that can detect diabetes."

When the premium ads on a music video are consumed, YouTube says it auctions off the available ad space to other bidders, though generally at lower rates that depend less on the song and more on the user. But this process doesn't always result in sales, with plenty of music video plays containing no ads at all, executives say.

"I still haven't got a clear answer on why the auctions don't capture everything that the reserve that [premium advertising] doesn't fill," complains one label executive. YouTube says "auction-based advertising does kick in," and that "it plays a significant role in the growth of music monetization globally and will only improve as digital ad markets evolve." YouTube adds that auction information is provided in detail to content owners in their "YouTube Analytics" tools.

Another possible reason for the ad-free videos in the United States: YouTube is focused on user experience and may be trying to avoid serving up too many ads in order to expand its base beyond 1.5 billion monthly users, a growth strategy that other music services have employed.

"I understand their need to be sensitive to that issue," says one music publishing executive. "But why can't you put a pre-roll on every video, and after five seconds the user can skip it?"

Apps known as "ad blockers," which can be downloaded from Google's app store and allow music fans to skip ads, may be another culprit, while some music executives worry about a new technology that identifies content as ad-friendly or not. YouTube installed that filter in 2017 to appease advertisers that had their commercials placed against what some considered to be hate videos. Labels say they are watching closely to see if their videos are filtered out of the ad-friendly pool by mistake, since some music clips are laden with violence, sex and drugs.

"All genres of video were impacted by brand safety concerns. However, we're seeing these categories, including music, recover," said the YouTube spokeswoman.

At least one music company "regularly studies" the possibility that YouTube is steering advertising to other content on which YouTube makes a higher profit margin, an exec says -- a widely held suspicion -- but the YouTube spokeswoman says this is "flat-out not true."

The music business doesn't have much leverage to demand answers to its burning questions, let alone larger payouts.

Warner Music Group extended its licensing deal with YouTube this summer, with CEO Stephen Cooper writing in an internal memo that WMG had secured the best possible deals under very difficult circumstances, including the "safe harbor" laws that shield YouTube and other sites from liability when users upload content without rights-holders' permission. Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group are still in renegotiations with YouTube.

For labels, withdrawing from their agreements would mean forfeiting the ability to monetize, block or mute their music on YouTube, which has generated over $4 billion for the industry since its launch in 2005.

Though YouTube spent an estimated $60 million to build the content identification system that lets labels claim their copyrighted material, and many millions more to build an advertising ecosystem that benefits music industry, YouTube "doesn't have to pay the industry anything," digital media consultant Jim Griffin pointed out at a music-law seminar in October. "The law is on YouTube's side." Still, he predicts that the already significant share of the payout coming from user-generated content -- which he sees as "found money" for the music industry - will become a much bigger revenue source in the future, already dwarfing the music industry's annual output of 50,000 to 70,000 albums per year in volume terms.

Managers are less concerned with cracking the monetization mystery and more focused on using YouTube to break artists, sell concert tickets and promote album presales. "We get massive exposure when we have a hit on YouTube, and we can see how that impacts in other, better platforms; that's why we all put our music up," says an executive who works with artists and managers. "Maybe YouTube can do a better job at explaining to people what they bring to the table, in addition to monetization."

Some music executives believe the shrinking proportion of monetized videos is impacting overall U.S. play rates. YouTube says payouts averaged $0.0030 per stream in the U.S., or $3.00 for every thousand U.S. plays in 2016; some label sources agree they have earned about that much during the fourth quarter and for top-viewed clips, but calculate the average rate per stream for official music videos and user-generated content over the course of the year to have been between $2.00 to $2.50 per 1,000 streams. Other record companies said they were only receiving $1.00 to $1.50 per 1,000 plays, resulting in a consensus YouTube rate of $0.00225 per stream, or $2.25 per 1,000.

Spotify's ad-supported tier, by comparison, paid $1.50 per 1,000 streams, or $0.0015-per-stream, in the U.S. in 2016, sources say, while its subscription tier paid about $0.0060 per-stream, or $6 per 1,000 streams, according to Spotify data supplied to Billboard. Other digital services like Amazon, Apple, Napster and Tidal have per-stream pay rates north of Spotify's paid tier, sources say.

But YouTube says the industry's fixation on its effective payout per stream "doesn't make sense," likening it to "using a yardstick to measure carbon in the atmosphere." "Comparing a blended pay per stream rate derived from platforms whose revenue is predominantly subscription-based with platforms that are primarily ad-supported is misleading," YouTube says.

One tech lawyer tells Billboard there's a simple answer to the advertising puzzle. "Young people have more distractions for their time and money, " this lawyer says, "and to blame that loss on YouTube is not fair."

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mixcloud's New Licensing Deal with Warner Music - what are the details?


Written by Music Business Worldwide — London-born streaming startup Mixcloud has inked a milestone deal – a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music – which will enable it to start building new subscription products.

SoundCloud rival Mixcloud attracts around 17m monthly users. It hosts 12m radio shows, podcasts and DJ sets which have been uploaded by more than a million ‘curators’ – including the likes of Carl Cox, Moby, Erykah Badu and David Byrne.

The service, which was founded in 2008, now says it is negotiating with Universal and Sony in a bid to tie up licensing deals with all three majors.

It has previously relied on statutory radio licenses for its music usage.

The expectation is that direct deals like the one struck with Warner will allow Mixcloud to offer more on-demand services to listeners – and charge for them.

MixCloud co-founder Nico Perez told the Financial Times: “We don’t want to do the $9.99 a month. That’s done. That market is served. What we’re building is going to be very customised.”

The FT reports that ‘details of [Mixcloud’s] subscription product are still being worked out’, but that it won’t replicate Spotify’s $9.99-a-month all-you-can-eat approach.

Last month, Nikhil Shah, Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Mixcloud, wrote in an op/ed for MBW: “[We believe] more streaming music companies ought to be built and managed in a responsible way.

“A lean team, careful management of costs, and effective monetization of the platform can go a long way in keeping streaming services afloat.”

He added: “Silicon Valley often preaches “scale first, revenue second.” This is simply not the right approach in music.

“It’s not fair for creators and creates too much risk for young companies, which in turn imperils the creators who feed them.”

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