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Monday, June 18, 2018

Sony's Equity Payout Policy after selling 50% of Spotify Stock


Written by Rhian Jones — The UK-based Music Managers Forum has applauded Sony’s Spotify equity payout — the details of which were revealed last week.

The terms under which Sony will share its spoils from the sale of 50% of its Spotify stock – amounting to around $750m – have been deemed a “progressive move” by MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick.

Sony will pay out its Spotify money to all eligible artists and partner labels, regardless of what is decreed in their individual contracts.

In addition, the major label has committed to ignoring all unrecouped balances (for both artists and labels) in relation to its share money payouts.

Coldrick said: “The Music Managers Forum has long campaigned for the income from Spotify equity to be shared with artists whose music the labels traded.

“We’re very pleased to hear from Sony that they will be doing this both directly and with artists signed to distributed labels, and not off-setting it against recoupment.

“This is a progressive move which we hope to see reflected more widely in the industry and across other non-attributed income such as Facebook.

“The music industry is changing and the future will be different from the past. Labels will work increasingly in partnership with artists and not be “owners” of their rights.

“This shift should see more equitable shares of all revenue going to the artists and songwriters, not just on a royalty basis.”

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Can this new streaming service help listeners play fair?


Written by Isabelle Morrison, for Yes! Magazine — Music subscription service Resonate gives artists both money and power over content with a stream-to-own model.

Jon Davies has set out on a career creating experimental music about the exploitation of people and the environment. Like many independent artists, Davies doesn’t expect to earn much profit from digital downloads or streams of his music, so he relies on a handful of side hustles to make a living.

He works five days a week as an usher at a local music venue in Liverpool. He also seeks out freelance writing gigs and performs at Cafe OTO in order to scrape together the £500 needed to pay his monthly rent and bills. Making money off his music online just isn’t in the picture.

“From my own experience, I tend to just not make any money from streaming [services],” Davies says.

He has been making music under the alias Kepla for around three years. He was searching for an alternative to big streaming platforms like Spotify, which pay artists tiny amounts of royalties per stream, when he came across Resonate.

Resonate, based in Berlin and established by founder and CEO Peter Harris in 2015, aims to put the money and power in the hands of the artists. It does this through three main selling points: an alternative to a monthly subscription service, an innovative technology that allows for a more transparent and efficient way of paying artists, and its cooperative model.

“It’s a protest against capitalism, it’s a protest against the Silicon Valley model of startups and platforms and, in some sense, it’s a protest against the way music is now being distributed and consumed,” Harris says.

Is Spotify really worth $20bn?
Read more
Harris is a musician and electronic artist. After trying out his music on various streaming platforms, he realized that none could offer him the experience he wanted – so he created his own.

According to the Trichordist, each time a song is streamed by a listener on Spotify, the artist earns an average of $0.00397 in royalties – less than four-tenths of a cent. And yet, Spotify is the second most popular music streaming service, behind Apple Music, with 70 million paid subscribers worldwide.

“Many independent record labels have refused to go on record because they’re afraid that if they criticize Spotify, they’re somehow going to get blacklisted,” Harris says. “That’s a really dangerous power dynamic, and it also reveals that there’s a strong desire for something different.”

He says comparisons to Jay-Z’s Tidal, which also claims to give more power and profit to the artists, are off the mark.

“If they had gotten up onstage at [Tidal’s] big announcement and next to every one of those stars was someone totally unknown, and they’d said: ‘We’re going to build a service for the big names and people you haven’t heard of,’ then maybe Resonate would have never needed to exist,” Harris says. “The reality is, the artists who own it are a very small handful of extremely rich stars. We contrast that against Resonate, where every single artist and member owns it.”

According to a 2014 report from MIDiA Research, 77% of recorded music revenue goes to the top 1% of artists.

“I’ve experienced firsthand how hard it is for artists from these backgrounds to actually make money,” says Natalia Linares, a board member for Resonate.

Linares worked in the music industry for 12 years as a publicist and manager for independent artists, experiencing how unfair the business is, especially for artists from minority backgrounds.

“It’s very exploitative, and models like Spotify and iTunes aren’t built to sustain a class of artists,” she says. “If [Resonate] can work, and we can build this and show that it is possible to build a platform that artists and listeners actually share and benefit from, that would be a huge contribution. It’s something worth fighting for and being a part of.”

Resonate is a cooperative, and because of that artists, board members and listeners all have stake in the company and participate in decision-making. According to its website, 45% of Resonate’s annual profit is distributed to artists, 35% to listeners and 20% to paid staff.

Resonate’s alternative to a monthly subscription service is based on a stream-to-own model. Listeners pay a cheap price for streaming a song for the first time, which doubles with each play until it is comparable to the price of a regular iTunes download, $1.29. After nine plays, the song is completely paid for, and the listener can download it from the service.

“It takes somewhere between 150 to 200 plays on Spotify to reach the price of an [iTunes] download, and we do that in nine,” Harris says.

Resonate also uses blockchain, the online ledger technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to create a more transparent way of tracking and distributing payments as well as more user privacy and power over personal data and interactions on the service.

Blockchain allows for the use of “smart contracts”, which could be a more efficient and seamless method for paying artists.

“You can have a smart contract that says send 30% to the singer, 25% to the guitar player, and split up the rest among the other four members of the band,” Harris says. “The smart contract will receive the money then distribute it out instantly.”

Davies says the blockchain aspect is one of the main factors that drew him to Resonate.

“As an underground artist, [I think] it’s not good politics to be dismissive of a technology like the blockchain, which looks like it’s going to be – sooner rather than later – a very important way we not only approach things like currency, but also the way we approach contracts and agreements and the documentation of digital goods,” Davies says.

He believes Resonate will be more beneficial for artists once it catches on and as more people start to use it for streaming. Harris says the service has almost 5,000 total members, 1,000 of whom are listeners.

In March, Resonate received a $1m investment from RChain, a Seattle-based blockchain system cooperative, to further develop its technology.

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

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Library Music Sessions are back TONIGHT!


The Library Music Sessions are back!

Join us TONIGHT and every Summer Friday
That's right, we're back!

Starting TONIGHT Friday May 25th,
D. Wild Music Radio Presents: Friday night Library Music Sessions

Newark Public Library | 6-11pm FREE | Every Friday all summer long!

Don't miss our Summer Season 2 premiere!
5 Washington Street, Newark NJ

click here for the FB invite!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sony becomes world's biggest music publisher in $2.3b EMI deal


Written by Makiko Yamazaki — Sony Corp said on Tuesday it would pay about $2.3 billion to gain control of EMI, becoming the world's largest music publisher in an industry that has found new life on the back of streaming services.

The acquisition is the biggest strategic move yet by new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida and gives Sony a catalogue of more than 2 million songs from artists such as Kanye West, Sam Smith and Sia.

The deal is part of Yoshida's mission to make revenue streams more stable with rights to entertainment content - a strategy that follows a major revamp by his predecessor which shifted Sony's focus away from low-margin consumer electronics.

"This investment in content intellectual property is a key stepping stone for our long-term growth," he told a news conference.

The spread of the internet led to a shrinking of the music market from around 1999 to 2014, Yoshida said, but added that has turned around with the growth of fixed-price music streaming services.

"The rise in digital streaming is also expanding songwriter royalty revenues, with Sony capturing value as manager of the copyrights backed by direct deals with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, SoundCloud and YouTube," Macquarie analyst Damian Thong said in a report.

The deal values EMI Music Publishing at $4.75 billion including debt, more than double the $2.2 billion value given in 2011 when a consortium led by Sony won bidding rights for the company.

Sony, which has run the business since then, will buy a 60 percent stake owned by Mubadala Investment Company, lifting its ownership to around 90 percent from 30 percent currently.

EMI currently commands 15 percent of the music publishing industry which combined with its Sony ATV business would make the Japanese giant the industry leader with market share of 26 percent, a company spokesman said.

Other major players include Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group although their market share figures were not immediately available.

Yoshida, who took the helm in April, also beefed up Sony's content offerings this month with a $185 million deal to take a 39 percent stake in Peanuts Holdings, the company behind Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Also unveiling a new three-year business plan on Tuesday, Yoshida said on Tuesday that his strategy was to prioritize stable cash flow while minimizing the impact of volatile sales cycles of game consoles and other electronics gadgets.

The company said it aims to generate a total of 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) or more in cash flow over the next three years, up by at least a third from the previous three years.

Image sensors, a pillar of growth for Sony as it restructured in recent years, as well as gaming are set to be biggest profit contributors.

Operating profit at its semiconductor business, which includes image sensors, is expected to grow to 160-200 billion yen in the financial year ending March 2021, compared with a prediction of 100 billion yen for this year.

Extending the sensors' applications beyond smartphones into automotive areas would be key, Yoshida said, adding that investment in sensors will account for the biggest proportion of a planned 1 trillion yen in capital expenditure over three years.

But operating profit at its video games unit is expected to fall to between 130 billion yen and 170 billion yen, down from 190 billion yen forecast for this financial year. At that time, its PlayStation 4 would be nearing the end of a game console's typical life cycle.

Sony's shares finished 2 percent lower, hurt in part by the expected decline in profits for its gaming business.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Additional reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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

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! :)
mixtapesessions.bandcamp.com/album/get-my-life


DESCRIPTION:
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!


MUSICAL CREDITS:
(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: chopshorns.com
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: