Digital, Streaming & Subscription
Spotify has partnered with UK-based publications The Times and Sunday Times to offer a year’s free Premium subscription to the music streaming service. This new offer will be available to both new and existing subscribers who sign-up to a year-long Times and Sunday Times’ Digital Pack (£6 per week) or the Ultimate Pack (£8 per week).
This is the first such partnership Spotify has entered with a media owner anywhere in the world, although it previously forged similar partnerships with mobile and broadband providers.
The offer will be available to redeem beginning Sunday, February 9. There’s no additional word yet on whether this offer will be extended to Rupert Murdoch-backed publisher News UK’s other properties.
Rdio is making their way into the automotive industry and the music subscription service’s first partner for integration will be Tesla. The car company is going to use Rdio as its default dashboard audio service in Europe, announced Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk at a recent town-hall meeting in Amsterdam.
Musk also announced at the meeting that Rdio’s integration with Tesla will match the way the car’s dashboard system integrates with Slacker in the US, meaning consumers will be able to play any song from Rdio’s catalog of 20 million or so with a simple voice command.
Last Tuesday, YouTube announced they will increase efforts to crack down on creators that artificially inflate view counts as part of continued efforts to keep YouTube “authentic and full of meaningful interactions”. YouTube is periodically auditing the views a video has received.
“While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light.” said the company in a statement on Google’s blog.
Google does offer legitimate help for creators who want help promoting their video in posts including information about working with third party view service providers and increasing YouTube views. Although a quick Google search for “buy YouTube views” returns several services that guarantee quality and cheap YouTube views, including sites with offers that begin at $2 for 1000 views in 24 hours to $590 for 1 million views in two- to three-weeks.
Users searching for a song or music video on Google will now find YouTube featured prominently at the top of new search results. For example when searching for “Empire of the Sun Walking On A Dream” the first result is a large graphic which appears to be a video player, but when clicked actually links to the video on YouTube. However, search results are not always linked to the official videos.
The new change appears consistent with Google moves to integrate and promote its several products and services within its own ecosystem. In addition, placement of YouTube at the top of search results may also be part of the run-up to the rumored launch of a YouTube music streaming service.
Chromecast users can soon expect access to more music services, last week both Rdio and Beats Music announced via Twitter they’re working on bringing their services to Google’s popular streaming stick. Recently Google opened up the Chromecast SDK to developers, as a result it’s likely the platform’s users can expect a lot of additional applications to begin to be offered.
— Beats Music Support (@BeatsMusicHelp) February 5, 2014
Their competitor Spotify has not yet committed to supporting the platform yet. Spotify subscribers interested in Chromecast have been redirected by company representatives on Twitter to a statement published on its support website. Last September Spotify announced Spotify Connect, its own connected music platform and have teamed up with several consumer electronic makers such as Bang & Olufsen, to bring Spotify streaming to their devices.
Microsoft announced Xbox One and 360 owners will be able to stream live performances from this year’s Bonnaroo music and art festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The line-up announcement for Bonnarroo 2014, an event hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Taran Killam and comedian Hannibal Buress, will also be broadcasted exclusively on Xbox and the Bonnarroo website on February 19. X-box live users will need to download the official Bonnaroo app from Xbox Live that day to watch the event.
500 Startups, one of the biggest and most successful tech startup accelerators, recently announced their 8th class of startups, including 3 music tech startups, that will be accelerating their new San Francisco offices including: Rapt.fm, SoundBetter and i3zif (Play for Music Unlimited).
The 3 music startups selected for 500 Startups 8th batch include:
Rapt.fm – “Chat roulette for rap battles, but it’s going to be a comprehensive technology for artists to build fan bases, get discovered, give live concerts, and monetize.”
SoundBetter – “SoundBetter is the leading marketplace for music production talent. We connect millions of independent musicians with professional music producers, session musicians, mixing & mastering engineers.”
i3zif (Play for Music Limited) – “We teach users how to play musical instruments through video tutorials working with some of the best musicians in the Arab world. We’re the first to provide high quality online music education in Arabic, and the first to offer it in English for oriental and eastern instruments.”
Labels & Publishing Deals
Beats Music and Merlin announced a licensing agreement that includes a commitment on Beats part to pay all rights holders equal royalty rates. Since such services represent a growing revenue stream and source of discovery, this news is important for indies not only in dealing with Beats Music but in encouraging other services to follow suit.
The deal’s announcement summed up the news by stating:
“The benchmark deal, active since Beats Music’s launch on January 21st, ensures that the 20,000+ leading independent labels and distributors represented by Merlin’s 600 members will enjoy parity with the world’s three major record labels, and builds upon the service’s stated commitment that it will pay the same royalty rate to all content owners.”
Warner Music Group narrowed its losses to $37 million and grew revenues to $815 million in its fiscal first quarter, attributing the 6% revenue increase to its acquisition of Parlophone Records. Without income from the newly acquired label, WMG’s revenue would have declined 3.6% due to a light schedule release. Read more here.
Downtown Music Publishing is opening a Nashville office and has hired industry veteran Steven Markland as Vice President of A&R to help launch. Led by Founder/President Justin Kalifowitz, New York City based Downtown Music Publishing opened their Los Angeles offices in 2013 to much success and is now expanding their business to the Nashville songwriting community.
Easy Sound Recording Company launched last week, a new imprint based in LA including a roster of artists such as San Francisco-based bands Vetiver and Papercuts along with psych-rockers Howlin Rain, garage rock foursome the Donkeys and Rodrigo Amarante of Little Joy and Los Hermanos fame. Although full-lengths are planned for 2014, the first releases by Easy will be a series of 7-inch singles for Record Store Day (April 19). Check out more on Easy Sound Recordings new label.
BMG and Talpa Music Holding have signed an agreement under which BMG will acquire 100% of Benelux music publisher Talpa Music B.V., leader in electronic dance music. Talpa Music owns 37,000+ songs including some big names in EDM: Tiësto, Fedde Le Grand, Giorgio Tuinfort (co- writer / producer for David Guetta) and several more.
Talpa administers over 500,000 songs. The company also represents the publishing interests of dance labels including Protocol Recordings, Mixmash Records, Be Yourself Music, Black Hole Recordings and Hard With Style. Following the acquisition of Talpa, which is expected to be finalized later this month, BMG will merge its operations in the Netherlands under the name BMG Talpa Music.
Legal & Royalties
AT&T have published a patent that would charge customers on both how much they use the Internet but how they’re using it. Titled Patent US20140010082 A1, “Prevention of Bandwidth Abuse of a Communications System”, the new patent could potentially penalize consumers for visiting high-bandwidth sites, for example penalizing users who visit Netflix instead of using the Internet to simply check e-mail.
AT&T would exercise such control over internet usage by issuing users with a certain number of credits in the form of a subscription, and the data the subscribers access are then reviewed. If data is deemed “permissible” according to AT&T, users can keep the initial number of credits allotted to them, if data is “non-permissible” (file sharing, movie downloading), the user is subject to increased restrictions such as fines, site blockages and slower internet speed.
Last year, the MPAA, RIAA and five major US Internet providers launched the six-strikes Copyright Alert System and as of last week, information obtained by TorrentFreak showed that since the program’s launch Comcast has sent more than 625,000 anti-piracy warnings to its customers.
Last February, Comcast began to send copyright alerts to customers who use BitTorrent to pirate music, movies and TV-shows. Comcast’s anti-piracy measure is part of the “six-strikes” Copyright Alert System, those who are “caught” receive an e-mail with details on the file that was “allegedly” shared and those who continue to pirate face a variety of mitigation measures, including bandwidth limitations.
The Italian Society of Writers and Publishers (SIAE) has proposed a tax on smart phones, tablets and personal computers, the proceeds of which would to be used to pay royalties to creators.
The suggested is around $7.10 per smart phone or $8.20 for a personal computer. The SIAE are confident that the proposal is publicly and politically palatable and has a strong chance of being passed into law.
SoundExchange’s fourth quarter of last year paid out a record $170.4M to artists, with record high year of $590.4M and a 28% increase from 2012. This is following the organization’s decision in January to make monthly artist royalty distributions, as opposed to quarterly.
“I’m pleased to report a strong finish to an amazing year for SoundExchange, and for digital radio. We processed tens of billions of digital performances in 2013 reported by thousands of music services every month. This is further proof that consumers are streaming digital radio now more than ever,” says SoundExchange president and CEO Michael Huppe. “We are ensuring that digital radio listening is being converted into a reliable revenue stream for music creators. We look forward to continuing our mission to support, protect and propel the music industry forward in 2014.”
Sony, Universal and Warner have progressed their claim against SiriusXM concerning pre-1972 sound recordings. The majors are alleging that under California state misappropriate laws, SiriusXM’s use of a number of pre 1972 recordings, without paying royalties is unlawful. The case has progressed quickly to stage of jury instruction as both parties seek to determine the legality of SiriusXM’s actions.
Hear more about these topics from the people creating the news at New Music Seminar June 8-10, 2014 in NYC, register today!
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