When the gods dance...

Thursday, January 19, 2012


SoundExchange Distributed $292 Million To Labels And Artists In 2011


SoundExchange, the organization that distributes payments from digital music services to record labels and artists, this week announced it paid $89.5 million to over 18,000 individual entities in the fourth quarter of last year, bringing year-end estimated royalty payments to $292 million - a 17% increase vs. 2010. "Our growth is encouraging news for the industry, and for the performers who put their heart and soul into the music we enjoy every day," commented SoundExchange President Michael Huppe. "This past year, we've taken stock of our strengths, and the challenges and opportunities ahead, and have looked for even more ways to improve how we serve the music community. We're optimistic about the industry's future, and about the tremendous value SoundExchange promises to deliver in the years to come." While artists and labels obviously are thrilled at the increased collections and payments, the Internet radio, satellite radio, and cable TV music-only channels that foot the bill insist that the payment structure imposed by the Copyright Royalty Board is overly burdensome, and must be rectified. [Full story: news release]
Grooveshark Lawyers Demand Digital Music News
Reveal Commenter Identity In UMG Lawsuit


As was widely expected, Grooveshark's lawyers are trying to force Digital Music News [no connection with this publication] to reveal the identity of a user who claimed to work for the streaming music company and said he/she was urged to upload thousands of digital tracks to the online music site. Legally, only Grooveshark's users can upload music to the site in order not to run afoul of provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which specifies a music service's owners can avoid liability for copyright infringement if they take action to remove any content when made aware of it by the rightsholder. Universal Music claims the "user" post on Digital Music News clearly shows that Grooveshark employees were encouraged to upload music to the site, while Grooveshark insists that the DMN commenter never has worked for the company. DMN confirms that Grooveshark's lawyers, from L.A.-based McPherson Rane LLC, have requested access to any correspondence between DMN, Grooveshark employees, and Universal, and any information that would help identify the anonymous alleged whistleblower. DMN calls the subpoena filed against it by Grooveshark's legal reps "aggressive and broad-reaching." [Full story: CMU Website]
Pandora's Opportunity Is "Global," Says Westergren;
"No Chance In Hell" It Will Disrupt Radio, Pittman Responds


"The opportunity for us is global. Radio is going through a massive change, which is irreversible and inevitable. Technology has allowed us to present an alternative." That's Pandora founder Tim Westergren, speaking with USA Today during last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, explaining that his company - which sprouted from the "Music Genome Project" - is at the "tipping point" where it one day will be used by billions of listeners. Indeed, with 125 million registered users - a massive increase vs. the 75 million at the same time last year - Pandora has expanded its reach into the car, with 16 major automotive alliances compared with four car companies this time last year. But can Pandora disrupt the terrestrial radio business the same way Apple did with digital music and Amazon has done with e-books? "Not a chance in hell," Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman responds. "Radio is doing very well. It's in every car and most homes. It's embedded in the world. If you want personalized radio, you have to be online, and not everybody can always be online." Still, Wedge Partners analyst Martin Pyykkonen says Pandora has an advantage over Clear Channel and other personalized online services: it was first to market and has the broadest reach. Now the company needs to get serious and start selling ads, he says, noting, "There's a lot of headroom for them to add more minutes without being annoying. The challenge is to get people out there selling ads." [Full story: USA Today]
Facebook Adds "Listen With Friends" For Group Music Tune-In


Seems as if Facebook is always throwing change-ups at its 800 million-plus users, and the company's newest feature allows friends to listen to each other's musical selections, either one-on-one or via group chat. "Listening With Friends," which is expected to roll out across the entire Facebook nation in the coming weeks, displays a musical note next to a user's name in the chat list if he or she is listening to a song [with streaming provided by Rdio or Spotify]. If other users want to listen in, they can hover over the friend's name and click a "Listen With" button; that user then will be taken to the music server that's playing the song. The feature also can be used as a group chat, where all members are listening to the same song, as long as one person is the designated DJ. Facebook's official blog says users can chat about what they're listening to and experience it together, "just like when you're jamming out at a performance or dance club." "Facebook's 'Listen With Friends' is a perfectly logical addition to their digital music offering, and I expect it will see some adoption," says GigaOM research director David Card. And Maxim Group media analyst John Tinker adds, "These features that are actually doing the playing have a lot more to gain here, especially with a site like Facebook where everyone is connected." [Full story: Tech News World]
Slacker CEO: Artists Need To Have "360" View
Rather Than Focus On Music Sales And Plays

If an artist is making less than a penny per online stream - typically the "cut" that remains after the record labels exact their share of payments collected by SoundExchange - is that a sustainable business model? That's the question Fast Company magazine recently posed to Slacker CEO Jim Cady, who says the recorded music business has changed so much during the past ten years that content sales - CDs, downloads, ringtones, etc. - now represent only a small fraction of an artist's true potential. "In today's world, a significant portion of the money an artist earns is from live performances - it's not necessarily as much from recorded content as it used to be," he explains. "I don't think you can look at it in a vacuum on a per-play basis...I just don't think that's how it works." Instead, Cady says artists and labels need to look at the entire "360" picture that incorporates concerts, merchandising, and other elements, when developing a business model, understanding that "it's going to be different for each one of them depending on how popular they are, how many albums they can actually sell, [and] depending on live performances." [Full story: Fast Company]

Opinion: SOPA, PIPA Bills Threaten Innovation, Free Speech


While Hollywood entertainment companies - including the major record labels - have heralded the Stop Online Piracy Act [SOPA] in the House of Representatives and the Protect IP Act [PIPA] in the Senate, thousands of Internet companies yesterday [Jan. 18] protested both pieces of legislation by going dark. As the Huffington Post's Brett Greene wrote yesterday, "The recording industry, movie studios, and television studios are the driving forces behind these bills. We are all very aware of how the music industry's slow and regressive response to digital music backfired while not helping recording artists or the music industry. Instead of creating better ways to legally download music [as Apple did for them by creating iTunes], their solution was to sue music lovers. Imagine the repercussions of this industry, and the Hollywood studios that have not adapted to how digital innovations have affected their industry, dictating policies that regulate the Internet." The bottom line, Greene says, is trust in the U.S. government. "Do [you] trust the government to censor the Internet and protect free expression of its people? And is it worth the potential of creating a censored internet that is less innovative and stable in order to possibly help the RIAA and MPAA sell more music and movies?" [Full story: Huffington Post]
Al Bell Presents American Soul Music ... And American Soul TV

If you're into classic and contemporary Soul, R&B, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Hip-Hop Soul, Rap Soul, and Neo-Soul, we invite you to listen to Al Bell Presents American Soul Music. Former Stax Records owner and Motown Records Group President Al Bell personally has programmed this awesome radio station online, presenting your favorites from the 1960s and '70s [and some '80s], a lot of the best new music that's being released today, and some real gems you haven't heard in a long, long time. Come to www.AlBellPresents.Com
 and hear it for yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment