When the gods dance...

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Report: More Than 3 Billion Tracks Downloaded Illegally In H1 2012


A new report detailing illegal download activity worldwide reveals 
that more than 3 billion songs were pirated globally in the first six months of 2012, with 78% of them being albums and 22% singles. The "Digital Music Index," produced by data and analytics company Musicmetric, broke down BitTorrent users country-by-country and found the U.S. is the Number 1 country for illegal downloads, with almost 775 million tracks being shared during the first half of the year, followed by the U.K. (347 million) and Italy (266 million). Rihanna's "Talk That Talk" was the most-downloaded (illegally) album with 1.2 million torrents, followed by Billy Van's "The Cardigan" EP, which the artist himself made available as a legal BitTorrent bundle. Interestingly, Musicmetric found that lower volumes of torrent downloads relative to GDP occurred where Spotify and iTunes exist around the world. Additionally, MusicMetric CEO Gregory Mead revealed that blocking Pirate Bay has had little effect on BitTorrent downloading - a sentiment backed up by BitTorrent's Matt Mason, who commented, "These figures show for the first time that blocking the Pirate Bay had zero effect on piracy. It's short-sighted to think that we can simply tell people to stop and they will." [Full story: MusicAlly]
James Taylor Sues Warner Bros For Digital Royalties


Singer-songwriter James Taylor (left) reportedly is seeking $2 million in compensatory damages from his former label, Warner Bros., for past MP3 sales. As in similar cases filed by F.B.T. Productions (the "Eminem case") and the Temptations, the principal issue is the royalty rate for downloads and ringtones for artists who signed label contracts prior to the introduction of digital music sales. According to the lawsuit, which was filed last week, Taylor claims Warner is paying him for MP3 sales based on a royalty rate calculated to apply only to "phonograph records," and is seeking at least $2 million in compensatory damages, plus interest. As with the above-mentioned Eminem/FTP case that set a precedent in this area, he argues that a digital sale should be treated as a licensed copy of a master recording, not as a newly pressed physical record - entitling him to as much as 400% more in royalties. Taylor also has accused Warner Bros of other accounting discrepancies, including the unauthorized use of his master recordings on compilation albums. His lawyer, Nashville attorney Richard Busch, from the law firm King & Ballow, was involved in the Eminem case, as well as claimsfiled  by the Knack, Peter Frampton, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. [Full story: Guardian.co.uk]
No Surprise: Apple, Pandora Are Top Download, Streaming Services

Here's another one of those "vague insights into the obvious," this time coming from NPD Group: Apple and Pandora are the market leaders in their respective sectors. Specifically, 
Apple is far ahead of any other paid music download service, with a 64% share of the market in the second quarter of 2012. The Amazon MP3 Store comes in a distant second with 16%, and no other seller of downloads exceeds 5%. In fact, Google Play, eMusic, Zune Music Pass and all of the others combined only account for 20%. About half of internet users (50%) were aware of Pandora's free ad-supported radio service, and a third of them also knew that Pandora offered a paid subscription service. Clear Channel's iHeartRadio had 25% consumer awareness, followed by Spotify with 19%. Awareness levels aren't proportional with usage rates, however, as half of those who knew about Pandora had actually used it during Q2 2012, while only a quarter of those who had heard of iHeartRadio or Spotify had used them. "The rising popularity of online radio helps explain Apple's rumored interest in streaming radio," observed NPD SVP Russ Crupnick. "As listening migrates from downloads on laptops to streams on phones and tablets, it would make sense for iTunes to offer customers the same integrated experience they have been known for by adding a streaming capability." [Full story: Digital Media Wire]
Radionomy Launches In U.S., Lets Listeners To Host Their Own Shows


Following up on its pre-launch hype, Radionomy.com this week unveiled its online radio platform in the U.S., entering a competitive market dominated by such popular music services as Pandora and Spotify. Adding a twist to the streaming formula, the new service lets listeners create playlists based on their own tastes in music and invites them to become deejays or talk-show hosts of their own programs, streamed for anyone to hear. "You just need an internet connection and you can start your own station," Radionomy VP/business development Thierry Ascarez said. "It's totally free and easy to use. We give tools to producers to create programming from scratch; you can have music, weather, jingles, talk, news... whatever." Radionomy launched in France in 2008 and subsequently has added offices in Belgium, Germany, and Spain. The company opened a San Francisco office for its U.S. launch, and negotiated a deal with Sound Exchange that requires four minutes out of every hour on the air to run commercials, the revenue from which is shared with program creators. [Full story: Google.com]
Study: Technology Has Had Profound Effect On Music Landscape


Do musicians make money selling music? That's the central focus of a study conducted by the nonprofit Future Of Music Coalition, which learned that - while income from the sale, license, or performance of sound recordings has been a core part of many musicians' income streams for decades - this income stream has undergone serious changes in the past 10 to 15 years. The traditional (until about 2000) music marketplace was fundamentally disrupted by peer-to-peer file-sharing, a decline of brick-and-mortar stores, the development of legitimate download stores like iTunes and Amazon, and the emergence of such licensed subscription services as Rhapsody and Spotify. There's also been rapid growth in a new revenue stream for sound recordings - the digital performance royalties that are generated when sound recordings are streamed on any webcast service (Pandora) or played on Sirius XM. Overall, the income derived by many musicians from sound recordings is a small part of their overall revenue pie, and it's decreasing. In fact, data suggests that income from physical retail sales has been shifting downward and that sales at shows are holding steady, while income from digital sales, on-demand streaming, synchs, and digital performance royalties have been shifting upwards.  [Full story: Scholars and Rogues]
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!

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