Industry News Courtesy Of Hypbot                   

Not One Album Released In 2014 Has Gone Platinum  

albumThe future of music sales may be bleaker than we thought. 2014 is now 10 months old and not one album released this year has gone platinum.  By comparison, at this point last year, 5 albums had gone platinum. The only album to reach 1 million in sales this year has been the Frozen soundtrack, which was released in 2013.  In fact, this year's two other top sellers - Eric Curch and Lorde - we released last year and have still sold well under 1 million.

Single sales are not much better. In 2014 only 60 songs have sold more than a million copies,compared to 83 in 2013. 

While happening faster than expected, the drop comes as streaming music use enters the main stream.  But streaming revenue is not making up the difference and along with free plans, Spotify just effectively lowered its Premium pricing by 50% with a new Family Plan and Apple is reportedly pushing labels to lower fees.

Sources: Forbes, Billboard

Pandora Adds Brand Sponsored Listening 

Pandora logoPandora has added a new marketing product, Sponsored Listening, which  exchange for one hour of uninterrupted listening. Sponsored Listening provides Pandora's free users with an hour of uninterrupted listening in exchange for viewing a short video, visiting their website or other ad interaction.

image from pandoraadvertizing.files.wordpress.comListeners immediately get one full hour of uninterrupted listening in exchange for the engagement. The advertisers’ branding remains visible to listeners throughout the sponsored listening session offering additional opportunity for brand engagement.

The new Sponsored Listening offering, currently being used by Fox and Sony, will be open to all advertisers in the second half of 2015.

Spotify launched a similar product earlier this year.

The WiMN Announces 2015 She Rocks Award Recipients  

She-rocks-2015-1024x1024Last week the Women’s International Music Network (The WiMN) announced the recipients of the 2015 She Rocks Award. They will gather at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel on January 23, 2015 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm for the third annual She Rocks Awards where outstanding women will be recognized for their exemplary roles in today’s music industry.

Co-hosted by platinum-selling guitarist and solos artist Orianthi and The WiMN Founder, Laura B. Whitmore, the following eight women will be honored:

  • Mindi Abair – Chart-topping, Grammy award-nominated saxophone player and singer/songwriter.
  • The Bangles’ guitarists Susanna Hoffs and Vicki Peterson and drummer Debbi Peterson – Iconic, platinum-selling all-female pop band.
  • Gayle Beacock – Co-owner of Beacock Music and recipient of NAMM’s top dealer award for 2014.
  • Debbie Cavalier – Berklee College of Music Vice President for Online Learning and Continuing Education/CEO of Berkleemusic, author and Grammy award-winning children’s artist.
  • Amani Duncan – Vice President of Brand Marketing for C.F. Martin & Co.
  • Katie Kailus – Editor of Music Inc. and Upbeat Daily magazines.
  • Paula Salvatore – Vice President and Studio Manager of Capitol Studios for Universal Music.
  • Craigie Zildjian – CEO of the Avedis Zildjian Company.

No expense will be spared by The WiMN when honoring their 2015 She Rocks Award recipients - there will be food and beverages available for all attendees as well as featured performances, giveaways, and a silent auction taking place throughout the evening.

    The WiMN founder Laura B. Whitmore comments, “This year we are moving the She Rocks Awards to an     evening event and really going all out to celebrate the achievements of these talented and inspiring     women. There will be an opportunity to network, some great performances, plus some surprise moments     as well!”


SRA2015_300x2501Celebrating women in the industry for the third consecutive year, The WiMN She Rocks Awards has become a standard at the NANM show. Bringing industry leaders, media, artists, fans, and music icons together under one roof, the opportunities for professional networking are infinite. A NANM badge is not required to attend, but tickets will need to be purchased well in advance as the past two years have been a full sellout.

The She Rocks Awards will take place on January 23, 2015 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm in the Pacific Ballroom at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel. Tickets are on sale now and available for purchase here.

To find out more about the She Rocks Award visit www.SheRocksAward.com

 

 

 

Hypebot's New Chapter: Welcome Laura Schneider  

LauraAs part of a plan to grow the Hypebot community and expand our coverage, we're bringing more of the editorial team in-house. Laura Schneider has been the the curator of MusicThinkTank for more than a year and been an integral part of the Agency[+] efforts at our sister company, booking agency Skyline Music. Now Laura is joining our team full-time to help me make Hypebot all that it can be.

Laura funnyA graduate of Virginia Tech in Music Education, Laura is based near San Francisco and has held positions in music instruction, public relations, marketing and social media management. She adds a fresh perspective. In addition to being a strong writer, an amazing photographer and incredibly smart, she can also be pretty darn hilarious. And let's face it, some days this business could use a little levity. 

Stay tuned.  We'll be starting with small tweaks, but we've also got some great things planned. 

Please join me in welcoming Laura Schneider to Hypebot!

What Is A Music Publishing Deal? - and Do I Really Need One? 

10lawyer_0By Wallace Collins from Wallace Collins Entertainment Law Blog

The term "publishing", most simply, means the business of song copyrights.  A songwriter owns 100% of his song copyright and all the related publishing rights until the writer signs those rights away. Under the law, copyright (literally, the right to make and sell copies) automatically vests in the author or creator the moment the expression of an idea is "fixed in a tangible medium." (i.e., the moment it is written down or recorded on tape.)  With respect to recorded music, there are really two copyrights: a copyright in the musical composition owned by the songwriter and a copyright in the sound of the recording owned by the recording artist (but usually transferred to the record company when a record deal is signed). 
     A writer owns the copyright in his work the moment he writes it down or records it, and by law can only transfer those rights by signing a written agreement to transfer them. Therefore, a songwriter must be wary of any agreement he or she is asked to sign. Although it is not necessary, it is advisable to place a notice of copyright on all copies of the work. This consists of the symbol "c" or the word "copyright", the author's name, and the year in which the work was created, for example: " (c) John Doe 2014."
 
     The filing of a copyright registration form in Washington D.C. gives additional protection in so far as it establishes a record of the existence of such copyright and gives the creator the presumption of validity in the event of a lawsuit. Registration also allows for lawsuits to be commenced in Federal court and, under Federal law, allows an award of attorneys fees to the prevailing party.  To order forms and for additional information on copyright registration call (202) 707-9100 or go to www.loc.gov\copyrights. These days a songwriter can even register on line.
 
     As defined by the copyright law, the word "publish" most simply means "distribution of copies of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental lease, or lending". As a practical matter, music publishing consists primarily of all administrative duties, exploitation of copyrights, and collection of monies generated from the exploitation of those copyrights. If a writer makes a publishing deal and a publisher takes on these responsibilities then it "administers" the compositions. Administrative duties range from filing all the necessary registrations (i.e., copyright forms) to answering inquiries regarding the musical compositions.
 
     One of the most important functions of music publishers is exploitation of a composition or "plugging" a song. Exploitation simply means seeking out different uses for musical compositions. Sometimes a music publisher will have professional quality demos prepared and send them to artists and producers to try to secure recordings. They also use these tapes to secure usage in the television, film and advertising industries.
 
     Equally important as exploitation is the collection of monies earned by these musical usages. There are two primary sources of income for a music publisher: earnings that come from record sales (i.e., mechanical royalties) and revenues that come from broadcast performances (i.e., performance royalties).  Mechanical royalties are collected directly from the record companies and paid to the publisher. Performance royalties are collected by performing rights organizations - ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC - and then distributed proportionably to the publisher and to the songwriter. In addition to plugging and administrative functions, it is also important to know that there is a creative side to music publishing. Since producing hit songs is in the best interest of both the writer and the publisher, good music publishers have whole departments devoted to helping writers grow and develop. The creative staff finds and signs new writers, works with them to improve their songs, pairs them up creatively with co-writers and hopes the outcome will be hit records.
 
     A publishing deal concerns rights and revenues. If a writer decides to do a publishing deal then the main issue for negotiation is going to be the language pertaining to the calculation and division of the rights in the copyright and division of the monies earned. In the old days, most deals were 100% copyright to the publisher and 50/50 share of the revenues because there was a concept that the "writer's share" was 50% and the "publisher's share" was 50%. This, of course, was an invention of the publishers. Legally, these terms have no such inherent meaning but their calculation is defined in each individual agreement. Most modern publishing deals, however, are referred to as "co-publishing" deals where the copyrights are co-owned 50/50 and the monies are usually calculated at around 75/25 meaning the writer gets 100% of the 50% writer's share and 50% of the publisher's 50% share for a total of 75%. It is best for the writer to insist that all calculations be made "at source" so that there are not too many charges and fees deducted off-the-top before the 75% calculation is made. Keep in mind, however, that the advance paid to the writer by the publisher is later recouped by the publisher out of the writer's share of income from the song. So, the net business effect is that the publisher pays the writer with the writer's own money to buy a share of the copyright (and the right to future income) from the writer.
 
     Although a writer can be his own publisher and retain 100% of the money, the larger publishers in the music business usually pay substantial advance payments to writers in order to induce them to sign a portion of their publishing rights to the publisher - and this can be a good thing for the writer. Although a deal for a single song may be done with little or no advance payment (provided there is a reversion of the song to the writer if no recording is released within a year or two), there should be a substantial advance paid ($5,000-$100,000+) to a writer for any publishing deal with a longer term (e.g., 3-5 years or more). Moreover, sometimes the length of an agreement is more than just a function of time, it might also be determined based on the number of songs delivered by the writer or, even more difficult to calculate, based on the number of songs that get recorded and released on a major label (something neither the writer nor the publisher may have any control over). 
 
     Publishing deals have to do with more than just the money though. Since every music publisher is different, it is important for the songwriter to assess both the business and the creative sides of a music publisher before signing any deal. Ultimately, the songwriter is trading a share of something the writer already owns 100% of (the copyright) so it is important to be mindful of what it is exchanged for by way of services and money.
 
       Wallace Collins is an entertainment lawyer based om New York.  He was a recording artist for Epic Records before attending Fordham Law School. Tel:(212) 661-3656 /www.wallacecollins.com 

 

Google Promotes Music With News Ad Units, Demotes Piracy In Search 

google piracyRightsholders have accused Google of promoting piracy since the dawn of search. The online giant's efforts to end the practice have been frustratingly incremental. But they took several steps forward with some significant announcements over the last few days that include downgraded search results for pirate sites and upgraded ad units that promote music and other media better.

In 2012, Google announced they'd downrank sites which received a large number of valid DMCA notices. They now say they’ve :refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites." The update will roll out globally starting this week.

Google is also removing more terms from auto-complete, based on DMCA removal notices."We’ve begun demoting auto-complete predictions that return results with many DMCA demoted sites," says Google

Additionaly, new ad units are designed to point fans to legitimate sources of music and other media.

TaylorGoogle

Google has tweaked the right-hand panel on the results page and promise that it will be part of more music related searches. For now,these results show in the U.S. only. but Google has plans to expand to expand it internationally. 

 

9 Expert Tips to Make Your Band's Marketing More Persuasive 

ContentBy Bobby Borg from SonicBids.com

Direct marketing is the process of bypassing intermediaries to communicate directly with fans, build awareness, and generate sales. Emailing tour dates, texting announcements about contests, posting website links to your fundraisers, even phoning reminders and mailing postcards about your record release are all direct marketing methods. In all cases, the most important ingredient needed to ensure success is persuasive content. As they say, “Content is king.” Here are nine brief tips that can help make sure your fans follow your lead and fulfill your marketing goals. 

1. Say the most important things first

The first line of any correspondence is always the most important and establishes whether your intended receiver will even pay attention. Thus, begin your marketing massages by stating who you are, addressing the most unique benefit that you’re offering (free download, album stream, etc.), and finding some interesting hook or question that gets your fans' attention and ultimately draws them in.

2. Provide more detailed information

Hold your fans’ interest and help them decide to buy your album, donate to your campaign,come out to your show, etc. by indicating your key selling points. It’s not enough to merely explain where you're playing and when. Tell your audience why they should get in their cars and come to your show. In other words, explain what’s in it for them.

3. Use attractive graphics and logos

If the direct marketing method you’re using calls for it, use an attractive graphic that shows off your band, or otherwise intrigues or shocks the viewer. Your album cover, your beautiful studio, your stage setup, or your fans beating each other up in the mosh pit are all par for the course. Including your logo will also build your brand image and increase brand awareness. Whatever you use, just be sure that your graphic matches with your opening headline.    

4. End with a call to action

Toward the end of your marketing communication, get your fans to act by including a polite command (aka "call to action"). For instance, "To RSVP for the show and exclusive afterparty, be sure to visit www.example.com/JulyParty while tickets last." Remember, the whole purpose of direct marketing is to get your fans to do something.

5. Use a marketing information code

Be sure to monitor the success of your direct marketing campaign by including a unique reference code. For instance, the special URL in the example above ending in "JulyParty" (www.example.com/JulyParty) makes tracking simple, since the site it links to is built specifically for the event. By adding Google Analytics to the page, you’ll know precisely how many people responded to your message, whether an email, postcard, or phone call.

6. Keep it simple

Remember the acronym KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when laying out your designs, crafting telephone scripts, or writing fundraiser pitches. The more you say, or the more cluttered a correspondence appears or sounds, the more confused people can get. Confusion equals fewer responses.   

7. Strive to use trigger words

Craft your correspondences using words that resonate positively with your fans and colleagues. Avoid all negative words! When calling someone, such as a club booker, don’t start with, "Sorry to bother you," because you’re already associating your name with the word "bother." Instead, use words that push their buttons, like "experienced," "confident," and "connected." Just be sure to tell the truth. 

8. Use the right colors and fonts

Use colors and fonts that are consistent with the band and brand image (mood, vibe, and attitude) you’d like to project onto your fans, no matter if you’re choosing envelopes, designing postcards, or building websites. The stronger you project what you stand for, the more likely you’ll win over loyal fans.    

9. Adapt to each fan or audience

And finally, read classic sales books like Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale and remember to "think and act like the customer." For instance, when calling someone who’s upbeat, adopt a high-energy personality. When calling someone who’s low-key, adopt a mellow personality. When responding to emails and texts, I strive to use the exact same tone and words that the sender used. This helps to win over fans and ultimately achieve goals. As Robert Bly says in The Copywriter’s Handbook, as long as you're genuine, "mirroring your customer establishes trust." 

bookBobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014). Find the book on Hal Leonard's website under "Trade Books", or Amazon. Signed copies with a special offer are also available at bobbyborg.com.

CMJ Music Marathon 2014 Launches Mobile App 

IndexBy Hugh McIntyre

After 34 years of telling the world who is next to make it big and being ahead of the curve, the CMJ Music Marathon is taking a few cues from some of the more famous festivals of the world by focusing efforts on social. The legendary industry event recently unveiled their first ever app, with the aim being to make navigating the enormous festival just a bit easier.

For an app—especially one focused solely on one five-day event in one city—it does a lot. There are five important sections of the CMJ 2014 app, each with it’s own purpose:

Discovery

The first two options on the menu—“Discover” and “Recommender” are ultimately for fun. CMJ is all about discovering new music, so it makes sense that not only would the designers include these tabs, but that they would put them first. While “Discover” simple gives you a sample of artists to try at random, the “Recommender” plugs into both Facebook and looks at who you’ve already favorited on the app to suggest other artists you’d likely enjoy.

CMJ Music

The second, pink tabs are what help you really set your concert schedule. The “Showcases” and “Artists A-Z” sections are pretty similar, in that they organize the artists playing in a way that will help you go through and decide who you’re going to see. I personally have been going through the “A-Z” list in an attempt to sample every artist, but it may be better for you to only look at days and times when you’re free, which is what “Showcases” is for.

Sessions

While most people come for the music, CMJ also has a healthy lineup of panels and speakers from every corner of the industry. The app breaks it down by both what the sessions are about (you’ll have to choose between “Smart Touring” and “Social Activism In The Music Community”), and the speakers, listed from A-Z. Thankfully, there aren’t nearly as many panels as there are showcases.

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 9.58.32 PM

Venues

A venue map may seem like an unnecessary item, but not when you consider the sheer size of the Music Marathon. By my count, there are some 45 venues in Manhattan alone—Brooklyn is different story altogether. It’s also important to remember that not every CMJ event is at the Bowery Ballroom or Pianos. There are quite a few parties and the like at spaces that aren’t typically used for shows, and finding them can sometimes be tricky.

The Everyday CMJ

The last section gets into what CMJ is all about when not in Marathon mode: the business of college radio. This section lets you sample some of the best college stations in the country, playing what they’re playing (theoretically—mine couldn’t quite make it to the playing music part). There is also a “News” tab that connects you to the latest articles from the outlet, including interviews, recent show reviews, and industry news.

Out of all the festivals you may go to in any given year, CMJ is probably the most hectic. Between running around New York City, trying to pack as many meetings and drinks into five days as possible, and attempting to actually see bands, there’s no room for scheduling errors and lost pieces of paper. The CMJ app makes all of this much easier...as long as you can keep your phone alive.

 

Pandora Names Electronic Arts' Steve Bené As New General Counsel 

Pandora logoJust as the battles with rightholders are heating up, Pandora has named Electronis Arts executive Steve Bené as its new General Counsel. He will also serve on the company’s Executive Leadership Team, and oversee all of Pandora’s legal operations and matters, including those related to corporate governance, securities, commercial transactions, litigation and intellectual property.

Bené comes to Pandora with more than twenty years of legal experience, most recently serving as General Counsel at Electronic Arts (EA). At EA, he handled a full range of legal matters inclusing negotiations with music and movie studios. Prior to joining EA, Bené was an associate at Fenwick & West LLP and a management consultant at Bain & Company. Bené attended Stanford Law School.

Merlin Opens New York Office – Appoints Jim Mahoney as General Manager US 

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.48.33 PMMerlin, the global rights agency representing a wide variety of successful indie artists, has announced the opening of a New York office and their appointment of Jim Mahoney, former VP to American Association of Independent Music as their General Manager US.

This expansion to the United States, where membership currently accounts approximately 1/3 of the company’s global business, ensures Merlin a prominent and permanent location in the epicenter of the world’s largest music market. The New York Office, located at 154 Grand Street in the NoLita section of Manhattan, will open November 1st. Jim Mahoney, who brings over 20 years of experience in the independent label sector will head the New York office maintaining and developing Merlin’s US memberships as well as overseeing day-to-day relationships with US based digital services. 

Merlin CEO, Charles Caldas said: “Merlin prides itself on being a truly global operation, so to open a permanent office in the world’s largest music market was a logical step - especially as we aim to break new ground for independent labels, such as our recently announced partnership with Pandora.

He went on to welcome Jim Mahoney to the company saying: “We are also delighted to welcome Jim Mahoney to the organisation. As well as a hugely experienced executive, Jim is widely-respected figure among the independent community and is uniquely placed to support our US members and bring additional value to their business”.

JM_0022Jim Mahoney, Merlin US GM said: This is an exciting time to be joining Merlin, and the opening of our US office marks a real statement of intent. Having spent 20 years working for or in the service of US independent music labels, I have a close understanding of the passion and tireless work that they provide on behalf of their artists and the value that they deliver both to fans and digital services. As a result, I believe that the services offered by Merlin will be greatly enhanced - giving our US members greater control over their digital business, and helping to grow the digital market overall.”

Since the start of operations in 2008, Merlin now has offices in London and New York with a head office in Amsterdam. In June of 2014, Merlin projected payments to global memberships to exceed $160m over the next year. In August they unveiled a groundbreaking partnership with Pandora, sealing the internet radio company’s first direct label deal. An exciting time to be joining Merlin, indeed!

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