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Unfair Pay For Artists At Live Venues: Tish Hinojosa Speaks Out 

1 (1)In a recent opinion piece, Austin artist Tish Hinojosa highlights the dark truth of how little musicians can expect to make for performing live, and the "beggars shouldn't be choosers" mentality which contributes to the unwillingness of many venues to properly compensate artists.

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Guest Post from The Trichordist

The great artist Tish Hinojosa wrote a must-read opinion piece for her home town paper, the Austin American-Statesman, about the realities of gigging in a “no cover”/”tip jar” reality that is all too common at live music venues across the country.

In her post “Austin venues, patrons can do more to pay musicians fairly,” Tish lays bare the ugly truth that we experience every day–wage stagnation for musicians produces the “you’re lucky to have a job” mentality with many venues:

I am finding that even Austin’s best-known and talented support — aka “side” — musicians and singer-songwriters are playing for peanuts, meaning, for the same or less than we were earning in the 1980s. In the meantime, the cost of living in this city has grown tremendously — and so has the city’s pocketbook. That Austin’s reliable, hard-working, talented and diligent musicians can’t even afford to live in the city is a shame, especially considering that they are the backbone of the “Live Music Capitol Of The World.”

Too many Austin venues are taking advantage of good musicians who just need to work and are offering those artists “this or nothing deals” like: “Do you know how many of you would be happy just to say they play here?”'

1Tish’s post links to another Statesman story about the findings of the 2015 Austin Music Census which confirmed Tish’s concerns about the music community.  The City of Austin commissioned the Austin Music Census, the only study of its kind, that surveyed 4,000 members of the Austin music community and identified the “no cover” issue as a major problem that needs to be addressed.

In her must-read post, Tish gives the human side from an artist’s perspective on the ground.  Wherever you live, we believe that you’ve probably experienced the exact same take-it-or-leave-it deals that amount to “pay to play” enforced the old fashioned way–by intimidation.

Thanks to Tish for speaking out.

Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrent, Others To Become Massive FREE Streaming Music Services "In Weeks" [EXCLUSIVE] 

free musicAs we reported on Friday, thanks to a new plug-in from Torrents-Time, Pirate Bay has just become the world's biggest free video streaming site, and others like KickAssTorrent have pledged to follow suit. We speculated that free music streaming was right around the corner; and now, Torrent-Time has confirmed a pending music rollout.

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Last last week the Torrents-Time browser plug-in turned The Pirate Bay into the world's biggest video streaming portal. Users now find a "Stream It!" links next to video torrents that can be played in-browser without having to leave the Pirate Bay site (see below),

pirate bay

Leading torrent trackers Torrentproject.se, Videomax.is, Online.porntime.ws and the popular KickassTorrents have all pledged to add the Torrents-Time plug-in in the coming days, according to TorrentFreak.

CONFIRMED: Free Music Streaming Is Next

Over the weekend, a spokesperson for Torrents-Time confirmed that in-browser music streaming would be added to its plug-in and major torrent sites "within weeks."

"Our audio functionality is currently undergoing QA procedures." Torrents-Time's Fedik Nazar told Hypebot via email. "We'll advise when ready, not before we are 100 percent sure of excellent quality, flaw free operation and no copyrights infringements." 

JUST IN: A competing video streaming sits, Showbox, has just added similar streaming music functionality. 

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YouTube Content ID And Audiam vs AdRev [Brian Hazard] 

1Rather than demanding a takedown when you catch someone using your music without permission on their YouTube video, there are instead services which allow you to cash in on the ad revenue, although said cash may be minimal...

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Guest Post by Brian Hazard on Passive Promotion

Someone is using your song in their video, and they didn’t ask. What do you do?

You could tell them to remove it, or even report it to YouTube. It wouldn’t make you any friends, but you’d most certainly be within your rights.

Or, you could just ignore it. It’s exposure, right? Even if you’re not properly credited, it’s always nice to know people are hearing your music.

There’s actually a middle ground that many musicians don’t know about. You can upload your songs to a service like Audiam or AdRev. They use YouTube’s Content ID system to check for matches, slap ads on infringing videos, and pay you a share of the ad revenue.

Way back in August of 2013, I set out to compare the two services for the purpose of writing this article.

Audiam

I uploaded 8 of my most popular songs to Audiam for fingerprinting. It found 40 videos with approximately 100,000 cumulative views, as of today.

Audiam claims

For example, this Spanish cooking video has 41K views, and uses my song “We’re Not Getting Any Younger” throughout.

Big bucks for me, right? More like $3. Not just for the video above. That’s the total payout for all 40 videos since I’ve been with Audiam.

Audiam money

Hold on, you say. Only $3 for 100K views?

Almost certainly not. Audiam’s view count isn’t very helpful, because it reflects total views rather than views since my ads were placed. For all I know, 98K of those views occured pre-Audiam.

AdRev

I uploaded 214 other tracks to AdRev, using its convenient bulk upload feature. As of today, its found 156 matching videos (click for full size):

AdRev claims

Cumulative views are in the low thousands, but that count reflects only views with my ads. Now that’s the information I want! I can even see how many views each video got on a monthly basis.

The most popular is a cosmetics ad using my song “Two” throughout:

To date I’ve earned $4.73 from that video, and $11.56 total from AdRev.

Underwhelmed and confused

Now, this stuff is complicated, and my analysis is superficial. I don’t pretend to be an expert in the ever-changing intricacies of copyright law as it applies to sync licensing. Audiam has an excellent FAQ that breaks things down nicely.

What I do know is that YouTube has been scouring its catalog for traces of my songs for a year and a half now, and I’ve got $15 to show for over 200 videos.

So really, the question isn’t so much which one you should use, but whether or not you should use one at all.

Wait, what?

You’re probably thinking, sure, it’s only a few bucks, but what have you got to lose?

In my case, people ask me if they can use my music in their videos on a regular basis. I pretty much always say yes. Problem is, if I don’t remember to submit the URL of their video to Audiam or AdRev, they receive a scary copyright warning, and ads placed on their video.

“But you said I could use your song!”

Or maybe someone doesn’t ask, and uses my music in their birthday slideshow. They receive a copyright warning, ads get put on their video, and they vow never to use my music in their videos again!

Look, I’m not saying you should release all your music under a Creative Commons license, and let anybody use it for anything. At the same time, if a fan wants to use your music in their video, that’s always a good thing in my book!

I’d love a service that shows me every video containing my music, and lets me place ads on only the ones I select. Better yet, let me set a threshold, so that once a video reaches a certain number of views, ads are placed. Or place them automatically if the channel has over, say, 100 subscribers. Or both!

Since you asked, the verdict

Of the two, I prefer AdRev. The bulk upload is handy, and the data they provide is slightly more useful. Here’s my affiliate link if you’d like to sign up (they send one to every user). The way it works is, if anyone who signs up with my link makes $100 in the first year, they’ll also pay me $100. Pretty unlikely!

The other big player in the field is Rumblefish, who I was with via a partnership with CD Baby for… a few years? I don’t remember. After dozens of attempts to get them to stop flagging my own videos, I decided to pull the plug. I raked in a handsome $8.35.

Bottom line, I’ve got better things to do with my time than chase pennies from YouTube.

Am I wrong? Wouldn’t be the first time. Convince me otherwise!

Marketing With Cinemagraphs And Animated GIFs 

Email-moneyFor artists, keeping up with digital marketing trends is important when it comes to getting the attention of fans both old and new. Here we look at how GIFs and Cinegraphs can be made and integrated into email and other forms of social media.

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Guest Post from the FanBridge Blog

Earlier this month, we talked about the social media marketing trends we see on the horizon for 2016.  This is important to keep in mind as we discuss how it affects email marketing in 2016.  Email and social go hand in hand, so we’re going to walk through some of these social trends and tell you how you can use these ideas for email as well.

INFOGRAPHIC: 2016 Social Marketing Trends

Animated GIFs & Cinemagraphs

As we mentioned before, marketing is becoming increasingly visual, which includes increasing usage of animated GIFs and cinemagraphs.  Use of animated GIFs in emails saw a 26% higher click through rate!  If that’s not reason enough, we don’t know what is.

What is a Cinemagraph?

A cinemagraph is a type of animated GIF, except only a portion of the photo is actually animated.  Check out this incredible example (which was used in an email campaign) from Mr. Porter:

 
email-marketing-mrporter-cinemagraph
 

As you can see, the man’s hand and glass are moving, the flame is flickering, but nothing else.  Not even a shadow moves in the rest of the photo.  Cinemagraphs, while more subtle than a fully animated GIF, demand more attention from the viewer to figure out what they’re looking at.  Your eye is immediately drawn to the swirling glass.  Behind the glass is the jacket for sale.

How do I Make a Cinemagraph or an Animated GIF?

There are a lot of great online resources to create a GIF.  You should already have a video file ready to convert, and then you can use a tool like giphy or ezgif to convert the file and optimize it.

For a cinemagraph, there are less tools available, and it’s a bit more technical.  First, you’ll need to make sure that the video you’re converting has been recorded on a tripod.  If you don’t, your cinemagraph might come out like this:

ezgif.com-optimize (8)

Cinemagraph Pro is an excellent tool to use once you’ve recorded your video.  Simply add the file, then use the mask function to select which parts of the video should remain moving.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (4)

As you can see, the results can be quite stunning:

How do I add these in an email?

You can add an animated GIF the same way you add a photo to the email campaign!  A few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the file format is .gif
  • The file must be less than 2MB in size
  • An email is only 600px wide, so no need to make your GIF any larger than that

How should I use a GIF or Cinemagraph in an email?

Any movement in an email campaign will draw the eye.  The question is, what do you want the eye drawn to?  The obvious answer is that you’d like the reader to click through to another page where they consume content, or perhaps make a purchase.  Your GIF should be in support of that action.  Here’s some of our favorite examples:

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email-marketing-rent-the-runway-1

ann_taylor_loft

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Merlin Reduces Administration Fee For Indie Labels By 20% 

Merlin music logoMerlin, the global digital rights agency for independent labels has announced that it is reducing the administration fee for deals with members by 20% from 2.5% of revenues to 2%. This marks the 5th time in 4 years that Merlin has reduced admin fees. They are now almost a quarter of what they were in 2012. 

Merlin-logo-one-with-strapline-copyIn 2015, Merlin marked the first full year of operation of its US office, an expansion of staff at its London office and further roll out of its online dashboard. The agency now has 705 direct members, representing tens of thousands of independent labels from 46 countries.  Merlin’s members collectively constitute 12% of the global recorded music market.

“Merlin’s members are the bedrock of our organisation and following a year that saw such significant expansion in our activities, it is hugely satisfying to announce today’s 20% reduction in Administration Fees," said Charles Caldas, CEO of Merlin. 

Why aren't other digital agencies and PROs doing the same?

Legal Issues With Songwriter Collaborations 

1 (1)Co-writing songs with friends and fellow artists can be a fun and productive experience, but also brings with it a host of legal complications. Here we examine how both the revenue and copyright of a collaboratively written song can be fairly divided in such a way that your songwriting partner remains your friend.

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In an effort to make the world of copyright a little less confusing, Wallace Collins provided MusicThinkTank with a rundown on how to ensure that your songwriting collaborations leave all parties involved happy and content, once all is said and signed.

"Co-writers can divide copyright ownership in whatever proportion they determine, and that ownership concerns both rights (ownership and control) and revenues (income generated). In the absence of a written agreement, under current case law concerning both copyright and partnership law two or more collaborators are generally deemed to share equally on a pro rata basis."

[Continue Reading]

Court Upholds Dismissal Of Major Live Nation Anti-Trust Case 

GavelAs the biggest bull in the barn, Live Nation and its Ticketmaster subsidiary are easy targets; and too often they've painted the bulls eye on their own forehead.  But Live Nation's behavior does not violate anti-trust regulations, according to a Circuit Court of Appeals.

LivenationLive Nation scored a legal victory on Thursday when the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a dismissal of an anti-trust lawsuit against the company.

The suit, brought against Live Nation by Seth Hurwitz' It's My Party, Inc., which operates the famed 9:30 Club in Washington and the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland, alleged that the promoter was violating anti-trust regulations by using its influence to influence artists to appear only at specific venues.

However, the court found that IMP's suit failed to identify the market that Live Nation was alleged to be monopolizing and the court rejected IMP's characterization of the touring market.

"By cutting ties among related products and related producers, IMP’s view of economic activity, if allowed to take hold, would box firms both into their own product markets and into their own geographic locales. That tendency toward isolationism has more in common with the market squares and horse-drawn buggies of the nineteenth century than with the interconnected and technology-driven contemporary world," circuit judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in his decision.

A rep from IMP did not respond to a request for comment.

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