Industry News Courtesy Of Hypbot                   

Pandora To Celebrate 10 Years With Ad Free Listening  

Pandora-logoPandora turns 10 years old next week, and a decade is an eternity in digital music. After they launched, co-founder Tim Westergren spent a lot of time out of the office doing roadshows at places like the AARP Convention demoing how to stream music on your computer. 


PandoraPandora turns 10 on September 9th and to celebrate its going ad free for 24 hours. 

They're calling it Listener Love Day - a full day of music with no ads from 12:00am ET, Wednesday, September 9 thru 12:00am ET, Thursday, September 10.

Ten years in, Pandora is still losing money and fighting on every front to lower the royalties is pays. That's despite its dominance of the online radio space - almost 80 million listeners tune in each month, logging more than 74 billion listening hours, creating over 8 billion stations and sharing more than 55 billion thumbs over the last decade.  

In recent months, Pandora has stepped up efforts to serve artists with analytics, including the purchase of music data provider Next Big Sound, and direct to fan messaging.  If you can get past the royalty battles, its important to remember that 200,000 artists are playing to the largest audience in streaming music; and thanks to how Pandora delivers music, fans are discovering new artists on a daily basis.  

Survey Of Music Execs Reveals Some Surprises 

surveyBillboard recently gave an anonymous survey to a group of music industry executives, asking them several poignant questions about the state of the music industry and where they think it's headed in the future.


 Guest Post by Glen Sears, Editorial Content Manager at MediaNet

People often think of music, label, and technology executives as disconnected and greedy, but a report out yesterday from Billboard shows they might not think as differently as consumers.

The survey, given to 50-something anonymous music industry executives, had a few unexpected bits of information inside. We don’t know which executives were polled and what their industry position is. They might be from labels, publishers, distributors, techs, PROs, or others. Let’s assume they’re evenly distributed, being totally honest, and let’s have some fun. 

Even A-List Execs Don’t Think Artists Are Treated Fairly.

In a 3:2 ratio, industry executives stated clearly that the industry isn’t favorable to artists. While it’s a fairly ambiguous question, it does highlight the shifting landscape of opinions on artist treatment. We’ve said recently ourselves that artists aren’t the only ones “being left behind” by the music industry, but they are certainly one of the many. Everyone deserves to get paid for the music they helped create, and the belief that artists aren’t given proper fairness is a good step forward. 

Everyone Continues to Hate on EDM, but Also on Rap.

It’s no secret that EDM has a tough time gaining legitimacy in the broader music industry. Despite its massive revenue-generating power, EDM behemoth SFX Entertainment is poised for bankruptcy in just a few short weeks. What’s more surprising is that hip-hop, currently enjoying yet another pop culture resurgence thanks to the movie Straight Outta Compton, is the music industry’s least favorite genre. What would Drake think of that? 

Boomers and Gen X’ers Think They Understand Technology Better Than Millennials.

In another 3:2 ratio, music industry executives claim they understand technology better than their teenager. On the one hand that makes sense. No average teen knows how to deploy a global music catalog in 13 formats across more than 50 services. On the other hand, until we see more major brands using GroupMe and participating in hack weeks maybe some 14 year olds might be more familiar with emergent technologies and social platforms. 

Wherever You Work, You Might Wish It Was Apple or Spotify.

This one isn’t a huge surprise. In the music technology world, it doesn’t get much loftier than Apple or Spotify. Even so, it’s still a little surprising that over half of music industry executives (not associates) might leave their current posts to work at a different company. Even after the very public denigration of Apple Music. Good thing these surveys were totally anonymous, huh? 

Nobody Believes In Tidal.

Poor Tidal. The Jay-Z owned high-definition music streaming service has had a really rough go. First their launch is a PR nightmare. Then multiple CEOs are fired or jump ship. Additionally, we’ve covered in great detail how difficult and expensive it can be to run a high-definition music service. It turns out, most music industry execs don’t believe Tidal has more than a year left in it. Whether or not this is true (analysts regularly predict the fall of Apple Music, too) it does prove that Tidal still has a major public opinion mountain to climb.

What Does It All Mean?

Public opinion is generally shaped by trends in ideas, money, and current events. In many ways these surveys are only surprising because we expect music industry executives to be pretty stalwart and seemingly less susceptible to trends and flashes in the pan. 

Everybody loves Taylor Swift, but will they always? Does she have another 10 years in her? Are we all just jumping from ship-to-ship, hoping the tide will rise long enough to make the next musical leap? It’s worth noting that one music executive thought it possible.

“I’m sure everybody will answer Taylor [Swift], but the big question I ask myself is can she sustain this for more than another album or two? I lean towards betting on her, but I’m sure the cost that comes with it becomes exponential over the next few campaigns.”

Billboard seems to have proven that music industry executives are more like us in many ways than we might think. Is that a recent trend? Is that good or bad? We believe music industry executives are key influencers, critical to renewed growth and revenue for the entire musical supply chain. We encourage everyone, from executives all the way to consumers, to think about the future of music, instead of reacting to the present.

Glen Sears is Editorial Content Manager at MediaNet, powering the world’s best-loved music apps with catalog, licensing, payments, reporting, and rights management. A true digital music solution under one roof.

Email him at, or chat with us on Twitter: @mndigital

My Phone Call With Prince 

1A notable figure in the industry for not only his music but also his business smarts, Prince is continuing to stand his ground with a zero tolerance policy where copyright is concerned, as he revealed in a recent phone call with Scott Goodman of


By Scott Goodman of

My morning ritual usually begins with coffee, toast, and a ripe banana, but, today was different.

Today… I might be talking to a music legend.

I threw on my lucky black T-Shirt, Adidas draw string shorts, and my favorite Jordans; when it came time for the call, I was ready.

I had my tablet and favorite non-inked pen. The phone rings and I pick up… “Hello,” as a quiet, majestic voice responds, “Hi Scott.”

“Hey… I mean Hi”

I’m thinking, “Is this really Prince?” It sounds like him, but is this, actually Prince? I listen closely…

“Can you get me off of speaker?”

Yeah, it’s him.

My mind’s racing, blood pumping, as I gladly say, “Sure.”

And so begins the story of that time Prince called me.

It started with this vague email I received through my company’s website:


A while back I created a free social music and audio hosting website called The email was sent to YourListen’s general email account, which is forwarded to my personal account. So, in essence, “hello there” meant me.

So why would Prince want to speak with me?

I really had no clue either — but here’s a bit of a background on the history between and Prince.

Prince and YourListen

I get hundreds of solicitation emails each week — and generally, 99% of them are a complete waste of time. The above referenced, unaffiliated email falls into that category — or so I thought.

After googling the sender, I couldn’t find any information relating them to the music industry, and especially not to Prince.

Who is this mysterious Meron?

I was curious, so I responded. Plus, the recent history between YourListen and Prince’s music got me thinking…

About 5 months ago — Last March — we saw a huge spike in visits to the site.

After digging into our analytics, the traffic traced back to two cover songs Prince performed of a Christian singer/songwriter Nichole Nordeman’s song “What If,” which was one of two new songs Prince debuted prior to his “Hit & Run” tour launch.

The upload of the track to our site was picked up by some of the biggest digital music and entertainment websites:, Entertainment Tonight, it hit the front page of Yahoo! music, and made the Music section of USA Today , among others.


My initial thought, “This is amazing!” Prince and/or the up and coming Christian Singer/Song writer Nichole Nordeman are now using oursite!

The whole goal of our platform since day one was to provide a simple, social and central platform for musicians to distribute their music (and audio tracks) for no cost to them.

This was a perfect example of our platform executing on our intensions.

We have hundreds of thousands of musicians doing this already, the majority of which are independent artists with the rest being more “mainstream” artists. So, to see and hear an artist like Prince on was a dream. It was exciting to see… again, or so I thought.

At this point I decided to take a look at the profile of the uploader. Was it Prince? Was it Nicole? Was it one of their record labels?


It was a user that seemed entirely unrelated to any of the parties mentioned above. After looking at the details of the users profile: Bio, Profile Picture, Cover Image, and other profile data, it seemed obvious it was just another social media user. Or, shall I say abuser?

Bummer. I felt slighted.

At this point my thought was that this upload is a blatant DMCA copyright violation, which by law we are required to remove from our site.

And just as I realized this, and I got an email from, one of many companies that sends out notifications of copyright violations. So we removed the file from our platform. Done.

A few months later Web Sheriff reaches out to us again, informing us of another user with close to 2,000 file uploads relating to Prince’s catalog — and once again, we remove all the files and the user’s account. Problem solved.

So as outlandish as it appeared, there was a faint possibility that it could be in fact a legitimate email on Prince’s behalf.

There’s a far off, random, tiny, slight chance that Prince’s team might really want to speak to me.

But it didn’t seem real — nothing appeared legitimate about the correspondence.

Follow Up Emails

So later that day I hesitantly respond to Meron and she responds back: 

After Meron’s response, my concerns about the legitimacy of this call grew exponentially. The email was once again very hazy.

Nothing was answered.

Who was I really dealing with? All I got back was a request to get on a call, so I decide not to email back — and go on with my life.

Two days later, on the way to a friends, my phone rings with a blocked number.

I answer the call, it’s a voice I don’t recognize: it’s Meron.

Meron is following up about getting on the phone. At that moment I was busy and told her to send me an email and I would get back to her with a time. What did I care. I once again ask her what the phone call was in regards to and she responds with, “He will tell you, it’s about his music.”


She can’t be serious.

Prince wants to talk with me about his music?

Later that evening I have an email from her with a time for the call. I guess she’s trying to tell me who’s boss. But I can roll with this punch.

I once again ask for specifics about the topic of the call and if Prince is actually the one I will be speaking with. Once again the response was, “About his music on your website” and “yes, you will be speaking with Prince.”

So at this point I am going to bed at night thinking that I might have a call scheduled the next day at 1pm with…. His Royal Highness, Prince!

It can’t be. Is this real?

Call Preparation

So just in case this call is real I begin the mental Rocky workout.

I have always been a huge Prince fan so I looked up his most recent works: Albums, Tours etc. I also had the mindset that if he was really calling me, it was going to be a conversation about his music being uploaded to our site in the past.

Based on Prince’s reputation in the music industry and how he handles his music catalog (Just check out the Google results for Prince Copyright ), I was expecting to get berated.

Despite my preconceived thoughts on what the call was going to be about, the goal for me was to not only figure out how we can work with Prince and his Record Label moving forward, but to also come up with a custom solution for him to effectively control and monetize his work.

The Call

So I take Prince off speaker phone and it soaks in;

this is really Prince.

I proceed to tell him it was a pleasure and an honor and how much I love his music , my Purple Rain (The Movie) T-Shirt — I’m still allowed to be a fan, right?

We get down to business.

He starts off by mentioning that we have some of his music catalog on our site illegally. I bring up the past circumstances and mentioned to him how we have handled it.

He counters with, “There’s still some of my music catalog on our platform.”

I have nothing to hide, nothing to defend. I’m here to help. So, I mention that if his team could put together a list of the urls where his music is located, we would gladly remove it straight away.

A silent pause makes me think he’s turning Hulk green on the receiving end.

He then begins speaking about his distaste,

“Copyrighted music continues to be recklessly posted online.”

I agreed with him and mention to him that it has not only been an ongoing battle for us, but for every UGC music-based website.

I give him my take on the digital music landscape — I realize this is an epidemic for all artists across the globe and has spread for more then a decade and is still an ongoing, uphill battle.

History has shown that solutions put in place to combat piracy are always a step behind piracy tactics. Pirates always seem to be full strides in front of the Music Industry.

I mentioned to Prince, “Instead of directly trying to combat piracy, we should explore and implement various tech solutions that will enable him to take more control of his music in order to monetize it more efficiently.”

At this point Prince jumps in before I could get to some of the ideas I had in mind.

He did not want to discuss any ideas I had in mind until we addressed the matter at hand: removing his music from our website.

He firmly disagreed with me and felt that piracy was something that can andmust come to an end.

“Scott piracy is something we can and will put to end. People like you and I can help win this battle.”

He shares with me that some of his music had recently been stolen and his live shows are now being illegally recorded and distributed online. He mentioned that his 30+ years of timeless music and shows are being distributed frequently online without his consent.

He gets into the Digital Music landscape and asks me, “Are you aware that my entire catalog of music has been removed from most of the major digital platforms, such as: Spotify, Tidal, Pandora?”


He mentioned that the digital music industry is making it tough for musicians to make a living off of their hard work and talent and I couldn’t agree more. One example he mentioned was that Spotify was only paying approximately $0.14 cents per 1,000 streams.

He then asked me if we were monitoring each and every single upload on our platform. I don’t get star struck often but let me remind you this is Prince, a legend.

With caution, I had to tell him that, unfortunately, no.

That despite our company being around for 7 years, we are still a small yet growing team without the resources to do so.

After hearing his insightful (and informative) view on the business side of his music and the music industry for 15 minutes, he then proceeds to tell me he was sorry for being so long winded…

Keep talking Mr. Prince. Gather up some more of that wind and continue on :)

All jokes aside, after listening to him, it is evident that he is not happy with the current digital music landscape and what he described a couple of times as his music being “Pimped.”


And he’s right.

What I also took out of this conversation was that he is not just one of the most talented musicians of all time, but a “very” smart and savvy businessman. For those not in the music industry, or those who don’t know too much about the music industry, Prince owns his entire music catalog.

He actually owns the rights to all of his music.

After hearing him speak about the business side of his music and hearing the passion and importance that a lifetime worth of work means to him, it became less and less of a surprise that he personally called me.

While I realize there was a business component to him calling me personally, it is also impressive that he has such a passion for protecting his work. He could of easily had his legal team or employees reach out to address the issue.

Back to the call

After hearing everything he had to say — I now had an opportunity to present him with solutions. “Piracy is an ongoing battle with no end in sight, so the mind set of our company as well as others is figuring out long term solutions that will minimize the impact piracy has on artists.”

I then presented to him several ideas I had in mind that he could utilize to give him a 100% control of his music and how it would be distributed and monetized on our platform.

Despite the strong solutions I presented to him, it was not a conversation that he wanted to have.

Prince is not impressed.

The fact of the matter is that Prince has problems with the way his music catalog is being used by his fans online.

Prince, without a doubt, needs a better solution to fix the problem at hand.

Despite spending, what he said was “a lot” of money on this battle, he didn’t want to hear it.

His solution, which naturally pushes away the online community, has not been working out too well for him.

It was obvious, even with the ideas I presented to him, Prince was going to stay course.

Prince pursuing copyright infringement.

We ended the conversation there.

We removed his music just as we have every other time we have received a DMCA notification on copyrighted material for the past 7 years.

I attempted to schedule a follow up call but we ended the call with no set day or time to further discuss working with Prince and his team.

Regardless, I will follow up with Prince and his team with the personalized solution we can offer for his music catalog.

At the end of the day, while this article is about little ol’ me running a relatively small music and audio website and getting the attention of Prince, this topic is bigger then Prince — It’s about the bigger issue of the Music industry and the effects of online Piracy as a whole.

How do we make the Digital Music space a playground, where musicians are happy with not only their exposure, but also their monetary returns?

At the same time, keeping in mind the tech companies, and their ability to still provide the tools and resources for artists to distribute their music effectively, through the process of managing to create a successful, profitable business.

After I got off of the phone with Prince, it was hard for me to get back into a normal work routine.

I was pinching myself, asking myself, “Did that just happen?” I began soaking it all in, calling my friends, telling them about the call — it was one of the more surreal moments of my life.

After the shock factor went away, the business man in me kicked in and I started thinking of the larger picture —

what we can do to solve the problems that Prince and thousands of artists are currently experiencing?

The Music-tech space has without a doubt made leaps and bounds in the last few years with the advent of streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Youtube, Apple Music, and others… providing not only the technology for artists to distribute their music, but also new ways for musicians to monetize their work.

Being directly involved in the music tech space, it seems as if almost on a daily basis, there is a new article about artists angry about their pay from these services. Taylor Swift being one of the biggest and most recent examples.

So it’s obvious that there currently is no clear answer or solution to this outstanding problem, but it is beyond obvious that there are some serious players and companies busting their ass every day to strive towards figuring out this issues.

We, ourselves, are trying to do it, one day at a time.

While you might not of heard of our website before reading this article, our platform has close to 1 million registered users and we host over 1 million music and audio files. We are also streaming a quarter of a million plays every day. We are continually coming up with, and creating our own solutions to provide artists and content creators a platform to meet all their needs and concerns.

I get where Prince is coming from in regards to protecting his music.

The world we live in and how we access music has changed since the “hey days” of the 80's and 90's.

Since the launch of Napster in 1999, global recorded music revenues have fallen from $21 billion to $7 billion per year. No matter what laws, regulations, and technologies implemented moving forward, digital piracy will continue to exist just the way non digital crimes have existed for centuries despite rules and laws being put in place in every society since the dawn of man.

Technology needs musicians, and musicians need technology. Musicians need platforms to distribute their music and music-based websites and apps need artists content in order to attract users.

Justin Bieber probably would not exist had he not been discovered on Youtube. Youtube would not be as large as it is now if it were not for musicians (and other content providers) sharing their work, which has now become the largest music streaming service in the world.

The music industry and Tech industry need to both come together and establish their formal relationship — not as a battle, but as a collaboration in order for everyone to win.

Project Music Tech Accelerator Begins Accepting Applications 

Project Music There are many tech accelerators offering help to early stage startups, but none focus just on music. Project Music Accelerator run by Nashville's Entrepreneur Center is the exception.

Nashville's Project Accelerator is entering year two with a new round of applications. Music tech startups in social media, big data, content monetization, hardware, distribution, engagement and others from around the globe will be invited to apply for the accelerator program starting September 1st.

Nashville Entrepreneur Center will host Project Music‘s Year 2 Kick Off Event on Wednesday, September 2 from 5:30 -7:30 at their offices at 41 Peabody Street.

The 2015 Accelerator program launched eight new music-tech startups covering everything from audio quality to distribution that have collectively raised over $2 Million in funding. 
Last year’s inaugural class included 20-something Channing Moreland of artist booking platform EVAmore and Marcus Cobb of musician-connecting site Jammber, who has been starting creative businesses for sixteen years. “The business concept doesn’t have to be as fleshed out as you might expect. The idea’s relevance and contribution to innovation in the music industry are more important - as is the EC’s belief in the character and experience of the applicant,” says Program Director
Heather McBee.
image from www.scframework.comSix to eight applicants will be selected to participate in a three month high intensity bootcamp at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Each startup will be awarded a minimum of $30,000 investment. 
“Building artists’ careers occupies most of the entertainment business executives' time. It doesn’t allow much bandwidth to solve immediate and long term structural issues for the industry at large,” explains CMA Board Member and EC Master Mentor, Joe Galante. “Project Music helps tackle these issues by introducing new music-centric companies led by Entrepreneurs. Their passion to build solutions without being burdened by day to day legacy issues is important to changing the game.”
Details and sign up information are live on the program’s website

TuneCore Expands To UK 

Tunecorevertical2015TuneCore is expanding into the UK.  While the flat fee digital music distributor already has many UK based artists onboard,  the expansion will allow them to be paid in local currency. Last year the US based company expanded into Japan and Canada.

Tunecorevertical2015UK users will also have access TuneCore’s portfolio of artist support services, including YouTube Sound Recording Revenues, LANDR and TrackSmarts.

New TuneCore UK members signing up for an account will pay £5.99 to upload a single for distribution. Artists distributing an album will pay £19.99 in the first year and £33.99 each year thereafter. Artists may also pay a onetime fee of £49.99 for access to TuneCore Publishing Administration, which provides worldwide registration and royalty collection and placement opportunities in film, TV commercials, video games, and more. 

"Expanding into the UK is a natural fit for TuneCore and part of our ongoing expansion plan to make it easier than ever for Artists to get music out on the market and in fans’ hands, while also making money through a variety of digital distribution and music publishing services,” said Scott Ackerman, CEO of TuneCore. 


The Evolution Of Music Copyright Law And How It Affects Creators 

Performance-Juncture-crop-280x200Before 1972, there was no copyright protection for sound recordings, at least not on the federal level. Since then, the rules surrounding SR copyright have changed quite a bit, particularly in the age of digital streaming. This article looks at how music's copyright laws have developed over the years and how these developments have affected revenue.


Guest Post by Todd Brabec on the Berklee College of Music - Music Business Journal

The Performance Right Juncture: Sound Recordings

Prior to 1972, no federal copyright protection existed for sound recordings. Congress rectified that situation by extending copyright to any recordings that were fixed on or after February 15, 1972. The owners of the copyright therefore had the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute phonorecords embodying the sound recording, including by means of digital transmission, and to authorize others to do the same. Pre-1972 recordings remained subject to the protection afforded by state laws.

As to the performance right aspect of sound recordings, the right that was enjoyed by musical compositions was non-existent for records. No performance royalty existed in any medium for sound recordings. That changed in 1995 with the passage of the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recording Act (DPRSRA), which provided for a limited right when sound recordings are publicly performed “by means of a digital audio transmission.”1 The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) included webcasting as a category of performance applicable to this limited performance right. This new right applied specifically to satellite radio (e.g., SiriusXM), Internet radio (e.g., Pandora), and cable television music channels (e.g., Music Choice). Broadcast radio continued to be exempt.

It is important to note that the statutory license applies only to non interactive services. The right to perform copyrighted sound recordings for on-demand services, i.e., interactive services, remains with the copyright owner, normally the label, and is a negotiated agreement between the label and the music user. These deals have taken many forms, including percentage of gross or net revenue formulas, per performance rates, an equity stake in the business, or a combination of these and other elements.

The rates and terms of the sound recording statutory license are set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), an administrative body created by Congress. SoundExchange, a nonprofit organization, has been designated by the Librarian of Congress and the CRB to be the sole entity to collect, administer, and distribute the royalties from non-interactive webcasting, digital cable, and satellite transmissions and satellite audio services. Congress also gave SoundExchange the right to negotiate agreements separate from those set by the CRB through the Webcaster Settlement Acts of 2008 and 2009. Services therefore can choose whether to be licensed under the CRB rates or the SoundExchange negotiated rates.

There are five major sound recording licensing categories, each of which is subject to a separate rate proceeding. The categories are webcasting, satellite radio, preexisting music services, other cable and satellite music providers, and business establishments. An example of one of these proceedings involved SiriusXM satellite radio, which concluded in 2012 and set rates for a five-year period at 9 percent of gross revenue for 2013 increasing to 11 percent in 2017.

Webcasting IV—the proceeding regarding future webcasting rates—commenced in early 2014 and will conclude at the end of 2015 and will set rates for the period 2016-2020. The most recent five-year CRB per-performance statutory webcasting rates were $0.0019 for 2011, $0.0021 for 2012 and 2013, and $0.0023 for 2014 and 2015.

The Webcaster Settlement Acts of 2008 and 2009 allowed SoundExchange to negotiate alternative royalty rates (“pureplay” rates) with certain webcasters. For non subscription services and broadcasters streaming their content on the Internet, the “pureplay” per-performance rate started as $0.00102 for 2011 and increased to $0.0013 in 2014 and $0.0014 in 2015. The rate applicable is the greater of the per-performance rate or 25 percent of U.S. gross revenue. The “pureplay” per-performance rate for subscription services started at $0.0017 in 2011 and increased to $0.0023 and $0.0025, respectively, for 2014 and 2015. No percentage of revenue figures applied to the subscription rate. Under those agreements, webcasters therefore had a choice to be licensed through 2015 either with the CRB rates or the SoundExchange “pureplay” rates.

As to the current Webcasting IV-CRB proceeding, SoundExchange’s initial rate proposal for the 2016-2020 period was a “greater of” formula taking into account a per-performance rate and a percentage of the service’s revenue. Specifically, the per-performance rate for commercial webcasters would commence at $0.0025 in 2016 with escalations to $0.0029 in 2020. The percentage of revenue would be 55 percent for all five years. Its proposal was based on the fact that webcasting is a vibrant and growing industry, that it has widespread adoption by consumers, and that direct licensing deals between record companies and on-demand services (interactive streaming) were the most similar appropriate benchmarks to use. A review of these deals confirmed that the record companies received a minimum share of 50-60 percent of a service’s revenue, with allocations based on each record company’s share of total streams.

Music services, on the other hand, argued in their direct case that the industry is not profitable even considering payments under the reduced Webcaster Settlement Act agreements. Pandora, SiriusXM (streaming component), and the broadcasters, through NAB among others, came up with proposals ranging from a royalty of $0.0005 per performance for all five years, to $0.0016 pending study of the direct deals, to a $0.000125 rate similar to the Canadian rate. Pandora supported a “greater of” rate of $0.0010 per performance or 25 percent of revenue.

SoundExchange Distributions/Direct Licenses

SoundExchange collected $650 million in 2013 pursuant to the statutory license and distributed $590.4 million to artists and sound recording copyright owners. Collections and distributions for 2014 are projected significantly higher than 2013. Royalty distributions are allocated 50 percent to sound recording copyright owners (many times the label), 45 percent to featured artists, and 2.5 percent each to non featured musicians and non featured vocalists via the Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund administered by the American Federation of Musicians and SAG-AFTRA. An additional $6 million was collected from foreign country collection societies that handle the performance right in sound recordings. As to this latter collection, it is limited based on the reciprocal right being administered in each country. As the U.S. sound recording performance right is a very limited one (non-interactive streaming primarily), it substantially reduces the amount of royalties coming into the United States for overseas sound recording performances.

SoundexchangeFinally, in the case of rights owners wishing to directly license their works to non-interactive services and not rely on the statutory license or SoundExchange separately negotiated deals, SoundExchange does offer administration services to both labels as well as artists for those works.

Pre-1972 Sound Recordings

As previously mentioned, sound recordings fixed prior to February 15, 1972, are not subject to copyright, and any rights they do have depend solely on whatever rights are afforded to sound recording owners under state law.

In September 2014, in Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in a motion for summary judgment that copyright ownership of a sound recording under the California statute includes the right to publicly perform the recording, and that Sirius XM’s streaming of the 1960s band the Turtles’ pre-1972 recordings without authorization and without paying royalties constituted copyright infringement. In November 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Flo & Eddie, Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., ruled that Sirius XM had committed copyright infringement and engaged in unfair competition by publicly performing sound recordings owned by Flo & Eddie. These cases and their appeals as well as similar pending cases regarding the same or similar issues need to be watched, as they could have a very significant impact on future sound recording license fees and royalties to labels and artists.


The Performance Right: An Overview

Of the two performance areas under discussion, musical composition rights and sound recording rights, the sound recording side seems much clearer than the composition side. The sound recording performance right, at least for now, is a very limited right (traditional radio, for example, is not included) and has a statutory scheme in place with rates set by either the CRB, by SoundExchange with users, or by direct negotiations between copyright owners and users. Over the past 10 years, this has been, percentage wise, by far the biggest growth area for sound recording copyright owners.

The musical composition performance right, on the other hand, has more questions and unresolved issues in the licensing process than ever before. Not only do you have unresolved rate court cases and issues affecting every aspect of the licensing of music in the “new media” world (not to mention the effect on traditional media licensing) but also the entrance into the field of new types of PRO models (music publishers, business entities, administration services, foreign territory rights management organizations, etc.). This could, depending on your point of view, significantly complicate the existing licensing structure for music users, achieve “willing buyer, willing seller” market rates for the creative community and their representatives, strengthen the arguments for licensing through the traditional PRO model, weaken the current traditional PRO structures, increase license fees and royalties in some areas with reductions in others, initiate an era of PRO selective administration services only, create new writer and music publisher royalty payment formulas, values, compensation plans, guarantee arrangements, royalty advance deals, bonus and “rewards for success” policies, and other financial incentive plans.

In addition, the direct licensing of works by copyright owners, never a major factor in the past, has taken on new significance in not only the online “new media” world of music licensing but also traditional media music licensing practices. Finally, the DO] review of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees, in effect since 1941, could have a significant effect on the future of music performance licensing, assuming that any changes encompass more than just minor modifications.

The foreign marketplace, responsible for the collection of over $1.5 billion in annual U.S. writer and publisher performance fees, represents an additional area of concern regarding the stability, continuation, and accuracy of “overseas” royalty payments. The issues in this area are more significant for songwriters and composers than music publishers, as many publishers collect their monies directly from foreign societies as members or via subpublishers. For successful songwriters, film and television composers, and writer estates, foreign royalties—for many, easily in excess of 50 percent of their short-term and long-term royalty income—have always flowed through the societies through reciprocal agreements, and any change in those relationships could have a major impact on the ability to license, track, audit, collect, and receive foreign country songwriter and composer royalties. The best advice for the future in all of your deals, negotiations, and contracts is to “prepare for every contingency and possibility”—as they may very well come true. Welcome to the “new world of performance licensing.”

Todd Brabec is author with Jeff Brabec of the bestseller Music, Money, and Success (New York, 7th Edn.). The piece was originally published in Entertainment and Sports Lawyer, a publication of the American Bar Association, Vol.31, No.4, Winter 2015, pp.1 and pp. 37-42. The first part of this article, published by the MBJ in May 2015, dealt with the performance right in sound compositions;

6 Tips For Selling CDs At Gigs 

Cd-case-22763061Even in this digital age of music, fans can still be willing to part with cash in exchange for a physical copy of your album, particularly if you sell it right. Here are six tips for getting your CD into the hands of concert goers.


Guest Post by Dwight Brown on the TuneCore Blog

Selling CDs at gigs can be a cash cow.

You’ve got a wide profit margin because the cost of CD Duplication is minimal compared to the price fans will pay for them. And, selling CDs gets your music out there to fans who will recommend your music.

Tempt audiences at your performances, keep these 6 tips in mind, and you’ll sell CDs and make money:  

  • Pricing. Charge $10 for an album and $5 for a single and most fans won’t think twice about buying one or more CDs. Selling two CDs for a bargain price is irresistible. Keep prices at $5 increments, and you won’t have to mess with small change. 
  • Giveaways. Consider rolling the price of a CD into the admission charge. It’s like you’re giving them away, but you’re not. Or hand out a few as door prizes—and watch the rest of the audience have CD envy. 
  • Sell-more-merch-at-showsSpecial CDs.  Selling CDs that are live recordings, impromptu sessions or feature songs that are not on an official release makes fans feel like they’re buying something special. These “quasi-bootleg” CDs become collectors’ items.  
  • Concession stands. Mark the title, price clearly and keep CDs at eye level. If you’re selling more than one CD, put them in groups. Concession stand helpers who are personable and/or attractive entice fans to buy more. 
  • Easy payments:  Take cash, checks and credit cards, which are easy to process thanks to smart phone/tablet mobile apps and dongles (hardware that offers a secure connection). 
  • Strong shows = strong sales. Connect with you your fans on stage, win them over with a memorable performance and they’ll want a CD to take home that recreates that cool experience. It’s that easy.

Selling CDs at gigs can help you finance your next recording session or tour. If CDs aren’t your thing, USB flash drives work too. You can get started with TuneCore’s CD Duplication service.

Ex-Apple Music Exec Ian Rogers To Head Digital For Luxury Brand LVMH 

image from www.moet.comThe music tech and broader music industry brain drain has usually attracted talent to more lucrative areas in tech and media.  This time, a music tech veteran has been lured from a top position at Apple Music to the holding company of Moët,Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Bulgari.

image from www.hypebot.comThe mystery is solved.  

Former Apple exec Ian Rogers is moving to Paris to head digital for LMVH, the company behind luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs,  Moët, Hennessey and Bulgari. Rogers is joining LVMH as its Chief Digital Officer in October, according to multiple sources.

LMVH reported a net profit of $1.58 billion for the first half of 2015. Rogers reportedly described their job offer as "to0 good to resist".

Rogers is a digital music pioneer. He handled online marketing for the Beastie Boys while still in college, then helped build Yahoo! Music. As CEO of direct to fan platform Topspin, Rogers was a strong early advocate of direct to fan commerce. He left Topspin to help launch and run Beats Music and followed his team after Apple purchased Beats last year. 

Live365 Launches DJ Curated Music Discovery Channel - How To Submit Music 

image from www.celebrityaccess.comCuration and, thanks to the early success of Beats 1, disc jockeys are hot topics in music streaming and the wider music industry. Now internet broadcaster Live365 has launched a new DJ curated radio station aimed at music discovery


image from

Live365's new streaming station Discovery365 will feature only music from emerging and indie artists, across a variety of musical genres. The station will help promote new artists by letting them tell the stories behind their music. 

New music is added to the playlist daily and the station eventually feature genre-specific shows, including Hard Rock/Metal, Jazz, Urban/HipHop/Rap, EDM/Dance/Chill, and Country/Folk/Singer-Songwriter. 

The station is programmed and curated by veteran radio programmer Dean Kattari (KFOG, KRSH, KSAN, KINK-FM, KRSH, MAX-FM) who launched the station earlier this summer. 

Bands and labels are requested to submit their music and stories on the station's website –