Five years ago, the demise of the music industry seemed almost inevitable. Recession, rampant piracy, falling CD sales and a fear that “kids just don’t buy music any more” had giant record labels, once oozing wealth, counting the pennies. Yet 2016 has seen a reversal of fortune – and the industry’s saviour is not what many predicted. Profits from music streaming, first championed by Spotify and now offered by Apple and Amazon, have given some labels their largest surge in revenue in more than a decade.
Read Article: The Guardian
Which lawsuits will you be watching most closely in the coming year?
2017 is shaping up to be a critical year for music law. The Copyright Royalty Tribunal will set the rates that SiriusXM will pay sound recording copyright owners during the years 2018-22. To date, SiriusXM has benefited from below market rates set by the CRB under the so-called 801(b) standard. This rate standard does not require a marketplace rate, and the cost to artists and labels over the last 10 years is in the hundreds of millions if not billions. The result: a subsidy for SiriusXM as it has built an enormously profitable business. SoundExchange, representing artists and labels, is trying to restore some balance so that SiriusXM pays rates more in line with those that would be negotiated in the market. SiriusXM is asking for rates to be reduced. The decision is due by December 2017.
As the music marketplace has transitioned to streaming, the industry is seeing a rise in services that enable “stream-ripping,” which essentially copy and download music from a service intended only for streaming music or music videos. Stream-ripping undermines both streaming and download services. After all, why bother subscribing to Spotify if you can download all the music from YouTube? The industry has taken action against the largest stream-ripping site in the world, youtube-mp3.org. The case should be underway in earnest next year.
Read Article: Hollywood Reporter
As is the case whenever a superstar musician passes away, the music of George Michael and his band Wham! have suddenly experienced enormous surges in popularity wherever they are immediately available online. Many of Michael’s biggest fans have turned to Spotify to start hitting play on the songs they loved the most, which should come as no surprise given how many users the streaming service has been able to collect.
It has been less than 24 hours since his passing was announced and spread across social media instantly, but his solo discography has already experienced a 3,100% jump in plays.
Horacio Gutierrez: “The only way a company like Spotify can get, and stay, ahead in the technology industry is through a combination of two key things: innovation—in technology, business model, as well as in other aspects the service that we provide our customers; and customers delight —we have to not only satisfy customers, but even surprise and delight them, by offering them experiences they don’t get in other services. The combination of those two things is the only way that we can be sure to remain a leading force for years to come…”
“…I think one just has to look at data to recognize that the freemium model for online music consumption works. Our free tier is a key to attracting users away from online piracy, and Spotify’s success is proof that the model works. We have data around the world that shows that it works, that in fact we are making inroads against piracy because we offer an ability for those users to have a better experience with higher quality content, variety richer catalogue, and a number of other user-minded features that make the experience much better for the user.
“As we continue to succeed in monetizing the free tier, and continue to do a good job of converting free users to paid subscribers in the way we have done so far, we have a proven formula and a formula that, once again, will benefit everyone in the industry.”
Read Article: Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law
Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Apple found there was no substitute for that human touch, to quote another Springsteen number, so a coveted career came into being. Like music supervisors in film and TV, curators are now industry gatekeepers, approached with reverence.
These invisible influencers can break an artist through a choice playlist placement.Perhaps the music curator is the inevitable new link in a chain that includes record labels, managers, critics, DJs, publicists, and fans. These experts (often bloggers and industry pros) bring their background and taste into play to create customized listening experiences for rabid and casual music consumers alike. They comb catalogs, analyze stats, and sweat the small stuff to improve our lives.
Curators know there is a mix for every mood, ever party, and every life event.
Read Article: Observer
Streaming encourages curiosity.
With streaming rather than downloads, access replaces ownership and the commitment is of time, not money. That’s still significant, but it doesn’t feel so irrevocable. Where downloads and playlists favored the lone song, streaming gives the artist and the album a fighting chance again.
Anyone interested in a particular artist, from die-hard fans to novelty seekers, can listen to a whole album repeatedly — not just song samples, not just YouTube choices — and let subtler material sink in. Musicians don’t need to think so exclusively about what sounds, beats and structures the radio gatekeepers will allow; they can get poetic, political, sonically weird or all of the above. While big and glossy still works, it’s just possible that odd and heartfelt will, too.
Read Article: NY Times
One of the biggest problems the music industry faces today is knowing which labels and publishers, performers, songwriters and producers own the rights to songs and recordings, and what their split of the royalties might be. Many believe that record keeping with Blockchain technology can help. Advocates of Blockchain foresee a music industry where every time a song is sold or streamed, payments on royalty splits would be clearer and quicker.
Read Article: Music Business Journal
Earlier this year a new and exciting music streaming platform hit the internet with hopes of disrupting the status quo and offering user an alternative to Soundcloud.
The platform is called Orfium and as Soundcloud continues to raise viability questions these guys are gaining momentum with 1000s of new users spinning up accounts on a weekly basis. The guys from Orfium, what I might call the “little start-up that could” have already gotten further than most people thought possible.
With an artist-friendly approach and some impressive tools, this little u-boat is starting to make some noise. We caught up with Orfium co-founder Christopher Mohoney to get the latest update on the status quo.
Read Article: Magnetic Magazine
A few days after announcing the addition of another music streaming service to its catalogue, Videotron’s Unlimited Music service has announced two more additions, Napster and global music and entertainment platform, Tidal, bringing the total number of supported apps to 17. Unlimited Music lets Videotron Mobile customers stream music using popular music apps without using up any of their data plan. Recently added apps include Apple Music, Radio Tunes, Band Camp, Slacker, Jango, Analekta, Digitally Imported, Rock Radio and Jazz Radio.
Read Article: Broadcaster Magazine
Arguably the last megastar holdout on streaming, Garth Brooks joins the musical party this week. In what basically amounts to an early Christmas present for subscribers, Brooks’ whole catalog comes to streaming on Dec. 24.Of course, the biggest catch is the platform. Garth Brooks signed an exclusive deal with Amazon, which means you only get access if you subscribe to Amazon Music. Note, too, that’s not the music streaming that comes with your Amazon Prime account. It’s an entirely new service for streaming music.
Read Article: Wide Open Country
While the number of Tidal subscribers subsided and Pandora plotted its grand music-on-demand service, there was a team sitting in a grungy (in a good way) Parisian office wondering what kind of music you’d like to listen to to get you excited in the morning.
That company is Deezer, the European streaming music service that has high hopes to crack America’s ultra-competitive market while simultaneously expanding to new territories like Asia and South America.
On top of its ambitions in America, it wants to keep up appearances in France, its home country, where it says that half the citizens have had a Deezer account at some point in their lives, and sneak into more homes in neighboring countries like Germany, Austria and the UK. It’s a tall order – and one that seems to get taller every time it turns around.
Read Article: TechRadar
Spotify — unlike Netflix, HBO, and dozens of others — handles the problem in a unique way that offers valuable features to users.
The music streaming service uses real-time technology to maintain a live, two-way connection to devices running the app, including laptops, phones, tablets, smart TVs, receivers, and more. This live connection ensures only one song is played at a given time by each Spotify account, regardless of how many people are logged in.
Imagine you’re jamming to AC/DC when your cousin decides to listen to Drake using the credentials for your account. Your music cuts off within milliseconds of your relative pressing play, and you’re notified of the remote access. When you press play to resume “Thunderstruck,” your cousin’s music stops and he gets the same message.
Read Article: Cloud Tech News