Signing rights from music publishers is a critical element in SpiralFrog’s push to make ad-supported music downloading available. Licensing sound recordings and music videos requires more than just obtaining rights from the recording artists and record labels. The writers and composers of the songs themselves must also be compensated and music publishers license these underlying compositions.
Live Nation has reached "an agreement in principle" for a 12 year global relationship with U2, who will join the company's Live Nation Artists roster. U2 and Live Nation Artists will collaborate on touring, merchandising, and the band's website, U2.com. U2's longstanding relationship with Universal Music for recording and publishing is not affected by the deal.
By leaving out recording and publishing, U2 utilizes the concert giant's strengths without joining it in uncharted waters as Madonna did with her recent full 360 Live Nation deal.
In expanding the scope of its activities beyond touring, Live Nation Artists hopes to expand an artist's other revenue streams. The company already services more than a thousand artists with an array of services including global touring, merchandise and licensing (via LN owned Signatures Network, Anthill, and TRUNK, Ltd.), sponsorship and strategic alliances, recorded music, studios, media rights, digital rights, fan club/websites (UltraStar, Musictoday), and marketing and creative services (Tour Design). All the services are designed to strengthen and monetize the artist to fan connection.
"We've been dating for over 20 years now, it's about time we tied the knot," said U2's Bono. "With regards to U2.com..."
UPDATED: Venture capitalists have been very active in the online music space in recent months and now record labels are jumping into the fray. This week music-focused social networker Buzznet grabbed a third round of $25 million in funding including several million dollars from Universal's Interscope, according to PaidContent. Exactly what the label hopes to gain form the deal remains unclear.
The funding will in part be used for acquisitions. Just a few months ago BuzzNet bought popular indie music blog Stereogum. The deal was facilitated after the blog's early investors Bob Pittman and Jason Hirschhorn of SlingMedia traded their equity stakes for stock in BuzzNet.
Buzznet is already using some of its new funding to buy music social network application provider Qloud. (Mashable) Other acquisitions appear to be in the offing. The Daily Swarm has a letter from Buzznet to a music blogger offering to talk about a deal.
Monday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Tour Sponsors Hit $1B, Grand Theft Adds MP3's, SoundExchange Audits Last.fm & More
- Last week's Music 2.0 Week In Review
- U2 has made a 12 year deal with Live Nation that stops short of a full 360.
- Interscope made a multi-million investment in music social networker Buzznet.
> Brand sponsorships of music tours and festivals is expected to top $1 billion in 2008. (BrandWeek)
> Users will be able to buy music while playing the new Grand Theft Auto 4 via a new Amazon deal. Songs will be transferable to iPods, etc. (ars)
> Buzznet is using some of its new funding to buy music social network application provider Qloud. (Mashable) Other acquisitions appear to be in the offing. The Daily Swarm has a letter from Buzznet to a music blogger offering to talk about a deal.
> A look at the South Korean music market and the branding efforts of local music powerhouse JYP. (Business Spectator)
> Universal's Interscope has invested in social music site Buzznet.
> Who is the #2 download store after iTunes, Amazon or eMusic?
> The adoption of DRM free music has stalled. Is iTunes or the labels to blame?
> WMG is backing an ISP tax on music and hired ex-Geffen digital exec Jim Griffin to spearhead the effort.
> Two contrasting ad campaigns - Santana for Macys and a Dr. Pepper Guns & Roses spoof - illustrate how to use and abuse music in marketing.
> Billions and Aero have merged to form a powerhouse indie music booking agency.
> UK folk legend Billy Bragg says Bebo and other tech startups who use music to make millions should pay artists more.
> imeem is offering the advance debut of the new Rolling Stones soundtrack album.
> Last.fm grabbed F. Scott Woods from Google as a Senior Vice President.
> Orange experiments with ad supported mobile music downloads in Europe.
> EMI Publishing UK promoted Felix Howard to VP of A&R.
> A Four Questions For (4QFor) interview with Insomnia and RouteNote CEO Steven Finch.
> Hypebot has started accepting advertsing.
via Daily Swarm
INDUSTRY VETERAN JIM GRIFFIN WILL SPEARHEAD CAMPAIGN
The idea of a $5 of so fee tacked onto ISP bills to pay for unlimited downloads is gathering momentum worldwide. Now Warner Music Group has hired former Geffen digital head and sometimes industry critic Jim Griffin explore the creation of a new pool of money from ISP user fees and figure out how to distributed it to artists and copyright holders, according Portfolio Magazine.
It's clear that lawsuits against fans aren’t working and have led to bad PR for the industry. The RIAA sent out 5,400 letters last year settling 2,300 cases and suing the 2,465 who didn’t respond. But music as a service, an idea that the Electronic Frontier Foundation began floating back in 2004 is gaining traction.
"We're still clinging to the vine of music as a product," Griffin says and accuses the music industry of practicing Tarzan economics. "We need to get ready to let go and grab the next vine, which is a pool of money and a fair way to split it up, rather than controlling the quantity and destiny of sound recordings."
The blogasphere exploded with comments:
- Technorati: "Music Industry's New Extortion Scheme"
- Mark Evans: "This approach is stupid, outdated and provides more evidence the music industry just don’t get it."
- PaidContent: "Griffin’s proposal may sound euphonious to music industry execs, but he’s going to have a difficult time making anyone else listen."
- Mathew Ingram: "what if such a fee is instituted — what about the movie companies, and other media companies? What about photographers who claim their work is being stolen?"
It's clear that an ISP tax has flaws. A big concern is how the money will be divided, similar to those that would be caused by "all you can eat" plans from Apple, Nokia and others. (read Hypebot's commentary here) But you have to give Bronfman and WMG credit for backing this plan with manpower and not just rhetoric. An optional ISP tax alongside other revenue models could perhaps be part of the solution.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Two press releases crossed my desk yesterday. Here are excerpts:
"...'Carlos and Mariah'...Highlighting Carlos Santana and his "Carlos by Carlos Santana" line of fashion-forward women's shoes, which is sold at Macy's, the 30 second spot also features vocal superstar Mariah Carey. As Carey admires a brightly colored and highly-elevated example of "Carlos" footwear, Santana improvises a trademark guitar lick around the concept of "stiletto." He then delivers another riff saluting the soulful qualities of Carey's signature fragrance, another Macy's item. While Santana and Carey serenade the store, onlookers include Martha Stewart and Donald Trump, whose housewares and neckties, respectively, are also featured by the retailer."
"Dr Pepper is encouraging (ok, begging) Axl Rose to finally release his 17-year-in-the-making belabored masterpiece, Chinese Democracy, in 2008. In an unprecedented show of solidarity with Axl, everyone in America, except estranged GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead, will receive a free can of Dr Pepper if the album ships some time - anytime! - in 2008."
Dr. Pepper co-opted a corner of rock and roll and had fun with it. Will the campaign sell gallons more Dr. Pepper? Maybe Not. But who cares? Dr. Pepper didn't pay a dime to Guns & Roses and by keeping tongue firmly implanted in check helped brand their beverage.
The Macy's campaign is another story. By mixing celebrities who each with their own hate clubs, Macy's ensured that many viewers would tune out. And Carlos Santana should be ashamed of himself. We expect this kind of sell-out from Mariah. But Santana? Most of us had just gotten over Carlos selling his soul to Clive Davis in exchange for a hit record. Now this! It's bad enough that Carlos thinks that being a great guitarist makes him a show designer. But "...he then delivers another riff saluting the soulful qualities of Carey's signature fragrance" destroys any shred of Santana's (and thus the ad campaign's) credibility,
Music can help deliver a powerful message. But marketers and artists need to understand the consequences.
Stats for overall media buys in 2007
- NATIONAL TV 32.0%
- MAGAZINES 20.4%
- NEWSPAPERS 17.7%
- LOCAL TV 11.3%
- INTERNET 7.6%
- RADIO 7.2%
- ALL OTHER 3.9%
TNS Media Intelligence
> SpiralFrog, the free, ad-supported download service, is claiming almost 850,000 registered users. Based on reported user numbers, SpiralFrog says it is is now the third largest legal music download site in U.S. and Canada behind only iTunes and Rhapsody. Traffic surpassed two million unique monthly visitors for March. (press release) Impressive numbers, but about eMusic and Amazon?
> Cox is launching a branded Rhapsody subscription music service to its cable ans ISP customers. (press release)
> A profile of music industry commentator Bob Lefsetz. (Washington Post)
> Lime Wire announced an agreement with aggregator and distributor BFM Digital to sell DRM-free music in LimeWire Store, the company's online music store joining Redeye Distribution, IODA, Ingrooves, Nettwerk Productions, and IRIS.
> BitTorrent tracker TorrentSpy has shut down forever. (Torrent Freak)
> A judge has orders banks to keep their promises in the Clear Channel deal. (AP)
I've always admired Ministry's music even when I didn't quite "get" it; and a new covers album showed real promise. But it's now painfully obvious that being a forward thinking musician doesn't necessarily translate into being a forward thinking music marketer. Here's part of the press release I just got:
"With the April 1st release of Ministry and Co-Conspirators’ Cover Up on the horizon, Al Jourgensen and company are giving fans a chance to preview the album before release date. Effective today, a lengthy track featuring 30 second samples of every song on Cover Up is available at the official Ministry Myspace page ..."
Come on Al. Radiohead and Trent Reznor are practically giving it away; and you think a "lengthy track" of 30 second samples on your MySpace page is gonna get your waning fan base excited?
In fairness, this is a covers album so giving it away would be tougher to do. But The Rolling Stones and REM are doing full album online listening parties and I'll bet imeem or iLike would pay the publishers. (Are you listening guys?)
Wake-up Al; it's 2008. Radio doesn't care. But the fans might if you give them a chance to hear the music.
Last.fm has named F. Scott Woods SVP and Managing Director, Germany. Woods, who joins Last.fm from Google where he served as Head of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, Northern & Central Europe, will oversee the expansion of the Last.fm presence in Germany, the country with the second largest Last.fm userbase after the US. Woods will help set up a Last.fm office in Hamburg, where he will manage marketing, advertising sales and business development partnerships in Northern Europe.
Earlier this week USA Today crowned Amazon the #2 seller of downloads after iTunes. Amazon refuses to release sales figures; so the newspaper based its claim on the calls to the four major record labels.
But eMusic only offers music from indies and with downloads of "more than 7,000,000 songs per month", they claim the #2 crown. "...let’s get one thing straight: outside of iTunes, no one sells more music digitally than eMusic, and we don’t plan on giving up that title anytime soon," eMusic CEO David Packman declared yesterday on the company's blog.
WILL THE REAL #2 PLEASE STAND UP
Overall, counting both major and indies, its probably Amazon. After all, they pay out 60-65 cents per track compared to eMusic's subscription model which delivers around 30 cents not including free tracks that they give away to lure subscribers. Several indie labels in recent months have even said that their checks from Amazon are starting to exceed those from eMusic.
Who is #2? Like most things, it depends on who you're asking.
MORE: The DRM-Free March Has Stalled. Who's To Blame? Are roadblocks coming from iTunes and or the major labels? and Does eMusic's Math Work For Labels?
Several recent Hypebot stories have been getting attention both from our readers and across the blogasphere. Read and join the discussion:
- As label salaries continued to rise, Hypebot issued a challenge to major label execs to follow Steve Jobs' lead and work for $1 plus incentives. Join the discussion.
- The march to DRM-Free music has stalled. But who is to blame - iTunes or the labels? Join the discussion.
- Is the proposed Apple service that would provide unlimited iTunes access bad for the music industry? Join the discussion.
European mobile operator Orange has launch an ad-supported content trial on its mobile internet platform, Orange World. In the UK 800,000 of Orange’s 15.6 million EU-wide customers can download music to their mobile handsets.
Mobile advertising company ScreenTonic are managing the ads for the trial which include Paramount Pictures and Ford. Orange customers taking part in the trial will be able to download music either for free, for half or full price. Orange will make only 500 music tracks available on the service to start.
Thursday's Music 2.0 Briefing: Nokia Nears Label Deals, Ringback Growth, EMI Hates MP3 Storage & More
- eMusic and Amazon fight over who is #2 after itunes
- imeem grabs an advance exclusive on the new Rolling Stone's soundtrack
- Orange tries ad supported mobile downloads
- The march to DRM-Free has stalled. Are iTune or labels to blame?
> Nokia says its increasingly confident that it can launch its Comes With Music service with content from EMI, SonyBMG, and WMG. (FT) Come on, Doug. Just because the don't want to call it Total Music...
> Forbes gives us its list of "The Year's Hottest New Music Stars" by combining sales across all paltforms and net and P2P activity. (Forbes) Sadly, most of them we won't care about in six months.
> BMI eyes ringbacks for mobile music growth. (Billboard)
> RIAA doesn't want to pay for a fair defense, says a recent victor. (ars)
> EMI's fight to ban remote storage of mp3's on sites like MP3Tunes. (Morning Post) Has EMI nothing better to do?
> A marketer looks at the new Borders prototype store dlecaring it a "digital experience". (InstoreMarketer)
Do you want to reach an audience of music and technology professionals interested in the products and services that are fueling Music 2.0?
Hypebot is now accepting advertising from select companies like current advertisers the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' digital NARM conference and TicketLiquidator.
If you want to learn more about reaching this targeted audience of industry decision makers, you'll find ad rates here or contact Hypebot for special ad and sponsorship opportunities.
"Shine A Light", the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s new documentary about The Rolling Stones, is making its US debut today on imeem, a week prior to it's April 1st release on Interscope. imeem users can hear the 16-song deluxe version of the soundtrack includingevery track from the film plus four bonus cuts - "Paint It Black", "Little T&A", "Shine A Light" and "I'm Free."
Social networks are increasingly the choice of more and more aritsts and labels for advance listening parties and debuts. WMG's R.E.M. used iLike just last week for a similar advance debut and XL Recordings cut a deal with YouTube UK for a Sigor Ros DVD release.
"Shine a Light", which opens in theaters April 4, is a look at The Rolling Stones’s live captured by Scorsese during two performances at NYC's Beacon Theatre in 2006 and includes special guests Buddy Guy, the White Stripes' Jack White and Christina Aguilera.
ARE ROADBLOCKS COMING FROM THE DOWNLOAD STORES OR THE MAJOR RECORD LABELS?
Courtesy of USAToday comes these revealing statistics:
So Steve Jobs, who in a widely publicized speech last year demanded the major labels drop DRM, has been far slower to adopt DRM free than competitor Amazon. It seems impossible that Apple has been unable to use its leverage to make deals with more labels. Perhaps Jobs and CO. secretly prefers DRM which ties iTunes purchases to iPods and serves to maintain their market dominance. Apple has declined to comment.
Real/Rhapsody founder Rob Glaser was calling for the end of DRM as early as 2005. But Rhapsody too has been slow to drop DRM. Real spokesperson Ronda Scott told Hypebot recently, "We have been strong supporters of going DRM-free for digital download sales for some time now. We’re currently offering over 13,000 albums for sale as MP3s from the UMG catalog and plan to offer content from all the majors and independent labels as well, though we haven’t announced timing for a full DRM-free story roll out."
Chicago-headquartered Billions is celebrating its twentieth year of operation. Among its exclusive clients are The Arcade Fire (pictured), Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Sufjan Stevens, Vampire Weekend, Neko Case, Silversun Pickups and Oscar-winning duo The Swell Season.
Seattle-based Aero Booking, in its tenth year, exclusively represents, among others, platinum-selling Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, David Bazan, Midlake, Beach House, Bodies of Water and Bowerbirds.
> SonyBMG is reportedly planning its own subscription music service. (ars) Even if they get other labels to join, why bother when Rhapsody and others do a good job subscription already?
> The deal to buy Clear Channel is near meltdown. (WSJ) Another victim of the credit crunch. CC stock dropped 20% yesterday too.
> The Smashing Pumpkins are suing Virgin over their inclusion in the Pepsi Amazon mp3 giveaway. (FMQB)
> Maths - who is a veteran Music 2.0 and China watcher - on "Exploring The Irresponsibility of Bjork In China" on Music2dot0. The article highlights "the huge differences in perception between East and West of a single artist's action, and it is important for foreign artists to understand the mindset of the Chinese better instead of typical condemnation."
> The widget mess slowly untangles as Yahoo adds support for Google's Open Social. This means widgets and apps using the OS platform can now be used across MySpace, Google, Yahoo and many other sites. (Google)
> A look at the fight for the Rolling Stone's catalog and what it means to EMI if they loose it. (FT.com)
> The US is showing signs of an ad slowdown. (FT) This can't be good for the nascent ad supported music biz.
> Jupiter's David Card says don't count out MySpace yet and has some Coldplay stats to prove it.
EMI Music Publishing UK has promoted Felix Howard to Vice President of A&R. Howard, who was previously A&R Manager, is a successful songwriter in his own right, and has written tracks for artists including Sugababes, Amy Winehouse, Sia, Beverley Knight, Kylie Minogue and Freeform 5.
He joined EMI Music Publishing two years ago, having been signed to the company for eight years as a writer. His signings include Calvin Harris, Sam Sparro, Primary1, Natty, James McMorrow, Diane Birch, James Yuill and Wesley Felix.
We continue our ongoing 4QFor (Four Questions For) series with Steven Finch, the CEO of Insomnia Ltd, which owns music 2.0 start-ups www.routenote.com, www.crenk.com, www.adphilia.com, and a record label and recording studio. You can learn more about Steve's companies here. (Read more 4QFor interviews with the heads of OurStage, Sonicbids, imeem, We7, ReverbNation, New Music Strategies and Nimbit here.)
Q1. What major changes in the music industry do you foresee over the next
2008 will be a very interesting year for the music industry. We will continue to see the major labels complaining about the music industry declining, when in fact it is only CD sales that are heading downwards. The distance between the major labels and independent labels will continue to get closer, thus proving in this day and age that artists don’t need a major label to succeed!
Q2. How are you and your company preparing to
benefit from these changes?
We strongly believe in independent artists and labels being able to promote their music to the widest possible audience, without having to worry about barriers to market. RouteNote wants to eliminate these barriers for independent or unsigned artists, and allow good artists to stand out from the crowd.
Q3. What excites you?
The music industry as a whole really excites me. It is changing and twisting all the time and with so many emerging business models in the marketplace at present, who knows which ones will actually succeed or fail. Lots of people are talking about music heading towards ‘free’, I think this might be the case...
There's been a lot of talk for year that subsrciption music could help save the music industry. If so, its got a long way to go.
more @ emarketer
> The XM and Sirius merger has been approved by the Department of Justice. FCC approval seen next. (ars)
> Thumbplay will power mobile sites for Clear Channel Radio. (press release)
> Gibson Guitars has filed another lawsuit against the creators of the Guitar Hero game claiming patent infringement. (AP)
> Top 10 Reasons you're not headed to Miami for Winter Music Conference 2008. (Daily Swarm)
UK singer-songwriter Billy Bragg had an op-ed piece in the Sunday New York Times that advocated for artist compensation from internet start-ups like Bebo that are making millions using music as a draw:
"The musicians who posted their work on Bebo.com are no different from investors in a start-up enterprise. Their investment is the content provided for free while the site has no liquid assets. Now that the business has reaped huge benefits, surely they deserve a dividend."
TechCrunch railed against his "crazy-stupid ideas" and I agree. Do musicians deserve a piece of the recent Clear Channel radio sale since their music drives listener-ship? Artist compensation come from BMI, ASCAP and SoundExchange as well as the music and tickets they sell because someone discovers their music.
CONTROL THE DATA AND DOLLARS WILL FOLLOW
Bragg is, however, right that artists and labels need to band together, but not to demand payments from Bebo, MySpace and others. Musicians should support only the services that offer the fair access to their fans at the lowest transaction costs. MySpace's excessive SNOCAP royalties caused artists to stayed away in droves, for example.
But artists and labels do need to demand more access to and control of the data their fans create. Currently there is almost no independent access or method of capturing the email adresses of fans that contact artists via MySpace, for example. They also have no control over the ads that run on their pages. Does the latest purveyor of teen angst really want swinging singles ads flashing next to their tunes?
In Music 2.0 the artist to fan relationship is #1. Control that and the money will follow. That's the lesson that made Bebo worth $850 million and its the lesson that labels and artists need to learn as well.
> SonyBMG and WMG are both reportedly close to deals with the new MySpace music service. (NY Post) "The new MySpace Music is expected to be a mix of pay-per-download and ad-supported video and audio." Why am I not excited?
John Topper called for a 50 cent ticket fee to help out. But none of this has stopped Iron Maiden from continuing to fly in their own private jet.
> Dolly Parton is backing her latest release with her own money. (AP) "Now the majors are what they used to think I was: history," she said. Go Dolly!
> SpiralFrog is trying a $5000 concert ticket giveaway to boost registrations. (press release)
> Apple is rumored to be negotiating with the labels to give purchasers of a premium iPod unlimited access to iTunes. A Hypebot commentary calling the idea bad for the music industry drew lots of discussion. eMusic went a step farther saying they felt the idea deserved federal anti-trust action against Apple.
> Warner Music Group renewed the multi-million $ contracts of executives Edgar Bronfman and Lyor Cohen thru 2013. Hypebot issued a challenge for major label execs to follow Steve Jobs' example and work for $1 a year plus bonuses based on performance.
> MTV's Rock Band video game has sold more than 6 million songs.
> Veteran rockers the Bodeans have gone D.I.Y. with strong initial results.
> A new study showed that net radio plus social networking offers a powerful music marketing strategy.
> A P2P crackdown via ISP is spreading globally.
> moe. manager John Topper is proposing a 50 cent ticket fee to help bands pay for higher gas prices.