Guest Post by Cortney Harding on This Week In Music Tech
Like everyone else, I read Zoe Keating’s blog post about YouTube Music Key’s contracts last week. I was a little turned off by her “I’m a struggling artist! Who met Eric Schmidt at Davos last year!” vibe, but I’ll give her credit for shining some light on the inner workings of these deals. From my vantage point, the deal YouTube is offering isn’t bad — they’re helping artists monetize, claim their work, and make sure their catalog is complete. If artists want a real alternative to Spotify, Music Key could be the solution.
Bandsintown just announced it's newest feature, an integration with SoundCloud that allows artists to promote their tour dates on their artist profile. Any artist with Bandsintown Manager installed will be able to display a "Tour Dates" tab within SoundCloud, giving fans easy access to their gig calendar. As artists become more and more reliant on successful live performance for income, the two simple steps it takes to setup this new service are certainly worth their time.
Can musicians "save" a broken music industry? More than on successful artist turned entrepreneur certainly intend to try. Following in the footsteps of Dr. Dre (co-founder of Beats) and Neil Young (founder of hi-def music service Pono), Jay Z is set to become the latest musician-mogul to own a digital music service thanks to his $56 million bid to acquire Aspiro, the Scandinavian company that owns streaming music service WiMP and its hi-def audio cousin Tidal.
No music industry story has gotten more play in the last week than Zoe Keating's struggle with YouTube. After the independent musician shared her conversation with YouTube over a new agreement that would keep her from monetizing her content if she did not agree to new terms that included involvement in YouTube's Music Key paid service, a compant spokesperson called Keating's concerns "patently false."
Guest Post by Alex Bardanes on Songtrust Blog
I don’t need a publishing administrator because I’m already affiliated with ASCAP right? Don’t these two entities perform essentially the same function? Actually, they perform very different functions, but work together to achieve the same simple goal; getting you paid. But what does a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) actually do?
Guest Post by David Blue on GEOclubbing.com
It’s no stretch to say 2014 wasn't SoundCloud’s finest hour. High profile defections, disappointing app releases, allowing labels to unilaterally kill tracks... oh my! These actions certainly raise an eyebrow, but we at GEOclubbing wanted to look beyond the buzz to see how SoundCloud usage is actually trending in line with recent news.
SoundExchange released it's 2014 year end numbers this morning, revealing a new record for the company of $773 million in royalty payouts to recording artists and record labels. 2014's total payout is up 31% from the $590 paid out to artist and labels the year prior. The fourth quarter of 2014 also brought with it a significant increase in distribution with more than 38,000 payouts totaling approximately $183 million.
Guest Post by David Lowery on The Trichordist Blog
This is a call to action folks.
Many of you may already be aware of this blog post from Zoë Keating detailing the new terms of the Google/YouTube “Music Key” service. YouTube’s “communications manager” Matt McLernon has followed the Spotify approach and attacked Zoë Keating’s story as “patently false” although it looks like Google is not exactly backing up their “communications manager“.
According to notices filed in recent days in the Federal Register, SoundExchange is auditing a number of digital broadcasters including CBS owned Last.fm, iHeartRadio and Live365. Under rules set by the Copyright Royalty Board, SoundExchange can choose to to audit any digital music service; and has a history of selecting a few each year for year.
Guest Post by Russ Crupnick on MusicWatch Blog
The entertainment press ended 2014 with several big stories. Front pages covered Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her songs from Spotify. The story was accompanied by news suggesting that 2015 might bring a re-evaluation of free streaming or, at least, serious thoughts about windowing music. The Sony cyber-attack was followed by threats regarding the release of The Interview.
This morning, Slacker Radio debuted its newest station featuring the Top 120 Alternative Hits of all time. Slacker’s team of expert curators painstakingly created the seven-hour playlist spanning over 40 years of alternative music. Though Slacker believes in the sound selection of their curators, they fully expect the station will breed some heated controversy amongst music fans.
By Mark Mulligan on Music Industry Blog
It is easy to think of the internet as a mature medium, especially for those who were born into the internet era. However we are still at the earliest of stages. We are where radio was in the 1930’s and where TV was in the 1950’s: the first signs of the future markets are in place but the real maturation is yet to come. The greats of those early days, the Marconis and the RCAs, are now long gone but at the time they looked like they would rule forever. A similar long view should be taken to the internet.
On Friday evening, a YouTube spokesperson called "payently false" claims by indie artist Zoe Keating's claim that she was being forced off the video service if she did not agree to all the terms of a new contract adding Google's paid Music Key service. Keating rebutted by releasing a rough transcript of her call with her representative at YouTube.
Apple has obtained a patent that could enable music and video sharing and along with other features by adding a new layer of digital rights management (DRM). "The systems and methods provide an encrypted copy of a digital content unit to a first user and transcript the encrypted copy to generate the legitimate copy to a second user," reads the patent that Apple says could reduce both piracy and bandwidth costs.
Guest Post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0 Blog
A recent survey by MusicWatch looked at the demographics of CD and digital music buyers back in 2004 and compared them to 2014. What they found shouldn't be too surprising, because it's almost exactly what you'd expect.
Music streaming service Rdio today announced expansion into 24 new countries and territories. As part of its expansion across the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific, Rdio is exclusively partnering with Digicel, a mobile carrier with a customer base of 14 million. Today's additions mean that Rdio is available in a total of 85 markets.
Spotify has followed the lead of hot apps like Snapchat adding swiping gestures. An upgraded iOS app adds Touch Preview which allows users to preview a song from a playlist, album or artist with the touch of a finger. Drag your finger across the screen to sample songs, and once done you’ll be taken back to where you left off. Touch Preview also makes building playlists easier: when previewing a track swipe left saves it to Your Music or right to play next.
Details & A Video Preview
Google and YouTube have been plotting ways to encourage people to pay for streaming music. YouTube Music Key, currently in beta, charges $7.99 and up for a premium overlay to YouTube. Now a feature rich Chrome extension, Streamus, does most of that for free. Developed by an independent third party developer, Streamus has been in beta for almost three years; and the care spent building the app shows.
Sonos appears poised to correct the only real flaw that I've found in it's otherwise superior wireless music system: the ability to contol Sonos from within my favorite music apps. A new jobs ad posted by the company points to the creation of an API that would allow digital music services to do just that.
Guest Post by Courtney Harding on This Week In Music Tech Tumblr
With the publication of Ethan Kaplan’s totally brilliant “Generic Article About Spotify” a few weeks ago, I thought we’d truly hit the limit on how many ways we could skin the streaming cat. But alas, here’s comes noted old white man and Pink Floyd member Nick Mason to complain about Spotify (and Apple. How cute, he thinks it’s 2006!) They don’t pay artists. They “devalue” music. Only one more cliche and I get a bingo!
In an interview with GQ, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason talks about Apple's failed release of U2's latest album "Songs of Innocence" and the implications it imposed. He was quick to clarify where he stood on the issue telling GQ, "Let me be completely clear about my position: if Apple had come to me and said, 'Nick, we want to release your album in exchange for £50m', I couldn't have thought of a better idea.' but Mason still believes Apple's execution of the release left much to be desired and raised some red flags for the music industry.