It has been announced that UK based performing rights organization, PRS, is taking SoundCloud to court due to “no alternative but to commence legal proceedings.” It has come down to litigation because the streaming service is said to have continued “..to deny it needs a PRS for Music license for its existing service available in the UK and Europe” based on a letter seen by Music Week. PRS for Music has stated that “If the streaming market is to reach its true potential and offer a fair return for our members, organisations such as SoundCloud must pay for their use of our members’ music.” We hope for the best outcome between these two prominent organizations.
ASCAP has added a new member to their executive staff – Mark Sperling, a veteran investment banker. His title is the senior vice president of strategy and business development and his role will deal with leading “efforts to expand partnerships and new alliances” at ASCAP. His experience with entertainment and digital media industries gives him significant experience to move forward with ASCAP’S visions. Let’s give Mark Sperling a warm welcome!
The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) Nashville plans to host its Songwriter Series, which is sponsored by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Fifth Third Bank and is being hosted by music industry professionals and headed by Wrensong’s, Ree Guyer Buchanan. “AIMP Nashville wanted to create an annual event to celebrate new songwriters in the independent publishing community,” said Buchanan. The Songwriter Series is set to commence on September 22, 2015.
Based on a study by Pandora-owned music data analytics company, Next Big Sound, within the first six months of the year 2015, “music was streamed over one trillion times across various services.” The data was collected based on streaming platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Radio, Vimeo, Vevo, Pandora, and SoundCloud – not including Apple Music and TIDAL. If these other services were included in data collection, there would definitely be increased streams. As the industry grows it is important to note that “streaming is the present and future of music consumption.”
In addition to Spotify and Apple Music, an alternative streaming service called Baboom – envisioned by Kim Dotcom – was recently launched this past Monday. What makes this streaming service unique is that it lets “independent artists keep 90% of the proceeds through its ‘Fair Trade Streaming’ agreement.” With two different tiers for signing up, this streaming service option is available on multiple platforms such as iOS and Android.
A yearly special issue magazine specific to publishing is on the horizon for Music Row in Nashville, TN. This magazine which is called MusicRow’s 2015 Publisher Issue is to be released this coming October including content such as a directory of Nashville music publishing companies, exclusive editorial content in regards to songwriters, and “other articles about the current state of music publishing and songwriting.” Definitely lookout for this insightful and informative magazine issue!
Apple Music has reached 11 million subscribers within the first 4 weeks of its launch, currently making it the 6th largest music streaming service. It is important to note that these are all still free users, and they account for only 2% of the 500 million iPhone users. It is also currently underperforming iTunes Radio, which had reached 11 million users within the first week of the launch of iOS 7. Apple Music is still in its early stages, though, so there is still time to see if “Apple’s vision of curation and its reach […] can expand the market for paid streaming from tens of millions to a hundred million or more.”
LyricFind has entered into a partnership with R2G, “China’s leading digital music distribution company.” The deal makes it so that R2G will now represent LyricFind in China for both “business development and publisher relations,” and that LyricFind’s catalogue of lyrics in English will be accessible to millions of consumers in China. LyricFind CEO Darryl Ballantyne states that this deal “will also hugely benefit our existing partners like Pandora, Amazon, Deezer, Shazam, Microsoft, HTC and more than 100 others from an even larger, fully licensed international music catalogue.”
After 7 years, the lawsuit regarding the use of a sample in Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’” is finally set to go to trial. When Timbaland had made the beat for the song 16 years ago, he sampled a work he had thought to have been in the public domain. After the song’s release, “a foreign subsidiary of EMI identified the sample as coming from the Baligh Hamdy composition ‘Khosara, Khosara.’” Timbaland then paid $100,000 to EMI for the rights to sample the song. However, in 2007, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, the nephew of Hamdy, filed a lawsuit targeting Jay Z, Timbaland, and several other parties for the exploitation of the song, claiming that it violated “moral rights” of authors and their heirs that exist under Egyptian law. The trial is set for October 13th.
Kobalt’s collection society AMRA has entered a deal with Apple Music in the form of its first worldwide digital licensing deal. AMRA, which represents more than 500 independent publishing companies, will be collecting songwriter and publisher royalties straight from Apple Music, which has access to over 100 countries. Reportedly, AMRA’s “landmark” license agreement with Apple is “the first of a set” of such global deals.
Beatport’s royalty payments to labels will be delayed due to SFX’s “going private” process. In a letter to labels, Beatport, which newly landed an exclusive content partnership with Spotify, claims its parent company SFX’s progression into “going private” has “trapped certain earned label payments” for this last quarter. This delay has the potential to cause a cash flow problem for smaller labels, including some dance labels for which Beatport is the source of 90% of digital income.
Apple Music is extending it’s free trial to 12 months in Australia under the condition that users switch mobile network providers. Australian mobile network Telstra is the home of the new full year free trial for users who enter 12- or 24-month Go Mobile Plans exclusively for the iPhone 6. Bringing in a larger Australian market, these Telstra users may even be able to get 15 months of free service from Apple Music by using up the standard 3 month free trial first.
Downtown Music Publishing has signed a global publishing agreement with Codigo Music that encompasses their entire music publishing catalogue. Parent company of Fania Records with notable artists like Willie Colon and Celia Cruz on it’s roster, the agreement calls for Downtown to market and promote Fania’s catalogue for media opportunities like film, TV, and advertising. Hits like Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” and Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” have also sampled Codigo/Fania songs. Downtown’s CEO Justin Kalifowitz considers Fania “a New York City institution” and is “honored that we can play a small part in promoting this incredible piece of New York City history.”
With gains in the first semester of 2015, streaming is on the rise and saving Spain’s music economy. A report from Promusicae (Productores de Música de España) explains that digital music revenue is higher than that of physical product by almost 8%, and that streaming is a “salvation” for the still-recovering Spanish music industry . The year 2014 was the first in over a decade that Spain’s music sales made a year-over-year gain, and the reported 40% increase in streaming usage “allows the Spanish recording sector to maintain a certain hope entering the second and decisive semester,” Promusicae sources confirm.
Filmmakers have uncovered evidence that “Happy Birthday” may not have a copyright. Good Morning to You Productions Corp filed a lawsuit on Warner/Chappell in 2013 after being told they’d have to pay $1,500 to use the song in their “Happy Birthday” documentary. Recently, they uncovered a blurry copy of The Everyday Songbook published in 1922 with a copyrightless “Happy Birthday” inside. Plaintiffs suppose that this book proves the lyrics to “Happy Birthday” had already been “dedicated to the public” long before the copyright registration Warner/Chappell has for the song was created. Currently, Warner/Chappell makes about $2 million in revenue from licensing “Happy Birthday” every year.