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.
Grooveshark co-founder Josh Greenberg was discovered dead at his Florida home on Sunday. Police say there are no signs of drug use or foul play. His mother reported that Greenberg had no known health problems and was faring well after Grooveshark, the streaming service he and Sam Tarantino founded in 2006, shut down due to litigation with major labels about copyright infringement. Greenberg was only 28 years old.
YouTube has forcibly signed up content creators for their soon to be launched paid streaming service. By communicating that these videos that make up 90% of YouTube’s views will not be monetized unless they sign up, YouTubers have been taken along for the ride into the first of it’s kind video-based paid subscription service. Though they don’t plan to halt their focus on free content, YouTube is pushing for paid streaming to be successful in that subscribers will have access to ad-free videos, have the ability to store videos for viewing offline, and have videos play in the background on mobile devices.
Spotify’s new “Discover Weekly” feature compiles tailor made playlists based on personal tastes of listeners. In line with Apple Music’s “For You” component, Spotify’s new heavily personalized element uses data of the individual listener and combines that with what fans of similar music listen to. The two-hour long playlists update every week and follow the idea of “having your best friend make you a personalized mixtape every single week,” including deep cuts as well as more popular items.
Youtube CEO Susan Wojcicki explains why Music Key will be different from other streaming services. At Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech event this week, Wojcicki explained that Music Key is video based, serving a different purpose than other services. Describing the idea of music videos as “magical,” she added that user generated covers of popular songs is a point of interest for Music Key. They are focusing heavily on mobile usability and plan to launch publicly in “a few months.”
Apple’s large cut from in-app purchases is now under scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission. According to Section Five of the FTC Act, “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” are prohibited, and Apple’s 30 percent stake in all digital goods isn’t helping the already slim profit margins for app makers and musicians alike. Deezer CEO Tyler Goldman weighed in on the issue, explaining that Apple’s cut creates even less room for profit and states “it will be an issue for the industry going forward.”
UK performing rights organization PRS had increased expenses and decreased artist payout during the 2014 year according to a report by its administration of mechanical society MCPS. PRS’s operating-cost-to-royalty-income ratio was the least efficient it’s been in five years coming in at 11.47%. The company’s ‘legal and professional’ fees showed the largest boost in spending, and the monies distributed to songwriters and publishers declined by 2.7%.
Nashville based Performing Rights Organization SESAC has bought the Harry Fox Agency. Though the acquisition has yet to be approved by the NMPA membership, this new deal now allows for both mechanical and sync licensing to be combined after being treated separately in the music publishing world for many years. This finally transforms a once “complex, opaque and currently inefficient licensing regime” into a more straightforward process.
Youtube is currently the world’s most popular streaming service. Prevailing as a free service, the video giant has increased its market share of total on demand streams since the start of 2015 both in the US and the UK. Overshadowing its competing audio services, Youtube is the leading streaming service in both volume and growth, seeing a stream volume increase of 109.2% to 76.6 billion in the first half of this year.
A MoveOn.org petition has been launched to display album credits on Apple Music. Bassist Jon Burr, the man behind the campaign, knows this will “be a burden” on Apple, but is aiming to create a “cultural shift” involving recognition for musicians, lyricists, engineers, and all those who contribute to the making of albums. Apple Music’s main competitors Spotify and Pandora also do not display album credits during streaming, meaning this could be an opportunity for Apple to continue as an ally to the creative community and be even more innovative in streaming.
CEO of Downtown Music Publishing Justin Kalifowitz has been elected as a new member of the Board of Directors of the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA). David Israelite, President of the NMPA, announced along with his new board members the commencement of the new S.O.N.G.S. Foundation (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters) this fall. S.O.N.G.S. main goal is to back beginner songwriters with grants to help propel their work and help the continuation of music education. Congratulations to those who made the board!
Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson has just signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Downtown Music Publishing. This new agreement is inclusive to Sturgill’s Billboard Country Top 10 album Metamodern Sounds In Country Music (High Top Mountain/Thirty Tigers) amongst all of his previous studio albums. Downtown’s SVP Creative Services Jedd Katrancha is thrilled to have Sturgill on the roster and “be a part of the cross-genre level of excitement.”
How do you split $2 MIllion between 11 people? Ask all the “Uptown Funk” songwriters. Originally having 6 songwriters on the record breaking Hot 100 hit, the roster jumped to 11 writers after the makers of “Oops Up Side Your Head” by The Gap Band were added due to a claim by their publisher. Excluding TV and film synch revenue, “Uptown Funk” made about $2 million in its historic run. The initial 6 songwriters, including Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, and Trinidad James, receive between 5 and 20% of the cut, leaving the 5 songwriters from The Gap Band to split 12% amongst themselves according to individual agreements.