Spotify Strikes Licensing Deal with Warner Music, Preps IPO

Music streaming service Spotify, which is planning its IPO for late 2017/early 2018, just signed a new global licensing deal with Warner Music Group. Terms were not disclosed. The company earlier reached long-term agreements with Universal Music Group and Sony Music; Warner was the last of the big three labels Spotify needed to go public. The online music pioneer is reportedly planning a nontraditional IPO in which it will offer shares directly to the public rather than the standard method of going through Wall Street banks. Continue reading Spotify Strikes Licensing Deal with Warner Music, Preps IPO

Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

At the New Music Seminar conference in New York, YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen said the company plans to create a new streaming service by merging Google Play Music and YouTube Red. “Right now, YouTube’s music ecosystem is unnecessarily complicated,” suggests The Verge. “There’s YouTube Red, which removes ads from videos and lets you save them offline, while also giving you access to Google Play Music for free. Then there’s YouTube Music, which anyone can use, but it gets better if you’re signed up for YouTube Red.” The move is meant to simplify the offerings and attract more subscribers. A date has not yet been announced. Continue reading Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

As the $7.7 billion U.S. music industry has moved from CDs to streaming, the top venue has become — not Spotify or Pandora — but YouTube, which is responsible for 25 percent of all music streamed. But that’s a problem since accessing music on YouTube is free, and music labels are increasingly unhappy that the platform pays less for songs than other streaming sites, calling it a threat to the music industry. The music industry has begun taking its concerns to regulators, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Continue reading Music Industry, YouTube Battle Over Perceived ‘Value Gap’

Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Sony Music Entertainment has agreed to a new licensing deal with Spotify, which should be finalized in the coming weeks. “The agreement helps to clear the way for Spotify’s long-anticipated public offering, which is expected later this year or early next year,” reports Variety. An inside source suggests the deal is similar to the current Spotify agreements with Universal Music Group and digital rights agency Merlin. A major component of the deal is a windowing option, “whereby artists can withhold their releases from its free, ad-supported service for up to two weeks.” Continue reading Sony Music Reaches New Licensing Agreement with Spotify

Stream-Ripping: Fastest Growing Form of Music Piracy in UK

According to new research by the Intellectual Property Office and PRS for Music, “stream-ripping” technology is the fastest-growing approach to music piracy in the United Kingdom. The research indicates a 141.3 percent increase in this type of illegal activity between 2014 and 2016. Stream-ripping apps and websites allow consumers to convert streaming content such as Spotify songs and YouTube videos into digital files that can be stored on mobile devices and computers. In September of 2016, such sites were accessed 498,681 times in the U.K., while BitTorrent was only used 23,567 times. Continue reading Stream-Ripping: Fastest Growing Form of Music Piracy in UK

Spotify Signs New Universal and Merlin Deals, Preps for IPO

Spotify will pay music labels more than $2 billion in minimum payments over the next two years. The company’s revenue has grown more than 50 percent, to $3.3 billion last year, so the big deals are a means to keep growing. Sources say the company has inked two deals recently, with Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music label, accounting for one-third of the market, and Merlin, which represents a group of independent labels. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Spotify plans to go public this year. Continue reading Spotify Signs New Universal and Merlin Deals, Preps for IPO

Music Industry Contends with Major Uptick in Counterfeit CDs

Despite shifts in music consumption involving streaming services, Internet radio, digital downloads and more, many consumers are still purchasing CDs. However, the revenue does not always reach the artists and labels responsible for the music, since piracy is running rampant in the form of counterfeit CDs offered through online retailers such as Amazon. Counterfeits are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from the official versions. While CD sales represented a mere 13 percent of revenue for U.S. labels the first half of this year, they accounted for almost 40 percent of global revenue for the recording industry last year. Continue reading Music Industry Contends with Major Uptick in Counterfeit CDs

Amazon to Take On Spotify and Apple with New Music Service

Amazon plans to compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music when the company launches its own on-demand music service early next year. Some reports suggest the service may be called Amazon Music Unlimited, and would not come with the annual $99 Amazon Prime subscription, but would likely run a separate $10 per month. “The company will also launch its Echo-based music service, which will cost $5 a month, within the next few weeks,” reports The Verge. “That service will allow Echo owners to access Amazon’s music library on-demand just like the more expensive offering, but playback will be restricted to the smart assistant.” Continue reading Amazon to Take On Spotify and Apple with New Music Service

Top Record Labels File Lawsuit Against YouTube Ripping Site

Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and other record labels are taking legal action against the German operator of website YouTube-mp3.org, claiming that the industry is being robbed of revenue from streaming, downloads and advertising. BBC notes that the site provides an easy-to-use method of downloading audio from YouTube videos. The labels filed the suit in a federal court in Los Angeles, seeking damages including $150,000 per each alleged act of piracy. According to the labels, “tens, or even hundreds, of millions of tracks are illegally copied and distributed by stream-ripping services each month.” YouTube-mp3.org is described as the “chief offender,” with more than 60 million monthly users. Continue reading Top Record Labels File Lawsuit Against YouTube Ripping Site

Spotify Focuses on Major Record Label Deals to Boost Profits

In its efforts to move more free-tier users to its $10/month subscription service, Spotify has redoubled its efforts to ink long-term licenses with major record labels. One potential option is that the labels would limit new releases to Spotify’s subscription tier in exchange for a lower percentage of subscription revenue. Another possibility is that Spotify will provide artists data and promotion in exchange for reduced royalty payments. Spotify is trying to settle the deals by end of 2016, say sources. Continue reading Spotify Focuses on Major Record Label Deals to Boost Profits

Pandora Integrates Ticketfly, Adds Concert Recommendations

A Pandora listener will now be shown concert recommendations based on the music she listens to, and a click on a concert will forward her to Ticketfly’s app or website. This is the first step in integrating Pandora’s streaming music service with Ticketfly, a concert ticketing service Pandora bought for $450 million in October 2015. Concerts are shown via the app’s feed, push notifications on mobile devices and a weekly email. Ticketfly generates notifications as soon as a concert promoter creates an event. Continue reading Pandora Integrates Ticketfly, Adds Concert Recommendations

Appeals Court Rules for Vimeo in Copyright Infringement Case

In a blow to record companies — and a win for Internet service providers, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York yesterday ruled that Vimeo cannot be held liable for copyright infringement if the video-sharing site unknowingly hosts older music that was uploaded by users. In addition, the court ruled that it is not enough to prove Vimeo ignored infringement if company employees had watched videos containing copyrighted sound recordings. The case, which centered on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), was being watched closely by Silicon Valley. Continue reading Appeals Court Rules for Vimeo in Copyright Infringement Case

Streaming Boosts Music Revenues, But Not Equally for Artists

The Recording Industry Association of America reports that streaming is booming, more than offsetting declines in CD sales and digital downloads. In 2015, overall revenues rose almost 1 percent to $7 billion, the fifth consecutive year that the market grew — albeit slightly — in wholesale value. But artists and their representatives are saying that the gains aren’t being fairly shared, since many users still listen for free. In 2014, for example, on-demand streams grew 63 percent while revenue increased only 34 percent. Continue reading Streaming Boosts Music Revenues, But Not Equally for Artists

With Sony Music Deal, SoundCloud Reaches 18 Million Artists

Streaming music service SoundCloud finalized a deal with Sony Music to increase the number of songs listeners can access via SoundCloud and also allow Sony Music Entertainment artists to make money from their tracks hosted on its service. The deal with Sony Music is just the latest in several that SoundCloud has inked with other music publishers including Merlin (representing 20,000 indie labels) in June 2015, Universal Music Group earlier this year, and Warner Music in 2014. Continue reading With Sony Music Deal, SoundCloud Reaches 18 Million Artists

Spotify, Music Publishers Settle Mechanical Licensing Dispute

Spotify and the National Music Publishers’ Association settled a long-standing licensing dispute, although neither will reveal details. Sources say Spotify will pay between $16 million to $25 million in royalties that are owed but unpaid, as well as a $5 million penalty. In exchange, the publishers will not file copyright infringement claims. The suit hinges on a rule governing mechanical licensing rights that dates back to player-piano rolls. In the digital world, the rule is just one that’s made legal licensing complex. Continue reading Spotify, Music Publishers Settle Mechanical Licensing Dispute

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