Lewis Black Hits Pandora with $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

Comedian Lewis Black has slapped subscription-based streaming service Pandora with a $10.2 million copyright infringement lawsuit. Black becomes the latest humorist to take legal action against an audio streamer for unauthorized use of their work. Earlier this year, comedians Nick Di Paolo and Andrew Dice Clay — and the estates of Robin Williams and George Carlin — sued Pandora, which is owned by SiriusXM. Black is represented by the rights organization Spoken Giants, which is not a party to the suit, while the others are on the Word Collections roster. Continue reading Lewis Black Hits Pandora with $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

Spotify Continues Push into Podcast Space with New Ratings

Music streaming and media services provider Spotify is implementing a five-star rating system, not unlike Apple’s, in an attempt to become a bigger player in the podcast discovery space. The challenger has been coming on strong. In a Q3 2021 earnings call, the company cited Edison Research and internal tracking to proclaim Spotify the No. 1 podcast platform in the United States, squeaking by Apple in monthly listeners. Now, Spotify is hoping that its ratings will help create its own heat-seeking list, comparable to Apple Podcasts’ “New and Noteworthy” curated list. Continue reading Spotify Continues Push into Podcast Space with New Ratings

Apple vs. Spotify: Battle for Podcasting Dominance Heats Up

The rivalry between Apple and Spotify to dominate the growing podcast market has heated up. Apple launched paid podcast subscriptions and Spotify recently partnered with Facebook to spur discovery. In its latest move, Spotify also launched a podcast subscription model but, unlike Apple, which keeps 30 percent of the fees, Spotify will allow content creators to keep 100 percent. Podcasting, which skyrocketed in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to bring in $1+ billion in advertising revenue this year. Continue reading Apple vs. Spotify: Battle for Podcasting Dominance Heats Up

SiriusXM Ups Its Podcast Profile with the Purchase of Stitcher

SiriusXM is buying podcast platform Stitcher from the E.W. Scripps Company for $325 million. Scripps purchased Stitcher from Deezer in 2016 for $4.5 million, combining it with Midroll Media, which it bought for $55 million the previous year. Stitcher enables advertisers, creators and publishers to both produce and distribute content. With Stitcher, SiriusXM can now offer original podcasts for listeners. Scripps said Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million, for a compound annual growth rate of 52 percent from 2016 through 2019. Continue reading SiriusXM Ups Its Podcast Profile with the Purchase of Stitcher

Marvel to Create Exclusive Podcasts for SiriusXM, Pandora

The Walt Disney Company’s Marvel Entertainment inked a deal with SiriusXM to create exclusive podcasts for the latter’s satellite radio and streaming services, including Pandora. This is SiriusXM’s first major effort in podcasting and is also an attempt to attract more listeners. The deal comes at a time that many media companies are taking their first steps into podcasting. Disney has also focused on expanding Marvel out of big movie theaters and into broadcast television and its Disney+ streaming service. Continue reading Marvel to Create Exclusive Podcasts for SiriusXM, Pandora

Pandora Rolls Out Voice Mode Assistant For All Platforms

SiriusXM’s Pandora unveiled Voice Mode, its voice assistant, to Pandora app users on all platforms. This broad rollout took place after a January debut of Voice Mode on about one million iOS and Android devices. The shortcut to Voice Mode can be found in the upper right of the Pandora app screen. Pandora chief product officer Chris Phillips noted that Voice Mode introduces “an even more natural and conversational way for listeners to discover new music … like getting recommendations from a friend who really knows you.” Continue reading Pandora Rolls Out Voice Mode Assistant For All Platforms

Spotify Appeals Copyright Rate Hike, Songwriters Respond

Spotify, the streaming music leader with 87 million global subscribers, is appealing the Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 decision to raise songwriters’ pay rate by 44 percent over the next five years. Spotify is joined in this unprecedented move by Amazon, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora. Artists are furious, especially since Spotify portrayed itself as being on the side of creatives. Those appealing the Board’s decision say they’re against its complex rules. Apple is the sole company who stands to benefit from the fray. Continue reading Spotify Appeals Copyright Rate Hike, Songwriters Respond

RIAA Reports On the Rising Dominance of Streaming Music

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)’s annual report revealed that, for the third year in a row, music revenue has been growing robustly. In 2018, music revenue enjoyed an 11.9 percent jump from 2017 for a total of $9.8 billion. The reason behind such growth, said the experts, is streaming services, which accounted for 75 percent of the revenue, equaling $7.4 billion. The RIAA also reported that sales of downloaded songs and albums have slumped significantly, below the sale of CDs and vinyl records. Continue reading RIAA Reports On the Rising Dominance of Streaming Music

Music Modernization Act Passed in Senate, Returns to House

Following the House of Representatives passage of the Music Modernization Act in April, the U.S. Senate also gave its unanimous consent on September 18. The bill was renamed after Republican Utah senator Orrin Hatch, also a songwriter, scheduled to retire at the end of his term this year. With the Senate passage, the bill will return to the House to get approval for all the changes made to achieve Senate approval. If and when the House approves, the bill will go to President Donald Trump to become law. Continue reading Music Modernization Act Passed in Senate, Returns to House

Netflix Teams With SiriusXM on New Comedy Radio Channel

Streaming video giant Netflix is making a move into satellite radio by launching a commercial-free comedy channel with satellite-radio broadcaster SiriusXM. The two are partnering on a new radio channel dubbed “Netflix Is a Joke Radio” that will draw content from Netflix’s growing library of comedy programs. Netflix also plans to produce original content. The channel will serve as a promotional tool for Netflix’s stand-up specials and ideally drive some of SiriusXM’s 33 million subscribers to the streaming video service. The channel is expected to launch in January 2019. Continue reading Netflix Teams With SiriusXM on New Comedy Radio Channel

Spotify Offers Direct Licensing Deals to Managers, Indie Acts

Spotify is offering some managers and indie music acts a new arrangement: Management firms can receive “several hundred thousand dollars” as an advance fee for licensing “a certain number of tracks” of their indie artists directly to Spotify. In addition, in some cases, the managers and acts will earn 50 percent of the revenue of those songs per stream. In comparison, major-label artists and their management teams usually get 20 percent to 50 percent of the label’s share and don’t own their master recordings. Continue reading Spotify Offers Direct Licensing Deals to Managers, Indie Acts

Radio Company iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The largest owner of radio stations in the U.S., iHeartMedia Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week to address $20 billion in debt. “The company said the agreement it ‍reached with holders of more than $10 billion of its outstanding debt would restructure its balance sheet by transferring 94 percent of the stock in the reorganized company to its lenders,” reports Reuters. The company has struggled with significant debt since its $17.9 billion leveraged buyout of Clear Channel Communications in 2008. Radio company Cumulus Media filed for Chapter 11 less than four months ago. Continue reading Radio Company iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Musicians and Music Groups Push for Updated Copyright Law

Musical artists and music organizations are banding together in an effort to pass copyright legislation on content recorded before February 17, 1972. A coalition of 213 artists and eight music organizations has joined forces to ask Congress to pass the “CLASSICS Act” (H.R. 3301/S. 2393), which would cover such older recordings, resulting in increased royalties for this older era of musical content. The coalition placed a two-page ad in Politico on February 14 that made their case for the legislation. Continue reading Musicians and Music Groups Push for Updated Copyright Law

Open Music Initiative Creates Wide Coalition for Music Rights

The Open Music Initiative (OMI) just opened, with the goal of simplifying how music creators and rights owners are identified and compensated. Founded by Berklee College of Music’s Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE), OMI also relies on the MIT Media Lab Digital Currency Initiative to develop open source frameworks, University College London researchers and faculty, global design company IDEO’s operational and strategic guidance and Context Labs, which is coordinating the technical platform. Continue reading Open Music Initiative Creates Wide Coalition for Music Rights

SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Berlin-based SoundCloud, which began signing licensing deals with major and indie record labels in 2014, just debuted its new subscription plan. The online music service’s 175 million regular users will now have the option of the free version, which features 100 million songs, or the $10/month subscription version, SoundCloud Go, which offers 125 million ad-free songs, and lets users save songs to their phones. In 2014, SoundCloud posted $19.5 million in revenue, but a net loss of almost $44 million. Continue reading SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs