Snap Inc. Hoping to Expand Use of Music in Snapchat App

As Snap faces increased pressure from competitors such as Facebook’s Instagram and ByteDance’s TikTok, the company is reportedly talking with music labels for broader licensing agreements to allow increased use of music via the popular Snapchat app. According to people familiar with the matter, Snap is in discussions with Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Snap is not looking to launch the next Spotify, but rather expand the way its users can integrate music into Snaps and social media applications. Continue reading Snap Inc. Hoping to Expand Use of Music in Snapchat App

Spotify Promotes Potential Growth as It Prepares to Go Public

As Spotify Technology SA prepares to go public, co-founder and chief executive officer Daniel Ek has some convincing to do. Not necessarily about the company’s numbers, which are impressive (70 million paying subscribers, for starters), but about the potential for growth and revenue. On the one hand, with Spotify’s help, the music business has seen three years of global growth after 15 years of decline — but on the other hand, Spotify isn’t making money, having to contend with music-rights holders collecting over 75 cents per dollar.

Continue reading Spotify Promotes Potential Growth as It Prepares to Go Public

YouTube Signs Agreement With Universal, Sony Music Labels

After two years of negotiations, YouTube is finally inking a long-term pact with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, the top two music labels. The new agreement, say the labels, establishes royalty rates for rights holders of professional music videos and user-loaded clips, offers stronger policing of uploads of copyrighted songs, and gives artists more money and flexibility. The deal is also a precursor to YouTube launching a paid music service early in 2018. Continue reading YouTube Signs Agreement With Universal, Sony Music Labels

YouTube Readies Subscription-Based Music Streaming Service

According to sources, YouTube will debut a paid music service in March, marking the third attempt by parent company Alphabet to compete with Spotify and Apple. Warner Music Group has reportedly already signed on to the new effort and discussions are underway with the other two major record labels, Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, as well as Merlin, an alliance of independent labels. Apple and Spotify’s paid streaming music services have helped the music business grow after two decades of decline. Continue reading YouTube Readies Subscription-Based Music Streaming Service

U.S. Federal Court Closes Largest Music Stream-Ripping Site

Approximately 60 million global visitors to German-operated YouTube-mp3.org have availed themselves of pirated music every month, worth millions of dollars every year. The free ride is over, as the U.S. Federal Court Central District of California just ruled in favor of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which brought a suit on behalf of music labels. The now-shuttered site and others like it operate by removing the audio file from a music video and distributing it as a free permanent download. Continue reading U.S. Federal Court Closes Largest Music Stream-Ripping Site

Apple Inks Deal With Warner Music Group, Sony Pact Next

Apple inked a deal with Warner Music Group, its first with a major label since it launched Apple Music, its streaming music service. According to insiders, Warner will provide Apple with an extensive song catalog for both iTunes and Apple Music. Sources say that Apple will pay a smaller percentage of sales from Apple Music subscribers than it did under its first deal. On-demand streaming is now the dominant model for music sales, and the technology companies and music publishers are creating a framework for doing business. Continue reading Apple Inks Deal With Warner Music Group, Sony Pact Next

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

Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

The ETC@USC helped Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment establish their summer 2016 VR Innovation Program. Over the course of 10 weeks, 14 USC student associates pitched, rapid-prototyped, and delivered seven proof-of-concept projects of interest to Sony executives. The students worked under the supervision of Sony execs and two advisors from the USC faculty. Sony generously supplied a presentation deck describing the program’s goals and process for distribution by the ETC. Building on their positive experience, Sony is currently running a 2017 summer program with the scope expanded to include AR and live action narrative VR. Continue reading Sony Expands Scope of VR Innovation Program This Summer

Warner Renews its Music and Publishing Deals With YouTube

Warner Music Group has renewed its music and publishing deals with YouTube following “months of tough negotiations,” according to WMG CEO Stephen Cooper. The renewal includes Warner Music record labels and the Warner/Chappell Music publishing division. Music labels have been limited by safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that “allow digital services leeway in hosting and taking down unlicensed content,” reports Billboard. “Neither of Warner’s major competitors, Universal Music Group or Sony Music Entertainment, have reached new deals with YouTube and are still operating on a month-to-month basis, sources say.” Continue reading Warner Renews its Music and Publishing Deals With YouTube

Pandora Plus Makes Debut, Record Labels Experience Uptick

Pandora unveiled Pandora Plus, replacing the 16-year old company’s original ad-free service. What’s different is that the company now licenses music from the major record labels, rather than using compulsory licenses from the government, with rates determined by federal judges. With the new version, users can replay or skip songs and listen offline. The monthly price remains $4.99. Out of Pandora’s nearly 80 million users, only 4 million are paying subscribers. An on-demand tier for $10/month will also debut by end of 2016. Continue reading Pandora Plus Makes Debut, Record Labels Experience Uptick

Vevo Puts Emphasis on Social with Rebranding and New App

Vevo, launched by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group in 2009 to sell digital advertising, is going through a rebranding. About 400 million people watch the company’s relatively small catalog of 200,000 music videos, but they primarily watch them on YouTube. Vevo wants to change that. Although it already had an app, it’s rolling out a brand new one that Vevo hopes will not only capture viewers but keep them there with conversations and social media. The company also plans to roll out an ad-free subscription tier. Continue reading Vevo Puts Emphasis on Social with Rebranding and New App

Music Industry, YouTube in Stalemate Over Copyright Tracking

The music industry and YouTube disagree over the efficacy of YouTube’s Content ID system, which tracks content for which royalties are due. According to YouTube, Content ID is 99.7 percent accurate and responsible for $3 billion in payments to the music industry. However, music rights holders put Content ID’s accuracy at about 50 percent, adding that they must engage in time-consuming daily manual searches to find offenders. Also at issue are rates, with YouTube’s payments considerably less than those from other streaming services. Continue reading Music Industry, YouTube in Stalemate Over Copyright Tracking

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

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

Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

Vevo, a joint venture of Universal Music Group, Google, Sony Music Entertainment, and Abu Dhabi Media, just bought Showyou, a subscription-based video streaming platform and Vevo’s first-ever acquisition. The move is largely seen as Vevo’s effort to become more independent from its reliance on YouTube and to compete directly with other premium products including YouTube Red and Spotify. Showyou, which started as a social curation platform in 2011, switched to a subscription-based service last year. Continue reading Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

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