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

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

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

Spotify Inks a New Licensing Deal with Universal Music Group

Spotify and Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record company, finally inked a global, multiyear licensing deal after two years of intermittent negotiations. With this deal in place, Spotify now has a better chance of convincing Sony and Warner to follow suit, and UMG, whose artists include Drake, U2, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga, has more flexibility on how it streams its music. Spotify’s contracts with UMG, Sony and Warner had expired long ago. Spotify, valued at $8 billion, now also has a clearer path to going public. Continue reading Spotify Inks a New Licensing Deal with Universal Music Group

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

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

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

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

Music Labels Cry Foul at YouTube and DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’

An International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) report points out that 20 million Americans, and 20 percent of the world’s population, still pirate music. Now, the IFPI will soon join the record labels’ trade group the RIAA in complaining that YouTube doesn’t pay a fair price for the music it gives away for free. At the same time, Universal Music Group, Sony and Warner Music Group are about to renegotiate their contracts with YouTube, and they say the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hurts their bargaining power. Continue reading Music Labels Cry Foul at YouTube and DMCA’s ‘Safe Harbor’

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

Flipagram Inks Music Deals, Raises $70M in Round B Funding

Flipagram is a mobile storytelling app that allows users to create short slideshows (or “Flipagrams”) by stitching together video content, photos and music. The company has made a significant step towards becoming one of the first such apps to incorporate modern music in a major way by signing licensing deals with top record labels and landing an additional $70 million in funding. According to CEO Farhad Mohit, Flipagram has attracted 33 million active monthly users in its first year. Continue reading Flipagram Inks Music Deals, Raises $70M in Round B Funding

Whipclip Attracts Media Partners and $40 Million Investment

Whipclip’s app, which allows users to immediately and legally share clips from TV shows and other media, raised an additional $40 million in Series C financing. Led by asset management firm Eminence Capital, other investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Rain Ventures and content partners A&E, ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, Fox, Lifetime, Sony Music and Universal Music Group. Whipclip CEO Rich Rosenblatt, previously co-founder of Demand Media, states that some clips have been viewed millions of times. Continue reading Whipclip Attracts Media Partners and $40 Million Investment

Apple Plans Music Streaming Service to Compete with Spotify

Facing a decline in download sales, Apple plans to launch a competitor to Spotify and other music streaming services. The announcement will likely be made at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. In 2003, the iTunes Music Store revolutionized how consumers buy music. While Apple currently sells about 80-85 percent of global music downloads, music consumption has changed, and the company only has a small fraction of the streaming business. Meanwhile, Spotify accounts for 86 percent of on-demand music streaming in the United States. Continue reading Apple Plans Music Streaming Service to Compete with Spotify

Grooveshark Shutters Music Service After Losing Legal Battle

After facing a six-year legal battle with major music labels, Escape Media has finally agreed to cease operations of music startup Grooveshark, which offered users access to millions of songs for free. Grooveshark’s founders recently published a formal statement to apologize for attempting to offer music without having the licensing agreements to legally do so. Under the terms of the settlement, the company has been mandated to shut down its website, apps and clear all of its servers.  Continue reading Grooveshark Shutters Music Service After Losing Legal Battle

New iPhone App Lets Users Share TV and Music Video Clips

A new app called Whipclip is making it easier for people to find, extract and legally share their favorite video clips from TV shows and music videos. At any given time, users can open the app, choose from a list of shows playing in real time and create snippets using the last two minutes of footage previously played from that show. It is reportedly that simple for users to create clips to be easily shared with friends through the app or across various social media platforms. Continue reading New iPhone App Lets Users Share TV and Music Video Clips

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