Music Labels File Lawsuit Claiming Charter Enables Piracy

Sony, Universal, Warner music labels, and their subsidiaries, have filed a suit in the U.S. District Court in Colorado, claiming that Charter Communications is enabling music piracy. The claim states that Charter hasn’t ended the accounts of subscribers who pirate copyrighted songs, and that it aids users illegally download music by selling access to high Internet speeds. The latter isn’t a violation of the law, but Internet providers can be held responsible for serial infringers if they do not cut their accounts. Continue reading Music Labels File Lawsuit Claiming Charter Enables Piracy

YouTube to Sell Vevo Music Video Clips Direct to Advertisers

Google’s YouTube will now sell Vevo’s music video clips directly to advertisers, as part of a deal struck late last year but just made public. Up until now, Vevo had the first pass at selling its own videos, leaving automated, remnant ad sales to Google. At YouTube’s “Brandcast” pitch event to advertisers, the company did not so much announce the terms of the deal, but let it slip that it was selling Vevo clips in its “Google Preferred” tier, which is a collection of its most valuable and most “brand-safe” content. Continue reading YouTube to Sell Vevo Music Video Clips Direct to Advertisers

Facebook to Enter the Smart Speaker Market With Two Devices

By no later than July 2018, Facebook plans to introduce two smart speakers with 15-inch touchscreens. Code-named Aloha and Fiona, the two smart speakers, say sources, are aimed to let family and friends stay in touch with video chat and other social features. With the launch, Facebook joins Amazon, Alibaba, Apple, Google and Microsoft, all of which have debuted smart speakers into the global marketplace. According to Canalys, smart speaker sales are on track to double to over 50 million units in 2018. Continue reading Facebook to Enter the Smart Speaker Market With Two Devices

Sony Inks Deal Pioneering Stem Licensing for DJs, Remixers

For years, to create remixes of popular songs, DJs and remixers have used stems — isolated instrument tracks and vocals — but not legally. Now, Nashville-based startup Remix Hits has signed a landmark deal with Sony Music that will allow DJs and other remixers to purchase and download licensed, and therefore legal, stems. Remix Hits, which is also in discussions with Warner Music and Universal Music, has created a hit song stem marketplace. The licensing model includes a revenue sharing plan for rights holders. Continue reading Sony Inks Deal Pioneering Stem Licensing for DJs, Remixers

‘Despacito’ Has Become the Most-Viewed Video on YouTube

Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee have achieved a notable milestone; the music video for their summer hit single “Despacito” is now the most-watched YouTube video in history. The song reached #1 in May — the first Spanish-language song to do so since “Macarena” in 1996 — and has been atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks. Universal Music Latin posted the video in January, which has since been viewed more than 3 billion times, and has surpassed the previous record held by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth for “See You Again” (from the “Furious 7” soundtrack). Continue reading ‘Despacito’ Has Become the Most-Viewed Video on YouTube

Chinese Search Engine Baidu Now Defender of Copyright Law

Since Baidu began creating and licensing content, the Chinese search engine titan has become focused on protecting copyright, a complete U-turn from the days when it was often accused of being a pipeline for pirated content. Among its newly licensed content are original shows from Netflix. Data from China’s Supreme People’s Court reveals that almost 87,000 copyright-related cases were filed in the country in 2016, a figure that is 15-times more than the cases filed ten years previously. Continue reading Chinese Search Engine Baidu Now Defender of Copyright Law

Sony, Universal Ink Deals with Pandora for Streaming Services

Sony Music, Universal Music and Merlin Network, which represents 20,000 independents, have agreed to license songs to Pandora for its two new music services. Pandora plans to offer the advertising-free Pandora Plus and an on-demand service similar to Spotify. The company is also still in talks with Warner Music in an attempt to ink a deal with this third-largest music rights holder. Pandora hopes to launch both of its new services by the end of 2016. As of June 30, Pandora says it has 78.1 million active listeners. Continue reading Sony, Universal Ink Deals with Pandora for Streaming Services

Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

Warner Music Group, which has ownership stakes in streaming services, will now share revenue with artists if and when those services go public or are sold. Following Warner’s lead, Sony Music confirmed it would do the same. Analysts believe the move is an attempt to woo artists who receive miniscule returns from streaming. Two other trends leave musicians out in the cold: royalties are often not pegged to a specific song and record labels have traded more generous royalty rates for part ownership of streaming services. Continue reading Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

SoundCloud Strikes New Licensing Deal with Universal Music

Streaming music site SoundCloud will now have access to the Universal Music catalog, including songs from artists like The Weeknd, Sam Smith and U2. The licensing agreement allows Universal Music artists to make money from the advertising on SoundCloud when their songs are played. SoundCloud already has licensing agreements with other music companies, including Merlin and Warner Music Group. The company said it would also introduce a paid streaming subscription service this year. Continue reading SoundCloud Strikes New Licensing Deal with Universal Music

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

Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

The line between “fair use” in copyright law and outright theft has often been unclear, but a recent U.S. District Court ruling drew the line on a case involving Equals Three Studios and viral-video aggregator Jukin Media. Jukin accused Equals Three of illegally taking dozens of clips for use in its own YouTube show. Equals Three sued Jukin, saying its actions were protected by fair use, and that Jukin’s takedown deprived it of ad revenue. The Court’s ruling sides with Equals Three on all but one of the videos under consideration. Continue reading Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

Amazon Launches Streaming Music Update with Prime Stations

Amazon has introduced “Prime Stations” for users of its Prime Music iOS app. The mobile update is intended to help the music service better compete with the likes of Pandora and iTunes Radio. Prime Stations are ad-free stations that offer unlimited song skips. The updated app features personalized recommendations that are based on a user’s play history and will therefore become more accurate over time. Prime Stations can also learn from user feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down) to create better playlists. Continue reading Amazon Launches Streaming Music Update with Prime Stations

Universal’s Crowdfunding Effort to Save Out-of-Print Vinyl

Universal Music is developing a crowdfunding service that will support limited-edition releases of out-of-print vinyl records. The Vinyl Project aims to bring back rare and deleted records from Universal’s back catalog. CMU reports that releases currently being considered for availability to funders include “ABC” by The Jackson 5, Björk’s “Biophilia,” “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John, “His N Hers” by Pulp, Def Leppard’s “Hysteria” and “Disraeli Gears” by Cream. Continue reading Universal’s Crowdfunding Effort to Save Out-of-Print Vinyl