SXSW is by far my favorite music industry event. I’ve been honored to join the SXSW community as a mentor for the past three years. One of the many amazing things about SXSW is its hosting hundreds of artists, bands, and ensembles from around the world. Showcasing artists perform at dozens of venues for an entire week bringing together an array of musical experiences for everyone to enjoy, no matter their tastes. I’ve discovered new and up-and-coming artists, experienced interesting musical styles and performances, and have been awed by undiscovered talent.
SXSW organizers also highlight the impact showcasing has on many artists’ careers:
SXSW Showcasing Artists benefit from career changing exposure and publicity provided by the amazing mix of influential participants who attend SXSW every year. Showcasing at SXSW means performing in one of the many venues located in famous downtown Austin for industry reps, media members, and thousands of fans and fellow musicians from all over the world.
If you’ve ever thought about showcasing at SXSW, now is the time to working towards that goal. Today, SXSW Showcasing Artists applications open at SXSW.com. The deadline for early entry is Friday, September 8, 2017.
For full details, visit https://www.sxsw.com/apply-to-participate/showcase-applications/
I’m so proud to be able to unveil the info website for Royalty Claim today. I’ve had endless sleepless nights developing and designing the info site, and the actual database platform that’s launching soon.
Check it out, get your questions answered (see FAQ page), and pre-register for the beta.
The first public demo will be this Thursday at SCMIP x AMC LA Music Industry Meetup | DTLA Arts District.
In a recent article discussing Spotify’s year-over-year growth, Music Ally suggested that there is “evidence that Spotify may be planning to allow brands to sponsor individual tracks within its service” and shared a Twitter user’s post that appears to show a Sponsored Music / Sponsored Song indicator on the user’s Spotify account.
Not seen this in my Spotify settings before 🤔 pic.twitter.com/hWT58ymj1g
— Talia 🇪🇺 (@talia) June 2, 2017
Music Ally went on to clarify that they “contacted Spotify to ask about sponsored songs, and the [Spotify’s] spokesperson provided this response: ‘We are always testing new ways of putting the right music in front of the right audiences. But we don’t have any more information to share right now.'”
If brands can buy visibility for select songs over others, what is to stop major labels (and major indie labels) from cosying up with any one of their many strategic brand partners to influence the visibility of their songs over others? I suppose they already can and do do this with curated branded playlists.
If this does rollout, how will streaming monitoring services such as Nielsen — which factors streaming data into the ranking algorithm of some of their Billboard charts — take these streams into account? Will the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) allow these streams to be factored into Gold and Platinum certification? How will these sponsored streams affect overall royalty calculations and payments to artists and songwriters? And why does this all reek of payola?
Post your thoughts in the comments.
As of this writing, there are currently 116,133 verifiable* payments owed to music creators and rights-holders that are sitting in unclaimed/undistributed royalties escrow accounts (referred to as “Black Box” funds**) in the United States.
The actual number of individual payments owed is likely closer to or exceeds 1 Million, however the actual number is unknown because the administrator(s) of some of the biggest Black Box funds have not made public their list of payees to whom they owe royalties.
Unfortunately, due to the statute of limitations on these funds many of these payments expire. Every month payees unknowingly forfeit their rights to these payments and the interest in the royalties revert back to the administrator. This happens because the payee does not contact the administrator of the fund to claim their royalties. Granted, most payees are unaware that these payments are waiting for them because the administrator is unable to reach the payee for various reasons.
It has been estimated that the global “Black Box” royalties could be in the billions of dollars owed to music creators and rights-holders.
Imagine working somewhere and then you do not receive a paycheck because the HR department does not have your new address. Not a perfect analogy, but not receiving monies that you’ve earned as a result of your hard work seems unfair.
THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM
So, I am happy to announce that I am working on a side project called Royalty Claim. Royalty Claim will attempt to work with as many of these administrators to aggregate their databases of millions of records of unclaimed/undistributed royalties and make that information available to the public. There are other services and insight that we will offer through Royalty Claim to help educate music creators and rights-holders on Black Box funds and how to limit/prevent their earnings from falling victim to the broken global music licensing ecosystem (such as taking control of your music catalog with TuneRegistry).
Also, follow @RoyaltyClaim on Twitter.
* These 116,133 payments are specifically verifiable because the list of payee names can be gathered from several databases.
** I am currently aware of over 30 funds and sub funds being managed in the United States. However, there are definitely many more that are “private”.
I’ve been hearing that Spotify is rolling out their BETA for their new Spotify Ad Studio, which they are comparing to Google Adwords and Facebook. Some artist managers I’ve spoken with are already in the beta and using it to run ad campaigns on Spotify.
One manager posted in a group that I’m in:
Everyone go to adstudio.spotify.com and check it out for yourselves. Apparently I already have access. The targeting doesn’t get as fine as Facebook, for example, and there’s a $250 minimum spend which gets about 10,000 airings at $0.025 each. There’s also a $5,000 maximum, I presume per campaign, and above that you’re getting into their Spotify For Brands territory which has a $25,000 campaign minimum spend.
They also specify that they don’t currently support driving traffic to songs or playlists. Their ad objectives are ‘Announce an event,’ ‘Raise brand awareness,’ ‘Drive people to my website,’ and ‘Other.’
If you’re interested in advertising content, they encourage you to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to learn more, here’s a Google Doc with FAQs:
The Open Music Initiative (OMI) is seeking student software developers, musicians and visual artists for the 2017 OMI Summer Lab running June 5-July 28 in Boston, MA. These paid internships will explore the technical challenges of utilizing distributed ledgers and the Open Music Initiative API for:
- Cataloging, attributing and distributing live DJ mixes
- Commercializing mixtapes built from original material and back catalogs
- Compensating musicians for visual works using their songs as data
- Identifying individuals for their contribution to single tracks in new works
The eight week program will be facilitated by globally renowned innovation and design firm, IDEO, and Berklee College of Music’s Berklee ICE, and supported by sponsors which include Intel and the Inter-American Development Bank. At the end of the summer, teams will demo new art works utilizing blockchain registration, share evolved use cases and make recommendations for additional features to the Open Music Initiative API based upon their experience.
We are seeking currently enrolled college students that are collaborative, curious, flexible, detail oriented, and technically interested with the following skills:
- Blockchain Developer… you’ve made your own crypto currency, maybe your own virtual wallet or market, you have an opinion about how this stuff should work in the future
- User Experience Designer or Front End Developer… you can code data into art, you can code a website from scratch, you’ve moved beyond the hamburger menu
- Graphic Designer… you simplify complicated ideas artistically, you’re marketing-minded, you wish you had met Reid Miles
- Business Associate… you’re entrepreneurially minded, you can size a market, you know just enough about the law to be dangerous
- Musicians… you have a favorite genre but you can jam with anyone, you like to experiment with new technology, you’re cool under pressure, you know your way around a turntable
- Visual Artist… your medium is digital data, your art doesn’t know a resting state, you think in an XYZ axis
If you match one of these descriptions then please apply here then join us for a final selection hackathon on Saturday, April 22 at IDEO in Cambridge, MA. You must participate in the hackathon to be selected. Chosen students will receive $3,000 each for full participation in the Summer Lab.
Online music industry publication, Hypebot, has featured my startup TuneRegistry in its “The Pitch” series today. Hypebot gave us the opportunity to introduce our platform and tell its readers what makes TuneRegistry special; in 100 words or less. Check it out here.
Pandora recently launched its sleeker new look. The centerpiece of the new user interface is the song artwork, which is now bigger and more prominent than ever. The artwork is also used as a color-washed background.
In an email sent to YouTube Music partners this week, YouTube announced that it will change the way it handles publishing.
Currently, YouTube allows rights holders to submit metadata and ownership information to a single global composition record. If there are multiple rights holders, their information is aggregated and rolled up into the “global” composition asset. Then various owners of sound recordings can create relationships (matches) between the “global” composition and their sound recordings. For example, 3 cover song recordings matched to a single “global” composition. However, YouTube is changing this process.
YouTube is doing away with a “global” composition and Composition Asset ID, which all rights holders on the composition would share, and now requiring that rights holders submit a “Composition Share” asset (think of it in relationship to a Split Sheet, the writer/publisher share) and provide their own unique Custom ID to YouTube, which associates back to the composition in the rights holder’s own database (e.g. a catalog number).
Notably, YouTube will no longer create composition to sound recording relationships on behalf of rights holders. It will become more important than ever for right holders to stay on top of their ownership splits and submissions. Furthermore, because YouTube will now rely on rights holders own Custom IDs, it will be important to implement and maintain a clean unique ID database. This could be the catalog number or the same unique ID the publishers use when registering works to PROs via CWR.
Read the full email below…
Dear YouTube Music Publishing Partner,
We are launching a new publishing data model to give you more transparency into and control over how your rights are associated with sound recording assets. In this new model, we will no longer have one “global” composition asset with metadata, ownership, and embedded relationships provided by various owners. Instead, each owner will have their own “Composition Share” assets. These “Composition Share” assets represent only the metadata and ownership information provided by a single owner. Your provided embedded relationships between “Composition Share” assets and sound recording assets will always be applied.
Our current planned launch date for this change is four weeks from now, on Monday, April 3.
This new model will require one major change on your side. Because we will be deprecating our historical Composition Assets and replacing them with a new asset type, today’s Composition Asset IDs will no longer be used. In most cases where you now use Composition Asset ID (including delivery and reporting), you should transition to using the Custom ID field. We recommend that the data you provide in this field always mirror the proprietary work codes that you use in your own database. In order for your Custom IDs to behave in a sensical and deterministic manner, it is critically important that your Custom IDs function as a primary key. That is, every Composition Share must have a Custom ID, and each Custom ID must refer to one and only one Composition Share. We strongly urge you to examine your Custom ID data now and confirm that your Custom IDs refer to only a single work each. If you suspect that this is not the case, please reach out to [omitted] for assistance. We would be happy to send you reports of how you are currently using Custom ID and where any gaps in your data may exist. If your Custom IDs do not function as a primary key in our new model, you may experience errors and ingestion failures.
Because this is a major change, this may require some workflow adjustments on your side. A few important things you should be aware of:
You will have greater control of embedded relationships between Sound Recordings and “Composition Shares.” Any embedded relationships delivered by any publishing partner will always be applied. If partners deliver conflicting data, these conflicts will immediately manifest in the YouTube Content Manager. By the same token, if you do not deliver us a Composition-Share-to-Sound-Recording relationship, we will not create one for you based on other partners’ data. You can continue to create these relationships through CSV ingestions, and we will be adding the ability to delete these relationships in bulk via CSV ingestions. We are also adding functionality to the Content Manager to allow you to edit these relationships directly in the user interface.
Conflicts now exist at the Sound Recording level, rather than at the Composition level. This means that you will see a larger number of conflicts in your conflicts queue. This increase in the number of assets in conflict does not necessarily represent a larger number of views in conflict; conflicts are merely being reported to you on a more granular level. Given that you will now have greater control over embedded relationships, conflicts caused by bad data should be much easier to resolve. When communicating about conflicts with other partners, you should now use Sound Recording Asset IDs instead of Composition Asset IDs.
Asset revenue will be reported at the Sound Recording level, rather than at the Composition level. This means that your asset revenue reports will grow (they will have more lines). To see revenue reported to you at the Composition level, simply pivot the asset revenue report on Custom ID. If you need assistance processing these larger reports, please reach out to your technical account manager or send an email to [omitted].
We recognize that this is a major change that may result in substantial changes to your current workflows. We want to make this change as easy as possible for you and we are here to help and to listen to your feedback. If you have any questions not addressed in this email or on the Help Center, please contact your regular YouTube representatives. To submit feedback directly to our product specialists, please hit the “Help & Feedback” button in CMS. For operational or technical support, please reach out to [omitted]. We will also be hosting office hours and workshops at our New York City office, at our Los Angeles office, and in Nashville in the weeks after the new model is launched. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to your regular YouTube contacts.
YouTube Music Publishing Team
Following on from the global market share numbers we released on Sunday, here are our findings regarding the growth of the overall market.
Throughout 2016 as the major label earnings were coming in there was a growing awareness that 2016 was going to be a landmark year for the recorded music business. It finally looked like streaming was going to push the industry into growth. Now with full year numbers in, the picture is even more positive than it first appeared. The recorded music market grew by 7% in 2016, adding $1.1 billion, reaching $16.1 billion, by far the largest growth the recorded music business has experienced since Napster and co pushed revenues into free fall.
While it is too early to state that the corner has been turned, this is clearly a turning point of some form for the business. Underpinning the growth was streaming which grew by…
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