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Apply To Perform At SXSW 2018 – Applications Open Today

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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/

Royalty Claim Initiative Unveils RoyaltyClaim.com

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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.

Is Spotify Rolling Out Sponsored Songs? And Why Does That Reek Of Payola?

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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.

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.

I’m Working On A Side Project Addressing ‘Black Box’ Royalties

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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).

Want to get updates on the Royalty Claim project and be the first to know when we have something to reveal? Sign-up for our email list at www.RoyaltyClaim.com.

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”.

Spotify Moves Spotify Ad Studio Into Beta – Opens Up To Indie Artists & Managers

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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 adstudio@spotify.com

Want to learn more, here’s a Google Doc with FAQs:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fJy2Oa5wfIjC_JSU4CaMwsEI7foZmvsNajv1gbyTtXA/edit#heading=h.b2gzvaa9sgx

Open Music Initiative Announces Applications Open For 2017 OMI Summer Lab – Paid Internships

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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.

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