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Guest Post: How Amazon’s Twitch.tv Cheats Music Creators

This is just another example of the way in which the DMCA Safe Harbor forces music creators to subsidize the businesses of mega corporations.

Music Technology Policy

Guest post* by Erin M. Jacobson, Esq.

[This article was first posted on Forbes.com and previously on themusicindustrylawyer.com.]

Music creators (songwriters and performing artists) and rights’ owners (music publishers and record labels) are not collecting a new and substantial source of income – and most of them are not aware they are not collecting it. Enter Twitch, the website exploiting creators and owners without paying for a single cent of music usage.

What is Twitch

Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon, is a live-streaming video platform that has “over two million broadcasters and 15 million daily active users.” Anyone can become a Twitch “broadcaster,” meaning users set up their own channels and live-stream various content, which includes, but is not limited to, video-game play, card games, pranks, craft tutorials and more.

The broadcasts start out as live streams and are saved on the channel for re-broadcasts and…

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Rule Takers vs. Rule Makers: Congress Should Support Startups in the Music Modernization Act

Chris Castle eloquently expresses a view and sentiment on the MMA, in regards to its potential impact on startups and competition, with which I agree. One could also argue that antitrust regulations would suggest that the proposed MLC (Music Licensing Collective) ought to have competiton in much the way ASCAP directly competes with BMI. Ironically, though, I recently wrote about the antitrust regulations that prevent visual artists from entering into collective licensing mandates in the United States for their reprographic rights, which ultimately result in unclaimed “black box” reprographic royalties internationally.

Music Technology Policy

If you read the current version of the Music Modernization Act, you may fine that it’s more about government mandates that entrench incumbents than a streamlined blanket compulsory license that helps startups climb the ladder.  Yet in the weeds of MMA we find startups dealt out of governance by rule makers and forced as a rule taker to ante up payments by their competitors in a game that the bill makes into the only game in town.

Billboard reports that Senators Cornyn and Cruz suggested a fix for this flaw—allow private market competition alongside the MMA’s government mandate.  (Vaguely reminiscent of the “Section 115 Reform Act” from 2006.)

Let’s review why this fix is necessary and how it could balance the roles of rule makers and takers.

It’s necessary because the problem doesn’t come from songwriters.  It comes from the real rule makers—Amazon, Apple, Facebook…

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Here’s Why I Refunded 100% Of Our Revenue To Every Single Paying Customer, For Four Months

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A LESSON ON CUSTOMER SERVICE DURING THE MOST DIFFICULT OF TIMES:

I’ve just spent the last several hours personally emailing (original email at the very end of this post) and refunding every TuneRegistry​ customer who made a subscription payment since my departure at the top of March 2018.

I’ve refunded each and every one of these wonderful music creators and rights-holders for every day that my co-founders and I were unable to oversee the operations and support of the technology that we sacrificed 3 years to build and grow.

For four months, we were unable to perform the quality service and support that we pride ourselves in providing. For four months, we were unable to deliver on our promise shaped by the value proposition that attracted our customers. For four stressful months, we were unable to push forward our mission to empower music creators and rights-holders.

And while returning over 4 months of subscription revenue is something no entrepreneur would ever volunteer to do, I do not believe that any customer who supports you, who believes in you, should have to pay the price for changes in upper management that impacts the service.

Today, hundreds of refunds were sent out. Here’s a few customer reactions:

“Hello Dae, Thanks for reaching out that was a great thing to do. The refund would be cool, however, I still want to keep the service. Thanks again.” – Dean

“Dae, Congrats on winning TuneRegistery back! Must feel good. I look forward to getting back on the platform and utilizing your updated services. Loving your work!” – Amishar

“I am glad things will be restored back to normal.” – Octavia

“Thank you for your honesty.” – Kristen

“Good afternoon Dae. I really appreciate your concern with regaining rapport with your customers and thank you for offering the refund!” – William

“Thanks Dae! I’m stoked you’re back at the helm and am looking forward to using the new platform!! Thanks!!” – Andy

“Thank you for your courtesy!” – Tiffany

“Thank you for taking over again. ” – Aleisha

“Welcome back, I’m looking forward to working with you and the renewing platform.” – Sadiq

“I am very happy that you are back hoping to continue working together as it is a great help for us independent producers and composers.” – Ricardo

“Hi , I kept my faith and you guys prove me well.” – Jabari

“Thank you SO much. I really wanted to enjoy this service, and I hope to continue to work with your program! ” – Eugene

“Thanks you for this email I was very upset with the service I am so glad you reached out to me about this.” – Wayne

“Dae, Truly grateful for your response. And look forward to moving forward with you guys. I appreciate this heartfelt message and thank you for touching bases and working to right what you feel are the wrongs. Bless. Thank you” – Allen

“I wish you all the best of luck! It’s great to hear that you’ve gotten back behind the wheel and I look forward to seeing you soar!” – Donny

“I’m glad to hear you are all back and on it. I’m praying the best for you on this endeavor.” – Jesse

“Hi Dae, I accept your apology and refund with open arms! Can’t wait to see what the new services are. Thanks.” – Sean

“Hey Dae, Appreciate this- I have been aware of your situation and completely understand. A refund would be appreciated, but I would love to give the platform another shot once you have things back to your standard. I wish you and your team the best in this, and I appreciate the insight you’ve given me in the past, thanks man!” – Tom

“I accept and would love to use your service with you back in charge again.” – Zachary

“Welcome back, Dae, Shane, and Kara!” – Jordan

Honesty is the way to begin building back rapport with frustrated customer base.

Subject: A huge apology from the co-founders of TuneRegistry

Hi Greg,

My name is Dae Bogan and I am the founder of TuneRegistry. I am contacting you in regards to your experience with TuneRegistry over the last four months.

Unfortunately, the TuneRegistry co-founders (myself, Shane and Kara) have not been apart of the TuneRegistry operations and support for the last nearly 4 months.

TuneRegistry was acquired by Haawk in November of 2017. Due to circumstances, the TuneRegistry co-founders, known for our excellent customer support, departed Haawk in early March 2018. Consequently, we have not been able to provide the great support and service that we take pride in providing. To make matters worse, the TuneRegistry platform was not properly maintained during our absence, making it impossible to complete tasks.

The good news is, we just acquired TuneRegistry back a week ago and now have the reigns once again. We will be working to restore operations and support over the next week or two and in the coming months, we will be launching a revamped platform with new features and service offerings.

I apologize for the the poor experience you’ve endured during our absence and would like to offer paid users a complete refund of the last four months. To claim your refund, simply reply to this email or contact us through the in-app messenger.

Kind regards,

Dae Bogan (CEO), Shane Zilinskas (CTO), and Kara McGehee (CPO)

Operation Song

I absolutely love this.

Music Technology Policy

“In a world in which everything is subject to the passing of time, art alone is both subject to time and yet victorious over it.”
― André Malraux

operationsong_logo_color_v1-400x400

I wanted to call your attention to Operation Song, a nonprofit run by our friend Bob Regan the songwriter.  It’s a wonderful organization that describes itself:

Operation Song™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Nashville Tennessee founded in 2012. We pair professional songwriters with veterans, active military and their families to help them tell their stories through song. We hold weekly workshops in Middle Tennessee and sponsor events and group retreats throughout the U.S. Those we serve need no musical background, only the desire to tell their story. In a typical session, the songwriter listens and encourages the participant to lay out the “puzzle pieces” of his or her experience. Together, they arrange those pieces into verses and choruses. The result…

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Is Michael Beckerman Wearing Your Safe Harbor?

Music Technology Policy

As MTP readers will recall, I prefer to think of Big Tech’s various safe harbors like the CDA, DMCA and now the MMA as an income transfer.  It’s not that the money isn’t getting made, it’s just not getting made by the people who created the value.

For example, when Google profits from selling ads against infringing videos, that money doesn’t disappear, it just doesn’t go to the artist.  So where does it go?

Well…according to a recent article in Modern Luxury “Men of Style,” it appears to go into Michael Beckerman’s shoes.  Michael Beckerman is the CEO of the Internet Association, Google’s main lobbying shillery in DC.

Michael Beckerman

That’s right–$4,950 shoes.  But no socks.  Now that’s what I call an income transfer.  Looks like DMCA safe harbor on his feet, CDA for his watch–what will he buy himself as a reward for the MMA reachback?  Maybe a little poker in…

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My Statement On TuneRegistry

I have received several messages regarding poor customer support and unresolved technical issues from TuneRegistry users who’ve signed up as a result of my evangelism over the platform that I co-founded to empower indie rights-holders, especially DIY musicians, with a tool to be their own publisher.

I am making this brief statement because I feel it is necessary.

I founded TuneRegistry in 2015 and the 1.0 platform launched March 2017 at SXSW. It was acquired by HAAWK in November 2017. The original co-founders, including myself, were hired into HAAWK as employees (we also brought over some of our dev contractors) as part of the deal. Long story short, things did not work out and all of us departed Haawk the first week of March 2018.

Over the last nearly 3 months, TuneRegistry has had no maintenance nor sufficient customer support and it breaks my heart because my co-founders and I sacrificed years of our time, energy, effort and our own money (we completely bootstrapped it) to bring TuneRegistry to market.

The good news is, I am in the process of acquiring TuneRegistry back from Haawk and running it independently once again.

We have many industry partners and initiatives lined up to make TuneRegistry bigger and better. The deal should be closed in the coming weeks and I will have TuneRegistry under my control once again.

TuneRegistry will continue to enable artists to be their own publisher in the United States, enable artists to collect 100% of their US publishing royalties and retain 100% of their copyrights until such time as you choose to share your legacy with a worthy publisher.

— Dae Bogan
Co-founder, TuneRegistry

P.S. Learn about being your own publisher. Download my free ebook “The DIY Musician’s Starter Guide To Being Your Own Label & Publisher” at http://www.daeboganmusic.com

Congress Is Giving Musicians First Chance of Fair Pay in Decades


“‘The MMA gives a digital service like Spotify or Amazon a more convenient way of licensing songs,’ Dae Bogan, founder of music management platform TuneRegistry and a longtime music rights advocate and executive, explains. ‘And it opens a potential windfall of income to legacy artists who were left out of the digital boom.’ But Bogan adds that the legislation doesn’t come close to fixing all, or even most, of the problems in music royalties for labels, publishers and musicians; the simplified processes just make it more likely they’ll get the money they’re due.” via RollingStone

Read the full piece here: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/congress-is-giving-musicians-first-chance-of-fair-pay-in-decades-w520301

Here’s What I’m Checking Out At ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo

Are you attending the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo next week? With so many great panels this year, it’s definitely a task to curate your own schedule. As a music rights enthusiast, my curated schedule is full of panels on topics I care about the most: copyrights, publishing, royalties, and metadata. Check out the full details of each panel, including speaker bios, here.

dae_bogan_ascap_i_create_music_expo_2018_schedule

SCMIP May 2018 Music Industry Mixer [ASCAP Expo Edition]

We’re back with an amazing free music industry mixer. SoCal Music Industry Professionals (SCMIP) May 2018 Music Industry Mixer will take place next week during ASCAP Expo Week. Join music industry professionals for a night of drinks and mingling at Harlowe in West Hollywood.

I am the organizer of SCMIP. For the last 2+years, I’ve been hosting these networking mixers at different bars every few months to help music industry professionals in SoCal network (recording artists, songwriters, musicians, music producers & engineers, record company and music publishing reps, touring agents and venue bookers, artist managers and lawyers, etc.).

All are welcome. Join us on Facebook and/or Meetup.

RSVP: https://scmipmay2018.eventbrite.com

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