Tag Archives: news

July News From Our Store Partners

By Stefanie Flamm

Our stores are gearing up for the second half of the year with some exciting new developments:

  • Spotify attempts to rival Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio by launching two new radio shows on their service.
  • TIDAL caters to both artists and listeners alike at the twelfth annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival in DUMBO.
  • After a two year wait, Deezer has finally been made widely available for listeners in the United States.

Spotify launches two new radio stations to compete with Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio.

Spotify is giving Apple Music a run for their money by launching two new exclusive radio stations. Similar to Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio, Secret Genius and AM/PM are artist-focused and feature new music, artist interviews, and more.

spotify-logoAM/PM focuses on the music that guest artists like to listen to, both in the morning and at night. In addition to the interviews, each episode comes packed with an AM and PM playlist curated by the guest. Guests artists thus far include Tinie Tempah, Wolf Alice, Lianne La Havas, and more.

“There’s an experimental edge to what we’re doing: let’s try this out and give it a go,” said Spotify’s Rob Fitzpatrick. “…AM/PM is an artist-friendly way of doing that without it becoming a thing that turns into a slog for them.”

Secret Genius concentrates on songwriters, interviewing different artists every week to discuss the songwriting and collaborative process. Guests have included breakout star James Blake, as well as more behind-the-scenes songwriters Nick Van Eede, Ed Drewett and Nicky Chinn.

The radio stations are available to all Spotify users, including those with free accounts.

Brooklyn Bridge Park provides a backdrop for TIDAL’s latest exclusive concerts at the 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was pulsing with the sound of hip hop earliertidal logo this month. The TIDAL-sponsored 12th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival was a major attraction for hip hop lovers from New York and the Tri-State Area, featuring headliners like Nas and TuneCore artist Talib Kweli.

The 4-day event was held in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a small neighborhood tucked in between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges that is home to both the festival and TuneCore’s Brooklyn office. Each day was unique, offering a different flavor of hip hop entertainment for every day of the festival.

Wednesday, July 13th kicked things off with the “Hip Hop Institute,” a series of lectures and workshops with artists and executives of the hip hop world. The lectures covered everything from making it as a musician to what it means to be a woman in hip hop. In the aftermath of several police shootings this month, keynote speaker DeRay McKesson inspired listeners with words about Black Lives Matter.  

Day two focused on hip hop and film with the Dummy Clap Film Festival. Screenings included 86-32, the 1983 documentary Style Wars, and the 25th Anniversary Screening of New Jack City. Day three took a page from Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” video, combining visual art with music from DJ Midnite, TuneCore artist Taylor Bennett, and more. Finally, the weekend was capped off by a blowout finale concert on the waterfront, including Fabolous and Rapsody, in addition to headliners Nas and Talib Kweli.

TIDAL helped bring the Brooklyn festival to hip hop lovers everywhere, offering a live stream of the concerts throughout the weekend that can now be viewed at any time on TIDAL.

Deezer is ready to tackle the US streaming market with the long-awaited launch of their service in the United States.

Spotify, TIDAL, Apple Music, etc. have another streaming service to compete with, starting this month. The French streaming service Deezer has been working to launch a US version of their site for the past two years, offering limited beta memberships through partners like Bose and Cricket Wireless during that time. However, the wait is now over for the rest of us, and Deezer is fully live for streaming in the US.

“We are thrilled to make Deezer available to all music fans in the U.S., at a time when the company is growing stronger and developing new technologies that enable us to deliver a much more personalized experience. We’ve already received an overwhelmingly positive response since offering Deezer via our partners Sonos, Bose and Cricket, and now look forward to making our service available to everyone,” Deezer Global CEO Dr. Hans-Holger Albrecht said in their launch statement.

Deezer-logoDeezer’s US service is Premium-tier only, meaning there is no option for listeners to stream music free in exchange for ads. Instead, Deezer is offering a 30-day free trial for all new customers, who will then be required to pay $9.99 per month to continue with the service.

With 16 million monthly users across 180 countries, Deezer is one of the most widely-available music stores around. The service is already a household name in Europe, but it faces some tough competition this side of the Atlantic including goliaths like Apple Music, TIDAL, and Spotify. The newly-updated “flow” discovery feature, along with their quirky and hilarious advertising campaign, should be a big selling point for US listeners.

SOUND BYTES

March Songwriter News

By Dwight Brown

Spring forward. Get ahead.

The publishing industry is becoming an investment goldmine. Artists who applied to a songwriting competition TV show get a wakeup call. A Berklee professor sues Spotify, while Spotify settles with NMPA. A hot debate over the length of copyright terms erupts.

There’s a lot going on for songwriters.

Michael Jackson’s estate scores $750m payday through publishing.

“An important, unrealized asset in this business is music publishing,” says Paul Young, a music industry studies professor at USC’s Thornton School of Music. “You’re giving permission to use a song … to a radio station, film company, TV company. Transactions that are far less threatened by music’s digital revolution.” His remarks are quoted in Marketplace.org’s article “Why Music Publishing is Still Lucrative,” which highlights the $750m mega deal Michael Jackson’s estate scored for selling its 50% share of Sony/ATV.

The Guardian breaks down impressive numbers for a company that owns the publishing rights to some works by The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga:

1985: Jackson buys ATV Music for $41.5m ($11m cash investment).

1991: Jackson sells 50% stake in ATV to Sony for $100m.

2016: Jackson estate’s sells 50% share of Sony/ATV to Sony for $750m.

Publishing gave Jackson, posthumously, his most massive payday ever. Way bigger than Thriller. And Billboard is quick to point out that the lifetime earnings from the original deal are closer to 1.31b, when annual dividends and other fees are included. Making Jackson’s song “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” sound prophetic.

Controversy regarding Songland TV show stresses songwriter rights.

March 20, 2015, Billboard ran an article spotlighting a new NBC show for songwriters called Songland, that would be produced by Dave Stewart, Audrey Morrissey (The Voice EP) and Adam Levine (The Voice coach). “While artists make money on songs that they record, songwriters have multiple avenues and points at which they can generate hefty revenue from their works.”

In March 2016, Hypebot featured a guest post by entertainment attorney/blogger Wallace E.J. Collins III Esq., in which he delved into onerous details on the Songland Submission Form.

Key areas of concern:

  • NBC owns all rights to use and exploit all songs involved in show. Songwriters lose rights to songs that weren’t even selected.
  • Songwriters waive rights to royalties and rights to sue.

Wallace, never assuming malicious intention, still made clear points:

  1. Most songwriters make their life’s savings off just a few big hits and giving away their best work for free is extreme.
  2. Writers should read all of the language in any agreements and decide if the risk is worth the reward.

Shortly, Billboard relayed an exclusive from NBC which stated that the language on the submission form had been changed to alleviate writers’ concerns. Morrissey clarified, “We wish to be abundantly clear that by signing the casting application, songwriters do not transfer ownership of any of their original songs. This show is truly a celebration of songwriters and their craft.” Problem solved and several lessons learned.

Berklee Prof. sues Spotify. Spotify settles with NMPA. Now what?

Billboard notes that singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick (an associate professor at the Berklee College of Music) and the law firm Gradstein & Marzano filed a class-action suit against Spotify. “They’ve infringed on 127 of my copyrights. Infringe-now-and-pay-later cannot become the norm,” says Ferrick. Her lawsuit follows one by Cracker frontman David Lowery. Both are complicated by a recent settlement…

The National Music Publishing Association (NMPA) announced its $30m settlement between Spotify and its members over over unlicensed and unpaid mechanical royalties due to publishers and songwriters. Billboard.com reports the agreement covers the period between Spotify’s inception through June 30, 2017. This settlement, together with the pending class action suits, serves to highlight the absence of (and real need for) a centralized and reliable database covering all music rights. In the wake of these legal actions, several companies have come forward with proposed solutions to this problem. 

To reduce or not to reduce Copyright Terms? That is the question.

In a guest post on Hypebot Stephen Carlisle, of Nova Southeastern University, contemplates the possible demise of the current copyright term: Life plus 70 years after death for a human author, or 95 years for a corporate author. Post 70/95 years, a song enters public domain and is available for anyone’s use—free.

The rationale for supporting shorter terms:

  • If copyrights are in public domain earlier, the public benefits.
  • A copyright length of 14 years is close to that in the first copyright law.
  • Protection offers negligible incentives to authors.

Carlisle counters with reasons for the longer copyright terms:

  • The Berne Convention, signed by U.S. and 170 nations, commits to a minimum copyright term of ‘life of the author plus 50 years.’
  • Terms begin upon death and a 14-year term cheats heirs out of viable income from songwriters who die young. (E.g. Kurt Cobain died at 27.)
  • The 5th Amendment to the Constitution states that “…private property [cannot] be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Shortening copyright terms may not be such an easy feat, all things considered.

It’s now common knowledge: Publishing is a really, really smart investment. Writers should read agreements carefully before signing. The fight for proper compensation for songwriting is a work in progress. Copyright terms make a big difference.

This spring is a great time to have TuneCore Music Publishing Administration in your corner, and remember with TuneCore, songwriters always retain 100% of their songs’ rights.

SOUND BYTES

March News From Our Store Partners

By Dwight Brown

It’s spring. It’s a time for growth. Change is in the air at our digital stores.

  • New Google Play Music app adds YouTube video search.
  • CÜR streaming launches and targets the tech savvy crowd.
  • Spotify finds a new way to highlight emerging artists.
  • Rhapsody is growing faster than daisies on a spring lawn.

New update pairs YouTube videos. New desktop app saves time.


YouTube-logo-full_color copyA new update to the Google Music app will allow users to search for YouTube videos from within the app, reports Radio & Internet News. The upgrade will only show music-related video hits, such as clips with official audio or a cover of a track. In version 6.4 of the app, video results will appear for all users, including paying listeners and non-subscribers. This comes as other streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal) are also sticking their toes in the video content waters.

In other Google Music news, Huffington Post notes that an updated version of Google Play Music Desktop Player, a third-party app, has launched for Mac and Linux, making listening to the service a smoother desktop experience. Music fans no longer have to open a tab on a web browser to listen to their favorite music. They can use media keys to navigate tracks, utilize voice controls and custom hotkeys, and use less memory.

Well-connected, interactive music fans get a new playground.


CÜR Music launched after a successful round of funding that put cur_logo_blue copy$1.75m in their coffers. Radio & Internet News states that late in 2015, the streaming service was billing itself as “a social, mobile and web streaming music application.” In 2016, CÜR’s identity has been fine-tuned to “a mix of internet radio, expertly curated stations and your own playlists all-in-one.”

A CÜR rep lauded other compelling features: “A ‘CÜR8’ profile allows a select number of on-demand songs that the individual can change daily. Listeners will be able to personalize their experience with photos and videos, as well as sending songs to their friends.” For artists who create their own CÜR8 profile, there is a clear opportunity to showcase songs, interact with fans and send messages. Luckily for everyone, sharing works in both directions.

Spotify shines a new light on emerging, undiscovered artists.


spotifySpotify’s new Fresh Finds playlist is a hybrid of human curation and data-driven algorithms designed to bring music fans the best from both types of playlist creators. Spotify’s programmers will follow blogs and music sites to scout out the latest new talent and use data from listeners that have been identified as tastemakers. Their searches are designed to break the next big act, says Radio & Internet News.

“By analyzing the listening behavior of our top tastemaker users, we’re able to predict new breakout artists and filter their hits-to-be into playlists with the most promising new music out there,” says Dr. Brian Whitman, Spotify’s principal scientist.

Music Business Worldwide lists the five Fresh Finds genre categories: Fire Emoji (hip-hop), Basement (electronic), Hiptronix (vocal pop), Six Strings (guitar driven) and Cyclone (experimental). A new door is opening for emerging TuneCore Artists who want to reach Spotify’s 100m users, 30m of which are now paid subscribers.

Rhapsody now in 34 countries. Subscriber base grows 45% in 12 months.


Rhapsody and TuneCore go way back. It was one of our first digitalrhapsody928 music stores. Back in the day, it was the first streaming service to make it possible to share full-length, licensed songs on twitter using Audio Card. Now it’s stepped up its game big time: 3.5m global subscribers. A presence in 34 countries. A 45% growth in less than 12 months. Additionally, in 2015, it refreshed its core app experience.

2016 comes along, and now gamers can stream music from Rhapsody through their Wii U console, via a free app from the Nintendo eShop. Rhapsody subscribers with Wii U systems can begin listening immediately and Wii U owners who aren’t yet Rhapsody or Napster subscribers can sign up for a 30-day free trial. Game on.

Thanks to a new partnership with BandPage, music fans who are rocking out to a favorite artist on Rhapsody’s mobile app can receive push notifications on their phone that indicate when that artist is playing a gig nearby. There are even links to purchase tickets via third party services. The new feature is available on Android, with support for iOS coming soon.

SOUND BYTES

It’s springtime 2016, and digital stores are blooming with fresh ideas for our artists. Spring forward.

TuneCore Artists — Add your music to new stores today.

Not a TuneCore Artists yet? — Join TuneCore today.

Scenes From TuneCore’s Atlanta Office Opening

Earlier this week on March 1st, TuneCore proudly and officially opened its doors to the public to celebrate the expansion of our newest location: the rejuvenated neighborhood of Edgewood in Atlanta, GA!

KOE_0459

Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Councilman for District 2/Fourth Ward, kicked off the ribbon cutting celebration with opening remarks extending his support to the TuneCore Atlanta team and remarked on the milestone significance of the office opening for the Atlanta music community.

KOE_1786

The open house event was attended by celebrities, Atlanta artists, industry executives, tastemakers and local business owners who experienced a night of mingling and celebration while they enjoyed music from a dynamic roster of DJ’s including Mikkoh, Xavier BLK, Bryan Michael Cox and a moving live performance from international TuneCore artist, Ayo (pictured above).

KOE_0886

Leading initiatives out of the new Atlanta office is Phillana Williams, an industry stalwart with extensive music business experience and a shared commitment to TuneCore’s “artist-first” approach. Previously, Williams was Senior Vice President of Marketing at Universal Music Group. She has also plied her trade at music industry titans like Motown Records, Island Def Jam, Sony Music Group and more, working directly with top artists.

KOE_0415

“Expanding our presence in a city so rooted in music culture is a tremendous step in our ongoing expansion, and we are excited to welcome Phillana to the TuneCore team,” said Scott Ackerman, CEO of TuneCore. “TuneCore is constantly striving to help artists around the world get their music heard and earn what they deserve, and the opening of our Atlanta office reaffirms our commitment to that goal.”

Catch up with more from the event in the photo gallery below!

January Songwriter News

By Dwight Brown

A New Year brings more opportunities for songwriters to get ahead.

So what’s up? Co-writers are leaving the strongest mark on top ten hits. Spotify wants to do the right thing when it comes to songwriter royalties. The digital age is heaping complications on jazz musicians, but makes composing a snap. Deaf consumers want the lyrics to songs’ in movies subtitled on the screen. Why not?

January is a great time to watch and appreciate the evolution of songwriting.

It takes a village of co-writers to create a top-ten song

Most of the top-ten selling tracks across the US, UK and Australia in 2015 contained compositions that, according to Music Business World, had one thing in common; more than one writer. Just two of 16 tracks across the three top ten charts were completely penned by the artist who performed them. 87.5% involved a third-party songwriter who was not a featured artist.

Whether the co-pilot was a hired hit-maker or intimate collaborator, it makes no difference. Essentially opportunities + teamwork + creativity = a hit. The biggest song in all three territories was Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars’ toe tapping, hip-swaying “Uptown Funk.” How many writers does it take to bring in the noise and the funk? 11!

Yep.

Billboard.com says, “The track [Uptown Funk”], which is tied for the second-longest reign on the Billboard Hot 100, initially was credited to six songwriters: Ronson, Mars, Jeffrey Bhasker, Philip Lawrence, Devon Gallaspy and Trinidad Jones. Then after the publisher for the five writers of The Gap Band’s 1979 hit “Oops Upside Your Head” lodged a claim, that quintet helped to divvy up the nearly $2M in songwriting royalties.

So, which two artists wrote their entire top-ten songs in 2015? Adele? No. Justin Bieber? No, no, no. Drumroll… 1. Fetty Wap wrote “Trap Queen.” 2. Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” remained on the U.K. charts in 2015.

Will songwriters ever get their fair share of royalties from Spotify?

spotifyThere may be light at the end of the tunnel for songwriters and publishers who want Spotify to be more accountable when it comes to royalty payments. Billboard.com points out that James Duffett-Smith, Spotify’s global head of publisher relations, detailed a plan on the service’s website that stated they “will invest in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem.”

Purportedly, Spotify will work in conjunction with the National Music Publishers’ Association and other publisher organizations around the globe to build a music publishing database that, when completed, will properly manage licenses and publishing royalties distributions going forward. Spotify notes one set of challenges in paying fairly, “When it comes to publishing and songwriting royalties, especially in the United States, that’s easier said than done because the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholder is often missing, wrong, or incomplete.” Even though Spotify revealed that it paid more than $3 billion in royalties to date, including $300 million in the first quarter of this year alone, some publishers are wary. What’s not debatable is that streaming royalties are an important revenue source for artists who write songs. Fingers crossed.

To read the entire Duffett-Smith blog, click here.

Composing and charting jazz music gets a digital lift

The digital age has brought jazz artists negatives and positives, notes Ted Gioia, an American jazz critic and music historian who wrote The History of Jazz. On ASCAP.com, Gioia notes that on the one hand, monetizing songwriting in the digital age is an ever-evolving challenge that requires vigilance, a strong publisher and a smart publishing administration service. His article recommends treating music as a product, not content, because people pay for product.

On the other hand the laborious task of writing charts has been streamlined. Software packages like Finale mean scores can be prepared in a fraction of the time it used to take Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie or Gil Evans to write a chart. According to an old New York Times post, Grammy-winning jazz pianist/composer Herbie Hancock has made that transition from paper to computer. Gioia reflects, “A composer can hear everything before the musicians ever see the chart. And the scores simply look so good, in their glistening Adobe pdf format. I’m almost ashamed to show musicians my old handwritten pieces.”

Advocates for the deaf want song lyrics in movie subtitles

If you’re not hearing impaired, this point of contention may have never crossed your mind. But if you’re part of the 10% of the population who has a hearing disability, you’ve probably been annoyed or ticked off that when music plays in the background of a film, and there is a vocal track with words, even if the movie is subtitled/captioned, it most often does not include the lyrics. Imagine watching Straight Outta Compton, reading the dialogue and not knowing what the rap songs in the background were saying. That’s the point: sometimes lyrics to songs are integral to getting the full intent of a movie.

Members of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf

Vector grunge style admit one movie ticket stub

and Hard of Hearing filed a particular lawsuit, in California in October, 2015, that raises the argument that studios are falsely advertising their products and violating the civil rights of deaf consumers. “While the dialogue of some movies or shows are indeed fully subtitled, the practice of not subtitling song/music lyrics is frustratingly widespread,” states the complaint. “Movies or shows that do not include the subtitled song/music lyrics withhold the full enjoyment of the movie or show from deaf or hard of hearing consumers. If parts of the movie or show are not captioned or subtitled, then deaf and hard of hearing consumers should be told as such before making a decision to rent or purchase the DVD, theater ticket, or streaming.”

Lyrics are important. Songwriters get that.

There’s room for growth and change in the world of songwriting in 2016. Let’s make it happen.

SOUND BYTES

Team up with TuneCore Music Publishing Administration

December Songwriter News

By Dwight Brown

The holiday season is a perfect time to look back at the gains and challenges of 2015 and anticipate what direction songwriters should take in 2016.

Even in the midst of this rapidly changing digital age, the songwriting industry is booming, the U.S. Copyright Office could get an update, co-songwriters are getting advice on protecting their rights, music publishing can find new frontiers and you can sing “Happy Birthday” anytime, anywhere—for FREE.

This December, the world of songwriting and publishing continues to turn…

Business is booming for songwriters in the global market

upwards leading arrow in stock market exchange

Songwriters have been singing the blues about diminishing returns, but Music Business Worldwide, based on the findings of a leading industry economist Will Page (Spotify’s Director of Economics), thinks they should be rejoicing. To quote MBW, “Across 2014, the worldwide music copyright industry – that’s recorded music income plus publishing and songwriting (‘musical works’) – generated a grand total of $25.28 billion.” Breaking it down further, “… the income from publishing and songwriting (‘musical works’) was $11,338bn!  

Page was on a mission to give the publishing community facts that had not been extrapolated before, “I wanted to plug the knowledge gap, as industry analysts and professionals often don’t appreciate the sheer value of musical works that songwriters and publishers create,” says Page. His three keen observations:

  1. The songwriting/publishing sector is large and more importantly it’s growing!
  2. Collecting societies have been reporting ‘record collections,’ in contrast to the recording industry, which has seen its top line halve in size.
  3. Publishers are seeing direct revenues make up an increasing share of their business as they expand their licensing activities in areas like sync.

The global music market, for songwriters, is generating billions more dollars every year than most people thought.

New bill aims to modernize U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright intellectual property and digital copyright laws conceptual illustration with symbol and icon and a gavel on black background.

The U.S. Copyright Office could move out of the analog era into the digital era if three members of Congress can get their CODE Act (Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act) passed. MusicWeek points out that co-sponsor Congressman Tom Marino knows the deal, “…we have allowed our Copyright Office to fall behind the fast-moving pace of America’s creators… This bill will ensure the Office has great autonomy to more quickly adapt to changes in technology.” Congresswoman Judy Chu concurs, “The copyright industries are responsible for millions of jobs and billions of dollars in our economy, yet the office responsible is running on analog in a digital world.”

Key points in the bill:  

Remove Copyright Office from Library of Congress and make it independent.

– The President would appoint the Director of the Copyright Office.

– Administrative functions under Library of Congress become CO responsibilities.

Key powers and duties of the new Copyright Office:

– Advise Congress on national and international issues relating to copyrights.

– Provide advice and assistance to the Executive and Judiciary branches.

– Participate in meetings of international intergovernmental organizations.  

CO strategy:

Conduct “ongoing technology studies to ensure the office remains current with technology.”  

To read the entire text of the CODE Act, click here.

Do “split sheets” provide enough protection for co-writers?

Several American Dollars ripped or torn in half symbolizing the destruction of the economy

When songwriters co-create new music and work together they take credit for their work. Typically they sign a “split sheet,” a document that specifies each person’s contributions and ownership percentage on a given track. According to an article at Hypebot, Artists should make an effort to take further legal precautions in order to avoid issues down the road.” Having nothing more than a “split sheet” could cause some serious complications for co-composers if they don’t consider all possible outcomes.

These issues could be come a challenge if you only have a “split sheet:”

* The right to request a proper accounting from the other parties

* The right to recover certain documented expenses

* Proper attribution or credit on the finished work

* Indemnifications for potential unauthorized sampling

Clearly, the traditional “split sheet” may not be enough to serve all the best interests of co-songwriters.

Is streaming giving songwriters a raw deal, or is there hope?

Is the future looking up or down for songwriters seeking royalties from music streaming? A Music Business Worldwide article that summarized a MBW podcast delved into that subject when it featured a candid interview with Justin Kalifowitz, CEO of Downtown Music Publishing. Kalifowitz represents songwriting copyrights for artists from John Lennon to One Direction and is surprisingly  “very bullish” about the future of music publishing.

Regulations: “Quite simply, whenever the government’s not involved, publishers tend to get a much higher percentage of the overall pie.”

Metadata matching issues: “Less than 80% of [due money] is making its way to songwriters and publishers because of [meta] data issues.”

Forcing more value out of “Freemium” services: “As an industry if we continue to [allow that to happen], I think we’re going to be shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Here’s the silver lining: “When you think about the fact that less than one sixth of the world’s population currently lives in places where music publishing as an industry is mature, that’s a very exciting proposition.”

If there’s room for growth, there’s room for hope in 2016.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

SOUND BYTES

Team up with TuneCore Music Publishing Administration!