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Streaming’s Transformed the Music
Business. But What’s Next?
streaming rates begin to level off,
questions are being raised as to what’s
coming next for the music industry, with
some industry predictors are suggesting
that augmented reality could be the format
of the future. Everyone on the supply side
of music, from artists to record labels,
would love to see a new music release
format of some type that would make
listeners pay a premium again, but that
ship may have already sailed.
Reasons Great Album Covers Can Help Grow
Successful Music Careers
Be The Music Producer With $5 Artwork.
We’re sorry to possibly burst your
brand’s bubble, but, people do judge
books by their covers, and they certainly
do the same with your music project.
It’s a common occurrence for creative
types to go through a phase where they
think, “branding doesn’t really
matter, it’s all about the quality of my
work.” This is not only false, but
carrying this mentality is more
self-destructive than you think.
Streaming Report Finds Spotify Ahead of
is the world’s top streaming service —
by subscription revenue and paying
audience. That’s according to new data
from MIDiA Research, which says Spotify
has 108 million subscribers, which is good
for a market share of 35.6%. Spotify also
has subscription revenue of $1.67 billion,
making it the dominant player in the
Department of Justice Backs Irving Azoff
in Legal War with Radio Stations
U.S. Department of Justice is backing
Irving Azoff and his Global Music Rights (GMR)
organization in its long legal battle with
the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC)
over the royalties radio stations pay
only represents a small cadre of 82
songwriters. But these songwriters have
written more than one-hundred
top-charting, smash-hit songs. Since
2016, GMR and the RMLC have been battling
in the courts, with each accusing the
other of attempting to fix royalty rates.
Guide To US Music Licensing
world of music licensing can be a
complex and difficult one for artists
and songwriters to try and navigate
successfully. Here we look at handy
infographic which breaks it down into an
easily understood format.
Launches TuneUp Wellness Program For
has launched TuneUp, a program
designed to meet the mental and
physical wellness needs of music
will offer ASCAP members access and
discounts on services that support
mental health, mindfulness, exercise
and nutrition, recovery-focused
support groups in multiple cities and
online co-sponsored with MusicCares
and wellness events in major cities.
To Pitch Your Music To Playlists
[Music Biz Weekly Podcast]
Young, Partner, at Digital Promotions
Group sits down with Music Biz Weekly
co-hosts Michael Brnadvold and jay
Gilbert to discuss how playlist
pitching works. You’ll learn what
you need to know to avoid the scammers
if you want to hire someone to pitch
your music to playlists.
Paid Promotion Tool Is Called Marquee and
Artists, Indie Labels Can’t Afford To
October, Spotify announced the addition of
a new “pay per click” ad placement
that allows artists and labels to announce
new releases to both free and paid
subscribers as part of a new “two-sided
placement marks the first time that
Spotify has allowed paid promotion on its
You Must Know About Pursuing A Career In
not crazy for wanting to work in the music
business, but there is something you
should know before your journey begins. I
know you because I was you. In your mind,
music is more of a religion than an art
form. You know everything about the
artists you love, and you understand the
basics of the business more than any of
your friends. You get excited by crunching
the math behind a tour routing as you do
the artists on that tour. In short, you
spend every free moment thinking about
music, and you wouldn’t have it any
The Road: Tour Packing Essentials For
this two-part series, we have 18
Bandsintown artists weighing in
with their best tips for tour
packing essentials—what they
never leave home without, what
they must bring, and what should
be left behind. Plus, there are
some great international touring
tips. Here are the first nine:
Music’ Free Tier Will Soon Be Available
Amazon has stepped up its streaming game with a new free music tier that appears to be taking on the likes Spotify. Although the company launched a free version of its music service for Alexa users on its Echo devices in April, this version will be open to users of Amazon’s smartphone app. Distribution has also expanded just from the U.S. to Germany and the UK as well.
Every Artist Must Do Before The End Of
it or not, the end of 2019 is just six
short weeks away. As we enter into 2020,
here are some of the most important things
an artist can do to position themselves
for success in the new year. Most days it
is hard to believe that 2019 is almost
over. In roughly six weeks, people
everywhere will be gathering to celebrate
the start of 2020. There will be parties
held and promises made, all of which hinge
on our awareness that time marches on
whether or not we are prepared for what
comes next. The best we can do is to
position ourselves for success, which is
what you need to do in the days and weeks
Is a Musician’s Friend!
math should be a musician’s best friend.
Unfortunately, like many people, some
musicians are afraid of math. This
fear ends now, or at least at the
end of this article. Get excited. Numbers
are everywhere in music, both on the
creative side of musical creation, and on
the business side.
Offers A Mini-Course On How To Release New
countless options at your disposal,
releasing music can be a little
intimidating. But thoughtful and strategic
planning can help ensure you get heard.
For the Nashville installment of
Co.Lab—our nationwide event series,
designed to connect you with industry
experts, to help expand your network, and
understand the nuts and bolts of the
modern music industry—we invited a group
of experts to help walk you through some
challenges and strategies around setting
up your release.
Nelson, Longtime Cannabis Advocate, Has
Stopped Smoking Weed Because of Worsening
country music icon Willie Nelson says
he’s given up smoking cannabis after
years of use.
singer has extolled the virtues of
cannabis for years. But these days, his
worsening emphysema is wreaking havoc for
him, especially on show days. Nelson still
performs over 100 shows a year, still
writes songs and wants to keep
touring for his fans.
It Time For Radio To Change Its
Anti-Royalty Tune From Defense To Offense?
years the radio industry has lobbied
mightily to thwart efforts to impose a
performance royalty on over-the-air
broadcasting. Now, with a new bill dubbed
the AM-FM Act introduced last week in
Congress that would do just that, is it
time for the industry to change its
royalty message on Capitol Hill? At least
one broadcaster thinks so.
Tether 100% Of Your Music Marketing To
Dwinell and Brent Baxter dig into the
pitfalls of social media marketing and not
owning your fans’ contact info. The
takeaway? You should have alternate and
viable means to stay connected and
communicate with your fans outside of
Facebook. This post is excerpted from The
CLIMB — a podcast produced by Dwinell and
Baxter dedicated to helping singers,
songwriters, and artists create leverage in
the music business. This content is sourced
from Episode #178, “Will You Let Facebook
KILL Your Career?”
Licensing Collective Selects Leadership,
Partners for Copyright Database
weeks ago, the Mechanical Licensing
Collective (MLC) secured crucial funding to
create a central database of music copyright
information to distribute royalties to
songwriters and copyright owners. The
creation of the MLC and its database are
mandates of the Music Modernization Act,
passed in October 2018.
the MLC is announcing some of the
partners that will help support the database
-- and filling a leadership post key to its
You Need To Sell Merch
not every band is going to have merch for
sale at their shows, foregoing this revenue
option means the artist is not only missing
out on a much needed revenue source, but
also foregoing a valuable opportunity to
strengthen their brand and build a stronger
connection with fans.
Chasing Playlists and Start Building a Music
playlists may be damaging to your career.
Ari Herstand explains why. What?
Than Half of Americans Are Concerned About
Smart Speaker Data Privacy
smart speakers gain popularity, more
Americans are turning an eye towards their
privacy. A new report estimates over half of
Americans are concerned about smart speaker
data privacy. Pew Research Center conducted
a study of U.S. adults to determine American
attitudes towards smart speakers. The result
reveals that over half of Americans are
concerned about data privacy.
Unsurprisingly, those most concerned are in
the younger demographic. The study found
that one-quarter of U.S. adults say they
have a smart speaker in their home. Adults
younger than 50 are more likely to have a
smart speaker than those 50 and older.
Reason Radio Should Be The Best Algorithm
AI and algorithms become an increasing
presence in our day to day lives, working
tirelessly in the background to inform our
consumption habits, many of these algorithms
continue to fall short, dishing up
“similar” music and film suggestions
that entirely miss the mark. Here we explore
why radio could be the best algorithm to
solve this problem. We’ve all gotten
used to having products, services, and media
choices introduced to us – based on our
past behavior. Whether it’s watching
video streaming content on Netflix, ordering
another Margaret Atwood book on Amazon, or
dining at another restaurant on Open
Table, there’s no shortage of
machined learned recommendations trying to
induce us to buy more stuff.
Coalition Filing Reveal: Transparency in
Music Licensing And Ownership Act Is Back
From The Dead
the recently floated Transparency in Music
Licensing and Ownership Act was thought to
be dead and buried, it seems to be making
something of a comeback courtesy of the MIC
the horrific Transparency in Music Licensing
and Ownership Act from the last Congress? Well, guess
what–it’s not really dead! A
little tea-leaf reading suggests that the
MIC Coalition (one of the largest and most
anticompetitive lobbying groups in history)
have plans to amend the Music Modernization
Act’s blanket license to all licensing
verticals if they had their way. That
would include “general licensing” in
bars and restaurants to satisfy their hotel,
restaurant and “beverage” folks.
So there’s definitely some there there.
Live Streaming Is Altering The Music
Business For Artists And Fans Alike
technological innovation continues to sweep
the music industry, live streaming has
become an increasingly important component
of bands and artists’ promotional arsenal.
Here we look at why you need to livestream
and what you need to do so effectively.
Technology is innovating and improving
constantly. The digital transformation of
the media industry has given a rise to the
trend of live streaming. It’s no secret
that live videos drive more views, traffic,
and engagement. In fact, live video are
already more desirable than any other form
of content. Currently, over 80% of online
users prefer watching live videos from a
of Justice Scraps Decades-Old
‘Paramount’ Consent Decrees — Is Music
U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it
will ask a court to scrap the decades-old
‘Paramount’ consent decrees. The
antitrust decrees are designed to protect
movie theaters from studio control. The
consent decrees have been in place for
decades and currently have no expiration
date. DoJ Antitrust Division head Makan
Delrahim confirmed that his department would
seek their termination. These agreements
have been in place since the late 1940s.
They are commonly known as the
‘Paramount’ consent decrees —
finalized in the 1950s in a radically
different media landscape than today.
Digital Services Strike Deal to Fund Music
Modernization Act-Mandated Database
Music Modernization Act that passed in
October 2018 was hailed as a landmark
achievement for the music industry in
creating a solution to several issues that
have long plagued the business, particularly
in the digital age. And today (Nov. 14)
marks another critical step forward for the
functions the MMA mandates, including the
funding for a central database that will
allow for the matching of song recordings to
rights holders so that songwriters and
publishers can get paid for the use of their
Artists Coalition & Songwriters of North
America Urge Appeals Court to Uphold
Copyright Royalty Rate Hike
Music Artists Coalition (MAC) and the
Songwriters of North America (SONA) have
filed a joint amicus brief urging the D.C.
Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the
Copyright Royalty Board's (CRB) royalty rate
increase for copyright owners, the
organizations announced Tuesday (Nov. 19).
The brief urges the court to uphold the 2018
decision by the copyright royalty judges (CRJs)
to award publishers and songwriters a 44%
rate increase by 2022.
Spending More Time With Spoken Word, At
Expense Of Music Listening.
to the deep connections and emotional
involvement it engenders, people are
spending more time listening to spoken word
audio – at the expense of music listening.
In the past month, 73% of the U.S.
population listened to spoken word audio.
And the share of time spent listening to
spoken word has increased 20% since 2014,
while time spent with music across the same
period decreased 5%, according to new
research commissioned by NPR and conducted
by Edison Research.
Office Urged To Include Performance Rights
As It Builds Music Database.
the sweeping copyright reform legislation
that was signed into law last year, the U.S.
Copyright Office is creating a database that
would make it easier for radio and other
music users to determine who holds the
rights to songs. As it goes forward, the MIC
Coalition says the database should include
information regarding the public performance
rights, which would cover radio airplay
among other uses.
Royalty Milestone: 200 Opponents Now On
Record In House.
effort to secure enough supporters for a
House resolution opposing the adoption of a
performance royalty on broadcast radio
airplay has hit a milestone. There are now
200 cosponsors to the resolution introduced
last February by Rep. Cathy Castor
(D-FL). The signature that brought the total
to 200 was from Rep. Chrissy Houlahan
(D-PA). Based on the current count of House
members it would now take the support of an
additional 16 members to effectively block
any radio royalty bill.
Strategies For Landing A Sponsorship As A
many aspiring artists, sponsorships may seem
like something only megastars are able to
access. Fortunately, this is far from true.
Here we look at some of the best strategies
for mid-tier artists with modest followings
to use in their efforts to secure the
financial backing of a company or brand.
Streaming Exec: The MLC Is Choking On a
streaming services appear to be growing
increasingly frustrated with the
as-yet-unformed Mechanical Licensing
Collective, or MLC. A
top executive at one of the largest
streaming platforms in the world — who
wished to remain anonymous — shared this
statement. It describes a
disheartening situation around the
Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), a
group that was envisioned by the Music
Modernization Act to fix the current
mechanical royalty mess but seems determined
to avoid fixing serious copyright problems.
The streaming services — or ‘DSPs’ in
industry-speak — are being asked to pay
$66.25 million just to get the MLC off the
ground. They’ve already balked at
that price tag, with a separate DSP source
noting that the figure was ‘easily three
times’ the company’s cost estimate.
Broadcasters, Streaming Services Demand a
Truly Comprehensive Music Rights Database
National Association of Broadcasters, DiMA,
and dozens of other organizations are
demanding the creation of a far more
comprehensive music rights database. Since
the passage of the Music Modernization Act (MMA)
into law in 2018, publishers and streaming
services have focused on the creation of a
functional mechanical rights licensing
body. That entity, the Mechanical
Licensing Collective (MLC), would use a
functional, comprehensive database of
mechanical rights associated with songs
found on major streaming services like
Spotify and Apple Music.
the most important part of a demo – the
vocal or the production?
as genres are different, so are the musical
elements that best support them on a demo.
BMI’s Creative team listens to music all
day every day. Here’s what they had to say
about what makes them turn up the volume on
a demo. Let’s start by thinking of the purpose of a demo. Hopefully, you have written a song so relatable that a recording artist is going to want to express it to the world as if it’s his or her own words. The purpose of the demo is to showcase the song without getting in the way of the artist’s or producer’s creative process.
An Instant Gratification World, Listeners
Still Wait To Hear Song Requests.
a world of playlists and instant, on-demand
music, people still take the time to call into
their local radio station and request a song,
sometimes even sending it out as a dedication.
The reasons for this delve deeper in the human
psyche than may appear on the surface.
It Will Cost More For Copyright Registration
The fee for official copyright registration is about to go up. Every three to five years, the U.S. Copyright Office does an in-depth study of its fees to determine whether to adjust them, then sends its results to Congress, which then has 120 days to do nothing (meaning approval) or pass a law disapproving the price recommendations.
The Office is now proposing raising the fee for the Standard Application from $55 to $65, which is $10 less than the 2018 proposal. Similarly, the Single Application (the lower-priced option for single works by individual authors) will go from $35 to $45, which is also $10 less than the 2018 proposal.
Officially Unveils TV+ — Get Ready for Some
TV launches with several Apple Original shows,
including “The Morning Show,” “See,”
and “For All Mankind.” Three episodes of
each of the new shows are available now —
Apple TV will release new episodes weekly on
other original shows will debut in the coming
months to bolster Apple’s new
is offering a seven-day free trial of Apple
TV+ to new customers. With
Apple looking to drive new revenue
through subscriptions, bundling makes
sense. Subscription fatigue has
become a real thing many people feel, and
bundles are a great way for Apple to offer
content that may otherwise be looked over. If
the student bundle plan is successful, we
could see something similar for regular
The Copyright Office’s Best Practices Shine
Sunlight Unmatched Royalties?
this point, we’re all aware of the the pile
of cash from unmatched royalties which digital
services are hoarding, commonly known as the
‘black box.’ Now, with the copyright
office having been tasked with establishing
‘best practices’ for distributing these
monies, songwriters are hoping to shed some
light on this shadowy system, and hopefully
receive a little compensation as a result.
Adds 210,000 Subscribers This Quarter —
Pandora Subscribers Plunge
financials reveal the company added roughly
210,000 net subscribers, while earnings
slipped substantially. The story at
Pandora wasn’t rosy. The company’s
third-quarter 2019 total revenue was $2.0
billion, which increased by 37% compared to
last year. That boost comes from the
completion of the acquisition of Pandora
Media in February this year. SiriusXM reported
net income of $246 million in Q3 2019,
compared to $343 million during Q3 2018.
Sirius says the dramatic decline can be
attributed to refinancing expenses and
non-recurring tax benefits. Sirius’
effective tax rate for Q3 2019 was 22.2%
compared to 3.3% in Q3 2018.
Two Country Music Icons who Popularized
River” was a 1972 hit made famous by
the legendary singer-songwriter Johnny
Bush. The song became Bush’s first
record after signing with RCA Victor. It was
also the title track of his album of the same
name. Certainly, his move to RCA label where
he met its executive Jerry
Bradley was a great decision. Although
the singer has had achieved success with
like “You Gave Me a
Mountain” and “My Cup Runneth
Over,” his biggest single has yet to
come. That’s probably what motivated the RCA
executive to ask Bush to write something
exceptional for the label.
Mastering Trends Affect Your Sound
the first days of recorded music, mastering
was a purely technical process. Early masters
were often done without a second thought by
the vinyl lathe operators themselves! Back
then the only goal was to move a piece of
music from the recording medium (analog tape)
to the production medium (vinyl records).
But mastering today has come a long
still a highly technical procedure, but it’s
also become an important part of the creative
process. As trends and styles have come and
gone in music, mastering has kept pace and
made its own contributions.
Best Career Advice That No One In Music Takes
best advice for avoiding burnout and developing
your career requires the least amount of work.
live in the ‘motivation age.’ Whether it be
in books, on podcasts, or plastered throughout
social media, there is no shortage of people
shouting into the void about maintaining forward
momentum. They tell us to sleep eight hours a
night, exercise daily, eat clean, and hustle —
always hustle. If you’re working in
entertainment today, you have probably spent a
Saturday morning or Sunday evening checking
emails when you should have been doing something
with family and friends. You have likely worked
ten or twelve-hour days when you’re only
required to do eight. You have chased the
approval of superiors to a fault because you
fear something bad will happen if you take even
one day for yourself.
Now Able To Pay Spotify To Promote Their Music
is testing a new ad platform that allows artist
teams to promote music directly to fans without
turning to third-party applications. Spotify
users are already familiar with ‘Music For
You’ notifications. These alerts appear on
screen to inform fans and followers of an artist
when their favorite musicians have a new
release. It is a helpful tool that encourages
fans to support the music they love in a crowded
marketplace where nobody can remember every
release date. And now, for the first time, those
notifications are for sale.
Regulations, Frozen Mechanicals ant the
Importance of Advocacy
is a certain Truman Show aspect to songwriter
royalties–the government sets the royalty
rates, not arms length negotiation. But it
doesn’t have to be that way, we just accept
the government’s role in songwriting because
it is the way it has always been for living
songwriters and many generations before. If
you’re a songwriter born after 1975 and are
not a student of history, you may not fully
realize the long-term harm of statutory
mechanical rates. If the statutory rate
seems improbably low to you, you’re right.
To Book Gigs: The Ultimate Artist's Guide
with so many things, timing is everything in the
music business, and while many artists may spend
countless hours perfecting their pitch to
venues, no amount of preparations is enough if
you make your booking inquiries at the wrong
time. Here, we look at the 'when' side of
booking gigs, whether you're playing small shows
or giant festivals.
The CASE Act Will Become Small Claims For
passed in the House of Representatives and
expected to pass in the Senate, the Copyright
Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (or
CASE) Act, will arm creators with another tool
to combat those infringing on their copyright.
Here we break down how the law will work.