Tag Archives for " Warner Music "

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 2/10/17

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of February 10th, 2017. It’s been a busy week in the music world this week. Let’s get into it.

Google and YouTube merge their music teams. There’s confusion between Google Play and YouTube Red services, so look for these to become just a single service soon.

Warner Music joined the $1 billion streaming club. Now all 3 major labels make more than a bill from streaming.

FM radio is now enabled in half the smartphones in the US. The question is, how many are actually listening?

Ticketing is a broken industry that needs to be fixed. The latest incident with Ed Sheeran may bring things to a head in the UK.

Trump’s presidency will affect music in some way. Here are 5 scenarios of what could happen.

Chance the Rapper gives all his music away for free and still does pretty well. So he doesn’t need a label as a result. Here’s how he does it.

Thanks to the Super BowlLady Gaga’s sales surge over 1,000%. In the grand scheme of things, her sales still aren’t that great though.

A million plays isn’t enough to break an artist any more. I keep saying that the metrics have changed. You need at least 10 million to even get in the ballgame, and 50 mil for a minor hit.

The reason why so many music tech startups fail. They don’t analyze the market to see if there’s really one there. But they’re musicians, what else do you expect (musicians know what I’m talking about)?

Sir Paul McCartney is suing Sony/ATV publishing to get his Beatles songs back. And there’s a good reason why he’s done it in the US, according to this article.

The New York Times is bundling a free Spotify account with a subscription. That should push Spotify over 50 million paid users soon.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Have a great week ahead!

Music Industry News Roundup For The Week Of 12/30/16

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the Music Industry News Roundup for the week of December 30th, 2016, the last week of the year. As expected, there hasn’t been much in the way of blockbuster news, but there have been some interesting pieces.

Mozart was not #1 in album sales. A story made the rounds that a box set by the composer outsold even Drake, but the measurements have proven to be specious at best. It was a bad year for the physical album as a whole though, as the article points out – even for Drake.

Here’s a list of the top 50 biggest songs on Beats 1 radio last year. There are many that are expected, but a few surprises as well.

Rolling Stone has 6 reasons why 2016 was a great music year. There are a few that I don’t quite agree with, like radio being healthy and album releases being events, but other than that its spot on.

6 music tech predictions for 2017. Culled from 20 industry tastemakers, these are mostly out-of-the-box in that you probably haven’t heard about them before. They also lean towards live music rather than recorded.

Warners is getting back into compilation albums. This is spurred on by the fact that singles are hot again thanks to streaming [subscription required].

Deezer plans to take over the streaming world. The streaming universe is still young and will be expanding for some time yet, so why not?

Tencent is a big threat to Apple Music and Spotify. It already dominates Asian streaming and has the money to come West [subscription required].

Billboard looked at the 10 best music memes. I must admit that I missed these during the year, but don’t feel too bad about it.

PC World looks at what went right and wrong with VR in 2016. Virtual Reality still hasn’t caught on the way everyone had hoped, but it did make some progress.

Warners is going head first into VR though. It plans “hundreds” of VR music releases in 2017.

Many Top 40 hits had ambiguous key centers. This is a little music geeky but interesting. It shows the evolution of the hit song and consumer tastes.

That’s the Music News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Happy New Year everyone. See you next year!

November 1, 2016

Mastering Engineer Gene Grimaldi On Episode #133 Of My Inner Circle Podcast

Gene GrimaldiMost mastering engineers start in recording before they transition into mastering, but Gene Grimaldi took a different route, beginning his career at Sony’s New Jersey CD pressing plant instead.

But Los Angeles called and Gene’s mastering journey began at the venerable Future Disc, from there eventually working his way up to chief engineer at Oasis Mastering. Along the way he’s lent his talents to big hit albums by Lady Gaga, Ellie Goulding, Niki Minaj, Ne-Yo and many, many more.

In the interview we cover everything from working production in a mastering studio (a big and expensive part of the job in the pre and early-digital days), to working exclusively in-the-box, and doing it without using limiters.

On the intro we’ll look at an upcoming hot controversy – Warner Music and Avenged Sevenfold going to court over California’s arcane “7 Year Rule.” I’ll also talk about evaluating monitor speakers and what to listen for.

You can listen to it at bobbyoinnercircle.com, or via iTunesStitcher, Mixcloud or Google Play.

October 31, 2016

Avenged Sevenfold And Warner Music Test The 7 Year Rule

Avenged Sevenfold 7 Year RuleCalifornia has an interesting law on the books called the “7 Year Rule” that releases employees from a personal services contract, like a record deal, after 7 years. Th was actually part of a law that was enacted way back in 1872 as a way to protect the then burgeoning entertainment industry and helped to create the “studio system” that film studios used to employee actors for long periods of their careers. This all changed in 1940 when Gone With the Wind co-star Olivia de Havilland won a judgment from a state appeals court that her contract with Warner Brothers Pictures wasn’t binding past the seven-year mark, but now the law is being tested again.

Warner Music is taking Avenged Sevenfold to court over a relatively new provision in the 7 Year Rule. The band recently bolted to Capitol Records, and it’s new album The Stage just came out on Friday on that label. The problem is that in 1989 record labels successfully lobbied to add an amendment to the law that allowed them to sue an artist that left without delivering the number of albums originally agreed upon, which appears to be the case with Avenged Sevenfold. The labels argued that since many times they invest huge sums of money up front in an artist, there’s really no incentive for an artist to fulfill the contract if he can wait it out 7 years, hence the amendment.

The band wasn’t happy with the marketing strategy that Warners had used on its previous albums, even though two of them made it to #1, as well as the fact that many of the company’s main executives had left, which was behind their decision to find another label.

Lots of actors, artists, athletes, talent agents and record companies have invoked the 7 Year Rule in the past, but this is the first time it’s actually being tested in court. The big problem for Warners is trying to determine what the damages might be for not having the last album of the deal, which is why it’s looking closely at how well The Stage does in the marketplace. The band claims it doesn’t owe Warners another album due because it came to the end of its 7 year term. It now looks like sometime in 2017, a judge will decide.

August 12, 2016

Here’s Why You Should Always License Your Samples

De La SoulBelieve it or not, the pioneering hip-hop group De La Soul’s music from their first 6 albums have never been available digitally. It’s never been on iTunes and it’s never been on a streaming service, and it looks like it’s not going to be in the future either. The reason? In the early days of hip-hop, the band never bothered to license any of the samples it used (as many as 60 per song), and now it’s become too expensive and time consuming for the business affairs department at Warner Music to bother with.

And that’s become another sore point for the band, since those early albums were on the small indie Tommy Boy Records, which was eventually acquired by Warners in 2002. Since then, a revolving door of executives have been unable to deal with the clearance process of material that goes back to 1989, meaning that neither the band nor the  label has received income from anything other than the physical sales.

Out of frustration, the band gave away those first 6 albums for free for one day only on Valentines Day 2014, a move that crashed the hosting service. This action drew the wrath of Warners, but it was difficult for them to get too angry, since they weren’t about to clear the samples and release the albums anyway.

This brings up two points that every artist should be aware of. First is that you always must get clearance for a sample, because the industry is getting more litigious (see the new plagiarism lawsuit against Ed Sheeran), and you will get caught if you don’t obtain a license. You could get away with it in 1989, but we’re a long way from there now. Many attorneys use the strategy of waiting for a song to be a hit before they sue in order to get more money (don’t want to do it too soon), meaning that you could put a lot of time and work into something and not see much for your effort at the end of the day. You want to be able to enjoy a hit and the money that comes with it, and not have to give most of it away because you didn’t clear the sample for a much lower fee.

The second thing is to be sure you know what’s in your contract. If it can be acquired by another entity at a later time, you may be stuck with a team that you don’t believe in, and doesn’t believe in you either. Remember, it’s called the “music business” for a reason.

Music Industry News Roundup #6

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s the music industry news roundup from the last week. Warner Music was in the spotlight, as was Sony/ATV publishing, but Spotify and YouTube couldn’t stay out of the news if they tried.

Warner Music signs with Vevo. Warners is the last of the big 3 major labels to do a deal with Vevo, but it finally happened, mostly because of Vevo’s “reboot” with a a redesigned logo and interface, new user profiles with social components, and a personalized video player offering recommendations.

Warners also partners with Vadio. Vadio’s curation platform, ChannelMaker, allows its clients to curate music video channels from a library of videos, and WMG is the first major to sign on.

How millennials act online. If your target demographic is millennials, then you’ll want to check out this infographic that shows when they’re most likely to buy and what content types they prefer, among other things.

Political campaigns and music licensing. Curious about what music a campaign can legally use? This is a great overview of the many possibilities (it’s not as cut and dried as you might think).

BuzzAngle’s mid-year music report.  Music has changed a lot from last year to this year, and you can check out just how much in this report.

Google’s report defends YouTube. The major labels are at war with the platform, so Google put out his report to defend itself. As with everything, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

Spotify is starting to beat YouTube. When it comes to streaming music, people are beginning to prefer Spotify over Youtube, a trend that looks to continue. Remember, throughout history, convenience always wins in the music industry, and Spotify is way more convenient to use.

YouTube multi-channel networks were once hot, now they’re not. Disney-owned Maker Studios, home to PewDiePie, laid off staff last week, and the executive brain drain continues. YouTube once seemed unbeatable, but now seems very vulnerable.

Sony/ATV publishing gets permission from the EU to complete the Michael Jackson buyout. The speculation is that this won’t be good for songwriters in the long run. Also, expect it to change its name to simply Sony Publishing, as the company becomes a closer rival to Universal.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Music Industry News Roundup #4

Music Industry News Roundup Here’s some interesting music business news from the last week. There’s a lot going on in the streaming world, but as usual, that’s not all.

Warner Music had it’s best quarter in a long time. Streaming agrees with this major label, and it’s up around 14% over the same time last year. Guest what? It’s all due to streaming.

“Happy Birthday” is copyright free, but what about “We Shall Overcome” and “This Land Is Your Land?” Both are considered national treasures and thought to be in the public domain, but are instead controlled by the daughter of Woody Guthrie. New lawsuits attempt to change that, but what does it mean for copyright law?

Many superstars are going it alone without a manager. Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Beyonce and Ariana Grande are using a close tight nit team to guide their careers instead of traditional management companies. Prince was notorious for doing the same thing, and Mick Jagger has essentially guided the Rolling Stones since early in their career. Works for some, not so much for others as Queen and Billy Joel had a rough time after trying the strategy.

Drake’s Views chart dominance is mainly due to streaming. It seems that sales aren’t what they used to be, but I’ve been making that point for a long time.

Spotify is trying to program ads based on your musical tastes. The company is now asking advertisers to submit ads that fit specific profiles to better target listeners on its free ad-supported tier. Creepy or smart?

Song pluggers now target playlists. Song “pluggers” or promoters used to target just radio in order to raise the profile of a song and make it a hit, now they target various playlists instead.

Apple has fixed a big problem with Apple Music. It has moved to fingerprinting technology to help better match your personal music collection to its online catalog. User have been frustrated with inaccurate matches, but this promises to kill the bug.

Downloads will be dead by 2020. That’s what this article predicts as it looks at the downward spiral down of downloadable music consumption. Not analysts believe it will happen this quickly, by the way.

Has streaming broken the UK singles charts? A better question might be, what dos the singles chart now measure, because it certainly isn’t sales.

That’s the News Roundup of what went on in the music industry last week. Let’s see what next week brings.

Warners Stops Selling To Small Record Stores

Small Record StoresIn another blow to the mom and pop music store, Warner Music has cut off more than 100 accounts that do less than $10,000 in business per year with the company, according to a post on Pitchfork. That means that in order to have a direct account with Warners to get the best pricing, a store must now do a minimum of $10k per year.

Small stores that can’t hit that limit will still be able to sell Warner products, but it will cost them more, as they’ll now have to purchase from a third party instead. This extra cost will inevitably be passed on to the customer.

The music business, especially the major labels, have always undervalued small retailers, favoring large chains back when they ruled, to the megastores of Walmart and Target today. That said, the lifeblood of the industry has always been the small local retailer, where many artists get their starts with their self-made products.

Today the local record retailer is mostly in the vinyl business, as CDs have fallen deeply out of favor. That said, not all of the accounts shuttered by Warners sold vinyl, and according to the company, about a third hadn’t ordered any in about a year. The company also said that not all were record stores and that some, in fact, were museum gift shops.

Many small record stores who made the cut are nonetheless shaken, and fear that the minimum sales level will continue to rise. If that’s the case, it would put many stores out of business, an ironic self-fulfilling prophecy where the industry complains about not enough sales, but willing buyers can’t find a place to browse product and make the purchase. The same thing happened with the CD, which could have had a much more gradual decline than it’s experiencing had there been more stores with available product. The same might happen again in the vinyl world.

April 13, 2016

YouTube Has All The Leverage In New Label Negotiations

YouTubeIf you’re a record label, or an artist, band or publisher for that matter, the one thorn in your digital side is YouTube. Why? It’s by far the most widely used streaming service for consuming music, yet it pays the least of all the services. However, it’s come to light that YouTube’s licensing agreements with the three major labels have either expired or are about to, which brings new hope that renegotiated terms might mean increased revenue for the industry.

That hope may prove false though, since YouTube continues to hold all the leverage – in fact, it holds virtually all of it.

Until now, the major labels could drive a hard bargain with all other streaming services that not only gained them hefty upfront fees, but also even a piece of the company in some cases. If a music service didn’t like a label’s terms, it still had no choice but to take the deal, otherwise it would be minus the label’s catalog, which could mean a death blow to the service.

 Not so with YouTube.
 Since so much of the music on the service is illegally uploaded by its users, the company is able to dictate the license agreement terms, since if a label balks and refuses to agree to the deal, its music will still appear on the service.
 In fact, Warner Music tried this very tactic a few years ago, but after a year of its songs still appearing on YouTube yet generating zero revenue, the company acquiesced and signed a deal on YouTube’s terms. Getting some money is better than no money at all.
All this is made possible thanks to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which protects YouTube and other similar services in that they can’t be held liable as a result of unlicensed content that its users might upload. A record label can ask that the content be taken down, and YouTube will comply, but chances are that content will be re-uploaded immediately and the cycle will continue. Plus the burden of finding any unlicensed versions lies with the labels, all of which spend a great deal of time and resources searching for violations.
 So YouTube is in the drivers seat in these negotiations. Even if the labels don’t like the deal presented, they have no recourse since their music will find its way onto the service, but the labels will get zero money if they pull their catalogs because they don’t like the terms.