Newsletter – December 4th

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Christmas is around the corner, so you know what that means… music industry news and events!! (that made sense right?)

Music News

1.  Judge rules Taylor Swift did not infringe with “Shake It Off”… by quoting Taylor Swift lyrics.

After reviewing the case of Braham v. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, a case in which the artist Jesse Braham sued Taylor Swift for allegedly copying material from his song “Haters Gone Hate” with her hit “Shake It Off”, a magistrate judge recommended that he not go further with his complaint. The judge felt that he did not prove that the two songs were substantially similar. However, the way in which she closed her statement was nothing short of priceless:

“At present, the Court is not saying that Braham can never, ever, ever get his case back in court. But, for now, we have got problems, and the Court is not sure Braham can solve them. As currently drafted, the Complaint has a blank space — one that requires Braham to do more than write his name. . . . Braham may discover that mere pleading Band-Aids will not fix the bullet holes in his case. At least for the moment, Defendants have shaken off this lawsuit.”

Genius.

Read the full decision

 

2. Pandora  plans to launch streaming service using Rdio’s technology.

Pandora, in a recent move that intended to fuel “the streaming wars”, recently acquired technology, assets, and personnel from the newly bankrupt Rdio for a reported $75 million. This will enable Pandora to finally get into the on-demand streaming market (kudos to them for seeing the writing on the wall) as well as open up territories for an international expansion. Pandora is only available in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, and much of the international licensing landscape is friendlier to on-demand streaming than their current passive radio-streaming platform.

Read the article

 

3. Streaming services are moving into new revenue streams… and potentially encroaching on labels.

Due to the well known economics problem that streaming services face, huge growth without constant and impressive profitability, streaming services have begun to move into new areas to generate more revenue streams. Especially since the major new entrants into streaming (Apple, Google, and Amazon) are happy to be loss leaders in order to bring users into their ecosystem to spend money on other products. Pandora, in their acquisition of Rdio’s assets and Ticketfly as a whole, they plan to try and capitalize on artist analytics and the sale of concert tickets. Spotify is aiming in the same direction, crafting playlists of local concerts happening in the area with a “buy ticket” option on the playlist. These streaming companies finding new ways to turn a profit that encroach on traditional label activities, such as marketing and show promotion, is disconcerting. However, there are aspects of promotion (getting radio play) and video production that streaming companies don’t have the competency yet to get into.

Read the article

 


 

Events

1. Buy some really cool vintage furniture from the historic Hotel Figueroa at their liquidation sale @ Hotel Figueroa on Mondays to Saturdays 10-5 and Sunday Noon-5 until they run out of stuff. I love cool furniture so I am absolutely going. I actually considered not sharing this to have it all to myself… but what the heck.

Details

2. See the LA Zoo at Griffith Park all lit up with Christmas lights @ Griffith Park starting at 6pm nightly ending January 3rd. Apparently its quite a sight to behold… and theres a rumor going around that Santa is going to be there!

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I couldn’t help myself.

Tix + Info

3. Try LA’s BEST Mac & Cheese at “Time Out Los Angeles’ inaugural Mac & Cheese Smackdown“@ LA River Studios only on Sunday, December 6th (choose one of two midday sessions). Mac & Cheese is one of my childhood favorites. If you are a big fan, this is your one shot to become a connoisseur .

Tix + Info

 

Disclaimer: If you read this newsletter without ever seeing the movie “Elf”, you’re missing out in more ways than one.

 

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Newsletter – November 13th

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More streaming/publishing news for you all this week as well as some events for the weekend!

Have a lucky weekend everyone!


Music News

1. YouTube launches a subscription service… and the industry is not impressed.

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YouTube recently announced it would be rolling out its new audio-video subscription service YouTube Red, which will exist alongside its freemium tier that we all know and love. With the number of streaming services growing every year, its not surprising that YouTube is throwing its hat in the ring. However, the music industry isn’t exactly jumping for joy. Rights holders have long been uncomfortable with YouTube underwhelming copyright exploitation. One CEO of a digital distributor, in relation to proper copyright exploitation, described YouTube as “borderline criminal”. Google says its service is part of its initiative to build “better business models to drive higher engagement and revenue”. Only time will tell if thats true.

Read the full article

2. Does Adele need streaming?

With the forthcoming release of her first studio album in four years, Adele has people wondering whether she will perform quite as spectacular as her last album,  21. 21 is renowned for having sold 30 million copies worldwide in a time when music sales had begun to plummet. Four years later,  music sales revenue has dropped by a quarter since her last release and the market has grown ever more saturated with streaming as a source of music consumption. Adele, a strong “album artist”, seems to move people to actually purchase music, but will that hold true today is it did four years ago? When compared with another strong “album artist” such as T-Swift, who is notoriously anti-streaming, Adele’s audience is older and more spread out. This may actually better her chances to maintain her reputation as an artist who convinces consumers to buy music

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As the chart references, the two audiences (those who only stream and those who only buy) are surprisingly distinct. This, coupled with Adele’s audience demographics may mean that her listeners are somewhere in that 27%. And that’s what might enable her to perform as well as four years ago. However, with the numerous changes to the music industry since then, even if she does exceedingly well, it’ll be difficult to repeat the success of 21.

Read the full article

3. Pandora and Sony/ATV shake hands mostly as a contingency.

Two of the most unlikely bedfellows, Pandora and Sony/ATV have entered into an agreement in which each party gets exactly what they want. Sony/ATV gets the higher royalty rates that it, and every other publisher in the industry, has been begging for while Pandora gets rate certainty, which is especially important in the face of the oncoming decision by the Copyright Royalty Board at the end of the year which will set rates to an unknown amount until 2020. In this way Pandora assures that it will know its rate with, at the very least, the largest publisher in the world. Essentially, Pandora is hedging against the possibility that publishers will be able to nix the PRO’s (Performance Rights Organizations like ASCAP and BMI that control the compulsory royalty rate) non-exclusive control over their performance rights (plays on Pandora fall in this category) and negotiate directly with digital services like Pandora. If the PRO’s don’t provide the non-exclusive compulsory license option, then the publishers have way more bargaining power. Another article on the subject expressed confusion how publisher negotiations with digital music services that bypass the PRO’s can even be legal in the first place, since they undermine the whole PRO concept.

Read the full article

Read another short article commenting on the legality


Events

1.  Check out a drive-in screening of the movie-musical classic Chicago Electric Dusk Drive-In @ 4pm. You can enjoy Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones from the comfort of your car! I’ll admit I’ve never seen Chicago, so I’m seriously considering going to this. Tickets are going fast! Although, I think if they sell out you can still get astroturf seating (double check that one)

Tix + Info

2. Go see Chicago’s longest-running improv show here in LA, The Armando Show @ IO West @ 9pm. The show starts with a monologue (different person each time) in which someone tells a personal, true story. Then the cast acts out scenes and situations from the story for the rest of the performance.

Tix + Info

3. Take a guided walk to the Hollywood Sign @ The Griffith Observatory starting @ 10am. If you’ve never done the hike this will be a great opportunity, as well as an opportunity to discover some of the most popular viewing areas. I’ve done the hike myself (unguided) , and its definitely an experience that you can’t pass up living in LA. It definitely has a different spirit than the other hikes around here.

Details

Newsletter – November 3rd

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How we all feel after that move

Wooohooo! The move is over!! Now that we’re not all breaking our backs, time to resume this newsletter business.

Check out “the haps” below, courtesy of “that intern doe”.


Music News

This week’s music news bulletin is dominated by streaming.

1.  Amazon’s Prime Music is putting on its lederhosen.

Amazon is readying itself to launch its music streaming service in Germany, according to a report from a local German technology website. Amazon offers it’s Prime Music streaming service as part of its package when users purchase Amazon Prime ($99). With its small catalog of only one million songs (offered both in US and soon Germany), Amazon is positioning itself between free music services like Pandora and premium services such as Apple Music or Spotify. The move to go international is a a first for Amazon’s music streaming service.

Read the full article

2. Ed Sheeran is the most streamed artist on Spotify… and never streams anything.

Ed Sheeran

He managed to get his foot out of his mouth in time for this photo to be taken.

In a recent Billboard interview, Ed Sheeran revealed that he doesn’t “stream anything ever”. This comes as a shock from someone who is a big music streaming advocated AND the most-streamed artist on Spotify (surpassing 2 billion streams). He went on to explain: “I don’t even really get [music streaming services], I buy everything off iTunes or physically.” Interestingly, Sheeran is good friends with a well-known detractor of streaming, Taylor Swift, who views services like Spotify as devaluing artists’ music. It seems that they don’t see eye to eye on the issue.

Read the full article

3. Pandora is expanding into live music.

Earlier last month, Pandora announced that it would be purchasing Ticketfly, a direct, independent competitor of Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster. The move comes after Live Nation’s recent purchase of Front Gate Tickets, another ticketing service, has led some artists and bands to leave the ever-growing Live Nation ecosystem. Ticketfly was an early proponent of social media and web marketing for stimulating ticket sales and is a popular choice for promoters who do not want to do business with Ticketmaster. Pandora’s excellence in mining user data for advertisers (which comprise 80% of its revenue) combined with Ticketfly’s competence in marketing live shows will likely make for a powerful duo.

Read the full article


Events this Weekend

Go see cool indie films FO FREE at the AFI Film Festival @ the Grauman’s Chinese Theater starting Thursday, November 5th until November 12th. (Visit the website to get tix and check out specific showtimes). I went last year and the films were amazing!

Tix + Info

Check out Opening Night: The Improvised Musical, where the performers make up everything on the spot (characters, story, and songs) @ IO West, starting Friday, November 6th @ 9pm (it’s also the next three Fridays).

Tix + Info

Check out the Rain Room, a new exhibit @ LACMA in which rain falls all around you while you stay dry. I hear its quite a sight to behold, especially if you love interactive art (which I happen to love). It’s open everyday over the weekend and during the week (except Wednesday)

Tix + Info

Go check out the massive Rose Bowl Flea Market. Apparently it’s an eclectic mix of all kinds of vendors and worth checking out, especially if you live in the area. It’s @ the Rose Bowl this Sunday, November 8th (always every second Sunday of the month).

Details + Entry Fee

If you’re feeling really adventurous and experimental, check out Hopscotch, the first ever “car opera”. It’s an interactive, experimental performance opera that takes place in three moving vehicles. As the audience you’re either able to purchase a ticket to ride along side the “performance” vehicle up close (check out location info on the website) or watch for free via live stream @ Southern California Institute of Architecture. It sounds equal parts crazy and awesome.

Tix + Info

Newsletter – October 8th

Hey Everyone!

As you have probably noticed, I have taken up residence in your department as “the Intern”. It’s so very nice to meet you all!

Let’s get some quick facts about me out of the way:

1) I’m a student at Cal-State Northridge studying Marketing/Finance

2) I hail from Atlantic City, New Jersey (same-ish place as Adam!) so come talk to me about gambling.

3) My background in music includes my experience as a singer-songwriter/musician, as well as my last internship at Music Sales Corporation, an international music publishing company.

4) My favorite movie is “Fight Club” and I can do a great Mickey Mouse impression. Not really relevant, but important nonetheless.


Music News

1. Warner/Chappell gets a new CEO.

Warner/Chappell who has songwriters such as Jay Z, Beyoncé, Vance Joy, and Echosmith will promote Jon Platt to CEO. Platt, an executive who spent 17 years at EMI Music Publishing before his role as North American President, received SESAC’s Visionary Award in May. With declining revenues, Warner/Chappell’s decision to promote Platt, who attracted many high profile writers (the ones mentioned above), is part of a plan to attract even more top-notch writers and solidify Warner/Chappell’s place as “the best home for songwriters”.

Read the full article

3. Owner of WMG pisses off the FTC and gets away with it… again.

Len Blavatnik, owner of Access Industries, Warner Music Group’s parent company recently was slapped with a fine by the FTC for failing to report the acquisition of a message app startup, TangoMe. This comes after a similar “forgetful mistake” in 2011 when he did the exact same thing with  a chemical company, LyondellBasell. Last time the FTC let him off with a warning, but this time he wan’t so lucky. Interestingly, for this kind of offense, the law allows for a daily penalty of $16,000 and since he acquired the company in Aug. 6 2014 he really should owe somewhere around just over $6.3 million. But alas, the blunder will only cost him $656,000 (the FTC settled, duh).  We wouldn’t want a man with an estimated net worth $18.6 billion to be treated too harshly, now would we?

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Read the full article

3. Return of the Fresh Prince

For all those who remember the early days of rapper-turned-actor Will Smith, he plans to grace us with funky fresh rhymes once again.

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the appropriate response

The Fresh Prince is developing a new album, stating that he has already 30 songs recorded. According to Smith, he’s also panning on a potential world tour with longtime collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff. Excitement aside, I’m interested to see how his style will have changed over the past 30 years. His music was definitely specific to the time and I’m not sure how it would fare in today’s music scene. But, I definitely expect some funk.

Read the full article and check out a video of the interview


Here are some events in LA this weekend.

Jerry Seinfeld does Standup @ the Pantages Theater on Friday, October 9th @ 7pm

Tickets + Info

For you classical lovers, the Los Angeles Philharmonic plays ALL NINE of Beethoven’s symphonies @ the Disney Concert Hall on Friday, October 9th @ 8pm

Tickets + Info

The Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) performs a free comedy improv show (with celebrity guests and cameos) on Saturday @ 8pm and Sunday @7:30pm (free).

Tickets + Info

JR JR (a band I recently saw play in this cool production house in Santa Monica) is playing @ The Teragram Ballroom on Saturday, October 10th @ 8pm. I thought they were a pretty cool band with a flavor kind of like Imagine Dragons. Worth checking out I’d say.

Tickets + Info

Strut Your Mutt an annual event/fundraiser by the Best Friends Animal Society in support of shelter pets. Take a nice walk (or marathon run) with your (or other people’s) dogs! There will be dogs for adoption, a leisurely walk, a 5k run, snacks, and other festivities @ Exposition Park on Saturday, October 10th @ 7am (registration) 9am.

Tickets + Info