Over 2,000 songwriters have signed a petition demanding better mechanical royalties for interactive streaming from Google, Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pandora.

The campaign has launched ahead of a court hearing in Washington today (March 8) where the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) will determine rates for the next five years.

The tech giants are expected to argue to reduce the amount they pay, while the National Music Publisher’s Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association International will lobby for an increase.

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@hypebot: Music Industry Has Upper Hand As Spotify Faces Soaring Interest Rates, Stock Discounts

Last year when Spotify took on $1 billion in debt, we reported that it did so under terms that forced rate increases if it failed to IPO.  Now, those terms could force Spotify to IPO quickly, which leaves the music industry in a strong negotiating position.

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@stuartdredge: David Lowery Talks Digital Scepticism and Music-Streaming’s Future

David Lowery started the year in the headlines for leading one of two class-action lawsuits against Spotify over mechanical licensing. They have since combined with the other lawsuit taking prominence.

That has left Lowery free to continue with touring life with his two bands, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, but through his activism and The Trichordist blog, he remains closely engaged with the issues that sparked those lawsuits – and with the wider questions of fair streaming royalties.

“It’s pretty clear that the courts are going to do something with this: there’s going to be some sort of action. The NOI system for licensing streaming mechanicals in the United States is essentially broken. If we want to have streaming services that have more than a few million tracks on them, we can’t have that system,” says Lowery.

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@micahsingleton @benpopper: Spotify wants to bring on-demand features to its free mobile users

[Editor Charlie sez:  Spotify can’t account for millions of songs as it is, how will they give songwriters a straight count on “Jump In” feature?  Easy answer–they won’t.]

Spotify is testing a new feature called Jump In that would let its free mobile users get on-demand features in certain playlist, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation….

Spotify is currently in the midst of negotiations with all of the major labels, and those deals won’t be done anytime soon, according to multiple sources. Given that there are no deals in place, the company would need special approval to push Jump In, which could potentially alter or delay the rollout schedule.

Read the post on The Verge.

@jonathantaplin: Forget AT&T. The Real Monopolies Are Google and Facebook.

The proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner has drawn censure from both sides of the political aisle, as well as a Senate hearing that looked into the potential for the combined company to become a monopoly.

But if we are going to examine media monopolies, we should look first at Silicon Valley, not the fading phone business.

Mark Cuban, the internet entrepreneur, said at the meeting of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee last week that the truly dominant companies in media distribution these days were Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon.

“Facebook is without question in a dominant position, if not the dominant position, for content delivery,” he said.

Look at the numbers. Alphabet (the parent company of Google) and Facebook are among the 10 largest companies in the world. Alphabet alone has a market capitalization of around $550 billion. AT&T and Time Warner combined would be about $300 billion.

Read the Post on The New York Times

@andreworlowski: Team Trump snubs Big Internet oligarchs

[Editor Charlie sez: No more White House Spotify playlists?]

Team Trump has announced the composition of the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum – and there’s no place for internet oligarchs like Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos or the world’s fifth-richest man, Mark Zuckerberg.

Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch has a seat, as does Ginni Rometty, head of everything at IBM. The forum is headed by Stephen A Schwarzman, co-founder of private equity giant Blackstone.

“The panel will be a strong voice on Team Trump for corporate America and the interests of the 1 per cent,” writes Larry Kumer of the Fabius Maximus blog, noting that for a populist President-elect, there’s no representation for organised labour.

But it’s not merely corporate – that much can be expected from a CEO President-elect. DC sources tell us that Trump’s antipathy towards Big Internet is based on jobs. A second Trump term depends on jobs growth; while internet companies such as Amazon, Google and Uber destroy jobs, manufacturing industries create them.

It’s a sign of which corporations Team Trump thinks can generate jobs. Outgoing President Obama couldn’t get enough of Big Internet, and today many agencies reflect Google’s agenda. The Google Transparency project has documented the busy revolving door between DC and Mountain View, and the amount of Google-friendly policy activity has become frantic in recent months. Examples include ripping up the rules for TV licensing – which proved too much even for the Democrat FCC Commissioner with the swing vote to approve – and locking the Register of Copyright out of her office.

Read the post on The Register

@rbaird1234: Why the music industry can’t escape the choke-hold web streaming services have it in

This week Spotify’s UK head of content programming George Ergatoudis told Music Week he had met Taylor Swift’s management team to talk about her returning to the service.

Ergatoudis said: “It’s not a lock-in, but I’ve got every reason to be very optimistic Taylor Swift will be coming back to Spotify. I’m not saying it’s done, but the indications are good, put it like that.”

When Swift released her album, 1989, in 2014 she pulled her entire catalogue from the streaming giant in protest at its free tier.

Swift said at the time: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”

But Ergatoudis said: “The world’s moved on a lot, even in the last year. There’s a hell of a different market right now.”

This is very true for the music industry, which has been in turmoil for more than a decade. The only constant factor is that most of parts of the sector are in decline.

Ten years ago sales by the British music business accounted for £1.2bn, a slump of 42% in a decade.

The clear reason for this fall is the rise of digital services such as Deezer and Google Play as well as Spotify and Apple Music, which represents a massive consumer shift from owning music to simply streaming it over digital devices.

The BPI said ad-funded websites paid out a “meagre” £24.4m in 2015 in royalties in the UK. This was despite British fans streaming almost 27 billion music videos, an 88% increase from 2014.

Last year YouTube paid out $740m in music rights payments worldwide, according to a report from industry-funded body UK Music. This is up 11% from 2014, despite total views jumping by 132% to 751 billion streams. Per-stream rates fell from $0.0020 to $0.0010.

Read the post on International Business Times (UK)