The majority of people who champion streaming are not your average artist, they are not even the top 10 per cent of artists. The advocators of the commentary we hear day to day are music industry press, mainstream press, the streaming networks themselves, aggregators and Digital Service Providers (DSPs) and of course users, who get an amazing experience of all the music in the world for 9.99.
Ah, Cancun, where the elite meet and the US Consulate is located next to the jail.
Spotify is currently hosting a pricey offsite meeting in Cancun, Mexico, with dozens or more executives and employees participating.
Of course, Cancun isn’t usually associated with getting work done — unless that work involves repeatedly lifting rum cocktails. But this offsite is reportedly focused on assembling content groups from various global offices. Beyond that, we’re not sure of the exact business purpose.
One Spotify executive referred to this as a ‘Spotify Music Conference’. Another source noted that the ‘entire content org’ at Spotify is attending the getaway. Sounds like a lot of people.
There seems to be a strong Latin emphasis among the performers (more on that below), which makes sense given the location. But at this stage, this looks like a broader global content and curator meet-up.
According to one source, the action is happening at the Ritz Carlton Cancun, which is surrounded on all sides by white-sand beaches and light blue waters. According to the resort’s website, room prices start at $439 a night for an ‘Ocean View Guest Room,’ and quickly climb to $1,329 a night for the spacious ‘Club Master Suite’.
Two of the artists performing at the Spotify soiree…sorry, I mean working conference… are Nicky Jam and ChocQuibTown. What’s strange about that is that Spotify can’t seem to find the songwriters for these two artists:
Now Spotify can explain to these artists why their songwriters aren’t getting paid. Good thing we have that Music Modernization Act safe harbor that will put everything right as rain.
For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.
The special arrangements are detailed in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times. The records, generated in 2017 by the company’s internal system for tracking partnerships, provide the most complete picture yet of the social network’s data-sharing practices. They also underscore how personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond.
The exchange was intended to benefit everyone. Pushing for explosive growth, Facebook got more users, lifting its advertising revenue. Partner companies acquired features to make their products more attractive. Facebook users connected with friends across different devices and websites. But Facebook also assumed extraordinary power over the personal information of its 2.2 billion users — control it has wielded with little transparency or outside oversight.
The social network allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages.
Read the post on the New York Times.
[Editor Charlie sez: The $43.4 million fund ordered by the Court is a downpayment on the $112.55 million settlement with the class. Noteably, the members of that class do not include National Music Publishers Association members (96% of their members who settled for $30 million, apparently mostly the big guns but terms are confidential) or the Wixen objectors.]
The court has approved the settlement of combined class action lawsuits originally brought against Spotify for copyright infringement by musicians David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. The settlement guarantees an artist compensation of $43.4million plus future royalties. The full settlement totals $112.55 million, including legal fees.
The ruling came despite objections of major music publisher Wixen and several songwriters and publishers who argued that the settlement was too small.
“The court heard a lot of testimony and did the best it could under the circumstances,” attorney and artist advocate Christian Castle tells Hypebot. “It’s still far and away the most money anyone has gotten so far from Spotify’s gross and willful infringement of song copyrights. Next time maybe they’ll pay more attention to the little guy.”
I was fortunate to moderate an excellent panel at the SXSW Continuing Legal Education seminar this week. Our topic was “The Future of Mechanical Licensing in the U.S.” Little did we know when the panel was booked in September that this would be such a hot topic following the introduction of the deeply controversial Music Modernization Act on December 21.
One of the legal process questions the panel discussed was the MMA’s “reachback” safe harbor that retroactively limits infringement claims filed after January 1, 2018 without regard to when the MMA’s blanket license is actually available.
[Sara Hickman is one of Austin’s most beloved songwriters. She has allowed us to republish her viral Facebook post on how streaming is hollowing out the “middle class musician”. (If you want data on this phenomenon, see the Austin Music Census, the most comprehensive work of its kind that actually connects with working musicians as opposed to the usual hoorah Chamber of Commerce bunk.) Trust me–it’s not just Austin. As Maria Schneider has written, low streaming royalty rates and increased consumption are essentially destroying the music infrastructure from the ground up. And the recurring theme from the World Trade Center offices of Spotify is that royalties are too high. We’re honored to republish Sara’s important post. And a 44% increase in streaming rates is still $0.00144.]
There were many reasons why I retired from music last year. I’ve never explained them or felt the need to, so I’m not going to start today.
But I do want to point out something that made a chilling difference in my decision. And that is streaming and downloading music versus selling physical cds/vinyl/cassettes, what have you. You’ve all heard how it affects us: the songwriters, the musicians, the bands. I want to share a living example of what streaming does. Because streaming is killing the opportunities of musicians to make a living off of their creations.
My song “I Couldn’t Help Myself” was my biggest success, in consideration of what the industry expects, it wasn’t much. But when it came out in 1990, there was a lovely video, lots of airplay, touring, promotion teams and I was flown to radio stations all over the country to perform live and chat with the DJs. All this to say hard work helped move the song to #3. I was blessed to appear on “The Tonight Show” while it was the single.
All this to lead up to the fact that it is 2018 (28 years later)
and I just received my quarterly royalty statement from Warner Music Group for all the songs from “Shortstop”. Believe it or not, my songs still get airplay around the globe, which blows my mind and, of course, makes my heart smile.
I hope you’ve read this far.
Because the pay off is you’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you.
I recognize the numbers I’m about to share don’t amount to beans when compared with musicians who have made it to the big, BIG time. But I’ve always considered myself a working middle class musician; I worked my ass off to make a decent living and I was cool with that. I had a niche. I learned how to diversify my talents, read contracts, distribute, create and publish content (music) to support my dream. I enjoyed understanding what I was making and releasing into the world, knowing there would be end results of, hopefully, satisfied listeners and a financial reward parallel to the work, time, effort and costs associated on my end.
Having said that, I’ve watched how income numbers on royalties have dropped since streaming/downloads started.
This new earnings notice (Oct-Dec 2017) shows “I Couldn’t Help Myself” played 14,789 times (U.S., Italy, Canada, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Em., Belgium, etc) and here’s what that provided:
FIFTEEN DOLLARS AND NINETY EIGHT CENTS for 14,789 captured results of people listening to my song.
That equals .0010 per download or stream. It’s not even
a PENNY per play. And it’s not because it’s me. That’s the level playing field of payment for all of us in music on Spotify, YouTube, Amazon download, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Tidal, Rhapsody, Slacker…even something called Neurotic Media.
Let me hip you to how many of those were downloads (as in paid for content):
Here’s how much streaming this one song of mine received:
As today is the International Day of Women, I thought it was important to remind you of not only how women musicians are treated, but how ALL musicians are compensated and WHY it is IMPORTANT to remember to pay for music.
Video may have killed the radio star, but streaming is ending wages and opportunities for your creators.
[Editor Charlie sez: The Music Modernization Act really is the Spotify IPO Preservation Act, as we suspected!]
David Israelite of the NMPA and Mitch Glazier of the RIAA have penned an op-ed for Variety Magazine, in which they extoll the virtues of various copyright reform proposals before congress. While I agree with them about the Classics Act (fixes pre-1972 loophole) AMP act (helps producers/engineers receive royalties from digital royalty streams) every day […]