iHeartMedia Inc., the biggest operator of radio stations in the U.S. and headed by Bob Pittman of MTV fame, plans to include language in its next quarterly report warning investors that it may not survive another year.
The company IHRT, +2.38% , which owns iHeartRadio and billboard advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings CCO, +0.00% said it continues to expect cash flow to be negative and is uncertain as to whether it will be able to refinance or extend the maturities of some of its borrowings, according to a regulatory filing.
The company has almost $350 million of debt coming due this year, part of a massive $20 billion debt load it took on as part of a $24 billion leveraged buyout of then Clear Channel Communications Inc. by private-equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2008. It has another $8.3 billion of debt coming due in 2019.
“Management anticipates that our financial statements to be issued for the three months ended March 31, 2017, will include disclosure indicating there will be substantial doubt as to our ability to continue as a going concern for a period of 12 months following the date the first quarter 2017 financial statements are issued,” the company said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
[Editor Charlie sez: Remember when the government set the price of mechanical royalties at $0.02 in 1909 and “forgot” to raise it until 1978? And then–in 1978–started giving songwriters increases based on inflation (Consumer Price Index) with no compensation for the government’s past mistakes? Gee, thanks government. If they’d given inflation adjustments in 1909, minimum statutory would be at least $0.50. And then they froze the $0.091 minimum statutory rate again in 2009 when inflation has been about 14% since then. Gee, thanks again government. And why do they call it “minimum” statutory rate as if anyone is getting paid more than statutory when the reality is songwriters almost always get paid less than statutory? Big thank you to ASCAP and the songwriter delegation, you can tweet support to #standwithsongwriters!]
SONGWRITERS TO CALL FOR REFORMS TO OUTDATED MUSIC LICENSING REGULATIONS DURING ASCAP “STAND WITH SONGWRITERS” ADVOCACY DAY ON APRIL 26
Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, Rob Thomas, Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Ledisi, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and other award-winning American songwriters ask Congress to support updates for the modern music economy
WASHINGTON, DC—APRIL 25, 2016— Joining together as some of the most heavily-regulated small business owners in the country to fight for vital reforms to decades-old federal music licensing regulations, award-winning songwriters and composers from various music genres will be in Washington, DC tomorrow, April 26, to meet with elected officials as part of the annual American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.
“Songwriters are the foundation of this nation’s thriving music industry. But even though our music is being used more and more, it seems to be valued less and less, thanks to antiquated regulations. In fact, it takes one million streams of a song across the top music streaming services for a songwriter to earn about $170 on average. Even people who write hit songs are struggling to get by in this new music economy,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning songwriter. “The fact is U.S. music licensing regulations are out of step with how people consume music today, and with how the rest of the world works. If millions of people around the world are streaming your song, you should be fairly compensated for it.”
Today, three-fourths of U.S. songwriter income streams are subject to regulation by the federal government, hindering songwriters’ ability to negotiate fair market rates for their work. This is unlike any other creative industry, including books, television, film, video games and art, where the free market decides the value of copyrighted works. In their meetings on Capitol Hill, ASCAP members will discuss these and other challenges facing songwriters in the digital music age and urge policymakers from across the political spectrum to update the outdated and overreaching federal regulations that govern how songwriters collectively license their work.
When it comes to specific legislative reforms, ASCAP members will emphasize the need for periodic review of ASCAP’s 76-year-old antitrust consent decree with the Department of Justice to ensure it encourages, rather than hinders, more vigorous competition in the marketplace. They will also underscore the critical importance of improving the outdated and inefficient rate court system with a faster, less expensive process for dispute-resolution and rate-setting.
The meetings will follow tonight’s “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress, sponsored by The ASCAP Foundation. The event features performances by popular ASCAP members who will be introduced by Members of Congress, including: Peter Frampton & Gordon Kennedy (“Baby I Love Your Way” & “Change the World”); Rob Thomas (of Matchbox Twenty) (“Smooth”); Eric Bazilian & Rob Hyman (of The Hooters) (“One of Us” & “Time After Time”); Ledisi (“Pieces of Me”); Raul Midón (“Keep on Hoping”); and ASCAP Foundation Award-winning young jazz composer, singer and musician Camille Thurman.
The delegation of ASCAP members participating in tomorrow’s Congressional office visits will include: Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, Rob Thomas, Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Ledisi, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
The world’s biggest digital advertising company Google is reportedly building an ad-blocker into Chrome – and it’s already attracted the attention of Europe’s most important competition regulator.
The WSJclaimed the functionality could arrive in both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, although a final decision on deploying the ad-killer has yet to be made.
Why would a company that has made such huge profits from advertising – almost 90 per cent of Google’s $89.4bn revenue last year came from advertising – seek to block users from seeing ads?
It’s all about control.
By maintaining its own “blocker”, Google would seize the initiative from third-party whitelists, and have a greater say in which ads were acceptable. In effect, Google would become the gatekeeper, the arbiter of taste, diminishing the role of Eyeo, which markets Adblock Plus.
Let me be crystal clear: I strongly agree with advertisers and the advertising industry that there are way too many consumer-unfriendly ad formats and automated bad actors running amok on the Web. Legitimate and accountable ad blocking can be a good and necessary solution.
However, as we recently learned from Wall Street Journal, “Google plans to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome browser.”
The problems spotlighted in this piece are not with ad blocking, nor with Google participating in legitimate and accountable ad blocking. The problem is first with Google’s hypocrisy, and secondly with Google’s monopolistic behaviors involving Google Chrome, Search, Android, and advertising. Those issues raise legitimacy and accountability questions specific to Google’s ad blocking.
[Editor Charlie sez: And then Google shares the YouTube revenue with terrorists, neo-Nazis and illegal drug purveyors….]
The music business is a tough place for most artists to make money. This struggle was thrown into sharp relief last week when the UK industry revealed that artists earned more from vinyl sales in 2016 than they did from YouTube payments for viewings of music videos.
The BPI, the record labels’ association that promotes British music, says this is the latest example of YouTube exploiting the “value gap” between what it makes from online advertising shown around music videos and what finds its way to the artists’ pockets.
As if to add insult to injury, news of the paltry level of payouts came a day after figures showed that Google, and subsidiary YouTube, took home the lion’s share of the £10bn spent on internet advertising in the UK last year. BPI figures show UK vinyl sales growing for the ninth consecutive year in 2016, to a 25-year high of 3.2m units – driven by Blackstar, the final album by the late David Bowie – and making £41.7m for record labels and artists. By contrast, music video streaming, which is dominated by YouTube, funnelled just £25.5m to the industry.
“YouTube’s holding company [Google] can’t really have a motto ‘Do The Right Thing’ then pay one-seventh of the rates other streaming services pay,” said Allen Kovac, who has managed bands including the Bee Gees, Mötley Crüe and Blondie. “Moreover, Google drives audiences to YouTube, which devalues artists’ music. That’s a win-win for them, but a colossal loser for artists.”