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Tag archive: RIAA (5)

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New RIAA-commissioned report examines how record labels are amplifying talent in the modern music market

A comprehensive new report highlighting how record labels have transformed in response to the digital and streaming age was recently released. The study was conducted by NYU Professor Larry Miller (who also hosts the popular Musonomics podcast) and was commissioned by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The report – entitled Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent in the Modern Music Marketplace – features in-depth interviews with 50 company executives at both major and independent record labels. The study also incorporated revenue data from the RIAA on the music industry over the last several decades. The RIAA’s Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier discussed the impact of the study in a recent op-ed.

The report examines many different components of the relationship between labels and artists. In particular, it outlines: the evolution of label efforts to discover and market musical artists; how marketing plans differ and enhance opportunities for artists in a streaming world; the increasing role of data in label strategies; approaches undertaken by labels to build artist branding, and more.

As Professor Miller describes, just as in the past, “labels work to discover and develop artists, connect them with creative collaborators and make great records, promote and position them in the media or wherever fans go to get music, and reward successful outcomes. But how labels do their job is nearly unrecognizable from just a decade ago.”

Some of the key findings of the study include:

Data analysis has become a crucial tool for record labels: a variety of techniques and algorithms have been developed by labels in order to ingest the huge amounts of data available, in order to quickly produce actionable insights. Data has become king.

Labels are transitioning from B2B businesses to direct-to-consumer businesses, with a particular focus on building strong relationships with fans: As Professor Miller describes, the shift from the ‘access-based’ model of today has meant that artists often release a continuous flow of new content, rather than the traditional every-other-year album release cycle. The structure and promotional capacity of record labels has rendered them the most effective body to undertake these marketing necessities. Indeed, the report outlined how the labels’ promotional ‘machines’ are best equipped to release a steady flow of singles, EPs, and albums and videos and maximize the impact of each, while the social media departments are able to support this promotion through various social media platforms.  

The digital transition has had a profound impact on the modus operandi of record labels, due to the prevalence of massive amounts of real-time discovery and consumption data: Staff at labels now analyze thousands of global inputs, such as: Twitter, Facebook followers, YouTube views, Instagram interaction, Shazam queries, Wikipedia searches — and more. This is in addition to the daily analysis of streaming and download figures on numerous music services, often globally. All this data is then consolidated and utilized to develop highly customized plans for artist releases.

It is true that the music industry has experienced extreme disruption brought on by the birth of digital services. Yet despite the impressive success of many DIY self-released artists, Professor Miller concludes in the report that “labels remain the key enabler for artists to maximize their creative vision and achieve their dreams for global visibility.”

Read the full report: Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent in the Modern Music Marketplace.

 

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Playback 2018: Fireside Chat with Cary Sherman, CEO and Chairman of the RIAA

On Tuesday, October 16, Music Canada hosted Playback 2018, our annual industry dialogue and celebration. The event began with an annual review from Music Canada Executive Vice President Amy Terrill, followed by a keynote address from professor and author Debora Spar, and a subsequent panel discussion on how to help music creators living in the Value Gap.

The final program of the afternoon was a ‘fireside’ chat with Cary Sherman, the Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Moderated by brilliant artist advocate and musician Miranda Mulholland, the conversation centered on Sherman’s long career as an industry titan and passionate supporter of the rights of music creators.

The discussion began with a deep-dive into the recently passed Music Modernization Act (MMA) in the US, and an outline of Sherman’s role in the evolution of this historic legislation. The MMA contains several important new components, but some of the key achievements include:

  • The creation of a cohesive ‘blanket’ mechanical license: involves the establishment of a blanket license for streaming services to companies, managed by a new collecting society that will receive these payments and distribute them to the creators.
  • Pre-1972 Recordings: royalty protections are now ensured for pre-1972 performances.
  • New ability for producers (and other ‘adjunct’ creators like sound engineers and mixers) to be paid directly from their share of the artist’s royalties.

In addition to outlining the key policy components of the MMA, Sherman also touched on how rewarding it was to see the strong support and recognition of the value of this legislation that existed on both sides of the aisle. As he described, the consensus that formed between different aspects of the industry became a powerful force that ultimately helped present a united coalition.

To watch more of the conversation, check out the video below.

Following the conversation, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson presented Sherman with a framed Leonard Cohen poster, commemorating Cohen’s 2017 Polaris Prize Short List nomination. Sherman is a Leonard Cohen fan and shared a recollection of a special performance of his song ‘Hallelujah’ by k.d. lang at Cohen’s Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

 

A full Playback 2018 photo gallery can be viewed on Music Canada’s Facebook page.

 

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World’s largest music stream ripping website to cease operations globally following legal action

IFPI, in conjunction with the RIAA and BPI, announced today that following successful legal action from record companies in the United Kingdom and the United States, the world’s largest music stream ripping website will shut down.

YouTube-mp3.org, a Germany-based site with 60 million visitors a month, facilitated the ripping of downloadable music files from online audio-visual works. Sites like YouTube-mp3.org typically extract large profits from advertising while delivering nothing to music makers. IFPI estimates the site generated “hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue per month, often from major brands.” In addition to agreeing to cease operations, the site’s operator has agreed to not infringe the rights of artists and labels in the future.

“The largest site dedicated to the fastest growing form of music piracy is shutting down. This is welcome news for music creators and the fans that support them,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “Artists and advocates around the world are fighting for a better future for creators. As we continue to work with governments and legitimate music services to build a functioning ecosystem, it’s important that flagrant violations like stream ripping be met with firm action.”

In a joint release issued by IFPI, the RIAA and BPI, industry leaders welcomed the news:

“Stream ripping sites blatantly infringe the rights of record companies and artists,” said IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore. “Today, music companies and licensed digital services work together to offer fans more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so – hundreds of services with over 40 million tracks – all while compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed to jeopardise this and we will continue to take action against these sites.”

“This is a significant win for millions of music fans, as well as music creators and legitimate music services,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. “One of the world’s most egregious stream ripping sites has shuttered. Sites like these undermine the health of the legitimate marketplace and the livelihoods of millions of music creators worldwide. The swift and successful conclusion of this case should send an unmistakable signal to the operators of similar sites.” 

“This illegal site wasn’t just ripping streams, it was ripping off artists,” said Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI. “Most fans understand that getting music from a genuine site supports the artists they love and allows labels to nurture the next generation of talent.  Music stands on the cusp of an exciting future in the streaming age, but only if we take resolute action against illegal businesses that try to siphon away its value.”

Piracy, and particularly stream ripping, remains a significant concern in Canada. A survey commissioned by IFPI in 2016 found that 27% of Canadian respondents reported pirating music, and 22% reported doing so via stream ripping. The age group most likely to use stream ripping sites was 16-24 year-olds, with 48% reporting doing so in the past year. While Youtube-mp3.org was the largest stream ripping site, the industry hope is that this legal action will send a clear message to other sites still in operation that they are breaking the law, and will face similar action if they do not shut down.

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‘Value gap’ growing, according to new UK figures

New figures released yesterday at Canadian Music Week by the BPI – the record labels’ organization that promotes British music – highlight the growing “Value Gap” that exists between consumption of music in the UK and the amount that record labels and artists receive in revenues from video streaming platforms.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, told delegates that the number of people streaming music in the UK doubled in 2015, resulting in a 70 per cent increase in payments from services such as Spotify and Apple to record labels, helping to propel the market to overall growth.

However, while UK streams of music videos almost doubled during the same 12 month period, the revenues paid to labels for those streams flat-lined, rising by less than half of one per cent. This disparity neatly encapsulates the market distortion characterised by the IFPI as the “Value Gap”.

Taylor added: “The rising flow of royalties that should be nurturing artists and labels has slowed to a trickle, as platforms that rely on safe harbours use consumer demand for our music to grow their own businesses at the expense of creators.”

Frances Moore, CEO, IFPI, gave the keynote speech on the ‘State of the Global Music Industry’ in which she referred to the findings of IFPI’s recently released Global Music Report, which showed that the music industry grew in 2015 for the first time in almost two decades, with digital revenues overtaking physical revenues for the first time.

Addressing the conference, Moore said: “We are at an extraordinary moment in our global business. Music is being consumed at unprecedented levels. Measurable growth is being achieved for the first time in nearly two decades.

“Yet the job of turning around the global music industry is really only just beginning and the scale of the anomaly to be fixed is huge. Music is driving economic activity and digital commerce. Yet, in terms of the value being returned to its creators and investors, music is massively undervalued.”

Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA, said: “DMCA reform has become an international phenomenon. Thousands of artists, dozens of music organizations and managers are speaking out and it’s beginning to make a difference. The fundamental unfairness of our existing laws, the stature of artists and power of music, is breaking through like never before.”

Graham Henderson, President and CEO, Music Canada, said: “The value gap is a striking example of how wealth has shifted from those who create content – our artists and their partners – to the large companies that build their platforms on that content. Creators are worse off today than they were when digital came into their lives. This is disturbing and was avoidable. Policy makers now have the opportunity to rebalance the framework in such a way that creators are fairly compensated.”

Dan Rosen, Chief Executive, ARIA, said: “The local Australian music business has done a great job in embracing new digital platforms, giving fans unprecedented access to the music they love. However, we need to ensure that the policy environment reflects the true value that music provides to digital services and allow money to flow back to the artists and labels to sustain a healthy ecosystem of creativity.”

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Shining a Light on Brand Supported Piracy

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

As Rambler readers will know, I have been monitoring Google’s promise to downgrade pirate sites in their search rankings since it was announced last August. I was initially skeptical about Google’s push, but willing to give them credit for this ‘better late than never’ effort. However, I was soon disappointed as my research showed that time and time and time again, licensed music sites and services were buried beneath dozens of links to dodgy sites that exploit artists’ work for financial gains. Unfortunately, Google’s 2010 claim that they would remove piracy related search terms from their Auto-complete feature was also exposed as bunk.

My findings were backed up today as the RIAA released their Google Report Card, a new document that shows how ineffective Google’s change was. The takeaway is clear: “Six months later, we have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy. These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.”

Since Google’s pledge to downgrade pirate sites in their search rankings has been shown to be a complete farce, you’ll have to forgive me for taking their latest announcement with a handful of salt. According to the sparse details in the Telegraph, the Palo Alto search giant will now look to cut off financial payments to illegal download sites. Ellen Seidler, the independent filmmaker who became a reluctant advocate in the fight against piracy after finding her film hosted on thousands of illegal sites funded by advertising, has also announced her skepticism about Google’s latest move, asking “how much is just PR posturing versus real action?” Seidler’s blog, Pop-Up Pirates, has been documenting examples of brand supported for nearly three years.

Of course, there is a reason that these pirate sites are created: they make money from the advertisements. As Seidler said at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum in 2011, “Online piracy isn’t about altruism, it’s about income.” Seidler’s presentation thoroughly explained how “legit” companies (such as ad service providers, advertisers, and payment processors) encourage and facilitate this theft while profiting from it. You can see video from her presentation on her Vimeo page.

Some of the screenshots below provide an example of how major brands are encouraging mass piracy by financing sites with their advertising dollars:

Here, Bell is supporting the exploitation of The Dears by placing an ad next to pirated copies of their album on 4Shared, a site that has received hundreds of thousands of copyright removal requests in the past month.

Bell - TheDears - 4Shared

Here, Lysol buys advertising on a page illegally distributing Drake’s Grammy award winning album ‘Take Care’:

Drake - Lysol - SongsloverIn this screenshot, the History Network funds advertisements next to pirated copies of The Tragically Hip’s music:

History Network - Tragically Hip - 4SharedOne of the most prominent critics of this ad-supported piracy is David Lowery of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven fame. Lowery will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week, which is coming up on March 22nd and is proudly sponsored by Music Canada.

Lowery has emerged as one of the most articulate voices championing artist rights in the digital age, penning a series of blogs at The Trichordist, including Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered and Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss?.

The Trichordist has kickstarted discussion in this area, notably by launching a ‘name and shame’ campaign highlighting brands advertising on pirate sites. Music Canada has joined the campaign, tweeting at one brand per day to draw their attention to the problem. Canadian labels Last Gang Records and Six Shooter Records have also tweeted their support, as has the Featured Artist Coalition. The campaign has been gaining attention, and top brands have responded by ensuring their advertisements do not appear on pirate sites. For example, Levi’s was quick to respond to the news their ads were appearing next to pirated content. “When our ads were running unbeknownst to us on these pirate sites, we had a serious problem with that,” said Gareth Hornberger, Levi’s senior manager of global digital marketing. “We reached out to our global ad agency of record, OMD, and immediately had them remove them…. We made a point, moving forward, that we really need to take steps to avoid having these problems again.”

Also keynoting the Global Forum this year will be Chris Ruen, author of the new book, ‘Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite for Free Content Starves Creativity’, which is an essential read for those working in the music industry.

Chris Castle will reprise his role as master of ceremonies at the 2013 Global Forum, which is sure to be an engaging conversation. I’d also like to announce that for the first time in the event’s history, the 2013 Global Forum will be streamed online and will encourage interaction through social media – which will hopefully bring the issue of brand supported piracy further into the mainstream discussion and encourage more brands to ensure they do not encourage or facilitate the exploitation of artists’ work.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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