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The Daily Snapshot.

June 24, 2013



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Jobs

The latest positions and posts! Check out the full list here, and email jobs@digitalmusicnews.com for details on how to post.


Product Manager
Mom+Pop

New York, NY

Manager, Digital Sales & Marketing
Sony Music Entertainment

New York, NY

Manager of Programming-Amazon Digital Music
Amazon

Seattle, WA

Content Acquisition Manager - Digital Music
Amazon

Seattle, WA

Manager, Artist Royalties
Victory Records


Senior Promotion & Marketing / Product Manager
Company Confidential

New York, NY

Creative / Digital / Social Media Marketer
Hundred Handed Inc

Calabasas, CA

 

Top Stories

  • Pink Floyd Blasts Pandora for "Tricking Artists Into Signing Their Own Paycuts...
  • The Latest: Pandora Files a Motion Against ASCAP...
  • This Is the Story of How Facebook Alienated a Perfectly Good Dance Label... 
  • Most Read: Streaming Services Have 99 Problems. And They Are...


Pink Floyd Blasts Pandora for "Tricking Artists Into Signing Their Own Paycuts..."

This is a 'hearts and minds' campaign gone miserably wrong for Pandora.  And the latest scathing critic of Pandora and its campaigning founder, Tim Westergren, is none other than Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason (ie, the guys in Pink Floyd).  
 
The group just published a sharply critical op-ed in USA Today, one that flatly accuses Pandora of tricking artists into signing Congressional petitions that would cut their royalties by about 85 percent.  "Musicians around the country are getting emails from Pandora, even directly from the company's charismatic founder Tim Westergren," the piece states.  "Asking them to 'be part of a conversation' about the music business and sign a simple 'letter of support' for Internet radio." 
 
"Of course, this letter doesn't say anything about an 85 percent artist pay cut. That would probably turn off most musicians who might consider signing on.  All it says about royalties is 'we are all fervent advocates for the fair treatment of artists.'"
 
Meanwhile, artists are losing compensation at a dramatic rate.  "For almost all working musicians, it's also a question of economic survival. Nearly 90% of the artists who get a check for digital play receive less than $5,000 a year. They cannot afford the 85% pay cut Pandora asked Congress to impose on the music community."
 
But even if you scrutinize the letter carefully, with every bit of fine print examined, there's actually nothing about this rate cut.  
 
"Fine print is one thing. But a musician could read this 'letter of support' a dozen times and hold it up to a funhouse mirror for good measure without realizing she was signing a call to cut her own royalties to pad Pandora's bottom line."
 
Then, there's the other elephant in the room: why is Pandora spending so much time bitching about music costs, when its core business revolves around... music?  "We've heard Pandora complain it pays too much in royalties to make a profit. (Of course, we also watched Pandora raise $235 million in its IPO and double its listeners in the last two years.) But a business that exists to deliver music can't really complain that its biggest cost is music."
 
"You don't hear grocery stores complain they have to pay for the food they sell. Netflix pays more for movies than Pandora pays for music, but they aren't running to Congress for a bailout. Everyone deserves the right to be paid a fair market rate for their work, regardless of what their work entails."
 
 
Join the early discussion.



The Latest: Pandora Files a New Motion Against ASCAP...

In further attempt to keep publishing rates low, Pandora is asking the judge to determine whether or not publishers like Universal, BMG Chrysalis and Warner/Chappell are obligated to keep limited "New Media" rights.  Pandora believes that publishers that want to make direct deals with the internet radio company should not be able to withdraw their digital rights from ASCAP - and must stay within the bounds of the consent decree as deemed by the organization.    
 
According to Billboard, Universal and BMG are expected to withdraw their digital rights from ASCAP on July 1st, although Warner/Chappell is keeping their decision quiet for now. 
 
Pandora's application for a license allows them to play music under an interim license until an official rate is set, which is technically supposed to apply to UMPG, BMG, Warner/Chappell and Sony/ATV until December 31st, 2015. 
 
The publishers' side of the argument is that they have the right to withdraw their rights from ASCAP at any time, particularly because ASCAP represents them non-exclusively and because songwriters have the right to change PRO association. 
 
Currently, Pandora pays 5% of its revenue to publishers - an increase from last year's 4.3%. However, direct licensing deals scored Warner/Chappell and Sony/ATV a 10% rate with iTunes Radio, according to Billboard.  That is encouraging publishers to reevaluate their deals with Pandora, and, hence, the alleged plans to withdraw digital rights from ASCAP.  
 
A ruling on the motion is expected late July. 
 
 



This Is the Story of How Facebook Alienated a Perfectly Good Dance Label...

Facebook's decision to charge labels for sending updates to their subscribers is alienating indie labels.  Now, many of these labels are increasingly turning their backs on the social media giant.  "Indie labels have relied on social media for the past five years," says My Favorite Robot Records owner, Jared Simms.
 
"The deal was that Facebook provided the interface and we provided the content – but in the middle of the game they changed the rules."
 
Not coincidentally, Facebook's decision to limit the reach of posts came around the same time as the company went public, when, no doubt, the focus shifted towards satisfying shareholders. Suddenly, My Favorite Robot's updates only reached around 15% or fewer of its page subscribers.  
 
"Indie labels like us were left scrambling," says Simms.
 
The label has around 15,000 fans on the site, but sometimes only 1,000 of them will receive the posts, says Simms: "We have to buy advertising to 'open up the window' for the rest of the fans to see it."
 
This is what Facebook calls "boosting" the post, and it can cost anything from $50 to hundreds of dollars, depending on how many subscribers a label has.  Simms puts out a record every two weeks, so he ends up having to spend $200-$300 a month in order to get the message out on Facebook.  To put it in perspective – it's about the same as what he spends on his professional PR company.
 
For a small dance label such as My Favorite Robot, this is a significant expense, considering the limited revenue it makes from record sales.  
 
"I can imagine them [Facebook] reasoning 'where else are they going to go?'," sighs Simms.
 
Though the cost weighs heavily on the label's bottom line, Simms currently feels like it's something he has to do for his artists, in order to do everything in his power to help them reach as many people as possible.
 
As a result, however, he's been focusing on developing his own mailing list for the past six months.  The added bonus is, of course, that there is no intermediary that dictates how he can interact with the fans.  "We've stopped adding fans to our Facebook page," he explains.  "Instead we're going back to a grassroots level – it's like we've come full circle."
 
His primary goal is to get closer to the fans that are supporting the label, and Facebook, it turns out, is not fulfilling its promise of doing so.
 
Simms believes that it's only a matter of time before someone else will come up with a new innovative idea that will take the place of the social media giant, as far as labels are concerned.  He concludes: "If Facebook pisses off enough people – from the business point of view – people just aren't going to hang around."
 
 



Most Read: Streaming Services Have 99 Problems. And They Are...

This may be the year that streaming music slayed the download. But can streaming overcome its worst enemy, itself?   Here are 99 problems the fledgling streaming music industry now faces...
 
 

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