This Industry Thing Of Ours

A blog that gives you the up to date entertainment news as well as anything and everything related.

What’s Happening In Music Today!!

by Sheme Jobs

 Twitter is investing in Muzik (The Headphone Company), which have built  music sharing “Tweeting” functionality  into their headphones… (Twitter Invest in Muzik’s Social Headphones)

  
Guns N’ Roses Will Be Headlining A Coachella Near You. That’s right, The original Guns N’ Roses line-up will reportedly play together for the first time since the mid-Nineties…. (Gun N’ Roses Headlines Coachella
  
Ashley Newton now has a dual role at UMG and Capitol Records. Ashley is one of the most successful A&Rs in the US record industry and has officially been named President of Universal’s Capitol Music Group…. (LUCIAN GRAINGE HANDS ASHLEY NEWTON DUAL ROLE AT UMG AND CAPITOL)

 
In 2015 YouTube earnings brought in a staggering $9 Billion!! Yes, you’ve read that right, $9 Billion!! YouTube towers over music streaming juggernaut Spotify… (YouTube Bigger than Spotify

  
Spotify is facing it’s second Class-Action Lawsuit, thanks to the likes of Gradstein & Marzanno, an LA-based firm. (Spotify vs Gradstein & Marzanno
 

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Marvin Gaye’s Estate Is Not Suing “Empire” For Infringement…

by Sheme Jobs

Yes, the heirs of Marvin Gaye successfully sued Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke for $7.4 million in one of the most frivolous and ridiculous copyright cases in history.

No, Marvin Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, isn’t suing the creators of the show ‘Empire’ for ripping off his idea, at least according to Gaye’s lawyer. “My client has not filed a lawsuit regarding the Empire series,” attorney Paul Philips told Rolling Stone.

“Right now, Marvin’s interests and our efforts remain focused on the ‘Blurred Lines’ case and on seeing that through to its conclusion.”

The ‘Empire’ lawsuit was first alleged by TMZ, who actually quoted ‘Gaye’s lawyer’ as saying, “We understand that three things can’t be hidden for long: the Sun, the Moon and the Truth!”

Philips wasn’t actually named in that quote, however, and the quote does have that ‘fabricated’ look to it. TMZ claimed that Gaye III actually filed a treatment for a show called ‘Diamonds & Ballads’ with the Writers Guild of America in 2010, which features a Motown-inspired story of a black family in the music industry.

Of course, TMZ does have a mixed reputation, though Rolling Stones’ is probably worse: late last year, the venerable music magazine falsely accusing multiple fraternity members at the University of Virginia of committing gang rape, while defaming an entire university and fraternal chapter in the process (a situation that will probably cost them more than $7.4 million). That makes Philips’ choice of Rolling Stone as a clarification source a curious one, though the real beef is back with TMZ. “We will address the TMZ report and the Empire matter at the appropriate time,” Philips concluded.

Separately, lawyers for Pharrell and Thicke have been challenging their infringement verdict and wrangling over the penalties, though only with limited success. In the latest ruling, US District Court judge John Kronstad shaved the $7.4 million penalty by $2.1 million, but also tied T.I. into the liability circle while requiring a 50% vig on future royalties.

Spotify Will Only Offer Premium-Only Content?!?!?!

by Sheme Jobs

Spotify will soon be shifting towards a premium-only, ‘gated access’ model, according to several sources speaking in confidence over the weekend. The decision will mean that certain releases will only be available to paying Spotify subscribers, or offered for an extremely limited time to non-paying users, according to preliminary details shared.

Sources cautioned that details on what exactly constitutes ‘premium-only’ or ‘gated’ remain unresolved, and a number of variations are in play. In one scenario, free users would only have access to one or two songs from a high-profile album, while paying subscribers could listen to the entire release without restriction.

Another approach would limit content entirely to premium subscribers, though time-restricted exclusives for paying subscribers are also in play.

One, or several different variations could be rolled out, and sources noted that an ‘early 2016′ transition is the most likely. That would allow renewal contracts to be solidified, and development teams to finalize the application updates. But regardless of the timing and exact execution, the underlying goals of the shift, according to one source, would be:

(a) encouraging greater adoption of the paid, premium tier.

(b) driving more revenue around the most sought-after superstars.

“They want the free users to feel like they’re missing something, not just forced to listen to ads,” one source close to the negotiations relayed. 

 
The decision comes at an extremely high-pressure moment for Spotify, as major label licenses remain unsigned less than two months ahead of renewal. “October 1, that’s your renewal date for all three of the majors,” another source relayed, referring to the ‘Big Three’ of Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and most importantly, Universal Music Group.

“They do not have signed deals yet, with anyone.”

Separately, sources pointed to an ill-timed departure of Ken Parks, an important negotiator on the American side. Just last week, Parks announced his departure from Spotify for Pluto TV, an over-the-top (OTT) television startup. Separately, Parks’ departure may further highlight Spotify’s sagging IPO and/or exit prospects, as highly-ranked executives typically don’t jump ship right before getting disgustingly rich.

Either way, the move towards ‘gated’ was previously unthinkable among top Spotify executives, but the majors are becoming increasingly agitated about limiting free access. Both Sony Music Entertainment CEO Doug Morris and Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge have been fiercely rattling the cage against free, with Grainge’s job at one point threatened based on what Vivendi higher-ups perceived as out-of-control catalog devaluation.

Throughout its existence, Spotify has stubbornly refused to limit catalog access to paying subscribers, despite blow-ups and defections from the likes of Adele, Taylor Swift, and other superstars. But with less than two months left ahead of critical major label renewals, Spotify now appears willing to acquiesce on this critical sticking point. “[Spotify CEO Daniel] Ek hates that idea, and I mean hates it, but he may have to give an inch on that one,” another source close to the negotiations relayed.

“It’s less of a choice now.”

CHRIS HARRISON Exits Pandora And Heads To SiriusXM…

by Sheme Jobs

PANDORA VP/Business Affairs and Assistant General Counsel CHRIS HARRISON has exited the company, and according to a report in Fortune, is heading to SiriusXM. 

HARRISON exited the webcaster last week, which FORBES notes, “is significant because HARRISON directed many of PANDORA’s legal battles with the music industry, including the decision to purchase an FM radio station in SOUTH DAKOTA as part of an attempt to seek lower royalty rates. HARRISON’s departure also comes as competition among digital music services heat up, and as companies like PANDORA and SPOTIFY serve as lightning rods for musicians frustrated with online royalty rates.”

PANDORA released this statement:

“CHRIS has been a valued team member, and we appreciate his many important contributions. We have a very strong team in place, and are confident our music licensing activities won’t skip a beat as we move ahead.”

Ad-Based Music Streaming Revenues To Exceed $1 Billion By 2017…

by Sheme Jobs

New data from JUNIPER RESEARCH has found that revenue generated through ad-based music streaming is set to exceed $1 Billion by 2017, up from $782 Million in 2015, despite the declining numbers of players offering ‘freemium’ services.

Many key players are opting to exclude full-featured freemium services, with offerings restricted to, at most, basic radio style features, as exemplified by APPLE MUSIC and AMAZON PRIME MUSIC. Nonetheless, ad-based revenues are still expected to see strong growth as consumers continue to migrate to streaming services.

Apple & Freemium To Drive User Expansion

The new research, “Digital Music — Subscriptions, Ad Revenues & Download Services 2015-2020,” found that while freemium services will continue to entice a growing number of users, the model will enjoy a greater influence in funnelling consumers towards the more profitable subscription options. Hence, with the drive of ad-based services coupled with the growing impact of key players, streaming is expected to be brought to the forefront of the market with a significant global growth in user numbers.

Unsurprisingly the entrance of APPLE MUSIC is expected to act as a major catalyst in driving the expansion of subscription-based streaming services, with significant growth expected across all major markets. Indeed, the company has already reported a user base of 11 million trial subscribers.

“With convenience, accessibility and curation having become the defining elements of the music landscape, the potential of the streaming industry will revolve around the levels of which providers can convert free customers to paying customers” noted research author JOE CRABTREE.

The Decline In Downloads To Continue

JUNIPER also found that the music industry has reached a critical point in its digital evolution with the download market experiencing its first decline in 2014. The download market has long been at the forefront of the digital transformation; however, following its recent struggle, the market is forecast to continue its global decline with the music industry instead turning to the potential of streaming.

Other Key Findings:

• Subscription streaming revenues will overtake download revenues in 2018.

• The digital music industry will continue consistent growth despite the declining download market.

• The wealth of investment in music discovery is rapidly gaining importance in provider differentiation and equally gaining traction in promoting the appeal of digital music.

WHY DID TIDAL FAIL?

by Sheme Jobs

Last Thursday a rumour spread that Jay Z had parted ways with Tidal. The next day I found out it was false. To be honest I was more surprised to hear it was false. It’s been four months since Tidal’s relaunch and it’s been nowhere near as successful as Jay Z imagined. I’d go as far to say it’s been a failed venture for all concerned. The main question is “why?”

I feel the reason Tidal failed is because it lacks originality.

From the features to the interface, everything about it is identical to Spotify. From a legal perspective I genuinely wonder how they got away with it.

The lack of originality impacted two main areas:

1) UNREMARKABLE SELLING POINTS (USPS)

From Jay Z’s perspective Tidal has two unique selling points. The first is high quality sound. The second is access to exclusive content. But when looked at in further detail these selling points don’t seem unique at all. In fact they seem rather unremarkable.

High quality sound isn’t a strong selling point for 16-24 year olds who stream music the most. Especially when you consider the way people my age consume music. We mainly listen to music in transit, at the gym or in our bedrooms. This means for most of us the 320kbps provided by Spotify is more than adequate. So why would we to switch to a new service which costs more but adds little value?

Secondly exclusive content cannot be commoditised online, ever. My generation is the pirate generation. We’ve pirated music, TV shows, movies and even books. Government agencies have tried to curtail this but struggle to keep up. Therefore there was no way Tidal could ever succeed in keeping their content exclusive. Within hours of the ‘Feeling Myself’ and ‘B*tch I’m Madonna’ videos premiering exclusively on Tidal they were all over Tumblr.

2) IMAGE ISSUES

For Tidal, image is vital. Whilst Jay Z is a big name in music, he isn’t a big name in technology or the service industry. Meaning a love of Jay Z wouldn’t necessarily encourage you to pay the £19.99 monthly subscription fee. Instead you may purchase his albums or go to see him in concert.

One way around this image problem was Tidal’s public relaunch. Credit where it’s due, the relaunch sparked lots of interest. However, when the celebrities came together as a collective it didn’t work and they looked awkward. Above all else it seemed like the rich just wanted to get richer.

If Tidal was a stronger product Jay Z and his co-owners wouldn’t have had to rely on their personal image to try and engineer success. But because Tidal lacked originality this was never a possibility. If the product isn’t great nothing you do promotionally can fix it.

It’s also too late to reform the platform. The team could revamp the interface to try and differentiate it from Spotify. But this may annoy existing users who would have to re-learn how to use it. They could try introducing new unique features but by the time these features come into play people will be even more disinterested. Therefore, the failure is irreversible.

So realistically Tidal only has two options. Ride the wave and disappear quietly or go against the tide and prolong the inevitable. I certainly know which one I’d choose and I imagine a businessman like Jay Z would do the same.

With this in mind I predict the rumours which circulated last Thursday regarding Jay Z’s departure will soon become a reality.

HIP-HOP NATION: HOW THE GENRE IS TURNING UP IN 2015

by Sheme Jobs

Summer, summer, summertime—this is most definitely the season of hip-hop. The Essence Music Festival attracted nearly half a million attendees to New Orleans over the July 4th weekend, and a few weeks ago, the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival filled the New York City borough with art exhibits, film screenings, panel discussions and performances (including a classic surprise appearance by Foxy Brown at the end of Common’s show).

The surging popularity of these festivals highlights the genre’s growing momentum across the board. According to the 2015 Nielsen Mid-Year Music U.S. Report, Drake’s latest album, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, was the bestselling digital album of the first half of 2015 and the second best-selling album overall behind Taylor Swift’s 1989. On television and social media, Fox’s Empire, a prime-time soap opera about a hip-hop mogul and his family, was a breakout hit of 2015. A total of 2.4 million Tweets were sent about the two-part finale on March 18, 2015, making it the most Tweeted TV series episode this season, according to Nielsen Social.

This deep and growing interest in hip-hop presents a prime opportunity for brands. According to Nielsen N-Score data, a proprietary metric that assesses a celebrity’s potential for partnerships based on awareness, likeability and a host of other attributes including influence, hip-hop personalities more than hold their own compared to other genre-based stars. For example, Drake, who is one of the top-rated hip-hop personalities among Millennials (age 18-34), has an overall N-score of 73—higher than the average pop star (71).

Who are hip-hop fans? Nielsen’s Audience Insights report on hip-hop music reveals fanship among males 18-24 shows the largest lift relative to the general population. Hispanics and African-Americans are also more likely to be fans than the general population. Geographically, a quarter of fans live in the West, with 27% more fans in the region than the U.S. average.

In terms of behavior, hip-hop fans are at the forefront of the digital movement, with 18% saying they like to be among the first to buy new media technologies. This fan base is also more likely than the average to be interested in gaming/purchasing gaming consoles.

The digital-savvy hip-hop audience relies heavily on digital streaming outlets—especially video—for music consumption. In fact, according to Nielsen data, it was the most streamed genre of 2014.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the top on-demand audio-streamed album in the first half of 2015 was Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (409 million streams). Three hip-hop songs were also among the top 10 on-demand singles streamed (audio and video) in the first half of the year: “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap (290 million streams), “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth (251 million streams), and “Post to Be” by Omarion featuring Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko (147 million streams).

However, not everything is new school with hip-hop fans. While YouTube, Pandora and Facebook play prominent roles helping to find new music, traditional AM/FM over-the-air radio remains the principal source of discovery for the audience. In fact, 46% of hip-hop fans have found new music on the radio.

Fans also enjoy in-person experiences. A hip-hop fan’s average annual music spend exceeds the typical U.S. consumer by 35% ($149 vs. $110), with festivals and club events accounting for the increased share. In other words, for the hip-hop audience, music is not a solitary endeavor but instead a social experience best enjoyed with others.

This love of community applies online as well; hip hop fans show a particular affinity for engaging on social media—especially on Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. The good news for marketers is that this young, large and growing hip-hop audience is very responsive to various forms of engagement across multiple digital channels. For instance, 28% of fans show increased favorability when a brand sponsors a live chat via a social network (i.e., Twitter or Goggle+) with an artist.

Methodology

Insights in this article are based on the 2015 Nielsen Mid-Year Music U.S. report for the six-month period of Dec. 29, 2014-June 28, 2015, Nielsen N-Score (fielded as of July 1, 2014 for Drake), and Nielsen Audience Insights Report Hip-Hop Music. Identifying the target profile of the hip-hop fan was done by utilizing Nielsen’s Music 360 U.S. study. This is a comprehensive in-depth look at consumer interaction with music in the U.S. The data for this study was collected in September 2014 among 2,581 respondents. This data is then weighted to the U.S. Census population based on age, gender, race, education and household size. The hip-hop fan profile is then constructed by distinguishing those respondents who identified as often listeners of hip-hop music. Further music listening habits and consumer behavior is then tabulated against this target using additional Nielsen tools and services, as well as other data based studies.

Instagram Bans “EDM” Hashtag!!!

by Sheme Jobs

Just yesterday, Los Angeles Supervisor Hilda Solis said that banning electronic music festivals is the proper response to two fatalities at HARD Summer.

To add insult to injury, Instagram has now banned the #EDM hashtag.

Instagram has given no explanation, and a request for comment was not returned.

HASHTAGS SUCH AS #EDMSEX AND #EDMSEXY HAVE NOT BEEN BANNED.

Instagram recently banned the #curvy hashtag, but the ban has been lifted due to backlash. The company is going down a slippery censorship slope.

“Spotify is a Start-Up With No Cash Flow That Reacts to Criticism Like a Corporate Machine” – Taylor Swift

by Sheme Jobs

…from the upcoming, September issue of Vanity Fair, which features Taylor Swift on the cover.

“After receiving criticism for a Wall Street Journal op-ed Swift wrote last summer, about Spotify’s free-streaming service, Swift says she worried “people would say, ‘Why won’t she shut up about this?’. . . My fears were that I would be looked at as someone who just whines and rants about this thing that no one else is really ranting about.

“Swift says she consulted only one person before releasing the letter on the Internet. “I read it to my mom,” she says. “She’s always going to be the one. I just said, ‘I’m really scared of this letter, but I had to write it. I might not post it, but I had to say it.’

“Apple surprised Swift by almost immediately changing its plan not to compensate artists during the trial period of its new streaming service. Says Swift,

“Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,” she says. “And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.”

Settlement Reached In SiriusXM Interns’ Suit….

by Sheme Jobs

A motion for settlement has been filed in an intern’s class action lawsuit against SIRIUSXM RADIO alleging that the company should have paid its interns but did not. SIRIUS will pay $1,297,350 into a settlement fund to settle the suit, covering awards to claimants, attorney’s fees, and other fees.

The motion was filed jointly on MONDAY (8/3) by the attorneys for plaintiffs JUSTIN VITETTA (who replaced MELISSA TIERNEY as named plaintiff) and DANIEL MILLER and attorneys for SIRIUSXM in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NEW YORK.

The suit claimed that SIRIUSXM interns “routinely performed the most mundane and repetitive tasks that were nonetheless essential to SIRIUSXM’s operations, and thus undeniably reduced the need for additional paid employees and greatly benefitted SIRIUS” but that “interns were not provided any training similar to an educational environment.”