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AMAZON MUSIC OPENS UP STREAMING DATA WITH AMAZON MUSIC FOR ARTISTS APP 

AMAZON MUSIC OPENS UP STREAMING DATA WITH AMAZON MUSIC FOR ARTISTS APP

Here is some much needed good news for today! Amazon Music has announced the long-awaited beta launch of Amazon Music for Artists – a new mobile app for artists and their teams designed to help acts “better understand their business on Amazon Music”.

Guest post by Tim Ingham of Music Business Worldwide

The music streaming landscape just got more transparent.

Available on both iOS and Android, the app serves up information regarding artist streaming performance on Amazon Music’s various tiers, as well as insights into each act’s fanbase. 

According to Amazon, its features include: 

  • New success metrics, including the Daily Voice Index, which illustrates how an artist’s music is performing on Amazon Music with Alexa – including insights into voice requests by artist, album, song, and lyric. 
  • Access to near-real-time streaming data, providing artists with the latest streaming data across their entire catalog. 
  • A fan insights tab, which provides a breakdown of an artist’s most engaged listeners –Fans and Superfans – so they can focus on growing these segments over time. 
  • A custom date filter, so artists can choose specific dates, or length of time to track performance in near-real-time, including the last 24 hours of a release. 

CD Baby is a verification launch partner with Amazon Music for Artists, meaning any artist who is distributed through CD Baby can get expedited access to join.

The launch is coupled with a companion website (artists.amazonmusic.com) where artists and their teams can learn more about the app, as well as opportunity areas, best practices, additional resources, and more. 

In January, Amazon Music confirmed over 55m global ‘customers’ were now using the firm’s various tiers; this number included an estimated subscriber count of approximately 50m, up 16m year-on-year. 

Last August, Amazon Music rival Apple Music launched Apple Music for Artists, which in turn was designed to rival Spotify’s analytics tools. 

And in November, Universal Music Group revealed its own data/insights app. 

The Universal Music Artists (UMA) app can be used to view personalized, global data insights from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and YouTube (with data from Deezer set to be included in 2020). 

At launch, Amazon Music for Artists is available globally in English to download via the mobile app store on either Android or iOS

Tell @Spotify and @AmazonMusic to #StopFightingSongwriters 

Tell @Spotify and @AmazonMusic to #StopFightingSongwriters

Songwriters - You must develop and flex your music business muscles or you’ll continue to be pinned down by those who do not have your best interests at heart. On Instagram tell @Spotify and @AmazonMusic to #StopFightingSongwriters

50 Income Streams Music Creatives Should Know About - And Where to Find Them 

50 Income Streams Music Creatives Should Know About...And Where To Find Them 

Music royalties, licensing fees and the numerous other streams of revenue available to songwriters, performers and producers can be difficult to navigate. The good news is, the rapid growth of technology has produced more opportunities for distribution, new forms of music royalties and more ways than ever to track and collect monies due to you. The challenge is in knowing what types of royalties and fees are out there. 

In the world of music royalties, it all starts with the song. Each song is protected by copyrights in two categories: 

A copyright for the songwriting, or “composition”, categorized as the Composition 

A copyright for the performance, categorized as the Sound Recording. 

Depending on your role in the writing, production or recording of any given song, you may earn royalties in one copyright category or both. 

Beyond copyright royalties, there are a wide range of fees and profit centers that can encompass the earnings of a music professional. It is critical for creatives to be familiar with these revenue sources and have expert help whenever possible to track and collect the royalties, fees and income to which you are entitled. There is much to know, but there is also a wealth of information online, whether through sources like Wikipedia, official websites for Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, or right here, in this royalty income guide that Sound Royalties has put together for you. 

In the new digital music economy the creator is king. As an artist-friendly company, Sound Royalties is dedicated to the empowerment of creative talent. To help you flourish and sustain your career, here is our guide to royalty and revenue streams all music creatives should know about. 

Click here for a fantastic Income Stream resource from Sound Royalties!

Show Business is a Lot More Business Than Show - I Can Help 

Show Business is a Lot More Business Than Show - I Can Help

For most of us, making a full-time living making music is the goal. But in order to achieve this, it is essential to identify whether or not you're on the right track. 

As an exercise, think for a moment about why you're not currently making a full-time living making music... 

  • Do you know how to make a full-time living making music? 
  • Do you have a strategy for getting started and building a sustainable music career? 
  • Do you understand the different income streams available to you? 
  • Do you have a strategy for growing and nurturing a community of fans and followers? 
  • Do you have a strategy for monetizing your community? 
  • Are you marketing effectively? 
  • Do you have clarity about to whom you should be marketing and how? 

I would love to talk with you, hear your story, and help you move your career forward. If this sounds interesting to you, contact me today and let's create a plan to help you make a living making music.

Contact me today for a free no-obligation consultation.

Michael Pickering, M.A., Music Business, ACUE 

BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC 

Michael Pickering, President and Chief Creative Officer of Lionsong Entertainment, Inc., and former Director and founder of the Music and Entertainment Entrepreneurship program at the Community College of Aurora, is a creative leader, entrepreneur, educator, and musician. He holds a Master of Arts in Music Business Degree and a B.P.S. in Interdisciplinary Music Studies Degree from the Berklee College of Music. He has served on the boards of local arts and entertainment organizations, authored post-secondary music curricula, and spoken at many local and national music industry events. He also provides music and entertainment business and performance consulting services (www.mpickeringmusic.com). Michael and his wife, Amy Pickering, remain active as national headline music and clean comedy performing artists for corporate, theatrical, educational, outreach, cruise, and private clients worldwide — www.michaelandamy.com.

Could a Scalable Curation System be a Way Out of Our Industry’s Data Mess?  

Could a Scalable Curation System be a Way Out of Our Industry’s Data Mess?

It seems almost unimaginable that the problem of matching copyrights to copyright owners in order to enable accurate, streamlined, expedient, and reliable royalty payments to those to whom they are due is one of the largest problems facing the music industry in our current technologically advanced global community... until one begins to peel back the complex layers of historical lack of music industry record-keeping, incongruent global laws surrounding royalty issues, and the avarice-fueled corruption so prevalent in an industry that generates billions of dollars worldwide. Add to these issues the fact that there is little motivation from some organizations around the world that benefit financially by opposing solutions to the problem!

While many theories have been floated about how artificial intelligence and blockchain could be the cure for rights holders’ and creatives' financial woes, neither of these would untangle the industry’s rats nest of data, but a scalable curation system might. 

Could a scalable system offer a solution out of the music industry's data rat's nest? Could it be put in place in spite of those who would stand to lose ill-gotten gain so easily gleaned and hidden within the current mess? Check at this article by Vasja Veber, Co-Founder and Business Development Director for Viberate and let me know your thoughts.

Scalable Curation System Is Possible And A Way Out Of Our Industry’s Data Mess 

If you’ve talked to anyone in the music or entertainment space over the last ten years, you’re likely to have heard complaints and laments about the state of data in the industry. Though recording and composition metadata are often at the center of these woes in music–they are, after all, how creatives and rights holders get paid–other slices of the music business are faring even worse when it comes to data. 

There’s lots of gushing about everything from AI to blockchain, technologies that many of us take very seriously, but at the bottom of the problem is just one big, tough-to-untangle data mess. 

The nature of the mess may sound familiar to many outside of music and live entertainment. The data tend to be of very poor quality; you don’t actually know who came into your club or event, as ticketing information is appallingly inaccurate, for example. Data are very dispersed, scattered across socials, retail sites, streaming platforms, and other proprietary services. Worst of all for this machine learning-powered era, some of the early indicators of what’s going to be big–in the live music case, what’s taking off at certain small clubs, smaller tastemaker festivals, or key parties–may not be part of the mainstream data that’s easy to integrate via existing APIs. 

These issues find specific form in the music and entertainment industry, but have relevance to a wide range of businesses, from hospitality and event organizing to DTC and other data-reliant retail. And in live music, as in many other realms of commerce and marketing, addressing them demands a serious look at how to build a team to cultivate accurate information globally, which in turn requires a scalable approach that empowers individual data curators. 

To do anything with data, you have to find and refine the necessary sources for input, the data points that actually say something about the business, community, or scene. There are so many options out there in most cases that it’s tempting to rely on scraping plus a few APIs from relevant platforms. Another common approach is to simply set things up for crowdsourcing, and let the communities or customers fill in the data, yet that can quickly turn from exciting approach into moderation hell. Ideally, you want to combine a few firehose-like streams of data with important input from users who are incentivized to do a better-than-shoddy job at contributing information. In short, you need to tame what’s out there in the wild. 

Only humans can tame this wilderness and make it productive, people specially trained to weed out poor or irrelevant data. There’s too much complexity, nuance, and regional variation at this point to find automated solutions. That’s why we knew, as we tackled the data mess in our business, that we needed curators, real humans who knew what looked reasonable and what seemed off. Because we’re growing a large network of profiles, crossing the million mark recently, we also knew we needed enough humans to do the work well, and needed them to have certain knowledge and skills. 

These skills were determined by the focus we adopted early on. We knew that aiming to become something vague yet all-encompassing (“the Facebook for music,” as many startups liked to bandy around at some point) would make our site useless. Furthermore, we saw a massive gap in the live event realm. So we focused on live music and how other platforms and data points speak to live music scenes. There’s a lot to be said for niche approaches, and when you want to create industry-leading data, being a generalist isn’t necessarily a logical choice. 

In fact, our industry, like many others, has seen a proliferation of vanity metrics in the digital era, as well as metric fraud like purchasing, follows and streams. To counteract these forces, we homed in on unexpected metrics and data points that tell stories helpful to our clients and users, who range from fans to festival organizers and booking agents. For example, we surface which artists of note are following one another, something hard to figure out when scanning an artists’ thousands or millions of Twitter followers. This can show unanticipated connections and suggests potential collaborations and partnerships. 

We also made sure to solve one of the industry’s toughest data problems, by following one simple rule. One artist = one profile. It sounds ridiculously obvious, but even the world’s leading streaming platform doesn’t follow that rule. The only way to achieve that level of precision is by adding a human touch. A lot of times we have to defend our claim that we have one of the largest artist databases in the world, currently just shy of 500,000 profiles. We hear things like, “yeah, but I know this service that has 2 million.” They might claim this, but if you go to that particular service and type in “Tiesto”, you’ll get 10 or even more profiles for the same artist. From a data perspective, this renders such service useless, because having data scattered through multiple profiles for the same artist doesn’t let you engage in any kind of data-related analysis. It’s like one person having multiple social security numbers. 

Along with finding these simple, but hard-to-solve data pain points, we also looked for benchmarks and metrics that made sense to our community. For example, we realized that the price of a standard-sized beer was a great benchmark for the overall cost of a festival or venue, guiding music fans to find the right experience for their budgets and helping event operators see how they measure up to the competition. People note the cost of a pint, our curators validate it, and we can then show a meaningful data point to our users. Other industries may find other quirky yet extremely telling metrics that can only be revealed by well-cultivated data. 

On top of right-scaled humans and data that actually matters, you need a large dose of flexibility. To find enough skilled people with a broad grounding in pop culture and strong local knowledge, we had to get creative. We found lots of talented and qualified people in our home region of Eastern Europe. We recruited people from around the world and used crypto to pay those in unstable regions who had the skills we needed. For example, we found a good group of curators in Venezuela, where inflation almost instantly destroys fiat currency values and where banking is chaotic, to say the least. By keeping our focus reasonable, we can make their jobs reasonable, reducing curation or moderation burnout. 

These approaches need to be tailored to your industry, but the human-machine balance in cultivating quality, actionable data should be your goal. It’s allowed us to raise the bar on insights into the live music business, insights we expect to continue to grow richer as time passes. A scalable curation system is possible, with the right mix of openmindedness, tech tools, and smart people.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MADE A SONG IN THE STYLE OF TRAVIS SCOTT. IT SOUNDS UNNERVINGLY LIKE TRAVIS SCOTT 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MADE A SONG IN THE STYLE OF TRAVIS SCOTT. IT SOUNDS UNNERVINGLY LIKE TRAVIS SCOTT

My friend and copyright expert, E. Michael Harrington recently sat on the panel to address, "How is AI enabling authors to explore new market possibilities in music?" presented by the US Copyright Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization. AI is raising some very interesting questions with respect to music creation, ownership, royalties, and lawsuits. I suspect Michael would have an interesting take on the following article posted by Music Business Worldwide. Enjoy!

Originally Posted  TIM INGHAM of Music Business Worldwide

This. Is. Wild. 

A US-based digital agency, Space150, recently thought it would conduct a fun experiment: model Travis Scott’s sonic and vocal style via Artificial Intelligence, and see what original production AI might subsequently invent. 

Every lyric and melody you hear in the below, says Space150, is entirely created by AI. 

The track is called Jack Park Canny Dope Man. 

Executive creative director at Space150, Ned Lampert, told AdWeek: “We were sort of fascinated with like, ‘What if we tried to make a song – like an actual good song – by using AI and basically creative directing AI?’” 

Lampert said the agency chose Travis Scott because “he is just such a unique artist”. (He’s not that unique anymore, though, is he – because he’s basically been cloned by a robot.) 

Granted, the lyrics from TravisBott (yes, that’s literally what they call him) meander into the realm of the absurd. For example, as annotated by Genius

“She got the crew on top of my chain (It’s lit); Wasted in the street like a pain (Straight up); You see the diamonds in the light of chain; They say I fucked the bad bitch like I’m rain; I was the bitch on the plane (Straight up).” 

Abject nonsense. 

But on first listen, with those trademark Travis-ism’s (“It’s lit”; “Straight up”) thrown in there, your fair-weather fan might have to do a double, triple, quadruple take. 

And then they might just assume that a human being had skilfully ripped off Travis Scott… and that Jack Park Canny Dope Man deserves a spot on next week’s Rap Caviar. 

Apparently, Space150 started out feeding real-life Travis Scott lyrics into a ‘text generator model’ for two weeks until it began creating its own rhymes. (These rhymes were initially food-obsessed, but got smarter as time went on.) 

Then, according to AdWeek, the agency “used additional neural network programs to create melodies and percussion arrangements to accompany them”. 

What plays below is the result of this experiment. 

It’s kind of jaw-dropping. 

But – in a music industry where barely a week seems to go by without a plagiarism lawsuit landing in the headlines – perhaps not completely in a good way. 

Earlier this month, a new Los-Angeles based, “AI-enabled” indie label called SNAFU Records has launched with $2.9 million in seed funding. 

The company claims to be “the first full-service record label built on AI-music discovery” and is operated by “technologists, A&Rs, producers, and creatives” including those previously employed by Universal, Sony/ATV, BMG, and Capitol, and who worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, and David Guetta.

Does Your Music Qualify For YouTube’s Content ID System?  

Does Your Music Qualify For YouTube’s Content ID System? 

The YouTube content ID fingerprinting system can enable content owners like artists and labels to identify and track the material that they own on the platform – provided, that is, that their music qualifies. 

Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog 

YouTube’s Content ID is a digital fingerprinting system that content creators (like record labels and artists) can use to easily identify and manage their copyrighted content on YouTube. However, whether or not your music qualifies for YouTube’s ContentID is up to many different factors. Not sure if your music qualifies? Here’s what you need to know. 

Does Your Music Qualify for YouTube’s ContentID? 

Luckily for you, we have an additional post that dives deep into what YouTube’s Content ID is and how it works. If you need to refresh your memory, check out “What is YouTube’s Content ID”. 

How to qualify 

To qualify, copyright owners must have the exclusive rights to the material. Some examples of items that may not be exclusive include: 

mashups, “best of”s, compilations, and remixes of other works 
video gameplay, software visuals, trailers 
unlicensed music and video 
music or video that was licensed, but without exclusivity 
recordings of performances (including concerts, events, speeches, shows) 

—————— 

Learn more: 

Everything You Need to Know About YouTube Premieres 

YouTube Release Checklist 

Top 5 Tips for Boosting YouTube Views 

—————— 

YouTube Content ID through Symphonic 

Signing up for YouTube Content ID through Symphonic has several benefits: 

Percentage in payout is often superior to that of others monetization services 
We have a dedicated staff that will not only monetize your videos, but place fingerprints and look for other videos that YouTube’s fingerprinting program does not pick up 
As a distributed client of ours, we will scan each and every song in your catalogue to ensure that we either monetize or takedown any other videos uploaded by third party individuals 

If you’re not already signed up for YouTube Content ID, check out our FAQs and Sign Up process to get started!

MAJOR LABELS’ BILLION-DOLLAR PAYDAY UNDER FIRE AS COX COMMUNICATIONS CHALLENGES ‘SHOCKINGLY EXCESSIVE’ DAMAGES VERDICT 

MAJOR LABELS’ BILLION-DOLLAR PAYDAY UNDER FIRE AS COX COMMUNICATIONS CHALLENGES ‘SHOCKINGLY EXCESSIVE’ DAMAGES VERDICT

In December, a jury ruled that US-based internet service provider Cox Communications was liable for the infringement of over 10,000 music copyrights by its users. The company was ordered to pay Universal, Sony and Warner a whopping $1bn in collective damages – equivalent to just over $99,000 for each of the 10,017 works infringed. 

If you wanted to know the extent to which this news delighted the major record companies, you only need read the words of Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper from his company’s quarterly earnings call on Friday (January 31). 

Guest post by: Tim Ingham of Music Business Worldwide

Cooper noted Warner’s satisfaction with the ruling, which he pointed out was the fifth largest U.S jury award in the whole of 2019, and which, he said, “clearly demonstrates that juries understand piracy is not okay”. 

Cooper noted that WMG and/or the record industry had also brought similar cases against four other ISPs: Charter, Grande, RCN and Bright House, “all of which should proceed to trial within the next 12 to 18 months”. 

The inference is clear: with Cox being stung for ten-figure damages, a promising precedent has been set ahead of the record industry’s litigation against others working in the ISP space. 

But now there could be a spanner in the works. Cox Communications just lodged a fierce legal motion challenging the $1bn damages verdict – calling it “unprecedented”, and suggesting that the amount of money it’s being told to pay is “grossly excessive”. 

According to a Memorandum filed Friday (January 31) by Cox and obtained by MBW, the company calls for one of two new outcomes – either a remittitur (i.e. a reduction in the amount of damages awarded) or an entirely new trial. 

The Memorandum, filed with the Eastern District of Virginia Court, argues: “The $1 billion award is a miscarriage of justice; it is shockingly excessive and unlawfully punitive, and should be remitted or result in a new trial.” 

Cox adds: “The award of $1 billion appears to be the largest award of statutory copyright damages in history. This is not by a matter of degree. It is the largest such award by a factor of eight. 

“THIS IS BY ANY MEASURE A SHOCKING VERDICT, WHOLLY DIVORCED FROM ANY POSSIBLE INJURY TO PLAINTIFFS, ANY BENEFIT TO COX, OR ANY CONCEIVABLE DETERRENT PURPOSE.” 

“It is the largest such award for secondary copyright infringement by a factor of 40. It is the largest jury verdict in the history of this District by a factor of more than 30. 

“It is by any measure a shocking verdict, wholly divorced from any possible injury to Plaintiffs, any benefit to Cox, or any conceivable deterrent purpose.” 

Cox argues that the $1bn damages verdict “exceeds the aggregate dollar amount of every statutory damages award rendered in the years 2009-2016 by more than four hundred million dollars”. 

The firm cites what it calls the three previous biggest copyright statutory damages awards in the States: (i) Atlantic Recording v. Media Group Inc in 2002 ($136m); (ii) Disney Enters., Inc. v. Vidangel, Inc in 2019 ($62.4m); and (iii) UMG Recordings, Inc. v. MP3.Com, Inc in 2000 ($53.4m). 

Cox posits that all three of these verdicts “were rendered against direct infringers — people who actually misappropriated the copyrighted material for their own use and profit”. In most cases, it says, these infringers “were conducting businesses based upon copyright infringement” making them “adjudicated pirates”. 

“THE $1 BILLION AWARD THUS APPEARS TO BE THE LARGEST EVER AGAINST A [SECONDARY] INFRINGER SITUATED LIKE COX — BY A FACTOR OF 40.” 

As an ISP, Cox argues that such an accusation does not apply to its business, suggesting that rather than being a “direct infringer”, it should instead be classified as a “secondary infringer” in the December ruling. 

Cox then points out that the largest statutory damages ever awarded against a secondary infringer happens to be against itself – $25m in BMG Rights Mgmt. LLC v. Cox Communications, Inc. (2015). 

“The $1 billion award thus appears to be the largest ever against a [secondary] infringer situated like Cox — by a factor of 40,” it says. 

(Cox later appealed that $25m BMG ruling, and the two parties settled via a “substantial” payment to the music company in 2018.) 

Cox’s lawyers continue this line of attack to target the monetary amount awarded. 

“Awards of damages approaching $100,000 per work are all but unheard-of in cases involving more than a handful of works—until this one,” they argue. “In cases involving the infringement of digital music files, no award has exceeded $25,000 per work. 

“The most closely analogous precedent is BMG, in which the jury awarded $17,895 per work, or less than one-fifth of the [$1bn verdict’s] per-work award.” 

The filing adds: “Cox respectfully submits that the evidence in this case did not support the jury’s findings of direct, contributory, or vicarious liability as to any of the works in suit, and that at least 8,000 of the works in suit should not have been considered by the jury.” 

Cox also points out that the record companies “urged the jury to award massive damages based, in large part, on assertions of Cox’s massive profits”. 

As a private subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, Cox Communications does not publicly reveal its financial performance, but it has previously confirmed that in 2016, it turned over some $11bn annually

Cox argues that only the amount of profit it may have directly obtained directly from any user copyright infringement should have formed the base figure from which December’s damages verdict figure was extrapolated – as opposed to its overall company profits in a given period. 

It argues that in the period concerned, Cox provided broadband / internet services to roughly 4.5m subscribers, but that “at the most” there were approximately 31,000 alleged repeat copyright infringers amongst its customer base. 

“The actions of those 31,000 subscribers are so far removed from Cox’s enterprise-level corporate [profits] as to bear no rational relationship at all – never mind one that should form a basis for the jury’s verdict,” it says. 

In its summing up of why Cox believe the “magnitude of the [$1bn award] is shocking”, it writes: “As set forth at length above, the $1 billion award in this case is unprecedented. It is the largest copyright statutory damages award in history by a factor of eight and is 40 times larger than the verdict awarded (and ultimately vacated) in the very similar BMG case. 

“It exceeds by more than $400 million the aggregate dollar value of all copyright statutory damages awards from 2009- 2016. It exceeds by more than $100 million the total profits earned in 2014 by the parent companies of the 53 plaintiffs. 

“[THIS VERDICT] EXCEEDS BY MORE THAN $400 MILLION THE AGGREGATE DOLLAR VALUE OF ALL COPYRIGHT STATUTORY DAMAGES AWARDS FROM 2009- 2016.” 

“Even considered on a per-work basis, the award is extreme: the $99,830.29 per-work award is the largest ever given for infringement of digital music files. 

“Every previous case that we have been able to identify involving similar infringements has ultimately awarded per-work damages of $9,000 to $22,500.” 

You can read Cox’s full Memorandum In Support Of Its Motion For Remittitur (Or, In The Alternative, A New Trial) here. 

Cox is represented by Thomas Buchanan of Winston & Strawn LLP. 

According to Law360, if Cox’s motion is denied, the company can appeal to the Fourth Circuit. 

Speaking after the December $1bn ruling against Cox, NMPA President & CEO David Israelite said: “Today’s victory on behalf of music publishers and record labels who own over 10,000 copyrights is a clear message to ISPs like Cox who refuse to take responsibility for infringers on their networks. 

“The jury found that Cox was liable for its subscribers’ infringement to the tune of $1 billion dollars which serves as a warning to those who willingly turn a blind eye and enable their users to share music illegally. 

“Cox received hundreds of thousands of notices of infringement and did not adequately respond or comply with its obligations to stop its subscribers from infringing on peer to peer networks. 

“Cox had the right and ability to prevent the continued harm to music creators and it chose its own profits over complying with the law.”

BMG RESPONDS TO ARTIST STREAMING REVOLT IN GERMANY: ‘IT IS TIME FOR RECORD COMPANIES TO CHANGE.’ 

  BMG RESPONDS TO ARTIST STREAMING REVOLT IN GERMANY: ‘IT IS TIME FOR RECORD COMPANIES TO CHANGE.’

As the Grammys continues to dominate discussion in the US music industry, an important story regarding artist streaming royalties in Germany is gathering pace.

Guest Post BY TIM INGHAM of Music Business Worldwide 

As MBW reported Friday (January 24), a group of managers and lawyers representing some of Germany’s biggest artists have written a joint letter to the leaders of the four biggest music rights companies in Germany – Universal, Sony, Warner and BMG. 

The agenda of the letter, undersigned by representatives of 14 artists, “becomes clear very quickly”, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper (F.A.Z), which published a more detailed story on the matter today (January 26) on the front page of its business section. Translated, F.A.Z says that the artist reps are demanding “more money from the booming business [created by] music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music”.

What’s also clear from the letter, according to F.A.Z: unlike prior artist protests against streaming, the letter does not direct its ire towards digital platforms, but instead “attacks record companies” and is “of the opinion that [the majors] are taking too much of the streaming millions”. 

It should be pointed out for context that most of the artists represented – including the 15m-plus-selling pop star Helene Fischer (pictured) and rock band Rammstein – have traditionally enjoyed large sales of physical records and downloads. 

According to F.A.Z, the artist reps say there is “an urgent and fundamental need to review and, if necessary, restructure the billing and remuneration model in the area of streaming”. This suggests that they may be seeking a switch to a ‘user-centric’ style of payment from the streaming services, who have to date been reticent to embrace this model. 

Last year, Deezer announced that it planned to launch a pilot of a ‘user-centric’ payment system in 2020, if it could gain the requisite support from the major record companies. 

“WE DO NOT FIND IT JUSTIFIABLE IN A WORLD IN WHICH RECORD COMPANIES NO LONGER HAVE THE COSTS OF PRESSING, HANDLING AND DELIVERING PHYSICAL PRODUCT FOR THEM TO TRY TO HOLD ON TO THE LION’S SHARE OF STREAMING REVENUES.” 

BMG SPOKESPERSON 

The letter contains a segment where the artist reps call into question the “adequacy of the remuneration” their clients are receiving from the record companies. 

The artist reps have asked record companies bosses to meet in mid-February in a Berlin hotel to discuss the letter, which F.A.Z reports has a tone “reminiscent of a court summons”. 

Sony and Universal are yet to publicly respond, says the newspaper. Warner has said it won’t be participating in the Berlin meeting due to antitrust concerns that would be created by powerful music companies plus so many representatives of stars coming together to discuss collective business arrangements. Instead, Warner says that “bilateral talks” are being held. 

The MD of JKP – the management company behind Die Toten Hosen – is Patrick Orth. A signatory of the letter, Orth says that the group of 14 artist reps have “very different motives” for backing the collective action. 

Of the music companies targeted, BMG, led by CEO Hartwig Masuch, has been the most forthcoming with its response to the letter. 

A BMG spokesperson said today: “We strongly welcome this attempt to highlight some of the inequities of the traditional record deal. This letter is signed by some of Germany’s most respected music managers and should be taken seriously. 

“We need a sensible, grown-up debate. We do not find it justifiable in a world in which record companies no longer have the costs of pressing, handling and delivering physical product for them to try to hold on to the lion’s share of streaming revenues. 

“The world has changed. It is time for record companies to change too.” 

The headline of the F.A.Z business story today is ‘Der Aufstand der Stars’, translated: ‘The Revolt Of The Stars’.

10 Careers In Music And How Much Money You Can Make 

10 Careers In Music And How Much Money You Can Make

When it comes to working in the music business, most people’s minds go to those performing on stage, but behind the curtain are a number of fulfilling, and often lucrative, jobs. Here we look at the top ten jobs in the music industry. 

___________________________

Guest post from Berklee Online 

When you think of a career in music, you might start with the performers who are center stage. But when you pull back the curtain, you’ll find people with an array of music business jobs and careers that help make performances possible. You have the people who coordinate and promote the music, the folks in the recording studios and on the soundboard who make the musical act sound topnotch, the writers who compose and arrange the music, and much more. 

There’s more to a career in music than just performance — it can involve one or many disciplines. The more versatile you are, the more opportunities you will have to work in the music business. 

Breaking into the music business is harder than other industries. Competition is high, but if you hone your craft, network with the right people, and put in the hard work, here are some music business careers to consider and what compensation you can expect out of them.* 

* Salary information is from the 2016 Edition of Music Careers Dollars and Cents by the Career Development Center at Berklee College of Music 

1. Music Producer 

 Want to be a jack of all trades? A producer understands both the creative and commercial side of the business and develops relationships with both musicians and the record label. A producer should create an environment that enables artists to create and express themselves. A producer also assists an artist’s recording project with many of the details, including choosing which material to record, interfacing with the recording engineer, adapting arrangements, balancing the recording budget, and influencing mixes. 

What to Learn: If you’re looking to become a music producer, consider learning about foundational audio and music concepts, start studying various types of software, and dive into what makes a good sound. To be a truly great producer, you’ll need to acquire knowledge in engineering and mixing. Look at the credits of your favorite albums: who produced them? Who engineered them? Find out what other albums these people produced, and get even further acquainted with their style. Read interviews with these people about their techniques. There isn’t one path to success here, but you can forge your own way as you develop the necessary skill set.  

What’s the Money Like? 

$25,000 – $1,000,000+  

 

2. Recording Engineer 

 An audio engineer is responsible for capturing sound and manipulating it in the studio. You’ll deal with both analog and digital audio, compressors, microphones, and signal flow—and typically combine both traditional and tech-savvy recording techniques to record music. You could also be responsible for organizing recording sessions and repairing any technical problems when they arise. And sometime you may catch the brunt of the producer or musicians if something goes wrong in recording that magic take! 

What to Learn: Become well-versed in multiple recording technologies and develop file management skills. Some jobs in sound engineering may require additional training in mixing and editing. You’ll also need to know how to solve problems, run recording sessions and take initiative. 

What’s the Money Like? 

$25,000 – $150,000+ 

 

 

 

3. Musician for Hire/Session Musician 

 As a session musician, you back and perform on another musician’s album or perform with various acts onstage. This means you have the freedom to dabble in multiple styles, genres, and sounds. You’ll interact, meet, and form relationships with a heap of other musicians. You may be asked to contribute to a recording session or join a band on tour. If you’re extremely proficient at your instrument, the path to becoming a successful session musician can be rewarding and even lead to a solo career. Before their solo careers, Stevie Ray Vaughan was a session musician for David Bowie, Sheryl Crow was a back-up singer for Michael Jackson, and Jimmy Page played in countless recording sessions. And some recording studios even have their own house bands. (See Standing in the Shadows of Motown, Muscle Shoals, and Twenty Feet From Stardom. Really! See these movies!) 

What to Learn: A successful session musician is a connoisseur of their instrument and has a solid reputation for their craft. You should be able to step into any musical arrangement to offer your skills and also be proficient and experienced at improvisation. Another necessity is to learn how to build a reliable network and solid relationships. You’ll want to have great communication skills and general industry knowledge. 

What’s the Money Like? 

Extremely wide range, $100 – $2,500 per day or up to $100,000+ 

The American Federation of Musicians (AFofM) specifies the minimum rate 

 

4. Artist Manager 

 An artist manager exists to create opportunities, connect, and propel the musical act forward. You have to wholeheartedly believe in your artist and help them build a strong and sustainable career through planning, organization, directing, and negotiating. You may not get all of the credit and adoration that the artist gets, but you’ll have to do as much—if not more—work! See that photo above? You probably recognize at least 80 percent of the people, and know their names. But how about the man in the center? That’s Brian Epstein, the manager of the Beatles during their rise to fame. Without the influence of Brian Epstein, it’s likely you’d never know the names John, Paul, George, and Ringo, much less know any of the music they made. 

What to Learn: Management and leadership skills are key here. Not only will you be streamlining and organizing multiple moving parts between musicians, publishers, and booking agents but you’ll also be making sales calls, negotiating contracts, and giving constructive criticism. 

What’s the Money Like? 

10 -50 percent of artist’s earnings 

$30,000 – $200,000 for a developing artist 

$2,000,000 – $10,000,000 for a mega successful artist 

 

5. Tour Manager 

As a tour manager, you’ll be involved in every aspect of a band’s career on the road. You’re the behind-the-scenes mastermind who has hands in every piece of transportation, accommodation, scheduling, and finances of a tour. You’ll make things run smoothly for everyone involved. You’ll need to have self-motivation and be okay with shouldering the band’s responsibilities—especially the financial ones. 

What to Learn: You’ll need to know the industry like the back of your hand. There are music business management programs you can study but you should also self-study tour logistics, accounting principles, and daily scheduling management. Get experience in different components of the live music industry and learn to anticipate and cater to needs while sticking to the schedule. To get a more thorough sense of what this job entails, read our profile on Berklee Online alum and Wilco tour manager Ashley ‘PK’ Mogayzel. 

What’s the Money Like? 

$2,500 – $10,000 per week for theater/arena-level touringBreaking into the music business is harder than other industries. Competition is high, but if you hone your craft, network with the right people, and put in hard work, here are some careers to consider and what compensation you can expect.… Click To Tweet 

 

6. Music Teacher 

Teaching can take on a variety of forms. You could teach in a school, a small music shop, or teach independently. You could teach theory or a specific instrument. You’ll also have freedom to choose which age range you’d like to teach—each one comes with its own advantages and obstacles. If you like encouraging people, sharing knowledge, and practicing patients, a career teaching music could be right for you. 

What to Learn: Your required education and background depends on which teaching path you’re most interested in. For example, teaching in a school will likely require more certifications than going down a self-employed route. You’ll certainly need to be proficient in the subject you’re teaching and feel confident giving lessons. 

What’s the Money Like? 

$30-$120 per hour for studio teacher/private instructor 

NOTE: Lesson fee should reflect amount of teaching experience and the going rate in a region. Be aware that it may take some time to build up a profitable clientele. Travel to a private student’s home may require an additional fee. 

$30,000-$71,181 for a public school music teacher (K-12) 

NOTE: Requires state certification. Schools are supported largely by property taxes so schools in wealthier communities are typically able to pay more. 

$43,140 -$67,360+ for an assistant professor (full-time on a tenure track) 

NOTE: Salary depends on the size of the institution, budget, and reputation of the teacher. At least a master’s degree is required, more often a PhD. 

 

7. Booking Agent 

 Your job here is to get the band onstage. Booking agents facilitate a lot of the logistics around live performances, including securing concert venues, negotiating deals, arranging technical equipment, and hospitality. You’ll work closely with management (of the artists and the venues) and event promoters and determine what an artist’s touring schedule will look like. 

What to Learn: A degree in music management, marketing, or accounting would help you prepare you for a career as a booking agent.  You’ll want to learn about contract negotiation, copyright law, sales, marketing, and event planning. Begin working in event promotion and administrative roles to understand the foundational elements of booking shows.  

What’s the Money Like? 

$20,000 – $3,000,000 

Commissions range, typically 10-20 percent of the act’s gross income per show. 

$50,000 for a developing artist 

$500,000 – $3,000,000 for a star 

$50,000 – $250,000/Booking Specialty Agent 

 

8. Publicist 

 A music publicist works closely with media outlets, marketers, and venues. Publicists ensure that their musicians’ concerts, releases, and announcements are covered by the media in a way that feeds positively into their public perception while increasing awareness of the artist. The good news is that you’ll see your hard work pay off in a very tangible way—whether that’s a sold-out show or a spot on the radio. It can be tough to break through to journalists in a media landscape that is increasingly cutting staff and eliminating outlets that cover music. This role is more than just PR—it’s about selling a story, building a network, managing a reputation, and staying ahead of the game. 

What to Learn: This is a communications and marketing-based role, so start there. Learn the basics of public relations strategy and develop your people skills. To become a publicist, you’ll have to network, be tenacious in your outreach efforts, and ask the right questions. Arm yourself with on-the-ground experience as well as writing, crisis communications, and publicity campaign development.  

What’s the Money Like? 

$500-$10,000 per month 

 

9. Composer 

 Composers aren’t just tied down to the classical music genre; they can write for film, TV, and video games. They can also write and arrange recorded or live music across genres. Regardless of which avenue you wish to pursue, you must have a masterful understanding of music theory, you must be able to really play one or many instruments, and have the technical capabilities to capture your compositions effectively, whether it be through music notation or recording. 

What to Learn: Formal education and experience are keys to success here. Composers are proficient in one or many instruments and have a deep understanding of music theory and arrangement. Being a great composer means understanding the technicalities and mechanics of music on multiple levels. Start learning composition software and begin practicing. There are event elements of sound engineering that can come in handy, like notation software and recording programs. 

What’s the Money Like? 

Composers are usually paid on a per-project basis. 

Television 

$1,500-$7,500+ for a 30-minute episode 

$2,000-$15,000+ for a 60-minute episode 

$2,000-$55,000+ for a TV movie 

Film Score Composer 

$0-$10,000+ for a student film 

$2,500-$500,000+ for an indie feature  

$35,000-$2mil+ for a studio feature  

Video Game Composer 

$30,000-$75,000+ for Creative Fee deal – interactive game (30 min. of music) 

$30,000-$60,000+ for Package Fee deal – interactive game (30 min. of music) – covers composing and all expenses 

$300-$600 per minute of finished music for casual games (creative fee only) 

 

10. Music Arranger 

A music arranger is responsible for taking a piece of written music and reorganizing it to achieve a new sound or goal. You might have a client ask you to take a pop piece and add a Latin rhythm, shorten or lengthen a piece, or change the key. Arranging is a specialized skill and those who pursue it can work as a freelancer or for a band or music organization. 

What to Learn: Music arrangement can be a single career or an added skill set as a writer and composer. An arranger, like a composer, also requires a deep understanding of music theory, different instrument groups and how they work with one another. Before learning about arranging, learn the fundamentals of music theory, composition, and the technical aspects involved. 

What’s the Money Like? 

$20,000-$43,000+