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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.

Taylor Swift Signs Global Agreement With Universal Music Publishing Group  

Taylor Swift Signs Global Agreement With Universal Music Publishing Group 

Guest post by Tatiana Cirisano 

TAS Rights Management 

L-R: Troy Tomlinson, Jody Gerson, Taylor Swift and Sir Lucian Grainge. 

Taylor Swift has signed an exclusive global publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, broadening her partnership with the Universal Music Group, where Republic Records currently serves as her U.S. label partner. 

“I’m proud to extend my partnership with Lucian Grainge and the Universal Music family by signing with UMPG, and for the opportunity to work with Jody Gerson, the first woman to run a major music publishing company,” Swift said in a press release. “Jody is an advocate for women’s empowerment and one of the most-respected and accomplished industry leaders.” 

She added that Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville chairman/CEO "Troy Tomlinson has been an amazing part of my team for over half my life and a passionate torchbearer for songwriters. It’s an honor to get to work with such an incredible team, especially when it comes to my favorite thing in the world: songwriting.” 

Added Gerson, UMPG chairman/CEO: “We are honored to welcome Taylor Swift to UMPG. Using her power and voice to create a better world, Taylor’s honest and brave songwriting continues to be an inspiration to countless fans. We look forward to further amplifying Taylor's voice and songs across the globe.” 

While a press release describes the deal simply as a multi-year, multi-album agreement, a source familiar with the matter tells Billboard that UMPG will eventually represent her entire catalog. That includes all of the songs on her seven studio albums, her most recent being last year's Billboard 200 chart-topping Lover, and countless hits including "Shake It Off," "Blank Space," "Look What You Made Me Do" and "You Need To Calm Down."

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.”

2020 Colorado Music Educators Conference Presentation 

I am looking forward to speaking at the 2020 Colorado Music Educators Conference at the Broadmoor Hotel and Convention Center in January.

My topic: Makin a Living Making Music: Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the New Music and Entertainment Industry.

Click here to view the CMEA Conference Schedule

Today’s music industry is the wild, wild, west! The gatekeepers who once determined the fate of an artist’s success, the projects that would be recorded, the songs to be released, the bands that would take the stage, no longer wield their career crushing power. To succeed in today’s music industry, musicians need to expand their skillset from being musicians alone to being musical entrepreneurs. This session, Making a Living Making Music: Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the New Music and Entertainment Industry, will help you discover and declare your IDENTITY as artists and entrepreneurs, your VISION for the life and vocation you dream of, and your INTENTION and plans to begin to transform your dreams into realities. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak by CMEA Tri-M Music Honor Society Chair, Michelle Ewer. Tri-M Music Honor Society offers students, grades 6 through 12, an opportunity to perform, serve the community as well as places them in leadership positions. It helps to bring a music department together and operate as one. Tri-M looks different in every school. Colorado has one of the most robust Tri-M conventions across the country; Students come together to share and discover new ways to make their chapters stronger. Students walk away feeling excited and eager to try new ideas they have experienced at the convention. Feel free to click on the links below to answer questions that you may have.  

Click here to start a NAfME Tri-M® chapter at your school 

Click here for NAfME Tri-M® chapter resources

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.

‘MASTERS ARE OWNED BY [THE] ARTIST’: CHANCE THE RAPPER MANAGER PAT CORCORAN INKS ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ DEAL WITH WARNER RECORDS FOR 99 NEIGHBORS 

‘MASTERS ARE OWNED BY [THE] ARTIST’: CHANCE THE RAPPER MANAGER PAT CORCORAN INKS ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ DEAL WITH WARNER RECORDS FOR 99 NEIGHBORS

When is a major label deal not a major label deal? 

If your answer to that question is, “When an artist owns their own masters,” then you might have found the past 12 months a confusing place. 

 Guest post by: BY TIM INGHAM of Music Business Worldwide

First, in November last year, we had Taylor Swift inking a global deal with Republic Records / Universal Music Group – an agreement under which she appears likely to license her music rights to UMG on a relatively short-term basis. “It’s incredibly exciting to know that I’ll own all of my masters from now on,” said Swift on Instagram when announcing that agreement. “It’s really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry.” 

Those words, of course, became all the more prescient last month, thanks to Swift’s masters-related public fallout with Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun.

This week, another major music industry player is stating their joy at having struck a major label deal whereby masters are retained. This time, it’s not an artist doing the celebrating, but Pat Corcoran – the super-manager of Chance The Rapper, and therefore a key architect of one of the most talked about label-free artist campaigns of recent years. 

On behalf of his entertainment company Nice Work, Corcoran has just inked a deal with Warner Records, the company formerly known as Warner Bros Records and run by Tom Corson and Aaron Bay-Schuck out of Los Angeles.

“MASTERS ARE OWNED BY ARTIST, CREATIVE IS OWNED BY ARTIST, PROFIT SHARING OVER ROYALTIES, ALL WITH THE INCREDIBLE SUPPORT AND PLATFORM THAT OUR COLLECTIVE TEAMS PROVIDE.” 

PAT CORCORAN ON NICE WORK / WARNER RECORDS DEAL FOR 99 NEIGHBORS

The Nice Work/ Warner Records deal covers the future releases of 99 Neighbors, a Vermont-based music troupe whose ranks include founding hip-hop vocalists, Sam Paulino and Hanknative, plus producer Somba and a range of photographers, designers and musicians. 

In a press release, Corcoran noted that the Warner partnership would “allow me to work closer to the art while the label group could help amplify the distribution, marketing and promotion”. 

Calling the deal “unprecedented” and “artist-first”, Corcoran further noted: “The strategy allows Nice Work to step fully into what we love and what we feel we do best; bringing artists and fans closer together via innovative marketing, unparalleled artist-first service and unrelenting determination to protect and promote creators who move us with their music.” 

Over on Instagram, however, Corcoran was a little more direct in revealing significant details about the deal. 

He wrote: “Masters are owned by artist, creative is owned by artist, profit sharing over royalties, all with the incredible support and platform that our collective teams provide.” 

Doesn’t this sound like the sort of ‘label services’ agreement more typically offered by the likes of Sony’s The Orchard, Universal’s Caroline or Warner’s own ADA, not to mention a string of independent players, instead of a major record company deal? 

Corcoran added: “Proud to be a part of big changes in the music industry. Proud of the amazing art 99 has coming.” 

Interesting times.

Apple Reportedly Ending iTunes 

Apple Reportedly Ending iTunes

The file organization system you've been finding ways to work around for over a decade is about to be no more. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is hoping to phase out iTunes in the near future. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to announce the decision to move away from iTunes as part of a push away from the iPhone in coming years. 

Guest Post By Alex Galbraith

Unveiled in 2001, iTunes originally functioned as a music library and marketplace for iPods, iPhones, and Mac computers. As the company shifts its focus to other arms, the iTunes library will be replaced by separate desktop apps: Music, Podcasts and TV. iPhones and iPads already separate out libraries in this manner. 

The company's Worldwide Developers Conference is a closely watched event for fanboys and journalists. At this year's iteration, the company is also expected to announce greater freedom for their Apple Watch, which currently only works if it is connected to an iPhone. 

While the company is looking to roll out a new iPod soon, the move away from iTunes is probably a savvy business move given the recent raft of bad press attached to the brand. The company is currently being sued by users who allege that their iTunes data was sold to third parties who connected the data to personal information to sell to marketers. 

“None of the information pertaining to the music you purchase on your iPhone stays on your iPhone," the $5 million lawsuit alleged, per Billboard. “The data Apple discloses includes the full names and home addresses of its customers, together with the genres and, in some cases, the specific titles of digitally-recorded music that its customers have purchased via the iTunes Store and then stored in their devices.”

It's An Indie World After All  

It's An Indie World After All 

If there was still any doubt in your mind that you didn't need to be signed to a major label in order to succeed in the music industry, wonder no longer, as new data reveals just how much of market share indies have gained in recent years. 

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0 

If you thought that you needed to sign with a major record label or publisher in order to have success, that’s no longer true and there’s a lot of data to prove it. No metric is more valuable in seeing this picture as market share. Indies have made great strides in this area in recent years and continue to do so. Let’s take a look: 

Record Label

Physical Product

Digital Product

Physical/Digital 

Universal

23.4%

32.4%

29.8% 

Sony

19.2%

20.2%

19.9 %

Warner

13.4%

17.7%

16.5%

Independents

44.0%

29.7%

33.8% 

The big takeaway here is how well the indies stack up against the majors. When it comes to physical product, the indies are way ahead, and when it comes to total product they are as well. 

Something similar happens with publishing. 

Record Label

2017

2018

Change

Sony

27.3%

26.0%

-1.3% 

Universal Publishing

19.5%

20.2%

0.7 %

Warner Chappell

12.0%

12.3%

0.3 %

Independents

41.2%

41.4%

0.2 %

Once again, the indies are way ahead of the major publishers and its’ not even close. 

This goes to show that everything in the music industry has been turned on its head. A decade ago and for nearly 100 years, the major labels and publishers dominated the industry. Today indies have a major share of the industry, and while no single company is as strong as a major (yet), they are as a group. 

Artists and songwriters are leery of major corporations in general, and that’s who run the major labels and publishers. They know that the majors have shareholder interests in mind more than theirs. It’s also now a safer bet to sign with a indie, since success is no longer a long shot by going down that path. 

The data was compiled by the Music & Copyright Blog.