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Some people say the modern music business lacks entrepreneurial new independent record companies. Those people haven't met Stef Van Vugt.The 25-year-old Dutchman founded Strange Fruits (now Fruits Music) in 2016 while studying music as an aspiring DJ.The label-cum-playlist company now has millions of followers on Spotify, where it's racked up tens of billions of streams. From Dance Fruits (5.4m followers) to LoFi Fruits (7m followers), Fruits Music's playlists have become a phenomenon on Spotify – but not without controversy.For one thing, Fruits Music 'buys out' the rights to all its tunes from artists who work with the company (although it does continue to pay through royalties as part of these deals). In addition, in order to better ride the Spotify algorithm, the lead 'artist' name on all of the tracks the company produces is Fruits Music itself (or one of its sub-brands). This creates similarities to the 'fake artists' that caused controversy for Spotify a few years back.And last year, Rolling Stone wrote an exposé of Fruits Music playlists – particularly Rain Fruits Sounds – that are designed to maximize payouts from Spotify (via its 'pro rate' royalty model). Rain Fruits Sounds contains over 2,000 'tracks' of rain noises, many of which are just over 30 seconds long. Every time one of those 'tracks' gets played, Strange Fruits increases its market share of Spotify's royalty pool – ultimately ensuring it gets paid more each month, and 'real' artists get paid less.On this MBW Podcast, Music Business Worldwide founder, Tim Ingham, grills Stef Van Vugt on the story of Strange Fruits, accusations that its actions hurt 'real' artists, the 'gaming' of streaming playlists – and what he thinks about a shift to 'user-centric' licensing on streaming platforms. (His answer to that last one might surprise you.) The MBW Podcast is supported by Voly Music) .
Welcome to the latest episode of Music Business Worldwide's Talking Trends, supported by Voly Music.In this episode, MBW founder Tim Ingham discusses the model under which TikTok currently pays the music industry.Music Business Worldwide sources suggest that TikTok's deals with rightsholders are currently 'buy-outs' – i.e. the platform pays a lump sum upfront, rather than paying a revenue share based on each artist/label's popularity on its platform.With TikTok's revenues expected to triple to $12 billion in 2022, concerns are growing amongst music companies that TikTok could soon get "too big and too powerful" to force into an agreement that sees it "pay music rightsholders properly".Says Ingham: "The music industry is growing increasingly worried that it's about to star in a movie we've seen play out time and time again when it comes to music's relationship with tech and media giants. "In short, that movie is about a tech or media giant – you've guessed it! – 'building its business off the back of artists' without paying those artists what they deserve. "As my major record company source put it to me the other week: 'Soon TikTok is going to be too big and too powerful for us to force it into a revenue share deal. The last time we let a company of this size and power run away with things without paying us properly... was MTV."Ole Obermann, TikTok's Global Head of Music, has told Music Business Worldwide in response to this podcast: ""From the outset we wanted to pay rightsholders and we built a team to do that. We're proud of the deals we've struck and how in a few short years we've been able to offer a new and growing revenue stream to the industry, as well as becoming a powerful marketing and promotional platform for artists of all genres. "We're delighted by the success [that] artists, both new and old, have found using TikTok; connecting with fans and kick-starting their careers. This success and the power of our platform has translated into record label and publishing contracts [for artists], the launch of careers, significant streaming uplift and TikTok having a positive impact on charts worldwide."TikTok is a unique service and has pioneered the adoption of short-form video. We're not a streaming platform and we do not offer a subscription model. We negotiate our licenses on a rolling basis and as engagement with music on TikTok evolves, our business model will also evolve."Adds Obermann: "We want to play our part and contribute to a growing music industry, enabling music creators and makers to find success both on and off our platform.”
Welcome to the latest episode of Music Business Worldwide's Talking Trends, supported by Voly Music.In this episode, MBW founder Tim Ingham discusses the market share threat that the major record companies currently face on Spotify from DIY distribution platforms – and the millions of independent artists they service.As music from these independent artists swamps streaming services, the majors' refusal to allow the music they distribute to fall under a certain perceived quality threshold limits their ability to compete on volume / scale with the likes of DistroKid. (A prime example of this refusal: Universal Music Group's Spinnup shutting down DIY distribution last month; it now only distributes music from invited artists.)As a result (amongst other factors), the majors' cumulative market share on Spotify is statistically falling – down by a full 10% from 2017 (87%) to 2021 (77%).We hear from Rob Stringer, Chairman of Sony Music Group, who last week told investors that Sony has widened its own distribution net – via The Orchard and AWAL – to work with more independent acts, and counteract the market-share erosion created by DIY distribution.However, Stringer noted that a proportion of this DIY-distributed music isn't of a good enough quality to be considered anything more than "flotsam and jetsam".Ingham theorises that the majors may soon pressure Spotify to pay out higher royalties for 'quality' or 'premium' artists – especially those who attract subscribers to its service – versus the tens of thousands of tracks uploaded to streaming services daily.Ingham wonders aloud if the majors' business model "can only triumph long term if streaming companies start acknowledging that 'quality' music is deserving of a higher rate of royalty payment than 'flotsam and jetsam'. "In other words, will Spotify agree that not all music is worth the same, or that a play of Bohemian Rhapsody is intrinsically worth more than a play of a large man's elongated burp? "Adds Ingham: "Defining the parameters of what constitutes 'premium' music versus 'flotsam and jetsam' is going to be fun. Music by its nature is subjective. You might think a certain track or an album is complete dreck; I might think it's celestial, and vice versa. That's part of what makes the industry so much fun."He continues: "Lest we forget that the other week I was on this very podcast telling Music Business Worldwide listeners that I had seen an app – Soundful – that can create studio-quality music via machine learning at the touch of a button, and every single one of its tracks is original. "There is no reason technology like this won't soon be able to create millions of tracks per day at the touch of a button, and then upload all of them to Spotify within seconds. "Imagine the threat that kind of tidal wave of music hitting services daily brings to the major record companies and their need to dominate market share on Spotify and other platforms. "So: if the majors are going to take the argument to Spotify that some music simply deserves more financial respect than other music, surely they are now compelled to do so sooner rather than later."
We've called SK Sharma an 'AI expert' in the headline above, but it hardly does him justice.We could have just as easily called him an expert on theoretical chemical physics, marketing analytics, computational biophysics, or antimicrobial therapeutics.Granted, 'AI expert' was snappier.In his 20s, Sharma graduated with a Ph.D in Chemical Physics and Biophysical Chemistry from Caltech.He went on to create medical pharmaceuticals, before turning his hand to analyzing markets for the likes of Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.Along the way, he began managing investments – using data science to help guide his clients' money. Amongst his early bets? Tesla, owned by that shrinking violet, Elon Musk.From there, Sharma went on an impressive run as an entrepreneur: To date, he has either been a co-founder or a Partner / equity owner in four startups, in multiple fields, that have each exited for over $100 million.And then, in 2017, he took a sharp turn into the music business – joining Ingrooves Music Group, the global distribution and services provider for indie artists and labels.Ingrooves first successfully patented tech underpinning its 'Smart Audience' marketing platform in 2020.The other week, it announced that it had won its second US patent for further developments on this tech – developments, the company claims, that now means Smart Audience drives streams for artists that amount to more than double the plays they would have received via traditional digital marketing methods.In this latest MBW Podcast (supported by Voly Music), SK Sharma discusses Ingrooves' strategy, the music business's relationship with technology – and why, in his view, the "defining characteristic of success" for any new-fangled inventions in music (see: metaverse, NFTs etc.) is "going to be separating the bulls**t from the facts..."
Imagine being able to tell an app exactly the type of music you'd like to create – the key, the tempo, the genre, the sub-genre – and then that app just... making it for you.Imagine recording yourself singing a verse and a chorus into your phone, uploading this vocal to a platform, and that platform wrapping an entire professional musical production around it, all in the style of your choosing. And the result sounding so polished, it could comfortably sit in the tracklist of Spotify's Today's Top Hits.This is Soundful. The artificial intelligence-driven platform, currently in beta, was recently founded and created by San Diego-based entrepreneur, Diaa El All (pictured).To date Soundful has raised somewhere around $4 million in seed funding – from "leaders" of companies such as Disney and Microsoft. A fuller Series A round is expected to open soon.Soundful's website describes the platform thusly: "Soundful’s music-theory trained algorithms put studio-quality tracks in your hands so you can produce the next hot album, make a viral-worthy TikTok or YouTube sound, or amplify your gaming stream."It promises that anyone using it can "make tracks at the speed of sound". On this Podcast (supported by Voly Music), Diaa El All joins Music Business Worldwide founder, Tim Ingham, to talk about the effect Soundful is about to have on the global music business. Soundful's founder is upbeat and optimistic about how his platform will help today's billion-plus online content creators worldwide find music to use in their content. He also suggests Soundful is already inspiring music makers to move in interesting new creative directions.Ingham is a little more circumspect. He says: "In short, I'm a bit scared of Soundful. And I am utterly amazed by Soundful and its creator."
Gunnar Greve believes, with all his heart, that Web3 and decentralized networks are about to turn the music industry upside down. In a good way.Greve is the long-term manager of Alan Walker, the Norwegian-British electronic music sensation whose tracks have been streamed across audio and video no less than 50 billion (!) times... including more than 5 billion times in China.In addition, Greve is a co-composer of Alan Walker's music (including the 2015 global mega-smash, Faded).But all of that is just part of why Greve joins MBW founder, Tim Ingham, on this MBW Podcast (supported by Voly Music).Alan Walker's background is intertwined with the world of video games. Walker is a video games design geek, and proud of it. His music career began when, as a teenager, he began sharing his epic compositions with fellow video games fans online.Today, Walker (with Greve's help) has devised his own entire fictional world – The World Of Walker – within which his fans, the Walkers, are (not surprisingly!) the good guys.This world extends to Walker's music videos, which have racked up over 11 billion views on his YouTube channel... which happens to be the world's 11th biggest music artist channel on the platform.It's no great shock, then, that Gunnar and Alan are rather enthused about the possibilities for Web3's combination with music – and the impact it can have on artist-fan relationships.If you're growing a little weary of all the chatter around the metaverse, NFTs and the blockchain, this is just the pep talk you need.
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide (MBW) – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.On this episode, MBW founder Tim Ingham analyzes the news the Netflix's global subscriber base fell quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2022 – and ponders whether leading music streaming services like Spotify will soon face similar headwinds. Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1, meaning that more people unsubscribed from the platform in the quarter than actually subscribed to it.Ingham sifts through Netflix's new letter to shareholders, in which the video streamer explains why it thinks these subscribers left its platform.Says Ingham: "One very convincing take on Netflix's poor Q1 results is that the [macro economic] sluggish economic growth and increasing inflation [in the world today] are actually the only factors that really matter here. "Inflation in the US, for one thing, hit a very scary 8.5% in March, according to the Consumer Price Index. "That 8.5% was the highest US inflation rate we've seen since 1981: that's over 40 years ago. This is once in a generation stuff. "So it's no great shock that people are starting to worry very seriously about their cost of living, versus the salary they have dropping into their bank account every fortnight or month. "And they're making sensible cutbacks of goods and services they can ultimately live without."
Amy Thomson has pretty much done it all as an artist manager, and is now disrupting the modern music industry from another angle as Chief Catalog Officer of Hipgnosis Song Management. Before joining Hipgnosis in 2020, Amy ran her company ATM artists, and has managed acts including Seal, DJ Snake, and Swedish House Mafia. Most famously, Amy took Swedish House Mafia from being a baby band to kings of the globally dominant EDM scene of the early 2010s. She also worked closely with Kanye West on the stunning marketing campaigns launched during his Yeezus era. On this MBW Podcast (supported by Voly Music), Amy discusses the three areas of the music business that she believes need drastic change. Those areas are: (1) NDAs. That's nondisclosure agreements in artist and songwriter contracts; (2) Data – as in the flow of data to music makers and the vast inefficiencies that bad data is causing; and (3) Service and royalties, particularly the level of service that catalog artists are receiving from labels. Claims Thomson: "I think that the service of record labels for 99% of artists since 2006 has been absolutely shocking. In 2006, when streaming was launched 30 million records got re-released [on streaming platforms]...  "Labels are getting better at [marketing catalog records]. But when I say better, that means instead of 500 catalog projects a year [being prioritized for marketing by the major record companies], maybe there's now 700 catalog projects a year. "There are 30 million records on Spotify. [And] 75% of streaming is catalog, and that grew 10% last year."
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide (MBW) – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, responds to a new set of statistics released by Spotify about what artists earn from its platform.Those stats, published on Spotify's Loud & Clear site, reveal that 16,500 artists generated over $50,000 in royalties from Spotify in 2021.But, Ingham argues, this wasn't the most revealing piece of data issued by Spotify. He focuses in on a number buried towards the bottom of the Loud & Clear site: Spotify estimates that around 200,000 artists on its platform are “professional or professionally aspiring”.Spotify has partly estimated this figure, Ingham explains, via two key questions.The first is: How many of the 8 million artists on Spotify's platform have released fewer than 10 tracks? The answer might surprise you: it's 5.4 million, or just over two-thirds of artists on the service.Spotify has then calculated how many of the 2.6 million artists on its platform with more than 10 tracks are popular enough to also have more than 10,000 monthly listeners.The answer? Just 165,000 acts.Separately, Spotify has estimated that 199,000 artists sold a ticket to a live concert in 2019 (pre-pandemic) via the likes of Songkick, Ticketmaster and other platforms.This is how Spotify gets to its estimate of 200,000 artists on its service that are “professional or professionally aspiring”.Argues Ingham: "To put it a slightly crueller way, 98% of the 8 million artists on Spotify today either aren’t popular enough to have 10,000 monthly listeners, or have released less than 10 tracks to date."He adds: "Spotify’s own stats show that just 0.2% of [the 8 million] artists on its platform are generating $50,000 or above per year. As a standalone stat, 0.2% sounds like a scandal."But now we can move that [narrative] on, and ask what percentage of genuinely 'professional or professionally aspiring' artists – that club of 200,000 – are generating more than $50,000 a year on Spotify. "And I’ll tell you: it’s just over 8%. Eight percent – or around one in 12 – artists deemed 'professional or professionally aspiring' by Spotify are now generating more than $50,000 dollars on that one platform per year."Is eight percent good enough? Is having one in 12 commercially meaningful artists generating $50,000 a year on Spotify a positive or a negative?"Let that debate rage. But let it rage with the key information that the vast majority of artists on Spotify – 5.4 million, or more than two thirds of all acts on the platform – haven’t even released enough tracks to fill an album."
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide (MBW) – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, responds to the news that US-based video games giant, Epic Games, has fully acquired online independent music retailer Bandcamp.Following the surprise acquisition earlier this month, some suggested that Epic's driving reason to buy Bandcamp was the buzzword of the year – the metaverse – and the use of music within it. (Epic is, after all, the maker/owner of Fortnite, which has already hosted some major music events featuring artists such as Travis Scott and Ariana Grande.)Ingham posits a different theory. He notes that, according to its co-founder, Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp has been profitable since 2012. In addition, Bandcamp charges its customers (indie artists) just 10-15% commission rates as a retailer – and on Bandcamp Fridays, it charges nothing at all.Last year, Ingham notes, Epic Games failed to force Apple to reduce its 30% commission rate for large app makers as part of an ill-tempered legal battle. That failure potentially cost Epic hundreds of millions of dollars a year, notes Ingham, much of it from microtransactions taking place within Fortnite.In that legal battle, Epic cited its own Epic Games Store – on which it sells its own games and third-party titles for just a 12% commission – as an example of how a digital store could be run successfully without the need to charge a much higher 30% (as Apple does on its App Store).But Epic came unstuck when Apple probed the finances of this Games Store, which, it transpired, was making heavy losses. As neatly summed up by the Washington Post: "By highlighting how the Epic Games Store is not profitable, Apple is trying to show that a 12% commission like Epic charges is not sustainable for running an app store, and that a 30% commission such as what Apple charges makes business sense.”Comments Ingham: "In short, Apple exposed the lack of profitability of Epic’s store, and in doing so sunk [Epic's] legal argument."Ingham doesn't believe Epic's battle to reduce app store commissions is over – following its Apple trial, it may turn attention to Google Play, for example, which also charges a 30% commission to large-scale app makers on its platform. "[With Bandcamp] Epic now owns an online retailer that charges its customers just 10-15% commission, and sometimes nothing," says Ingham. "But that retailer has paid out around a billion dollars to artists, and crucially, it says that it has long been profitable."Epic can now point to Bandcamp as what it might claim to be proof of Apple or Google's excessive commission fees. In return, Apple or Google won’t be able to attack Bandcamp for running on a broken model, or being unprofitable… because it’s not."
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide (MBW) – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, responds to the news that Warner Music Group is co-investing in a new music acquisition fund with investment giant BlackRock. Ingham notes that this is Warner's second co-investment fund in recent years – following its Tempo Music vehicle with Providence – but also points out that Sony Music Group invited outside capital from Eldridge Industries last year in its acquisition of the Bruce Springsteen catalog.Why are these major music companies not entirely using their own funds to make these acquisitions?Ingham suggests that it could be because they're hedging their bets against threats to the potential future growth of the music industry."Demand in the music marketplace today, largely driven by these Wall Street investment banks, means that multiples being paid for music rights have infamously gone wild," notes Ingham. "This comes with risks. If the music market changes, or is hit by some kind of slowdown in growth, the prospect of getting a return on these investments can suddenly disintegrate."Ingham highlights three key areas where the future value of music rights could be hit by a slowdown. They include:1) "A fear that the growth in music subscription streaming in the future might not be as sunny as some analysts estimate." Ingham notes that Goldman Sachs is currently predicting that over 1.2 billion people will be paying for music streaming by 2030 – an optimistic forecast that makes sense from a lot of angles. Yet Ingham notes: "In 2021, Spotify saw slower global streaming subscription growth - in terms of volume – than it did in 2020. So what happens if [overall] streaming subscription growth now doesn’t meet the bright hope analysts at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere have? What if these numbers start to get downgraded as the years tick on? What happens if Gen Z, who are currently obsessed with TikTok, don’t value an all-you-can-eat streaming service menu like Spotify’s?"2) Says Ingham: "When you look at the [banner copyright] investments being made in the business today, there’s definitely a question mark over whether these artists are going to be long-term mainstream propositions in non-Anglo-American markets. He adds: "Look at what’s happening to the charts in local markets globally: They’ve never been domestic in their tastes. MBW reported earlier this year that Italy’s entire Top 20 album and Top 10 singles in 2021 were from domestic artists. Where do Bruce Springsteen or Wiz Khalifa fit in that?"3) Economic uncertainty on a macro level – and shooting interest rates in the months ahead. "Consumer prices are said to be rising by 5%, 7%, even 9% this year, while energy prices also shoot up making spending on so-called luxury goods or services like a streaming music subscription harder to justify for many people," notes Ingham. 
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, posits that country music could be the biggest story in 2022 for the voracious catalog-acquisition world of the modern music business.Ingham notes that country music's market share of total streaming (according to Nielsen / MRC Data) grew by nearly 1% in 2021 vs. 2020 and grew by 2% in 2021 vs. 2019.Joining Ingham on this episode is Round Hill Music founder and CEO, Josh Gruss.Round Hill made significant acquisition and go-forward deals with songwriters in 2014 onwards. Those writers include a number of writers who contributed to the biggest overall and streaming album in the United States in 2021: Morgan Wallen's Dangerous: The Double Album.
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, discusses Neil Young's decision to remove his catalog from Spotify in protest to what he deems Covid-19 misinformation appearing on the platform.Specifically, Young is unhappy about at least one episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, on which Rogan interviews a Covid vaccine-sceptic doctor.Young has been joined in pulling his music from Spotify by Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren. Will more artists now follow? And could an artist exodus cause irreparable damage to Spotify's valuation?"The artists who’ve left Spotify in these past few days are all protesting what they deem to be Covid misinformation," says Ingham. "But we already know there are of artists out there, big and small, who have other consequential problems with Spotify, particularly economic."He adds: "Spotify’s stranglehold on the music business is weakening – the stats back that up... So if artists and songwriters become less frightened of the commercial consequences of removing their music from Spotify, why wouldn’t they follow Neil Young if they felt strongly enough?"
On this episode of the Music Business Worldwide Podcast (supported by Voly Music), we speak to a legendary entrepreneur in the world of dance and electronic music: Patrick Moxey.Moxey hit the headlines last week after Sony Music confirmed it had acquired 100% of the famed record label he founded, Ultra Records.According to Moxey, Sony acquired 50% of Ultra Records via a partnership deal in 2013, and has now acquired the remaining 50% stake – from Moxey himself – to take full control.As such, Moxey is walking away from Ultra Records, the label he founded way back in the mid-nineties, after more than 25 years. (Ultra's history really is a who's who of dance music: the label has released music by everyone from Steve Aoki to Roger Sanchez, Kygo, Deadmau5, Benny Benassi and many, many more.)There are, though, big plans afoot: Moxey says he's readying the launch of a new independent record label, for which he has already employed 38 staff worldwide.  Moxey has additionally maintained ownership of Ultra's sister publishing company, which he says has a portfolio of 35,000 copyrights. On this podcast, Patrick Moxey – also the founder of hip-hop specialist Payday Records – discusses the reasons he decided to leave Sony Music, and explains why he believes the streaming-led modern music business is the perfect place to grow his new venture.He also talks NFTs, and why he thinks they will be an increasingly meaningful piece of the music business as it heads into the web3 era: Moxey says Ultra recently worked with DJ NGHTMRE on an NFT drop that raised $1.3 million within three hours.The Music Business Worldwide Podcast is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.
There isn't much about Spotify's explosive growth over the past ten years that Sachin Doshi can't tell you about in great detail.Doshi was working in business development at Universal Music Group in New York in early 2008, when Daniel Ek left him with a demo of the platform. As Doshi explains on this Music Business Worldwide Podcast (supported by Voly Music): "Both from a pure concept perspective, and the execution that Spotify was bringing to the market, I genuinely believed it would scale... I was pitching internally at Universal this idea that like music subscription should become a household utility like cable."He was right, of course: now, 13 years on, there are over 500 million paying subscribers to music streaming services worldwide. Doshi was such a Spotify acolyte that he not only played a key role in the service's launch in the US in 2011 while working at Universal Music Group – he then left UMG to join Daniel Ek's company as Spotify's VP of Content towards the end of that year.Doshi eventually departed Spotify in 2016 to co-found the ad-free news subscription app, Scroll, which grew to the point it was acquired by Twitter last year (2021).This month (January 2022), Doshi was unveiled as the new Chief Content Officer (CCO) at Podimo, a Denmark-based podcast and audiobook subscription platform that competes with other providers such as Spotify, Apple, and Luminary.Podimo has been making serious moves in this fast-growing space, including a raise of $78 million in a Series B round last year.On this podcast, MBW quizzes Doshi about the rise of Spotify, the stagnation of music streaming pricing, the potential of Podimo to rival some of the world's biggest tech companies – and whether the music business should be scared of the rapid growth in podcasting's global reach.The Music Business Worldwide Podcast is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, discusses the stunning amount of money paid to Universal Music Group boss, Sir Lucian Grainge, in 2021.Ingham (pictured) calculates that Grainge pulled in around $45 million in basic salary plus annual bonuses in 2021, in addition to a nine-figure one-time payment related to Universal's flotation on the Amsterdam stock exchange in September.Grainge's astronomical payday in 2021 has agitated some sections of the music industry, but Ingham argues why – from a Universal shareholder perspective – the British exec was "worth every penny" of the huge one-time payout he received.Much of this week's episode comments on this Guardian article from November 2021, and why it's problematic  to compare the one-time payments of a public company CEO/Chairman to the annual cumulative royalties of UK songwriters in 2019.
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, explains why Spotify deleted a swathe of comedy albums from its service over the Thanksgiving weekend – and why it might be at the mercy of big-money lawsuits in the weeks and months ahead.Ingham (pictured) explains that two prominent companies now operating in the world of comedy royalty collection and administration – Word Collections and Spoken Giants – are each respectively run by two music industry veterans who are experts in the intricacies of licensing in the US: Jeff Price (Word Collections), the founder of Audiam and TuneCore; and Jim King (Spoken Giants), a former senior figure at US collection society BMI.Spotify has suddenly removed comedy albums by stand-ups ranging from Kevin Hart to Tiffany Haddish, Jim Segura and Robin Williams – as Jim King accuses the streaming company of knowing "they don’t have all the rights in place to serve this content".That's a reference to the rights to the underlying lyrical content of each piece of performed stand-up. Spotify has the licenses to the recordings, but possibly not this underlying right – the equivalent of the publishing right in music.In music, such rights are now covered by the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) in the United States, ensuring that Spotify has cleared rights to every song on its platform from the get-go.But this wasn't always the case: In 2016, Spotify was sued by songwriters such as Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, having allegedly not obtained the mechanical licenses required to host their music. (Spotify eventually settled in a class action case against these and other songwriters, via a $43 million fund.)Comedy routines are not currently covered by the MLC.On Talking Trends, Ingham wonders aloud if Price and King may have spotted an "opportunity or injustice" to discuss a similar settlement with Spotify for these analogous rights in comedy. If a party could prove "wilful copyright infringement" by Spotify on this score, Ingham notes, the streaming company could be on the hook for up to $150,000 in damages for every comedy 'track' infringed.Says Ingham: "The fact that Jeff Price has been able to raise $3.5 million in investment for Word Collections in the in the past few weeks doesn't surprise me. Maybe opportunity knocks here, and his investors can see that."Ingham further suggests that this story could have ramifications for Spotify far beyond comedy: "Jim King's company [Spoken Giants] defines itself as representing rightsholders who make 'spoken word content' – not just comedy content. And spoken word content, whether that's podcasts or the more obvious analogous world of audiobooks, is a big part of Daniel Ek's future strategy for Spotify. "
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week on Talking Trends, host Louise Porter asks MBW founder, Tim Ingham, about a raft of new changes coming to TIDAL – the music streaming platform founded by Jay-Z, and acquired by Jack Dorsey's Square earlier this year for over $300 million.Last week, TIDAL announced three big changes were coming to its service in 2022: (i) That it would launch a free tier for the first time, allowing non-TIDAL-subscribers to listen to music on the platform; (ii) That it would introduce 'direct to artist' payments on its most expensive ($19.99 per month) tier, that will see a proportion of each subscriber's monthly payment go direct to that subscriber's favorite artist; and (iii) The adoption of a 'user-centric' payment system, like that launched by SoundCloud earlier this year.Ingham (pictured) explains the details behind all three moves – and considers the impact they might have on fans, artists, and the wider music business.Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.
Welcome to the Music Business Worldwide Podcast, supported by Voly Music.Tempo Music has been sitting on a billion-dollar-plus fund to buy music rights since 2019. This fund is bankrolled by a private equity giant – Providence Equity – that has over $45 billion in assets under its control.Josh Empson (pictured) is the CEO and founder of Tempo Music, and the guest of this episode of the MBW Podcast.According to Empson, Tempo is quietly and efficiently building a catalog of what he terms "modern masters".Not to be confused (solely) with master rights, Empson's "modern masters" descriptor refers to songwriters and artists who have established themselves as standout, enduring talents over the past 10 or 20 years.This explains Tempo's occasional announcement of deals in 2021 that have included its acquisition of a portion of the song catalog of Twenty One Pilots star, Tyler Joseph, as well as – more recently – its acquisition of a majority stake in the recording rights of two classic albums by Korn.Josh Empson knows the finance world intimately: before founding Tempo, he was previously a Managing Director at Providence and a director of Learfield Sports, MLS Media and the NFL/PEP investment fund.With a rich history of investing in media/entertainment properties and IP, he moonlights today as Director of European Media Partnership – a big-money partner of soccer giant Real Madrid.Here, MBW asks Empson about Tempo Music's strategy going forward, and how contingent that strategy might be on the fund's cozy relationship with Warner Music Group.We also get into how Empson believes the shape of the music business might change in the years ahead, and why Tempo is quite so bullish on the future growth of value in music rights.The MBW Podcast is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.
Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of two major news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.This week, host Louise Porter asks MBW founder Tim Ingham about the news that Warner Music Group is raising $535 million in order to part-fund three new potential acquisitions.Ingham suggests that one acquisition that makes perfect sense for Warner is David Bowie's songwriting catalog, which is reportedly on the block for around $200 million.He points out that Warner's Max Lousada has already announced an important deal with the Bowie estate this year – with Warner licensing Bowie's entire post-1968 recordings catalog from 2023 onwards. This may have "opened an ongoing line of negotiation" between WMG and the Bowie estate, suggests Ingham.Says Ingham: "If Warner is going to be in complete control of Bowie's hit recordings catalog from 2023 onwards, then it's an obvious complement to also be in control of – or indeed own – the publishing rights to his songs."Imagine a SuperBowl or a Grammy special, for example, celebrating all of Bowie's hit music – maybe around an anniversary of a particular release – with Warner earning both on the recorded side and on the publishing side, not only from the usage of music at the event, but also on the subsequent uplift in Bowie's catalog."The second story discussed on Talking Trends this week is the news that Universal Music Group is teaming with Authentic Brands Group to acquire 'name and likeness' rights from artists.Ingham suggests that this move may have a fair amount to do with Universal's internal audio-visual company, PolyGram, and the artist films it hopes to make in the future.He says: "Universal starting to have more exclusive control of name and likeness rights of legendary artists will not only help propel [UMG's] audio-visual business forward, but I'm guessing it will also help Universal and PolyGram obtain exclusivity to making artist biopics, scaring off others in Hollywood from from trying to do the same films."Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.
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Nov 2nd
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