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Facebook Is Finally Ready To Become A Media Company

Originally posted in medium.com | by Mark Mulligan | 11/10/16

Facebook beat estimates with its latest earnings but announced that ad revenues would likely slow in 2017 as the digital ad market feels the pinch of advertiser budgets lagging the shift in user behavior. Facebook’s stock fell by 7% but it already has Plan B in motion: to become a media company. Facebook delayed this move as long as it possibly could, showing little enthusiasm for getting bogged down with content licenses while it was able to drive audience growth and engagement by piggy backing other people’s content. That strategy has run its course. Facebook is now about to start looking and behaving much more like a media company, but in doing so it will rewrite the rule book on what a media company is.

The Socially Integrated Web

Back in 2011 I published a report ‘The Socially Integrated Web: Facebook’s Content Strategy and the Battle of the Ecosystems’. You can still download the report for free here. In it I argued that Facebook was starting out on a path to become a media company, but not the sort of media company anyone would recognise:

Change is afoot in the Internet. Facebook’s new Socially Integrated Web strategy is set to make Facebook one of the most important conduits on the web. It is pushing itself further out into content experiences in the outside web while simultaneously pulling more of them into Facebook itself. Facebook is establishing itself as a universal content dashboard — a 21st century cable company for the Internet, a 21st century portal — establishing its own content ecosystem to compete with the likes of Apple and Amazon. While traditional ecosystems are defined by hardware and paid services, Facebook’s is defined by data and user experience.

Now with ad revenues set to slow, Facebook is flicking the switch on phase 2 of this strategy. Think of it as the Socially Integrated Web 2.0.

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WHY REAL A&R REQUIRES FAR MORE THAN ONLINE METRICS AND YOUTUBE

Image result for Annette Barrett, MD of Reservoir/Reverb Music 

The following MBW blog comes from Annette Barrett, MD of Reservoir/Reverb Music (pictured, main). Over a 30-year career in music publishing, the British exec has worked with artists including George Michael, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Prince, Sting, and The Police – including stints at Virgin Music and Warner/Chappell. Since 2001, she has been MD of Reverb, which was acquired by New York-based Reservoir in 2012. The firm’s roster includes Ina Wroldsen, Lucy Rose, and Apollo 440.


‘Where do you discover the talent you sign?’

You would be hard-pressed to find an A&R executive who hasn’t been asked some version of this question at least once in their career.

In today’s industry, when outlets for user-generated audio and video content seem to multiply every day, you might presume certain answers to this inquiry:

  • ‘I comb Soundcloud extensively.’
  • ‘I track the most popular video performances on YouTube.’
  • ‘I watch clips of contestants from X Factor and The Voice.’

There’s no doubt that the proliferation of platforms for showcasing talent and gleaning real-time public feedback has been both empowering for aspiring musicians and useful to an industry that, despite its best efforts, cannot predict every success.

Signings and other triumphs from Reservoir/Reverb Music’s own catalog have arisen from online enthusiasm – events for which both the talent and team have been grateful.

In fact, since the first YouTube video of a bedroom performer went viral, the idea of being plucked from obscurity because of a million-view clip or high play-count audio stream has been an alluring best-case-scenario for self-promoting artists and producers, and a seemingly safe bet for those who sign talent.

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PANDORA HAS LOST $250M IN 2016… AND ITS LISTENERS JUST FELL AGAIN

Record Labels Welcome Rise from Streaming, But Songwriters Aren’t Smiling Yet

Originally Posted in Billboard.com by Andrew Flanagan 9/23/2016

 

Is the digital revolution, and the first growth of the record business in nearly two decades, passing songwriters by?

Earlier this week, the American recording industry celebrated the very good news that they made more money during the first half of this year than they did during the first half of last year — something that hasn’t happened in any meaningful way for a long, long time. Streaming services, which have spent the past five years gaining acceptance stateside, seem to have reached a tipping point.

But as record labels watch their balance sheets go up and to the right, songwriters say — and have been saying for some time — they’re being cut out of streaming’s success.

Essentially, songwriters and publishers — the companies that oversee and manage the use of songwriters’ compositions, which are legally separate from therecordings of those songs  — see the problem as twofold. First, they say they’re being forced to compete in an open marketplace with one hand tied behind their back, because of regulations put in place by the U.S. government in 1941 over fears of antitrust. 75 years ago, the government had a legitimate reason to be worried that control over who could play what music was overly concentrated, and mandated that those in control of licensing songs to various businesses would have to license those songs at a rate that was reasonable and predictable, preventing price gouging. However, songwriters, publishers and the performance rights organizations — principally ASCAP and BMI, who originally agreed to the consent decrees — argue that being mandated by these regulations in 2016 is unfair in a chaotic, and competitive, market.

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Streaming Helps Drive 8.1 Percent Growth in Revenue for U.S. Recording Industry

What labels hoped would happen seems to be happening.

The U.S. music industry experienced an 8.1 percent growth in overall revenue during the first half of this year, the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA) has reported today (Sep. 20). The overall market is estimated to be worth $3.43 billion, up from $3.17 billion in the first half of 2015.

Digital revenue overall, including still-dwindling download sales and the inexorably rising streaming segment, totaled $2.66 billion, or 77.5 percent of total revenue, up from 72.1 percent over the same period in 2015. Physical sales generated $671.9 million, or 19.6 percent of the total, down noticeably from 24.7 percent last year. Synchronization revenue stood at $100.3 million, 2.9 percent of the total.

Streaming revenue has exploded, growing 57.4 percent overall to total $1.61 billion, up from $1.02 billion in the first half of 2015. The biggest growth, which will no doubt receive cheers from labels, was in paid subscriptions which saw the overall subscriber count rise to 18.3 million — double the 9.1 million subscribers counted in the middle of 2015. Looking at subscription services by revenue, the segment more than doubled their value as well, generating $1.013 billion from 2015’s $478.6 million.

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How To Get Top Dollar For Your Merchandise

Originally Posted in Emusician |BY RANDY CHERTKOW AND JASON FEEHAN | 08/16/2016

Keep these three forces in mind when designing your own merchandise strategy:

1. Scarcity drives prices higher

As we said in a previous blog, sell atoms not bits because computer files aren’t worth much in the minds of fans since you can make as many of them as you want. Mass-manufactured merchandise is worth more than bits, but less than something that is crafted and hand-made. But what’s worth the most is an item that’s one-of-a-kind, such as Clare’s single vinyl record of her live performance which had great value to her fans. And since there were many fans vying for the one record, this brought the price up.

2. Experience mementos have value

Clare created the record live in front of her fans. And although they all watched it being created, only one fan would be lucky enough to own the result of the experience. This created a unique “experience memento”, something you can build into your shows by selling items that are part of the performance (such as drum sticks) or recordings of the performance so fans who were there can experience it again. Note that even your set lists have value since they’re a memento as well.

3. Custom items made on demand have more value

Lastly, Clare allowed her fans to influence the end result. Fans watching her live at the recording booth could request what song she was going to record. This added to the novelty of what she was doing.

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Copyright Royalty Board? Statutory, Mechanical Performance? A Primer for the World of Music Licensing and Its Pricing

Originally Posted in Billboard.com | by  | 8/18/2016

 

The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is currently fielding proposals from stakeholders around a new rate-setting process that will cover 2018-22, a process that is causing high drama in the music industry as stakeholders debate publicly over each others’ proposals.

The highest-profile of these disagreements stems from the National Music Publishers’ Assn. (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Assn. International (NSAI), which have jointly criticized Sony Music Entertainment for its participation in the rate-setting process. Essentially, publishers and songwriters are on one side, and on-demand (or “interactive”) digital music services like Spotify are on the other. Why does the NMPA/NSAI think Sony is “meddling”? And, if it’s true that Sony Music is, why? The answer to these questions will have an impact on the income for songwriters, artists, music publishers and record labels for five years.

If you’re not familiar with the Copyright Royalty Board, the NMPA, the NSAI, or the statutory/mechanical/performance licenses they’re arguing about — well, you’re not alone. There are a lot of moving parts in the machinery of the music business, and almost doubly so for the digital industry and how it stays on the up-and-up. To help readers better understand this labyrinthine world, we’ve put together an explainer, organized from simple to complex.
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Pay for Play: 2016 GameSoundCon Game Audio Salary Survey

Originally Posted in emusician |  BY  MARKKUS ROVITO | August 18, 2016

 

Cash. Ducats. Skrilla. Cheese. Everybody wants to know who’s getting paid what, but still very few people like to talk openly about it. So it’s no surprise that when you pair one of the most intriguing topics with one of the most sought-after career segments in audio — game music and sound design — the results are always highly anticipated.

Before the popular Game Music and Sound Design Conference, which takes place this year at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Sept. 27-28 in Los Angeles, GameSoundCon puts out its annual Game Audio Industry Survey to the delight of game audio pros, freelancers, students, wannabes and looky-loos everywhere.

This year almost 600 people responded to questions concerning compensation, contract terms, use of live musicians, experience and education. New questions dealt with freelancer compensation and income breakdown by gender, while new topics for the September conference will include Audio for Virtual Reality and why game audio pros are uniquely positioned to break into that field. Already, 34% of survey respondents are currently working on a virtual reality title.

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