RAIN 6/18: SoundExchange has paid copyright owners $1B in digital royalties

Paul Maloney
June 18, 2012 - 11:15am

SoundExchange today announced it has made $1 billion in royalty distributions to copyright owners since its inception in 2000 (read the press release here). What's more, this year SoundExchnage's quarterly payments have topped $100 million.

Today's New York Times suggests the story is good news for the organization, which "has been criticized for being slow to pay everyone who is owed royalties. At the end of 2010, the last date for which audited accounts are available, SoundExchange was holding $132 million..." for performers it couldn't reach and performances that couldn't be accounted for.

The paper also suggests SoundExchange is now challenged by "direct deals" between major content licensees like SiriusXM (which is suing SoundExchange for allegedly interfering in such deals) and Clear Channel (with its well-publicized Big Machine Records deal) and copyright owners.

Read more in The New York Times here. Also, SoundExchange's 2011 annual report is here

Michael Schmitt
June 18, 2012 - 11:15am

Clear ChannelWeeks later, Clear Channel's groundbreaking royalty deal with Big Machine is still sending tremors through the industry (RAIN coverage here). Two experts recently shared what they see as the takeaway from the new partnership.

Music industry attorney Steve Gordon writes in Digital Music News (here) that Clear Channel's deal is good news for Pandora and anyone else looking for more equitable streaming royalty rates. Clear Channel doesn't want to pay the "ridiculous" royalty bills that Pandora has now, argues Gordon, "Which means that instead of screaming bloody murder into the wind, Pandora now has the biggest ally imaginable."

Meanwhile, co-founder and Chief Operating Office of Triton Digital Mike Agovino writes in TechCrunch (here) that he sees Clear Channel "[leading] the way for traditional radio providers looking to go digital."

Agovino hopes more broadcasters will -- like Clear Channel -- start seeing digital as an opportunity, not a threat. "The key to making it online is working with the music industry to make that digital future a reality –- sooner rather than later."

Michael Schmitt
June 18, 2012 - 11:15am

we7British grocery giant Tesco has acquired streaming music service we7 for £10.8m.

Billed as the "Pandora of Europe," we7 decided in September 2011 to discontinue its on-demand offerings in favor a customizable Internet radio service. Its original backers include Peter Gabriel (RAIN coverage here and here).

The question you may be asking at this point, as TechCrunch asks in its headline, is: "What the heck is a grocery store doing buying a music streaming service?" 

The Guardian reports Tesco is one of the UK's largest CD retailers, so the company may be trying to stay one step ahead of consumers who are increasingly abandoning CDs, as TechCrunch writes. Tesco's digital director said, "This move will help us offer a greater choice for the growing number of customers who want to access music instantly on any device." 

"It’s reminiscent of Amazon’s digital strategy, of which Tesco is now surely a competitor," argues TechCrunch, "and ties in nicely with the retailer’s purchase last year of another UK startup, Blinkbox, which lets users stream Hollywood movies on-demand on the same day as their DVD release."

We7 gains potential exposure to a huge audience. "Not only is Tesco the UK’s largest retailer, it has around 5,000 stores worldwide, and operates in 14 countries, with a decent online presence too," writes TechCrunch.

You can find more coverage from the Guardian here and TechCrunch here.

Paul Maloney
June 18, 2012 - 11:15am

The acclaimed L.A.-area noncommercial KCRW (often lauded for its ahead-of-the-curve embrace of digital technology) has ported its Music Mine iPad app to Spotify's app platform.

We reported in December (here) that on-demand music subscription service Spotify now allows partners to build applications that use Spotify's music resources through the partner's (e.g. Pitchfork, Rolling Stone magazine, Billboard) interface. In September, RAIN reported (here) the station released its free Music Mine app for the iPad, "to give listeners a way to sample and discover new music handpicked by its staff."

Evolver.fm now reports the launch of the KCRW Music Mine on Spotify. "KCRW Music Mine is as simple as they come, but it’s effective, if you like KCRW’s taste in music, and the included artists change daily to correspond with KCRW’s on-air playlists, which keeps the whole thing current," notes Eliot Van Buskirk.

Read more in Evolver.fm here