More Artists Join the Grassroots Movement Against DMCA and YouTube’s Legacy Business Model — Artist Rights Watch

21 Jun

This ad went out today signed by dozens of recording artists opposed to the archaic DMCA and YouTube’s legacy business model.

via More Artists Join the Grassroots Movement Against DMCA and YouTube’s Legacy Business Model — Artist Rights Watch

A Must Read by @thetrickness: The Digital Music Business and the Rashomon Effect — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

21 Jun

YouTube enables large scale theft in plain sight and benefits from it to the tune of billions of dollars. To hide behind the DMCA, to pay artists little or nothing in their legitimate deals they do offer and then have “Do The Right Thing” as a corporate motto is the ultimate irony. Vinyl revenue is bigger than YouTube revenue in the U.S. and U.K. — come on….The truth is, the music industry needs YouTube as much as YouTube needs music; nobody wants it shut down. But we must speak truth to power. It is an obligation.

via A Must Read by @thetrickness: The Digital Music Business and the Rashomon Effect — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Save the Date, July 8 at @thecsusa in Austin: Panel on the New Grassroots, #irespectmusic and the Fair Play Fair Pay Act

18 Jun



The Copyright Society of the USA Texas Chapter and the Austin Bar Association Entertainment & Sports Law Section have been kind enough to co-sponsor a panel that I will be on with Austin manager Ray Flowers with this title that pretty much sums it up:

“We’re Not Going To Take It”
The New Grass Roots,
#irespectmusic, and
The Fair Play Fair Pay Act

Wednesday, July 8 2015


Jackson Walker L.L.P.

100 Congress Avenue, Suite 1100
Austin, TX

This event is particularly timely given the expanding campaign to get artist pay for radio play.  Don’t forget to join 13,000 of your friends and sign the #irespectmusic petition at!  If you’re in Austin, follow IRespectMusic Austin @irmaustin and online at

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Sleeping Through A Revolution–reclaiming the creative class

5 Apr


If you do nothing else for yourself this week, take a half hour someplace quiet and watch Professor Jonathan Taplin’s remarkably insightful presentation at the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab, “Sleeping Through A Revolution.”  Taplin gives a clear eyed history of the Silicon Valley unifying ideology that rationalizes events like 350 million take down notices as a product feature of Google search and selling advertising against ISIS videos in YouTubeistan.

Taplin also suggests the core parameters on a level that is equal parts moral examination, industrial strategy and human protectionism to try to save the creative class, especially the middle class artist who is so important in our increasingly hit driven business.  A trend only compounded by the failed “democratization” of the Internet.

He also gives the lie to the core disconnect with the collision of Silicon Valley with musicians, film makers, visual artists and all the creative categories:  The role…

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The MTP Interview: Terry Manning, Engineer, Producer, Artist

26 Mar



Terry Manning with Guitar, photo by Simon Mott

“Manning is one of the most respected engineers and producers in music history — Led Zeppelin III, the first two Big Star records, Al Green, ZZ Top, the Staple Singers, Albert King, Shakira, Lenny Kravitz, and literally over 100 others have benefitted from his work in either or both capacities.”
—Tom Jurek, All Music Guide

Terry Manning grew up in Texas and started his musical career in El Paso being mentored by his friend and another Texas legend, Bobby Fuller (“I Fought the Law“).  After Bobby Fuller’s death, Terry moved to Memphis and was hired by Steve Cropper to work at the Stax Records studio.  His career as an engineer and producer included working at Ardent Studios and Abbey Road and then joining Island Records founder Chris Blackwell at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas for many years.

Terry has…

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The “Zero Effect”: Do New Consumption Charts Penalize Artists Windowing Streaming and Compilation Records?

26 Mar
(Posted on Hypebot, March 19, 2013)

Although we can’t tell how consumption charts are weighted (as far as I know that information hasn’t been released publicly), it’s pretty clear that if you are not on streaming services–meaning you have zero streams–you will be penalized in the chart.

I picked the consumption chart for the first week of Taylor Swift’s October 27 release of the 1989 juggernaut to try to measure how the consumption chart reacted.  The choice was admittedly cherry picking, but with a purpose:  Taylor’s sales were historically significant and her reported streaming should have been somewhat muted given Spotify’s well-publicized decision to reject the record on the artist’s terms.  This would potentially yield good benchmarks for testing the consumption chart at the margins as well as the more bread and butter titles below the top 10.

Based on data for the week ending November 2, 2014, Taylor Swift’s first week sales were so strong it probably doesn’t matter that her streams were somewhat lower for the consumption chart.  At #1, she outsold the #2 NOW 52 title by 10:1, and NOW 52 outsold the #3 Sam Hunt album by 10:8–but Sam Hunt had 4 million streams that punched up the chart position.  NOW 52 had zero streams because it is a compilation record.

Compilation records and soundtracks do not get credit for streams because they have no streaming rights.  This is true even if the music services allow playlists–or possibly create playlists themselves–using the compilation or soundtrack brand in the metadata with the track listing of the underlying tracks.  These playlists work because the individual tracks are already available on the service under direct license from the label or artist licensing the tracks to the compilation or soundtrack. (This is the kind of free riding that was the heart of Ministry of Sound’s recent lawsuit against Spotify and probably why Spotify settled.)

The “zero effect” is much greater further down the chart, however.  In the same week of November 2, Frozen: The Songs, a compilation record, got credit for zero streams and 10,723 albums sales for a chart position of 49.  Blake Shelton sold 8,735 albums but got credit for 930,928 audio streams and a chart position of 44.  The same week Iggy Azalea sold 4,947 albums but got credit for 5,060,617 streams for a chart position of 25.  In other words, Frozenwill never have any streams because compilation records typically do not get streaming rights, and got a much lower chart position in spite of selling over twice as many albums.

If you compared based on album sales alone, the Guardians of the Galaxy zero effect soundtrack would have entered the chart at #25, not #40, Sam Smith would have been #15 instead of #6, Bob Segar would have been #23 instead of #34.  Another zero effect soundtrack is Now Disney 3 that would have been #40 instead of #59, and U2’s Songs of Innocence would have been #64 instead of #94.

Seasonal records such as Christmas albums are also penalized.  The Nov 2 chart showed that based on album sales alone, Home Free’s Full of Cheer would have entered the chart that week at #66 instead of #104.  While the title had 26 streams, that was a sufficient penalty to cost the record 38 chart positions.

Conclusions?  Charts are relative beasts to begin with, and the consumption chart won’t keep a phenom like Taylor Swift from dominating the top position.  Measuring streams probably isn’t enough to affect the top 10 or the top 5.  But for records that are compilations, soundtracks, seasonal or other specialty titles that either aren’t allowed a streaming audience based on contract, are windowed, or haven’t found that audience yet for another reason, the consumption chart penalizes high sellers that are not present or are not credited with streams on streaming services.

If chart position matters to your record, then this should be of concern to you as the zero effect creates an incentive to stimulate streams for chart position–assuming you can get credit for streams.  Some would say that the more streaming, the lower the sales.  Without getting into cause and effect on that issue, it certainly can be said that the lower the streams, the lower the chart position even if sales of a given title are higher than another given title.

From a profitability perspective, artists whose records sell but don’t stream may well be thankful.  If that trend continues, then it would also stand to reason to question the benefit of chart position as a selling tool.  But then we hear about services like YouTube routinely deleting billions of fake plays in its video playlists during December.  If this same phenomenon is repeated in streaming services used to measure chart position….not to imply that anyone in the music business would ever try to rig the charts.  Perish the thought.

So what is it all about?  Is there a “zero effect” or is there zero affect?  Sales or stream?

Google’s Muscle-Based Defacto Compulsory License: What About We Don’t Like You Don’t They Understand?

2 Jan


The wisest among you learn to read your portents well
You know there’s no need to hurry, it’s all downhill to hell…

Don’t Stand Still, written by The Original Snakeboy, performed by Guy Forsyth on Unrepentant Schizophrenic Americana.

GMR Formed Out of Pandora Lawsuits Against Songwriters Affiliated with ASCAP and BMI

Yes, the portents are in the water–there will eventually be a showdown with Google (and probably Pandora, too) over the songs they routinely infringe in the name of “permissionless innovation.”  Whether it is today or tomorrow, that day is coming, and by the looks of it the first collision will be between Google’s bully boys and songwriters represented by Global Music Rights, the new PRO backed by Irving Azoff.

The why of all of this is pretty simple:  The unelected ASCAP and BMI rate court judges have decided that the government’s consent decree says that the only way…

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