After decades of talking and singing about it, the date for the death of music has finally been set — it’s Tuesday. No, not really, but many webcasters including Live365, Launchcast, MTV, RealNetworks and others will pull the plug on their broadcasts that day to protest the looming increase in the royalty rates they pay. It is being billed as a "Day of Silence."
As we have written about before, many webcasters say the new rates are so high they will be forced off the air. The new rates are scheduled to kick on July 15th. Legislation is working its way through Congress that would knock down the new rates, which were levied by SoundExchange. read more
Amazon dropped a bomb today by announcing it would drop digital rights restrictions on music downloads when it launches an online music store later this year. It’s the latest in a series of blows to DRM, and signals a larger shift in the music industry.
For those that don’t know, Digital Rights Management is protective coding placed on files to keep them from being pirated. Remember, a couple of years ago all of the big majors took a hard line in support of DRM, but in the last several months that unanimity has frayed. EMI announced it would begin selling music downloads without DRM (albeit at a higher price), while Warner and Universal are currently testing selling music without DRM. read more
A lot of ink is spilled on the declining fortunes of music industry. It seems like every other day a new report shows album sales are down for this period or in that country. In the wake of all the doom and gloom, the always informative Digital Music News posted an interesting report showing the sky isn’t exactly falling everywhere.
The researcher eMarketer is projecting revenues in the North American music industry sector will grow at a rate of 2.8 percent annually between now and 2o11. Revenues will climb from $23.1 billion to $26.5 billion largely on the strength of live concerts and publishing. eMarketer also predicts mobile and digital assets will offset decreases in physical sales. read more
The first panel today "Radio Waves" featured a lively discussion about Internet and satellite radio issues. Given the recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board, webcasting rates dominated the discussion with many small webcasters and a couple large ones (Pandora and Live365) saying they would be forced out of business if some kind of compromise on the new rates is not found. Mark Lam, CEO of Live365 — one of the oldest major webcasters — was particularly passionate saying the new rates would eat up 75 percent of his revenues.
A judge ruled yesterday that music download services (iTunes, AOL and the like) don’t have to pay a public performance royalty to songwriters for music downloads. ASCAP had brought the action. Here’s an interview with a Billboard reporter on the ruling and a deeper analysis at Film Music Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from the Film Music piece that explains what it all means: read more
Senator Russ Feingold should be personally thanked
by every independent musician in America. Finally we have a bill that
expands the definition of "payola" to
eliminate the inside dealing and structural abuses in consolidated radio that
have locked local, unaffiliated and independent artists off the airwaves for years. read more
Two of today’s Supreme Court rulings cover separate but interconnected issues that will impact the future of the music economy. NCTA v Brand X impacts the basic architecture of the internet, while MGM v Grokster affects the applications that are offered to consumers using the internet. read more