All Three Pirate Bay Founders Now in Jail | Billboard

One of the founders of popular file-sharing website The Pirate Bay has been arrested under an Interpol warrant as he was crossing into Thailand from Laos, police said Tuesday. Hans Fredrik Lennart Neij, who uses the alias TiAMO, was detained Monday by Thai immigration police at a checkpoint in Thailand’s Nong Khai province, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of Bangkok.




A Tale of Two Pirates? Daniel Ek (uTorrent) and Kim Dotcom (Megaupload)

Pandora’s New Deal: Different Pay, Different Play | NPR

The new payola?

Performers get paid a small royalty each time one of their songs is played on Internet radio, at a rate set by a Royalty Court at the Library of Congress. But Internet radio and labels can strike individual deals, as Pandora did with Merlin. The Internet service will recommend Merlin artists over those not affiliated with the consortium in exchange for paying Merlin’s musicians a lower royalty rate.

Merlin artists get more spins, and Pandora winds up paying less in royalties than it would if were giving those same spins to non-Merlin artists. Plus, consortium labels will get to suggest favorite tracks.


Kim Dotcom declares he is ‘broke’ because of legal fight | BBC

Kim Dotcom, the founder of the seized file-sharing site Megaupload, has declared himself “broke”.

The entrepreneur said he had spent $10m (£6.4m) on legal costs since being arrested in New Zealand in 2012 and accused of internet piracy.

Mr Dotcom had employed a local law firm to fight the US’s attempt to extradite him, but his defence team stepped down a fortnight ago without explaining why.



A Tale of Two Pirates? Daniel Ek (uTorrent) and Kim Dotcom (Megaupload)

Lars Was First And Lars Was Right

Trichordist Editor:

Isn’t it funny how the same arguments used to justify free streaming are the same arguments that were used to justify piracy? In the end, Chuck D was very wrong, and Lars Ulrich was very right…

Originally posted on The Trichordist:

Charlie Rose featured guests Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Chuck D from Public Enemy in 2000 to discuss Napster, the internet and the future of the music industry. In stunning clarity, Lars saw the grim future that would disenfranchise millions of artists, musicians, photographers, authors, writers and other creators who would have their living illegally appropriated by internet robber barons.

“if the record labels are not making the money, than the internet companies will be, and if they are not paying the artists, they are profiting illegally.” -Lars Ulrich

Nearly thirteen years later every statement Lars made in this interview has come to pass as truth. The new gatekeepers of the internet profit from the illegal distribution of  artists’ work while paying the artists nothing, nadda, zero, zip.

Meanwhile Chuck D’s prediction definitely did not come true:

“I think there’s going to be more music sold than ever,” – Chuck…

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Guest Post: “Taylor Swift, Spotify and the Musical Food Chain Myth” by @DoriaRoberts #irespectmusic

Trichordist Editor:

Awesome interview with @DoriaRoberts

Originally posted on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY:

doria roberts promo photo

[Ed. Note: Chris Castle says:  We are so lucky to have the opportunity to publish this illuminating post by Doria Roberts, an outstanding discussion that shines a light on the issues facing all professional artists. I’m sure we’ll hear Doria’s strong voice many times in the future and will be the better for her.] 

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” –Alice Walker

I cannot tell you how happy I am that the conversation about Taylor Swift and Spotify is happening. Maybe people will start listening to what independent artists like me and my peers have been saying for years now.

A little background for those who don’t know me: I’ve been a indie musician by choice for 22 years. In 1999, I was chosen to perform at Lilith Fair and quit my day job the following Monday…

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Sony/The Orchard Cuts Direct Deal With Sirius So They Can Get Hands On Performers SoundExchange Money.

Digital Music News is reporting that The Orchard (owned by Sony)  has cut a direct deal for digital performer royalties with Sirius/XM.

Read more here.

So now all those poor artists unfortunate enough to have a distribution deal with The Orchard/Sony (which somehow mysteriously includes me and one of my albums!!!?) , will now how have their SoundExchange royalties paid to Sony instead of directly from SoundExchange.

So right about now you are saying “WTF?!!”

Yeah, The Orchard didn’t mention that tiny little detail in their letter did they?   They presented it to you like it was an great improvement.

But this is the entire point of the deal:  THEY GET THEIR HANDS ON YOUR MONEY.

But, hey I’m sure you can totally trust Sony/The Orchard to pay you your royalties without taking any deductions right?  They’d never do that.   They are the most organized distributor ever.


Let me give you two examples with which I have first hand experience.

1) The Orchard/Sony  can’t even be fucking bothered to return two years of  emails or a phone calls from me.  They are claiming rights to an album of mine for which I do not believe they have rights.   And if they are claiming rights to this album shouldn’t I be getting royalties or at the very least statements?

If my shit is disappearing into a black hole, do you really want to trust them with your non-recoupable SoundExchange royalties?

2) We have been granted access to email conversations and documents between  independent labels and The Orchard/Sony.    These labels reported dramatic drops in revenues when they switched to The Orchard/Sony.  There was never any real explanation from the Orchard and the independent labels eventually left on very bad terms with The Orchard.

Is this a trial balloon for mainstream Sony Artists?   Will all sony artists soon lose their SoundExchange royalties?

Stay tuned.

Dead Kennedys’ East Bay Ray Explains How YouTube Is Stealing From Musicians | New York Observer

Taylor Swift recently brought these “robber baron” business tactics into the mainstream. When she removed her catalog from Spotify, they were trying to force a bad deal on her. Dead Kennedys had Spotify figured out early on, we pulled most but not all of our tracks off of Spotify back at the start of 2013. Musicians are not against streaming, but we are against “plantation/sharecropping” business practices. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Educate yourself about what’s really going on and the reality is shocking. Don’t buy the lies and memes, educate people, share this article, stand up. The Internet is not like the weather, it was created by humans and can be changed by humans. It’s not about regulating the Internet, it’s about regulating businesses. (They’ll try to confuse that, too.)

Anil Prasad VS Spotify : Public Debate Challenge ( @innerviews vs. @eldsjal / @spotify )

via Facebook:

Anil Prasad
Yesterday at 11:22am
I just challenged Daniel Ek and Team Spotify on Twitter to debate me in a public forum on their policies. Let’s see what comes of it. The truth is, probably nothing, because I am incapable of being bought and sold by any industry association. However, I’m making the attempt. Someone should bluntly ask the hard questions without handlers, message massaging or publicists. If you want a chance of this happening send him a tweet yourself at: @eldsjal (Daniel Ek)


Anil Prasad @ Facebook:

Anil Prasad @ Twitter:

Country Music Association Study on Streaming a “Kick in the Teeth” to Swift, Borchetta and Aldean. And Why Billboard = Torrent Freak

As the civil war over free vs paid streaming rages within the record labels, we have to note the curiously timed “study” on streaming by the Country Music Association.   The study purports to show that “Streaming drives Sales” at least according Billboard. The study was reportedly  unveiled at a private CMA membership luncheon on Nov 20th.

The timing of the study’s release seemed curious to many in Nashville since it came on the heels of two go CMA’s biggest performers Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean pulling their catalogues from Spotify.  Although it was likely purely coincidental timing one Nashville source called it a “kick in the teeth to Swift, Borchetta and Aldean” and wondered what kind of “damage control was now going on behind the scenes” at the venerable CMA.  (Let’s hope the damage is limited to bruised egos and that this study doesn’t end up in front of the CRB in an attempt to lower our digital royalties.)

I have not seen the study but I will say that it is highly unlikely that the study really shows that “streaming drives sales” as reported by Pravda-oops I mean Billboard.  We all know now that many consumers prefer access over ownership.  By definition this means lower sales, as some consumers will buy less (or nothing) and stream instead.  This has never really been open to debate even by proponents of streaming.  Further the data I’ve personally seen from a multi-year longitudinal survey of students confirms the common sense notion that streaming does reduce sales amongst certain consumers.

The real and honest debate has always been, “by how much does it reduce sales and what should be the rate?”  No one except certain Billboard headline writers seem to actually think it increases sales.

While the timing of the study may be coincidental in regards to the Swift-Spotify debacle, it appears a little more sinister when you note it comes two days after a similar Pandora “study.” Here’s Billboard’s Glenn Peoples dutifully covering the “study” that was conducted in-house by pandora employees!

Pandora will use the in-house employee conducted study to claim it’s service deserves a reduction in royalties from the rate courts and the CRB.  Just watch.  (Remember we were the blog that was right about the dumb-as-fuck Merlin/Pandora deal.  As we predicted, it has now been submitted to the CRB to argue for lower rates.)   Mark my words Pandora will push this study to the rate courts and CRB.

Let’s just hope the Country Music Association isn’t planning to do something similar with their study.  I mean they would’t right?  They are the Country Music Association.  I’m sure they thoroughly vetted the researchers and motivations of those who conducted the study.  right?  Country Music has always been loyal to it’s performers and Songwriters.

Then again The Country Music Association is essentially a broadcaster.   From an accounting viewpoint performers and songwriters are on the expense side of the ledger.

Maybe some Nashville songwriters ought to go over and ask just what in the hell the CMA is up to with this study?



PS.  We just noticed that Billboard Senior Editor Glenn Peoples has published a third article on a study streaming increasing sales.   This time-oh man you are not gonna believe this.. are you ready?  I mean are you sitting down? seriously.  I shit you not…  This time he cites an in-house BitTorrent “study” that shows peer to peer filesharing increases sales!

“That’s right! after I download the file for free and it resides on my computer, I go to iTunes and I download a second copy of the file so I have two on my computer”  

He also cites two studies saying similar things that have since been discredited under peer review by actually scientists.  Here is a summary.  

Has Glenn Peoples gone totally pro-piracy?  Citing discredited studies showing P2P files sharing increases sales?  Are you kidding me?  has become Torrent Freak?   Next we’ll start seeing Glenn a the Pirate Party Rallies.   We’re sending him this hat. 





New Math $.00666 : Billboard’s New “Consumption” Chart, Free Streams and the End Of Meaningful Metrics?

The purpose of a chart is to provide meaningful metrics to determine the relative value of a title in the marketplace. The new Billboard 200 “consumption” chart moves away from the traditional metric of album sales. In doing so, the new chart also creates questions about how meaningful this new information will be to artists, managers and labels. As album sales continue to decrease a method of measurement that addresses today’s environment is absolutely important.

The move from a “Sales Chart” to a “Consumption Chart” acknowledges what we already know…  More music is being consumed than ever before and conversely musicians are being compensated less than ever before, for that consumption.

Track Equivalent Album sales for measuring the volume of individual songs by a single artist has been a helpful and accurate method of comparing unit sales in the ala carte song era of Itunes (and others) in that every 10 song sales equal one album. This is easy to quantify as logically ten songs sold at 99 cents really does equal the revenue of one album at $9.99. So for comparative purposes this makes sense both in terms of the underlying logic and the economic reality.

But the new Billboard chart has a bigger problem when incorporating streams. The new metric of 1,500 streams per album and 150 streams per song would make sense if there were in fact a fixed price point for streams of $.00666 (as in $.0666 x 150 = $.99 and $.00666 x 1,500 = $9.99). We’re gonna have some fun with this, stay tuned…

Maybe Billboard has a sense of humor in that the calculation of streams to song and album equivalent’s are $.00666 per stream?

It get’s worse because we know from our Streaming Price Bible that neither Spotify or YouTube are paying anywhere near those rates on an summed, averaged per stream rate. From what we’ve heard Billboard is excluding plays from YouTube (for now) but we have a feeling streaming from YouTube Music Key will be included just as those are from Google Play.

The problem here is that the free tiers dilute how meaningful this data is actually going to be to everyone. As we pointed out in one data set we reviewed Spotify’s free streams accounted for 58% of total plays, but only 16% of revenue in the USA. On YouTube (by any name) the amount of streams to revenue is likely to be far more extreme.


What’s worse is that we can clearly see that over time, as fixed revenue streaming services scale the per stream rate will drop. The bigger the services scale, the less each stream is worth. This is unless of course the labels demand a minimum per stream rate that actually matches the metric the chart is suggesting ($.00666) and no streams from free tiers should be included.

Suddenly, we’re not feeling so lonely on this point, see here:

WME’s Marc Geiger Sides With Taylor Swift, Calls Free Streaming Services ‘F—ed Up’ | Billboard

Add one more name to the list of industry figureheads who’ve sided with Taylor Swift in her battle with Spotify: Marc Geiger, William Morris Endeavor’s head of music, who called the ubiquity of free, ad-supported streaming music services “a f—ed-up, torturous thing for 15 years”


Essay: Why Streaming (Done Right) Will Save the Music Business | Billboard

As the first music-streaming service to be licensed by all major labels — and the No. 2 on-demand music service in the United States — it may surprise you to learn that we at Rhapsody support, and generally agree with, the decision by Taylor Swift and other artists to not make their new albums available on free streaming services immediately after release.

If we can all agree that Free Streams are problematic for the business, why can’t we agree that free streams are bad for a chart?


Combining the free and paid steams defeats the purpose of what the chart is attempting to achieve, a meaningful metric of paid consumer demand.

Free streams must be filtered out of the chart for it to be meaningful.

Giving away a million of something to gain chart positoning is not new and has been controversial. Lady Gaga’s “Art Pop” album benefited from a 99 cent sale at However albums given away for free by Jay-Z (in partnership with Samsung) and U2 (in partnership with Apple) have not qualified for charting. There is a reason why.

Add to this YouTube views are known to be gamed regularly with many services offering “pay for plays”. We’re also seeing a growth market for services that provide “pay for plays” on Spotify as well. We recognize that in the early days of Soundscan there were attempts to game that system as well by buying off heavily weighted indie stores with free goods, cash or both.

In a digital world where more consumers are streaming on free tiers than paying subscriptions, where the price per stream is falling as services scale, and where there is no fixed price point as a baseline one has to wonder what the true value of the new chart will really be? If it is to illustrate just how wide the gap is between consumption and revenue, then that may be it’s only real purpose.

It’s not like any of this is new, or news. Big Champange, Music Metric and others have been tracking not only sales data but social media metrics for engagement, free streams (youtube and soundcloud) and even p2p filesharing data for years. If we’re going to get honest about “consumption” charts The Pirate Bay has a Top 100 why not include those rankings? To be clear, this is sarcasm, not an actual suggestion. It also illustrates the grossly mislead notion of including free streams in the new chart. It’s not that hard to determine how we are not making money…


Streaming Is the Future, Spotify Is Not. Let’s talk Solutions.

Why Spotify is not Netflix (But Maybe It Should Be)

How to Fix Music Streaming in One Word, “Windows”… two more “Pay Gates”…