Have Streaming Services Become an Illegal ClusterF***? Why Does My Statement Show Statistically Unlikely Plays?

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Medianet Statement reporting Beats and MOG plays.

This is the first of a series of posts in which I will highlight what appears to be statistical anomalies in the reporting of streaming and webcasting income to songwriters and performers.

Here is my songwriter statement from Medianet for plays on the Beats/MOG streaming service for Jan 2014.  Yes MEDIANET the same company that Aimee Mann successfully sued for distributing her songs without permission.   Now for the moment I’m not going to focus on whether Medianet is properly involved in this transaction.  No I don’t have a direct deal with this company however they could have been hired by the streaming service(s) to pay royalties. Another possibility is the company may be involved by requesting a compulsory license (although I can’t find in my records a legally required NOI from the company!)

For right now I just want to point out that the plays Medianet and/or Beats  are reporting are statistically unlikely. Very Unlikely.

This statement purports that the ONLY TWO  songs that were streamed were two songs from Camper Van Beethoven’s 2013 album La Costa Perdida.

Come Down the Coast is reported to have been spun a total of 24 times.

You’ve got to Roll is reported to have been spun a total of 380 times.

If you know anything about the Camper Van Beethoven oeuvre these are not like our…er… um…  biggest hits?  Sure Pictures of Matchstick Men is a cover of a Status Quo song so that wouldn’t be on my statement and Take The Skinheads Bowling is administered by Wixen so I don’t get the statement directly.  So I can’t compare this to my two biggest singles.  But even without knowing the spins on those two singles these reported plays seem unlikely.  There are many many more singles and fan favorites that have historically garnered many spins.
Digging deeper,  Come Down The Cost and You’ve Got To Roll weren’t singles, licensed for commercials, placed in soundtracks,  they were likely to be listened to in album sequence.  As a result if you look at any songwriters catalog you will see that track 1 (in this case Come Down the Coast) is always spun more often than track 3 (in this case You Got To Roll).  Further all my other statements from this time period do not show You Got To Roll  being spun more than Come Down the Coast.

Finally it’s highly unlikely that these were the only two Camper Van Beethoven Music songs spun on the service.

This leaves us with 3 possible outcomes.

1.  The statement is correct and there has been a drastic change in the popularity of Camper Van Beethoven tracks after 30+ years.

2. Beats Music and/or Medianet are not properly tracking on demand spins.

3. Beats Music and/or Medianet are just making up these statements out of thin air.

I’m not a lawyer but as a civilian it seems the last two possibilities  imply varying degrees of fraud.

I encourage other songwriters to examine their statements from Medianet, Beats (also their wholly owned subsidiary MOG).   If other songwriters are seeing these same anomalies we need to do something about this.

Also I call upon Beats “Artists Advocate” Dave Allen and CEO Ian Rogers  to publicly explain what Beats reported to Medianet?   After all Beats music promised to share their data with artists!

So why don’t I audit these companies?  Well?  Funny story.

As a songwriter the US Government bars me from auditing these streaming companies if they requested a compulsory license.   Read that again.  The US Government gives these Corporations a right to use my songs without asking my permission but as an individual I am barred from auditing them!  So even if they are making this shit up I have no way of finding out.  Chilling.

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.

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