7 royalty cheques that’ll make you lose your faith in the music industry | AUX

How little does the music industry pay artists? Shockingly little. Spotify, the dominant streaming music source in the U.S., is leaking money. They reportedly dole out 70 per cent of their revenue to royalties, and while that number seems high, consider this: each song stream pays an artist between one-sixth and one-eight of a cent. One source claimed that, on streaming music services, an artist requires nearly 50,000 plays to receive the revenue earned from one album sale. Ouch.

Indeed, things are getting dire. And here are seven examples of how bad things can get.

READ THE FULL STORY AT AUX:
http://m.aux.tv/news/100455-7-royalty-cheques-that-ll-make-you-lose-your-faith-in-the-music-industry

U2 Manager Paul McGuinness on Artists Rights and Piracy

What needs to be done is simple, take the sites down and keep them down. If the pirates can manage to replace their sites instantly with legions of bots, Google, with their brilliant algorithm engineers can counter it.

We need the technology giants like Google to do the things that labels, the publishers, the artists, the writers repeatedly ask them to do. They need to show corporate and social responsibility. Take down the illegal sites, keep them down and clear the way for the legal digital distributers like iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, the new Jimmy Iovine Beats service, which promises to be a very serious competitor. Those services now exist, it is no longer acceptable to say that the music industry is not available, not making its wares available online.

We’re all aware in this room that subscription is now replacing downloading — legal or illegal — but we do need those mega corporations to make a genuine effort to cooperate and feed the industry that has been so good to them.

READ THE FULL STORY AT BILLBOARD:
http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/global/5893877/u2-manager-paul-mcguinness-receives-billboards-industry-icon-award

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Gene Simmons Voices Support for New Artists | Slyck News

We love Gene’s passion for new and developing artists to have the same opportunities he did.

The foxes have been led into the hen house, so people wonder why there’s so few chickens. It’s because you allowed your kids to go in there and steal the stuff for free, so record companies are dying and new bands don’t have a chance. And new bands should get every chance in the world, and if it means ‘The X Factor’ or ‘American Idol’ or any other kind of (outlet), give them a chance.

“I still think [downloading] is a crime. The sad part is that the fans are the ones who are killing the thing they love, great music. For f***ks sake, you’re not giving the next great band a chance. How much have we lost through illegal downloading?

READ THE FULL STORY AT SLYCK NEWS:
http://www.slyck.com/story2274_Gene_Simmons_Speaks_Out_Once_Again_About_Music_Piracy

Don Henley Talks Google Versus Musicians | LA Times

In the technocratic world of Google (which owns YouTube), my musical brethren and I are no longer artists; we’re not creators — we are merely “content providers.” Copyright and intellectual property mean nothing to the technocracy. They’ve built multi-billion-dollar, global empires on the backs of creative, working people who are uncompensated. They’re wrecking entire industries.

There might be a legislative fix, but there seems to be no political will. Google alone has about a dozen lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Google spent over $11 million last year on lobbying and over $18 million the previous year. They spread the money and the propaganda around like manna, employing their favorite buzz words like “innovation.” Regulation, they say, will “stifle innovation,” and the legislators all nod in agreement. It’s an oligarchy, plain and simple.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW AT THE LA TIMES:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/posts/la-et-ms-don-henley-qa-20140115,0,5745299.story

Google Receives Its 100 Millionth Piracy Notice. Nothing Changes… | Digital Music News

“After 100 million piracy notices, it’s time for Google to take meaningful action to help curb online copyright infringement.

Google, with its market capitalisation of more than US$370 billion, is directing internet users to illegal sources of music.

This is not only harming a recording industry whose revenues have fallen by 40 percent in the last decade to US$16.5 billion, but it is also harming the more than 500 licensed digital music services worldwide that offer up to 30 million tracks to internet users.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/01/14/googlereceives

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Early Results and Evolution of the UGA Undesirable Lyric Website Study to Include Advertisers. | UGA

As a result of the publication of the UGA Undesirable Lyric Website List and action taken by the National Music Publishers Association there have been a number of noteworthy updates. Many sites have come forward wishing to obtain licenses and others updated their licensing compliance. We updated our database accordingly. We also learned of at least one website that now has an expired licenses.

In addition we are now ready to expand the study to examine which brands are advertising on these unlicensed sites.

Finally the next iteration of the list will be followed by a list of brands which appear on the top 10 Undesirable Lyric websites.

READ THE FULL REPORT AT UGA LYRICS:
http://ugalyricwebsitelist.org/2014/01/01/early-results-and-evolution-of-the-uga-undesirable-lyric-website-study-to-include-advertisers/

60 Minutes Reports on Kim Dotcom…

By selling advertisements and premium subscriptions, Megaupload brought in an estimated $175 million. It became one of the most frequented sites on the Internet. How did it get so popular and profitable? According to federal authorities, by also allowing users to illegally share the hottest new movies, or hit songs, or TV programs, including some CBS shows.

Shawn Henry: Megaupload knowingly created and facilitated the distribution of stolen property.

Shawn Henry is former executive assistant director of the FBI. He was responsible for the Megaupload investigation.

Shawn Henry: No different than if somebody has a warehouse where stolen property is being dropped off. If you created the environment that facilitated it, and you encouraged it, and you incentivized people by paying them to drop off stolen property, I think that you are complicit.

In its indictment, the Justice Department calls Megaupload a “Mega Conspiracy”… a “worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale…”

WATCH THE EPISODE HERE AT CBS NEWS:
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kim-dotcom-60-minutes/

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The case against Kim Dotcom, finally revealed | Ars Technica

Feds lay it all out: Megaupload made $150+ million, and Dotcom must stand trial.

The government’s 191-page “Summary of Evidence” also details the stunning sums that Dotcom and his colleagues made running their site. Dotcom, who owned 68 percent of Megaupload and all of sister site Megavideo, made more than $42 million in calendar year 2010. CTO Mathias Ortmann, who owned 25 percent share of Megaupload, made more than $9 million that same year; designer Julius Bencko (2.5 percent) made more than $1 million, and programmer Bram Van Der Kolk (also 2.5 percent) made more than $2 million. Chief Marketing Officer Finn Batato, who was not a shareholder, made $400,000. And no perk was too excessive: the company spent $616,000 renting Mediterranean yachts.

READ THE FULL STORY AT ARS TECHNICA:
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/12/us-unveils-the-case-against-kim-dotcom-revealing-e-mails-and-financial-data/

Internet Consultants Are Wrong : Confused About Musicians, The Internet and Piracy

There’s a post on a tech blog from 2009 following The Pirate Bay guilty verdict titled “Paul McCartney’s Confused About The Pirate Bay” that truly illustrates how many internet consultants and tech blogger’s appear feel about musicians. The  comments responding to Sir Paul McCartney speaking about the Pirate Bay verdict show just how much these people don’t seem to understand musicians.

In this one post we see all of the major anti-artists talking points that Silicon Valley interests still use against creators in a disinformation campaign that is over a decade long:

– artists are easily confused about the internet and technology
– artists don’t know what’s best for them (let the “consultant”  help you!)
– artists can get paid, but as long as its not via a “government mandated tax” ie, copyright (!?)
– artists shouldn’t be able to live off of one song (royalties), ie you must sing for your supper every night
– artists only ever made money from major label deals (which also seems to contradict labels don’t pay)
– the pirate bay (and the like) is just a tool for promotion that rewards artists who embrace it
– the pirate bay verdict of guilty was/is unfair

In the post Paul McCartney is accused of being confused about a verdict that sentenced four men to jail for operating a business that illegally distributed artists work, without compensation to the artists themselves. The Pirate Bay is a tool of exploitation against artists and Paul McCartney was not confused about this fact.

Let’s get a few things straight.

Piracy is NOT Promotion.

Exploitation is NOT Innovation.

Copyright is NOT Censorship.

In any value chain where the creators work is monetized, the creator should have the right to consent and the ability negotiate compensation. In a true free market either party can walk away if an agreement can not be reached. The Pirate Bay, however was and is an illegally operating business that does not respect the rights of individual artists.

We also find it interesting that the suggestions most frequently given to musicians to “get paid” in the internet era are actually all the same ways artists historically have gotten paid prior to the internet.

Here’s a brief recap of what these so called “business experts” and “internet technology consultants” see as the “new” models for artist compensation… Ready, set, go!

– Touring… existed BEFORE the internet

– Merchandise (T-Shirts)… existed BEFORE the internet

– Film/Sync Licensing… existed BEFORE the internet

– Sponsorships/Endorsements… existed BEFORE the internet

In conclusion, it appears that it is the tech bloggers and internet consultants who are confused about musicians, the internet and piracy. Musicians on the other hand seem to be very clear about these issues.

When it comes to issues of artists rights, we’d rather be with Paul McCartney.

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Google Slammed by Mississippi Attorney General for “Inaction” on Piracy | Variety

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is pressing Google to take greater measures to tackle online piracy and other illegal Web activity, saying that the company’s “inaction” is “not merely a failure to do the right thing” but “raises serious questions as to whether Google is engaged in unlawful conduct itself.”

Hood accused Google of being “unwilling to take basic actions to make the Internet safe from unlawful and predatory conduct, and it has refused to modify its own behavior that facilitates and profits from unlawful conduct.” His letter cites not just piracy of movies, TV shows and music but the sale of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and sex trafficking.

He also pointed out several instances in which Google has screened out criminal content, like child pornography. Nazi-related content, he noted, was removed from search results in Germany, and spam and malware are blocked because they can be damaging to users.

“Google can and does take action against unlawful or offensive conduct — when Google determines it is in its business interests to do so,” Hood wrote.

READ THE FULL STORY AT VARIETY:
http://variety.com/2013/digital/news/google-slammed-by-mississippi-attorney-general-for-inaction-on-piracy-1200938008/

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