SPOTIFY WANTS ITS MONEY BACK!

SPOTIFY is attempting to obtain refunds from labels after belatedly discovering that it had overpaid royalties through 2018 to an undisclosed extent. This will not be news to their ears however, Spotify’s streaming rates are often criticized for being too low.

The music streaming provider, in common with other publishers, is bound by the US Copyright Royalty Board to reimburse content creators for its use of their work but a recalculation of these fees last year appears to show that Spotify has been overpaying.

A spokesperson said: “According to the new CRB regulations, we overpaid most publishers in 2018. While the appeal of the CRB decision is pending, the rates set by the CRB are current law, and we will abide by them — not only for 2018 but also for future years in which the amount paid to publishers is set to increase significantly.

“Rather than collect the 2018 overpayment immediately, we have offered to extend the recoupment period through the end of 2019 in order to minimize the impact of the adjustment on publishing companies.”

While Spotify may be within its rights to request the refund, the timing of it is the latest in a series of extraordinarily clumsy PR moves by the company. Since the beginning of last year, it has bungled a policy against which it deemed hateful content and artists engaging in hateful conduct  — which was a thinly veiled excuse to ban R. Kelly’s music from its playlists — and alienated the publishing and songwriting communities it has spent the past two years courting by appealing the CRB rate hike, which would see streaming payments rise by 44% or more over the next four years.

Some industry insiders wonder whether the damage these moves are causing to the still-nascent company’s reputation outweighs whatever money they are hoping to earn by appealing the CRB rates or requesting these refunds.

“Spotify is once again showing its true colors,” said a music-publishing industry source. “It’s just a heartless tech company that doesn’t really care about artists.”

David Israelite, the CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, told Variety, “I find it so hypocritical for a digital service that is appealing the CRB decision to then take advantage of the parts of that decision that benefit it. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.”

 

via Variety & The Drum

HMMM….Let’s Marinate on this a bit!

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7 Incredible Business Lessons Nipsey Hussle Gifted the World

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Nipsey was a business savvy musical genius who gave back to his community in big ways. The world will no doubt feel his loss. In his honor, here are seven lessons we can take from his life and his legacy.

1. Never stop learning.

Nipsey was never one to stop learning. Maybe he built his business from a natural sense of savvy, but he also built it by listening and learning. He read a lot of books. In fact, his idea for his $100 mixtape, where he made only 1,000 copies, was born from the book Contagious by Jonah Berger. Anyone that knew him will tell you he was relentlessly focused on getting better in every way, and made a habit of personal development and growth.

“Told my mama I’mma gang bang graduate/ Pioneered the transition from this Crippin’ wasn’t easy n—a, but I mastered it/ That’s why I still deliver raps so passionate/ Built my own lane, ain’t no n—a ever hand me shit/ Slauson Ave., do you understand the averages?/ The fact I’m still standing speaks volumes to my savages.” (“Love?”)

2. Be prepared to do all the work.

Nipsey saw success because he was willing to do any work, no matter how menial it may have seemed at the time. Even as he soared further and further toward the top, he still maintained a willingness to do the tasks that others might consider to be below them. “Most people want to skip the process,” he said, “not knowing that when you skip steps, you miss the lessons.”

He took out the trash and swept the floors of his own studio. Starting out, he built his own basement recording studio to make sure that he could engineer and record his own music. Without this willingness to put in all types of work, he would not have learned what it would take to achieve the goals he set.

“My thing is that I don’t give no person that much power over my path that I’m walking. Not one person can make or break what I’m doing, except me or God.”

3. Make genuine connections.

Entrepreneurs know the importance of networking and making connections. For some, it’s a tedious process of trying to get in with important figures of a particular industry. It’s a game of kiss-ass. But for Nipsey, he focused on making genuine connections based on true talent. Relationships he formed with musicians such as Kendrick Lamar and Puffy were lasting and real. They were collaborations that meant something. But he also knew how to create genuine connections to the people who consumed his music. He’s always been the people’s king and it’s because he not only shared the good but his struggles too, which made him that much more relatable.

“If you sharing your success and not your struggle, you’s a fool.” (“U Don’t Got a Clue”)

4. Build your brand.

Nipsey understood his brand and what it represented. He was the one who built it and promoted it. He knew what he wanted to represent. His brand-based goals were clear. Nobody understands his brand like he did, and that’s part of the reason he was so successful.

“I never wanted to alienate my brand for business.” Nipsey said, “I always wanted to keep it authentic and keep it as pure as I could.”

5. It’s a marathon.

Some people want success to happen overnight. It doesn’t work like that. Nipsey, and artists like him, all knew that the road to success would be paved with long-ass hours and year after year of struggle. Talent wouldn’t cut it. A true desire to achieve success, whether as an artist or as an entrepreneur, means never approaching your work halfheartedly. Nipsey didn’t focus on immediate wealth. He didn’t want to churn out one hit single after another. He wanted to build and develop his own label. He focused on long-term wealth and a lasting reputation as an artist.

“I’m about seeing the long-term, seeing a vision, understanding nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and just sticking to your script long enough to make something real happen.”

6. Focus on what makes you passionate.

It’s easy for people to lose themselves in their desire for success in any industry, including both business and music. Fortunately, Nipsey knew himself and stayed true to that image and to his own story. He found fans that loved and related to him. He didn’t create a character or pursue something that just wasn’t him.

Like he said in Victory Lap, “Find your purpose or you wastin’ air.”

7. Remember the community that built you.

There is no doubt that Nipsey loved the community he came from. His childhood neighborhood is known for being violent and rough, one of the places where its residents try to leave and outsiders tend to avoid. Nipsey found success, but he never left that neighborhood behind. He invested in it, building playgrounds, helping children learn and offering residents opportunities for economic success.

Some of the most powerful words Nipsey sang were from the song “Dedication”“These songs just the spirituals I swam against them waves with/ Ended up on shore to their amazement.”

 

Via – Entreprenuer.com

Andrew Medal

CONTRIBUTOR

Serial Entrepreneur, Digital Strategist, Web Designer, Author, Volunteer

ARTIST MARKETING…Follow the Leaders

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Not Really Sure How to Market Yourself or Your Project – Ok, Let’s Discuss.

If You’re Trying to Decide Which Strategies to Use, the Answer is EASY!

ALL OF THEM! 

1. Know your brand

Before you can market your band, you need to have your brand in place.

What’s unique about your act? Which aspects of your story are the most compelling and set you apart from every other band out there? How will you present yourself consistently — from your onstage look, to your social media tone, to your logo and color schemes and photos?

Once you’ve honed your brand, the specifics of your band marketing strategies and fan communication will flow from there.

2. Use your email newsletter

Your email list is an incredibly valuable direct line to your most dedicated fans. You have no control over Facebook’s ever-changing News Feed algorithm, but you can always use your newsletter to reach the people who want to hear from you the most. Plus, email is by far the most effective way to sell your music, tickets, and merchandise.

3. Have a website

Investing in a great band website is one of the most important things you can do to maximize your marketing efforts. No matter how many newsletters you send out or how many Facebook ads you run, a poorly designed, outdated website — or no website at all — will hurt your credibility and give off the impression that you’re not serious about your music.

When done right, your band website acts as the central hub for everything. You have full control over the user experience and the data, and you can sell your music and merchandise direct-to-fan.

4. Use social media

Managing several different social media pages can quickly get overwhelming, so the key is to focus on where your fans (and potential new fans) are most active. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great places to start, but you should also explore platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, and even Pinterest, and see if it makes sense to put the effort into building a following there.

5. Focus on streaming

While we still have a long way to go before the average artist can realistically earn a living from streaming revenue, there’s no arguing that services like Spotify and Apple Music have become the new go-to for music fans to discover bands. These days, having your song included in a curated Spotify playlist can be just as effective (if not more) than traditional press coverage.

If you don’t already have your music on all of the major streaming platforms, sign up with a digital distribution company like TuneCore, and get your releases up there. The setup process is easy, and there’s really no downside!

6. Leverage the power of YouTube

Video is a powerful medium for band marketing. By adding a visual layer to your artistry, you’re reinforcing your brand while allowing fans to connect with your music in a deeper way.

Youtube is one of the first places people search when they’re trying to find a specific song, so make sure you upload all of your original music and official music videos to your band’s channel. You might also want to consider regularly posting unique cover videos, vlogs, live performances, or interviews so that you show up more often in search results and make yourself more accessible to potential fans.

7. Perform Live….Everywhere!

Performing live is one of the best ways to get new fans and market your band. Start by focusing on your local scene, and don’t hesitate to play charity events, fundraisers, or private events in between your music venue/bar gigs. Once you’ve built up a strong local following, you can turn your attention to regional weekend tours and music festival gigs, mix it up with multiple genre festivals to gain even more exposure.

8. Build Relationships and Get Reviews.

Getting publicity for yourself or band is all about relationships, but you shouldn’t wait until you can finally afford a music publicist to start working on your strategy. Keep a running list of any local or independent music blogs that have covered bands similar to yours, and make a note of their contact info and any pitch requirements listed on the website.

Even if you only hear back from a couple of small blogs at first, you can use those initial reviews to build momentum and buzz, and eventually work your way up to getting covered by bigger publications with a wider reach. Plus, you never know where those small bloggers will end up in a couple of years, so make sure you maintain those relationships.

9. Create band merchandise

Let your diehard fans do the marketing for you by donning a T-shirt with your band logo on it!

Besides the usual suspects like clothing, stickers, and posters, there are thousands of creative items you can offer your fans — think phone cases, flasks, or even handwritten lyric sheets. Just make sure that whatever merchandise you create is aligned with your brand, and something that your fans would actually be excited to purchase.

10. Run contests

Running an occasional contest or giveaway is a great band marketing idea — you benefit from the exposure, and lucky fans of yours get something for free from a band they love.

You could do something as simple as a social media ticket giveaway for your next show, or as involved as a VIP listening party or scavenger hunt around your city. Whatever you do, try to make it fun and exciting so that people are incentivized to spread the word on your behalf.

11. Don’t forget radio

Radio might not be your first thought when you’re brainstorming band marketing strategies, but targeting independent and college radio stations can be a very effective way to promote your music.

If you manage to grab a program director’s attention, you’ll be able to tap into a new audience that trusts and enjoys their music curation.

12. Look into sponsorships and partnerships

We’re not talking about some huge, unattainable contract with a major international brand — you can partner with local businesses and work out a deal that’s simple, authentic, and mutually beneficial.

Do some research on companies that are already working with bands similar to where you are in your music career. Take note of what both parties put into and get out of the arrangement, and think through what sorts of things you could offer and would benefit from.

As an example, you could strike up a collaboration with a local graphic design firm. They create a unique, limited-edition merch item for your band to sell at your next show, and in return, you give them a cut of the profits and help promote them on your website and social media pages.

13. Engage your fans

As you’ve read through these strategies, you’ve probably gathered by this point that it all really boils down to this: build genuine relationships that turn your casual fans into devoted superfans, and they’ll supplement all of your efforts with the most powerful marketing of all — word of mouth. It obviously requires consistent hard work to engage and nurture your fans, but those superfans are the key to building a legitimate, long-lasting music career.

14. Build Your Team…Don’t Give Up

This is a hard business, surround yourself with positivity and people that will motivate you when you get discouraged! Trust me, it will! But Don’t Give Up!

Follow @1kimberlyjo on IG for some inspiration

Thanks Lisa Occhino for the words of wisdom!

BILLBOARD MAGAZINE UPDATES CHART RELEASE SCHEDULE…FINALLY!

Billboard Shifts Magazine, Chart Dates To Reflect Actual Release Week

Billboard chartThe venerable music trade magazine Billboard is finally shifting its publication and chart dates to closer match the real world. Starting in 2018, Billboard Magazine issues and charts within it will be dated to the Saturday of the week that the magazine is shipped. Currently, Billboard issues are dated to the Saturday in the week following shipment.

 

From Billboard:

For Billboard.com, the adjustment will result in charts being dated to the Saturday following their posting or four days after the Tuesday refresh of all rankings on the website. Currently, charts are dated 11 days after first posting online (or, to the second Saturday after charts post).

The first Billboard issue of 2018 will be dated Saturday, Jan. 6; since Monday, Jan. 1, is a holiday, its corresponding charts will post online a day later than usual, on that Wednesday, Jan. 3. From there, in all non-holiday weeks, charts will post each Tuesday and be dated to the Saturday four days later. As an example, the issue dated Jan. 27 will arrive four days after its corresponding charts (also dated Jan. 27) post online Jan. 23. (That issue will arrive on newsstands Friday, Jan. 26.)

As for data tracking weeks for Billboard‘s charts, the Billboard Hot 100, for example, dated Jan. 27 will cover streaming and sales data from Friday, Jan. 12, through Thursday, Jan. 18, and radio airplay data from Monday, Jan. 15 through Sunday, Jan. 21 (as airplay follows a different tracking week than sales and streaming). The Billboard 200 albums chart dated Jan. 27 will encompass sales and streaming data for the Jan. 12 through Jan. 18 tracking week.

To arrive at this adjustment, Billboard charts set to post online Wednesday, Dec. 27 (following a holiday week release schedule) will be dated Wednesday, Jan. 3, one of the rare times that a Billboard chart date will not correspond to a Saturday. There is no printed issue of Billboard that week.

The release/date schedule outlining this migration:

Chart date: Saturday, Dec. 30

  • Billboard.com charts posting date: Tuesday, Dec. 19
  • Billboard issue date: Saturday, Dec. 30 (Year-End No. 1s/double issue)

Chart date: Wednesday, Jan. 3

  • Billboard.com charts posting date: Wednesday, Dec. 27 (holiday schedule)
  • Billboard issue date: No Issue

Chart date: Saturday, Jan. 6

  • Billboard.com charts posting date: Wednesday, Jan. 3 (holiday schedule)

 

THANK YOU BILLBOARD, THIS MAKES MUCH MORE SENSE TO US!

KIMBERLY JO

Why Is It So Hard To Get Paid In the Music Industry?

Guest Post: Why Getting Paid In The Music Industry Is So Complicated, And How It Can Be Better

Guest Post: Why Getting Paid In The Music Industry Is So Complicated, And How It Can Be Better

 

David Balto is a lawyer and consumer advocate based in Washington, D.C., who previously served as the policy director of the Federal Trade Commission.

In Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow’s recent op-ed called The Penny Paradox, he asked, “Isn’t a song worth more than a penny?” The problem, as outlined by Portnow, is that artists aren’t being paid enough for their work. However, this is a gross oversimplification of a more complicated issue of payment in the music industry. An issue that, unfortunately, consumers (and artists) are caught in the middle of as powerful and less powerful interests fight over how to divide payments amongst themselves.

When Portnow is talking about a song being worth a penny he is, of course, not talking about someone being able to own a song for an actual penny. He is talking about the cost per listen of a single license. An interactive music streamer like Spotify needs two licenses to serve a single song to a customer, and three licenses under certain circumstances. When a consumer buys a song, they make one payment and own it forever. Streaming a song is not ownership, and royalties must be paid for each listen.

This leads to a complex picture of how artists earn money. They can get one payment from a fan that buys their album or a recurring payment as a fan continues to play their songs on a streaming service. Artists can also get paid both ways from a single fan — a correlation between internet radio “spins” and sales were found in 2014.

It gets even more complicated. Artists own different copyrights and get paid differently based on whether they wrote the song and/or recorded the song. They deal with different middlemen and the licensing is handled through different organizations: SoundExchange for sound recording rights, a publishing rights organization like ASCAP or BMI for the performance right and individual publishers for each song’s mechanical rights.

ASCAP and BMI are currently regulated through agreements made with the Department of Justice that are regulated by federal courts which stress fairness and transparency. These agreements were necessary because collective bargaining — like that done through ASCAP and BMI — is illegal under antitrust laws, but all parties considered it necessary to have a collective bargaining system to cut down contracting costs in a complex industry. In other words, it’s a narrow exception to the general rules of a competitive market.

And now it’s getting even more complicated. Publishers, some of which have market power, are lobbying the DOJ to make changes in the consent decrees to allow them to withhold music from radio, venues and streaming services. These changes would let publishers jump out of ASCAP and BMI when it suits them. So much for fairness and non-discrimination. And so much for fair prices for consumers.

Publishers will also be able to agree amongst themselves not to license a performance right unless all owners of a copyright assent. This will give even small owners of a copyright complete control, not just over performance rights but over the sound recording as well. If a five percent owner of the performance rights to Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” refuses to license, for instance, that not only affects other owners of the performance rights, but also Justin Bieber’s royalty payments for the sound recording. A music user has to license all rights to play a song, and if any fractional owner had veto rights they would be able to control the destiny of the entire song and every sound recording, not just what they own.

This didn’t matter when radio and venues could contract with ASCAP and BMI, each of which has to license to all comers at a fair rate. But in a world where publishers can be in and out of ASCAP and BMI, it suddenly matters a great deal. This has the potential to not only hurt consumers, but also artists who can’t get their song played because an owner of a small piece of it refuses to license. Ultimately, both consumers and artists will lose.

I do not agree with Portnow on the simple solution that payments for songs need to increase. This is the solution before the DOJ right now, and it will likely lead to tremendous harm to consumers and potentially artists (we don’t know how much of that increase, if any, will filter through to them and how much will be pocketed by the powerful publishers). However, I do agree that we can do better and that solutions must come from Congress.

Congress, for example, could set up a one-stop shop for the complete bundle of rights needed to play a song, and all the rights owners could divide those payments among themselves. This would make it easy to agree on a payment that is good for artists while still allowing streaming services to be profitable (important after the Copyright Royalty Board’s rate increase led to the closure of many smaller independent and local services). Congress also has many more options to make sure the most vulnerable parties, consumers, and artists, are protected.

Article Via Billboard.Biz

 

10 Guiding Principles for Effective Brand Building

10 Principles For Effective Brand Building

In “The Unexpected Universe” naturalist Loren Eisley tells of coming upon a spider in a forest spinning the sticky spokes of the web that extend her senses out into the world. Just so, brand planners need to find ways of extending their senses far beyond what can be directly perceived by their ears and eyes. Like the spider, brand planners sit in the middle of a complex web, listening, watching, waiting.

At the heart of brand building is the search for more meaningful ways to connect with customers or end consumers. Getting good at connecting with consumers and building strong and relevant brands requires an end consumer orientation regarding how you frame problems and ask questions. The brand planner needs to become the in-house consumer advocate, always taking the consumer perspective in evaluating all aspects of brand performance.

In my years of building the Nike, Starbucks and NBC Entertainment brands I discovered ten principles that proved helpful in the brand planning process.

1. Be Analytical

Annually tear down internal strengths and weaknesses in regards to how you are approaching the marketing process. What has worked? What has failed? What needs to change? There are often tacit assumptions (hidden but operative) about the way things should be done. Have the important hidden assumptions been exposed and scrutinized? Are we more concerned with being efficient than effective? As we look outward at the marketplace where are the emerging opportunities? Where are the threats coming from? Have realistic scenarios been generated that factor in the forces that are changing our business model and marketing effectiveness?

2. Be Mindful

Where is the emotional high ground in this category? Are we anywhere near it?
Do we really understand the consumption moment when it’s “as good as it gets”?
What situations, settings, moods, and feelings really define this high ground?
Be mindful of the deep insights around dream states. These can suggest unique brand points of view for connecting with the emotional high ground.

3. Be Curious

How can we more favorably alter our value proposition?
How can we enhance the brand persona/image? How can we generate buzz?
How can we take the high ground?
What passes for breakthrough advertising today in our category? Across categories?
What past positioning approaches have broken through? Does any of this past work contain deep insights that can be reinterpreted in a new light today?

4. Be Observant

Are any competitors more favorably positioned with groups that matter to us?
Who are we appealing to? How are these consumer groups defining our brand?
Do channel partners present our brand in it’s best light?
Is our storytelling in touch with the zeitgeist (spirit of the times)?
How do our views differ from the views of the people we’re trying to reach?

5. Be Human

All brand impressions work to build image. Do we project a human face? Are we seen as a good citizen? A company that cares? Does the brand seem to have a conscience? Are there warm human attributes and connection points in our story? Part of becoming more human as a brand involves understanding how to strengthen the connection in our customer relationship. In our messaging are we selling functional benefits, emotional benefits, values or personality? Which of these positioning choices are most salient, resonant and relevant – from an end consumer perspective?

6. Be Imaginative

Crafting a brand vision requires going beyond the logical into the imaginative. Creative teams tasked with envisioning the future need the freedom to take imaginative leaps. The essence of this kind of creativity is in seeing new connections between things where no apparent relationship existed before.

To expand the brand concept – expand the ways of looking and thinking about new brand opportunities. In early stages idea generation workshops can be productive. Special rules apply for getting the most out of ideation workshops. Rules like: get offsite, have some fun, think like a kid, relax old rules, keep the group small, invite a range of creative thinkers, use creative exercises and pre-planned stimulus to generate lots of ideas, no killing of ideas during ideation. Screen the ideas later for those with most potential, build and bulge on these ideas. Put them through a rigorous new business development filter.

There is an art to getting the ground fertile for really great concept generation workshops. Learn the art, create great group dynamics….push the edges of thinking. If there is a dearth of really great ideas bring in ideation experts. Explore how to add more meaning to your brand. What kinds of new stories, images and myths would add a great chapter to your brand history? What kinds of new products and services would connect with the brand essence? Can your brand presentation be elevated to the next level? Explore ways to layer on qualities that will add to your products perceived value. Imagine how to better connect with important consumer subcultures or activities.

7. Look For Integration Possibilities

Can communications be improved in regards to tying together brand equities, celebrity equities, and brand positioning themes? What creative ways are there to extend branding activity working with co-brands or creative partners?

8. Be The Storyteller

At the highest level brand planners are concerned with storytelling excellence. Is our approach to storytelling breaking through? How can we make our stories arresting, relevant and resonant so that they build better brand affinity?

9. Be Realistic

No brand or product is at the center of how consumers live their lives. Yet this assumption is often made in consumer research projects where a narrow set of options are presented for exploration and validation. Realistic context for understanding the consumer’s involvement and interest in the category is a prerequisite for effective brand planning.

10. Be Patient

Movement in brand image in very mature categories can be glacial in nature – taking years to accurately measure shifts in feelings towards the brand. A continuous stream of breakthrough advertising can accelerate the shift in feelings, if it’s creating cultural buzz then affinity and image measures can move in months or quarters.

If the original insight that connects the brand with the consumer is unique, favorable and strong and that insight is driving your communications then fast improvements in brand strength can be expected. A brand strength monitor with sensitive brand image descriptors is the best way to track a brands positioning efforts over time.

via Branding Strategy Insider

 

What SONG Earned the Most Royalties 1st Quarter 2014?

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Yep! That’s right….

The song that earned the most royalties in the quarter was Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J).” Billboard estimates the song produced $883,000 from U.S. Radio performance and mechanical royalties. Ryan Tedder was the top writer for the second quarter in a row.  Billboard estimates that his credits for five songs — “Counting Stars,” by his band OneRepublic, Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”, Demi Lovato’s “Neon Lights, Maroon 5’s “Love Somebody”, and the Fray’s “Love Don’t Die” — generated $881,000 revenue in mechanical royalties from U.S. album sales and track downloads, and performance royalties from U.S. radio airplay in the first quarter. Billboard estimates he earned $582,000 that in the previous quarter from the three Top 100 radio songs he had a hand in writing.

Want to know what company ranked #1 for 2014 1st Quarter Royalties?

Sure you do…. Click Here

FYI all of you Music Artists….the money is in writing/publishing! So get to the business….