“The depth of life is found in the breadth of living.”
Amazon Music has entered a deal to acquire podcast studio Wondery this week. The news follows a period of mergers and acquisitions activity around the fast-growing podcast sector. Startups like Gimlet Media, Stitcher, Parcast and Megaphone, have all been acquired in the last two years by companies like Spotify, Sirius, iHeartRadio, and The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal valued Wondery at over $300 million, which would make it one of the largest podcast acquisitions to date.
Songview brings two of the best-known performing rights databases - ASCAP and BMI - together for the first time into an easily accessible and free platform. Basic information like publisher contact info, percentages, ISWC, and IPI codes are listed. And songs can be searched via a range of useful fields including song title, performer and songwriter.
According to record label trade body BPI, total vinyl sales in the UK this year grew 10% bigger than it did in 2019. While 80% of music consumption is now streams, the statistic demonstrates that, for some artists and labels, vinyl remains an important extra revenue stream. It is also apparent that cassettes are making a revival as the number of cassette sales doubled during 2020 with 157,000 units sold.
Do you need to register your songs in order to own the copyright? No - you have ownership from the moment the work is created. Can a songwriter register their own songs with the Copyright Office? Yes - you absolutely can! Learn more about registering your songs with the Copyright Office below in our weekly “Music Industry - 5 Mins or Less” video series!
In this newsletter:
- Amazon Music to Acquire Podcast Startup Wondery
- Songview in Review: Test-Driving ASCAP and BMI’s New Shared Data Platform
- UK Vinyl Sales Grew 10% While Cassette Sales Doubled in 2020
- 2021 Music Business Predictions and Trends [Nue Agency’s Jesse Kirshbaum]
- Harry Fox Pushes Back Against Allegations in Eminem vs. Spotify Lawsuit
As this year comes to a close, we would like to thank each and every one of you for supporting us here at Exploration. We wish you all a fantastic celebration and a Happy New Year!
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - January 1, 2021
Amazon Music to Acquire Podcast Startup Wondery
Amazon Music has agreed to buy podcast studio Wondery this week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Amazon said that the agreement, when it is finalized next year, is not expected to change how listeners can find and access Wondery shows, which are currently distributed on a number of podcast platforms. Wondery's sale follows a period of frenzied M&A activity around the fast-growing podcast sector. Other startups, including Gimlet Media, Stitcher, Parcast and Megaphone, have all been snapped up in the last two years by major tech and media players including Spotify, Sirius, iHeartRadio and The New York Times. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the deal valued Wondery at over $300 million, which would make it one of the largest podcast acquisitions to date. Amazon adds Wondery to its portfolio amid a push to provide more podcast programming within its Amazon Music platform.
Songview in Review: Test-Driving ASCAP and BMI’s New Shared Data Platform
Songwriter info can be frustrating to track down for many reasons. Many songs are credited to multiple writers, including those affiliated with various performing rights organizations (PROs) who until now had maintained entirely separate data. Songview brings two of the best-known performing rights databases - ASCAP and BMI - together for the first time into an easily accessible and free platform. Songview can be accessed by visiting either the ASCAP and BMI sites, and while the two versions have different layouts, they appear to contain the same basic information: publisher contact info, percentages, ISWC and IPI codes, and the like. The combined platform can be searched via a range of useful fields including song title, performer and songwriter. Some key information has not yet been integrated, including both companies’ substantial databases of film and TV cues. It also does not integrate the databases of SESAC or other performing rights societies.
UK Vinyl Sales Grew 10% While Cassette Sales Doubled in 2020
UK vinyl sales continued to grow in 2020. Record label trade body BPI estimates that total vinyl sales for the year will be a tenth bigger than in 2019, with 4.8 million units shifted. And while 80% of music consumption is now streams, those stats demonstrate that, for some artists and labels, vinyl remains an important extra revenue stream. Vinyl sales initially dipped during the first COVID lockdown earlier in the year, but started to recover over the summer months. With direct-to-fan in particular, there is also a trend of fans buying physical releases as merchandise. Which is to say, they’ll mainly stream the music, but like to buy something physical to accompany a favorite release. And like with the early days of the vinyl revival, it looks likely that cassette sales will have doubled during 2020, with 157,000 units sold.
2021 Music Business Predictions and Trends [Nue Agency’s Jesse Kirshbaum]
Nue Agency CEO Jesse Kirshbaum makes a prediction on emerging music trends and their impact on the future. As the year 2020 comes to a close, Kirshbaum lays out various trends he expects to rise in 2021 such as big booms in the publishing business, mainstream culture taking over, and live music eventually moving to a hybrid model.
Harry Fox Pushes Back Against Allegations in Eminem vs. Spotify Lawsuit
Eminem publisher Eight Mile Style initially filed a complaint back in August 2019, alleging that Spotify had grossly infringed upon 243 of Slim Shady’s tracks. If found guilty of willful copyright infringement, the streaming service could pay $150,000 for each of the tracks outlined in the suit, or a total of $36.45 million. Spotify has denied the allegations, stating in filings that Eight Mile Style had “received substantial royalty payments from Spotify based on that streaming” for the better part of a decade. Building upon the point, the streaming platform in June of this year continued to refute the charges while also levying a third-party complaint against Kobalt Music Publishing. Eight Mile Style also added the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) as a defendant, introducing an array of new charges. And in a filing that was recently submitted to a Nashville federal court, HFA pushed back against this and other claims, besides “respectfully” moving to conduct an oral argument concerning its motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s amended complaint. At the time of publishing, Eminem’s publisher hadn’t commented on HFA’s request.
- Visualizing trends and patterns in Pitchfork reviews.
- Taylor Swift leads the Artist 100 chart for record-extending 43rd week.
- Song lyrics generation with artificial intelligence.
- How bad is your Spotify?
- KAMAUU is listed as the Artist on the Rise with "MANGO" on the YouTube Trending charts.
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