What are Lyric Rights?

Lyrics are integral to modern music. Many of the most compelling songs in the world use lyrics to tell a story and relay emotions through music.

Songwriters should know the basic rights associated with the lyrics they create. Music Publishers should know how to monetize these rights through licenses and protect the works of their songwriters. Everyone interested in the music business should gain a better appreciation for the impact and significance of lyrics.

In this newsletter:

BandLab Technologies has become the first music creation platform to officially support the Human Artistry Campaign (HAC), an alliance of over 150 organizations dedicated to overseeing the responsible use of generative AI in enhancing human creativity.

After iHeartMedia posted total revenue of $920M for Q2 2023, it faced criticism from the musicFIRST Coalition for not compensating recording artists.

UK collecting societies PRS and PPL have partnered with Audoo, a technology company specializing in monitoring music played in establishments like pubs, bars, cafes, and shops.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - August 10, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

Bandlab Becomes First Music Creation Platform to Support Ethical AI Alliance, The Human Artistry Campaign

BandLab Technologies is a powerful music creation company partly built on AI-driven tech. The Singapore-headquartered company, which has attracted over 60 million registered users to date, obviously relies on AI to assist users of its flagship music-making platform, BandLab. It also runs a sister platform, SongStarter, which is based specifically on generative AI – enabling users to lean on AI to create musical “ideas”, including beats, melodies, and chord progressions, that can then be built upon via the main BandLab platform. Indeed, over the past 12 months, BandLab says it’s seen 15X growth in the amount of music being created using its AI tools. With all of this in mind, today (August 8), BandLab CEO, Meng Ru Kuok, made an important announcement: BandLab has become the first music creation platform to officially support the Human Artistry Campaign (HAC). HAC is a cross-industry alliance of over 150 organizations that is keeping a watchful eye on generative AI’s potential both to improve and to threaten the prosperity of human creators. With members including the RIAA (representing its major music company affiliates) and SAG-AFTRA, HAC’s founding principles outline how artificial intelligence can be used ethically and responsibly to support human creativity. Meng Ru Kuok, CEO and Co-founder of BandLab Technologies, announced BandLab’s support for the Human Artistry Campaign during his presentation at enterprise AI conference, Ai4, earlier today (August 8). “By becoming the first music creation platform to support the Human Artistry Campaign, we emphasize our commitment to ethical AI practices and ensuring that technology enriches the music industry and empowers new creators rather than making new barriers for them,” said Meng Ru Kuok.

MusicFIRST Coalition Decries iHeartMedia’s Earnings Hypocrisy As Recording Artists Remain Unpaid on Broadcast Radio

After iHeartMedia posted total revenue of $920M for Q2 2023, the musicFIRST Coalition put the broadcast company on blast for refusing to pay artists. iHeartMedia’s total revenue for Q2 2023 dropped 3.6% from a year ago. Multiplatform revenue for the radio giant was down 5.9%, which it attributes due to decreases in broadcast advertising “due to a challenging macroeconomic environment” and the overall decline in political advertising. Total revenue for its digital audio group was bolstered by podcasting and is up 8% year-over-year, thanks to demand for podcast advertising. But following that earnings report, former Senator Mark Pryor, Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition, shared a statement. “iHeart’s hypocrisy and disregard for the music artists that make their entire business model possible was once again on full display during today’s earnings call,” Pryor shares. “As the broadcasting giant celebrated its quarterly financial performance with investors on Wall Street, their efforts to convince lawmakers that they can’t afford to pay artists a single cent when their music is played on AM/FM radio continue.” “The idea that artists should be paid for the use of their work is not a novel concept. In fact, it’s been accepted as a basic standard in every other democratic nation, and on every other music platform. But with the help of their lobbying machine at the National Association of Broadcasters, greedy broadcasting behemoths like iHeart are fighting tooth and nail to prevent artists from making a living.”

PRS and PPL announce partnership with Audoo

UK collecting societies PRS and PPL have announced a partnership with Audoo, which has developed a technology for monitoring what music is being played in pubs, bars, cafes and shops. The public performance of music by those kinds of businesses needs a license, and in the UK that license is issued by the joint venture operated by PRS and PPL. However, it has always been a challenge when it comes to public performance licensing to know what to do with the money that is generated. Because traditionally societies often don’t know what music has actually been played. Various companies have been developing audio ID technologies that can help with that problem. PRS and PPL have already worked with the company DJ Monitor for monitoring what music is played in the bigger club venues. But there are various challenges that those technologies need to address. For public performance, where music is very much in the background, one challenge is filtering out any other noise. And also making sure that the conversations of customers are not also being tracked, as that would likely breach privacy and data protection laws, such as good old GDPR. A statement confirming the tie up between Audoo and PRS/PPL notes how the former’s technology is “designed to be GDPR-compliant and uses smart plug-in technology to securely track and report the music being played in quasi-real-time, without capturing any non-music audio, whether that’s the weather report or private conversations”. Audoo has physical devices that it places in businesses where music is played which it calls Audio Meters. And by using those devices around the UK, PRS and PPL are aiming “to help drive forward and accelerate accurate and transparent royalty distribution to music creators”.

Spotify's new AI 'DJ' expands to 50 countries

The beta version of Spotify’s AI-enhanced DJ feature is coming to 50 new countries, after soft-launching in the US and Canada back in February. In recent months, it’s rolled out in the UK and Ireland, but now the robotic Wolfman Jack is headed to more countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, in addition to Australia and New Zealand. There’s a caveat, but it depends on some initial understanding of what this tool actually does. The Spotify DJ is available to premium subscription members and provides algorithmic recommendations of what to listen to, just like any music streaming app. However, these recommendations are accompanied by AI-generated DJ commentary on what you’re listening to. So what’s the rub? The DJ, based on Spotify’s Xavier Jernigan, only speaks English, no matter where you live. This is not a big deal for Australia and New Zealand, but an annoying constraint for listeners in Ghana, Singapore and most other parts of the world. A Spotify spokesperson told Engadget that the company has “no more news to share on new languages at this time.” Despite the language limitation, it’s still a nifty toolset. It combines OpenAI’s proprietary large language model (LLM) technology, which powers ChatGPT, with Sonantic’s AI voice generation platform. Spotify bought Sonantic last year, largely due to its focus on generating realistic speech. In addition to the AI-enhanced speech, the platform also gives for written information as to why a particular song was chosen.

YouTube Celebrates 50 Years of Hip-Hop with ‘FIFTY DEEP’ Campaign

YouTube is celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with its FIFTY DEEP campaign featuring an archive of 2,000 music videos showcasing the artists who have defined the genre, “from Ice T to Ice Spice.” To celebrate fifty years of hip-hop, YouTube is honoring the stars who have defined the genre from the beginning with the launch of its FIFTY DEEP campaign, which features an archive of 2,000 music videos spanning the history of hip-hop. YouTube Music will see several new playlists, including a 50-song survey with nearly four hours of music, which YouTube’s Director of Black Music and Culture, Tuma Basa, called a celebration of rappers “from Ice T to Ice Spice.” “If you’re like me, you watched your favorite music videos on Yo! MTV Raps or BET’s Rap City over and over again. Fast forward to today, and YouTube allows us to watch almost any video at any time, in almost any place,” says Basa in a YouTube blog post. “This year marks a whole half a century of hip-hop’s existence. YouTube’s only been around about a third of that time, but no matter what era of hip-hop you’re looking for, one thing’s for sure — it lives on YouTube.” On August 11, YouTube will begin to launch and support a variety of activations as part of FIFTY DEEP throughout the fall. These include a video spotlight of 2,000 genre-defining hip-hop videos across various YouTube Music playlists and other features across Google.

Random Ramblings

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