“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.”
Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
As part of iHeartMedia’s restructuring process from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company has now agreed to separate itself from Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (CCOH). Upon iHeartMedia’s emergence, William Eccleshare will become Chief Executive officer of CCOH (he currently is the Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel International). iHeartMedia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in March holding a weight of $20 billion in debt. The restructuring process is to begin in early 2019.
A request has been sent out by the US Copyright Office for information that will help determine the designating members and Digital Licensing Coordinator of the Music Modernization Act’s Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). The agency is expected to oversee the collection and administration of streaming mechanical licenses from major streaming providers like Spotify and Apple Music. Written proposals are to be submitted until March 21, 2019, and the Copyright Office is to select an applicant group to form the MLC by July 8th.
And four lawsuits have hit Epic Games, creator of the video game Fortnite, by a law firm representing dancers like Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro, rapper 2 Milly, and Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning. The cases allege that Fortnite copied dance moves like “The Carlton,” the Milly Rock, and the Backpack Kid “Floss” dance without using their permission. Incidents like these question whether a dance move is unique enough or too simple to be protected under copyright. "The best case scenario," says copyright expert Mark Jaffe, "is that Epic might decide to settle and pay out the three, or, more likely, they will ask a judge to dismiss the cases on the grounds that the dances are too simple to be protected by copyright law.”
As the year comes to a close, Exploration would like to thank all those around the world for being with us and we wish you all a Happy New Year!
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - December 28, 2018
In conjunction to iHeartMedia’s restructuring process from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, iHeartMedia, Inc. and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (CCOH) have both agreed to fully separate their businesses on material terms. iHeartMedia currently owns 89.1% of CCOH’s outstanding common stock, and its restructuring process is expected to take place in early 2019. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March with a whopping $20 billion in debt. William Eccleshare will become Chief Executive Officer of CCOH, effective upon iHeartMedia’s emergence. He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Clear Channel International (CCI), overseeing CCI’s business operations in 22 countries across Asia, Europe, and Latin America. And he will also become a member of the new Board of Directors of CCOH, which will be announced prior to the separation.
The US Copyright Office has put out a request for information to help determine who will oversee the Music Modernization Act’s Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), an agency that will oversee the collection and administration of streaming mechanical licenses from major streaming providers. The American Mechanical Licensing Collective (AMLC) is one organization vying to fill the spot, including groups led by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and SoundExchange. The Copyright Office is seeking information for designating members of the MLC and Digital Licensing Coordinator (DLC). Those parties interested can submit written proposals until March 21, 2019, and the public has until April 22, 2019 to issue written replies on submissions and related issues. The deadline for the Copyright Office to select an applicant group to form the MLC is until July 8th. The MLC Board will consist of 14 members and 3 nonvoting members.
Four lawsuits have been filed against Epic Games, creator of the video game Fortnite, on behalf of former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro, rapper 2 Milly and 16 year-old viral sensation Russell “Backpack Kid” Horning by the same law firm, Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht, LLP. Questions about whether copyright law protects “The Carlton,” the Milly Rock, and the “Floss” dance are yet to be answered. While a choreographic work is explicitly protected by copyright, one challenge may be that even if someone distinctly associates with a routine or move, that move can be deemed “too simple” to qualify for copyright protection. According to copyright expert Mark Jaffe, who spoke with no firsthand knowledge of the cases, Epic may very well decide to settle and pay out the three, or “more likely,” ask a judge to dismiss the cases on the grounds that the dances are too simple to be protected by copyright law.
Spotify’s IPO process differs from others in that it listed its existing shares directly on the New York Stock Exchange. In April, the stock debuted at a price just short of $166 per share and didn’t exhibit any volatility. The direct listing is “now a viable option,” says Renaissance Capital IPO strategist Matt Kennedy, but he adds, “Just because Spotify pulled it off doesn’t mean any company can.” Advisers weighed in on Spotify’s success, attributing to its reference price of $132 per share, which was crucial in guiding the stock through a smooth first day of trading. Spotify’s ability to be easily recognized as a household name also helped sell shares directly to the public. And it didn’t raise money like most companies that go through the public listing process, due to the company not issuing new shares.
Tim Ingham presents five crucial statistics about the music industry in his recent Rolling Stone article. He points to streaming’s vulnerable foundations, citing Spotify’s net loss of $623 million and Pandora’s $287 million net loss in the first nine months of 2018 - a projected move towards losing more than a billion dollars rather than improving the bottom line. He also mentions the live music industry’s success, the prediction that local music-makers will be able to take the charts, UMG’s potential sale of up to 50% of the company to a strategic outside buyer by the end of 2019, and the expected outcome of Article 13.
With the rise of streaming and its dominance in 2018, the album format is transforming, leaving behind traditional recording cycles and moving to more fluid formats that follow an artist’s creative whims and satisfy fans craving for new content. We were able to see malleable albums this year, like Drake’s “Scorpion” (25 songs, 89 minutes), and The Weeknd’s first-ever EP (6 songs, 21 minutes). There were also lone-wolf singles like Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” and Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next”. Streaming and recording executives agree that an artist’s work cannot be dictated by the restraints of a physical medium (vinyl, CD, etc.) or shelf space, but by the very battle of fighting against fan distractions. “You’re fighting for people’s hours in the day,” says John Fleckenstein, co-president of RCA Records. “It becomes an attention economy.”
Apple Music does not allow users to see their overall yearly listening habits, but a new app can now offer these metrics, as spotted by TechCrunch. Called, “Music Year in Review”, and made by NoiseHub, this app shows an overview of what you listened to throughout the year on Apple Music, similar to Spotify’s “Wrapped” program. In order to access these metrics, users must simply enter their email addresses into the app and then connect it to Apple Music. It will then gather listening data and show three separate graphics: how much time you spent listening to your favorite artist on Apple Music, your top five songs and artists, and some of your overall favorites, like genre, artist, and song. Each graphic gives users the option to share or save to various socials. The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store.
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