“one does not often speak of what one cares for most of all.”
Beatrice Harraden, The Birds On Its Journey
The US Copyright Office has named Kevin Amer as new Acting General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, effective July 2, 2021. He has served as deputy general counsel at the Office since May 2019, helping co-lead the study on section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Overall earnings in 2020 from the electronic dance music industry reached a total of $3.4 billion, says an annual business report published by the International Dance Music Summit. That’s less than half of 2019’s $7.3 billion in earnings and lower than that of the industry in 2012. Despite the decline, the sectors within the industry - music sales/streaming and software/hardware sales - were up 4% and 23%, respectively.
India-based Spotify rival Gaana has just raised an additional $40 million in debt financing from China-based Tencent’s European entity, Tencent Cloud Europe B.V. The music platform also raised $51 million in debt to help finance its growth back in September from two existing Gaana investors - Tencent and Times Internet.
In this newsletter:
- Kevin Amer Appointed Acting General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights
- Dance Music Market Lost Half Its Revenue in 2020, Says Study
- Tencent Ups Investment in Spotify Rival Gaana, As Music Streaming Service Raises $40M in New Debt Financing
- YouTube Music Launches “Artist on the Rise” in New Countries
- TikTok Taps Longer Videos, Letting Users Film Up to 3 Minutes
- Creators Weigh Options as Apple, Spotify Roll Out Subscription Podcast Offerings
- Instagram to Lean Into Video Amid “Stiff Competition” with TikTok, YouTube
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - July 2, 2021
Kevin Amer Appointed Acting General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights
Kevin Amer will serve as Acting General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights at the United States Copyright Office, effective July 2, 2021. The announcement was made by Register of Copyrights Shira Perlmutter on Monday June 28. Amer will begin this role when current General Counsel Regan Smith leaves the Copyright Office for the private sector. In 2013, he joined the Copyright Office as counsel in the Office of Policy and International Affairs and served as senior counsel in that office from 2015 to 2019. He has served as deputy general counsel since May 2019. As deputy general counsel, Amer shared responsibility for managing the department and handled a diverse portfolio of litigation, regulatory, and policy matters, including the Office’s ongoing sovereign immunity study. He also co-led the Office’s study on section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Dance Music Market Lost Half Its Revenue in 2020, Says Study
According to an annual business report published by the International Dance Music Summit, overall earnings in 2020 from the electronic dance music industry came to a total of $3.4 billion. That’s less than half of 2019’s $7.3 billion in earnings and lower than that of the industry in 2012. Out of the four main sectors of the electronic dance music market — software and hardware sales, music sales and streaming, DJ and artist earnings, and clubs and festivals — the biggest drops were, as expected, in clubs and festivals whose earnings were down 78% making up the majority of the difference. DJ and artist earnings were down 68%. In contrast, with all the time stuck at home, music sales and streaming were up by 4% and software and hardware sales were up 23%.
Tencent Ups Investment in Spotify Rival Gaana, As Music Streaming Service Raises $40M in New Debt Financing
Tencent Holdings already owned more than a third of India-based Spotify rival Gaana — now it looks set to increase that stake. That’s because Gaana — majority-owned by Times Internet — has just raised an additional $40m in debt financing from China-based Tencent’s European entity, Tencent Cloud Europe B.V. The move follows the music platform’s raise in September of 3.75bn INR (approximately $51m) in debt to help finance its growth. That $51m came from two existing Gaana investors – Tencent and Times Internet – in the form of OCDs at a price of 63,761.93 INR (around $870) per share. At the time, according to financial filings in India, the move saw Tencent’s ownership stake in Gaana increase to more than a third (34.44%), while diluting Times Internet’s stake to 60.18%. According to estimates, Gaana’s value after the latest debt raise is set to be around $570-$580m. That’s up from an estimated $530m in September following Gaana’s previous debt raise from Tencent.
YouTube Music Launches “Artist on the Rise” in New Countries
YouTube’s “Artist on the Rise” program focuses on emerging stars like Zoe Wees, and it is expected to expand to new countries: Germany, France, and South Korea. Wees will be a joint UK/Germany Artist on the Rise. The program will allow her to post exclusive content and hold YouTube events, such as a livestream of her “first ever concert” to be broadcast on her YouTube channel, which currently has more than 347,000 subscribers.
TikTok Taps Longer Videos, Letting Users Film Up to 3 Minutes
TikTok is tripling its maximum video length, and will now allow its global user base to post clips up to three minutes long. TikTok product manager Drew Kirchhoff announced in a blog post that some users may have already seen the occasional longer video floating around, as TikTok has been “letting creators around the world experiment with the expanded format.” The app previously allowed creators to film in 15-second bites, and sew up to four of these bites together to form one 60-second video. It’s not clear if users will still have to film in 15-second clips or if this time expansion will let them film for the full 180 seconds straight. The decision sets the platform up as a potential competitor for sites that host longer-form videos, like YouTube, Instagram/IGTV, and Snapchat.
Creators Weigh Options as Apple, Spotify Roll Out Subscription Podcast Offerings
Amid a gold rush for advertising in podcasts — total ad revenue is expected to exceed $1.3 billion this year and, by 2023, that figure jumps to $2 billion — Spotify and Apple are both rolling out new creator tools in an emerging area: subscriptions. In April, Spotify staked a claim by unveiling its service through podcast platform Anchor, allowing creators to set a monthly price of $2.99, $4.99 or $7.99 for consumers. Apple countered with the launch of its own tools, allowing creators to set pricing starting at $0.49 per month. Creators keep 100% of their revenue (aside from processing fees) with Spotify’s service — which is available only to U.S. creators — until 2023 when Spotify will begin taking a 5% cut. Yet on Apple, creators must give up a 30% cut of their revenue in the first year and 15% in the following years.
Instagram to Lean Into Video Amid “Stiff Competition” with TikTok, YouTube
Instagram will begin showing users full-screen videos in their feeds in response to "stiff competition" with TikTok and YouTube, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said on Wednesday. The videos that will start showing up in users' feeds in the coming months will include recommended content from accounts users don't already follow, with a new test feature being rolled out this week that will allow users to select topics that they want to see more or less of, Mosseri said. In recent years, Instagram has rolled out video-focused platforms like IGTV and Reels. Since its 2018 launch, IGTV has struggled to find success among creators in a crowded video space, but the company introduced IGTV ads and monetization tools for creators using IGTV in May. And later this month, Instagram will be testing sharing ad revenue with publishers on IGTV, according to Axios.
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