“Sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) hired five new leaders this week: Ellen Truley as Chief Marketing Officer, Leigh McCorkle as Chief People Officer, Dae Bogan as Head of Third-Party Partnerships, Serona Elton as Head of Education Partnership, and Lindsey Major as Head of Customer Experience. The news comes after the appointment of music industry executive Kris Ahrend as CEO in January.
YouTube reported over $4 billion in Q1 ad revenue despite a slowdown in ad sales after the COVID-19 crisis hit the US in March. Google first reported earlier this year that the video company earned $15.1 billion in ad revenue in fiscal 2019. The platform brought in $4.7 billion during the fourth quarter of 2019.
In the three months ending March 31, Spotify grew its user base to 130 million paid subscribers and 286 million total monthly active users, counting total Q1 revenue at €1.85 billion ($1.99 billion in current dollars), up 22% on the same period the previous year. A large majority of that revenue tally came from subscriber income, which grew 23% to €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion), slightly outperforming the company’s expectations.
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In this newsletter:
- Mechanical Licensing Collective Makes Five New Leadership Appointments
- YouTube Nets $4 Billion in Ad Revenue Despite Coronavirus Spending Slowdown
- Spotify Reports 130 Million Paid Subscribers as Quarterly Revenue Jumps 22%
- Senators Ask US Copyright, Patent Offices to Study Infringement by States
- Apple Services Revenue Hits $13.3 Billion in Latest Quarter
- PPL to Make Advance Distribution Payment of $29.7 Million in April
- TikTok Added 12 Million Unique US Visitors in March, As Watch-Time Surges in Quarantine (Report)
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - May 1, 2020
Mechanical Licensing Collective Makes Five New Leadership Appointments
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA), has made several new hires to help lead the company’s customer experience, marketing and communications, education and outreach, human resources, and third-party partnerships efforts. New employees include: Ellen Truley, who joins the MLC as Chief Marketing Officer, Leigh McCorkle, who has been appointed as Chief People Officer, Dae Bogan as Head of Third-Party Partnerships, Serona Elton, as Head of Education Partnerships, and Lindsey Major as Head of Customer Experience. The new hires come after the appointment of music industry exec Kris Ahrend as CEO in January. Ahrend states the organization “will be actively seeking to fill additional roles” in the coming months. The MLC is set to launch on January 1, 2021, and will be responsible for collecting and distributing royalties payable to songwriters and copyright owners by digital music services as well as creating a public database containing critical copyright information on all musical works.
YouTube Nets $4 Billion in Ad Revenue Despite Coronavirus Spending Slowdown
YouTube reported just over $4 billion in advertising revenue for the first quarter of the year despite a slowdown in ad sales after the coronavirus pandemic hit the US in March. Google started reporting YouTube revenue for the first time earlier this year, disclosing that the video company earned $15.1 billion in ad revenue in fiscal 2019. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the platform brought in $4.7 billion. Although YouTube’s first quarter was not as strong, the company still brought in significantly more ad revenue than the $3 billion it netted during the same period a year earlier.
Spotify Reports 130 Million Paid Subscribers as Quarterly Revenue Jumps 22%
Spotify grew its user base to 130 million paid subscribers and 286 million total monthly active users in the three months ending March 31. Total revenue in the first quarter was €1.85 billion ($1.99 billion in current dollars), up 22% on the same period the previous year. The vast majority of that revenue tally came from subscriber income, which grew 23% to €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion), slightly outperforming the company’s expectations. Ad-supported revenues grew 17% year-on-year to €148 million, but fell short by 20% of Spotify's forecasts as a result of disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in the final three weeks of March. The company has revised its year-end estimates as a result. The global lockdown saw a significant drop in Spotify usage on car, wearable, and web platforms, although the platform’s audience through TV and game consoles grew in excess of 50% over the same period. It predicts to end the year with between 328 and 348 million monthly users and between 143 and 153 million paid subscribers.
Senators Ask US Copyright, Patent Offices to Study Infringement by States
Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote a pair of letters this week, asking the US Copyright Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office to begin a study on the extent to which intellectual property owners are suffering infringement at the hands of state government. The request by the two senators comes after a notable Supreme Court opinion in March. The study would prime new legislation on the IP front. In Allen v. Cooper, the high court held that North Carolina was immune from a filmmaker’s copyright suit. Rick Allen’s Nautilus Productions had pursued the state for posting his footage online, but in a unanimous decision, the justices ruled that Congress hadn’t properly abrogated states’ immunity under the 11th Amendment to the US Constitution. The letter points to Allen v. Cooper as a “blueprint for how to validly abrogate State sovereign immunity,” and the senators say they need to identify a pattern of unconstitutional infringement before enactment of any new law.
Apple Services Revenue Hits $13.3 Billion in Latest Quarter
Apple’s services division, which includes Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade, set an “all-time record” for the company in the first quarter of 2020, generating more than $13.3 billion in revenue with total revenues of $58.3 billion, up a modest one percent from a year ago but beating Wall Street expectations. Apple TV+ launched in November. The subscription gaming service Apple Arcade launched in September. And Apple Music, which is second only to Spotify in terms of paid subscribers, counts more than 60 million.
PPL to Make Advance Distribution Payment of $29.7 Million in April
British music licensing company PPL amended its annual payment schedule in order to bring forward part of its June distribution to support its members during the COVID-19 crisis. On April 30, 2020, PPL will make an advance payment of £23.9 million (approximately $29.7 million) to more than 15,000 performers and recording rights holders. They are set to receive payment either as direct members of PPL or indirectly through other collective management organizations. The news of the advance distribution follows the organization’s recent quarterly payment to 26,000 performers and rights holders of £87.6 million on March 31.
TikTok Added 12 Million Unique US Visitors in March, As Watch-Time Surges in Quarantine (Report)
ByteDance-owned Chinese micro video platform, TikTok, added more than 12 million unique US visitors in March, for a total of 52.2 million, per a recent eMarketer report, citing figures from Comscore. This includes desktop visitors to TikTok ages two and up, as well as mobile viewers ages 18 and up. In fact, TikTok’s unique US visitor count climbed 48.3%. Time spent on the app also steadily increased in recent months. US visitors spent an average total of eight hours on the app during the month of March, a 10.8% increase over time spent in January.
- Educational video and print materials on the Music Modernization Act (MMA) are available now here.
- The evolution and neuroscience of music processing.
- Mariah Carey's 2008 album E=MC2 re-enters the iTunes Album Chart at No. 1 on its 12th anniversary.
- DaBaby scores second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with "Blame It On Baby".
- JoJo drops the new “video” of her single, “Lonely Hearts,” from her new album.
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