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In this newsletter:

President Biden nominated Deborah Robinson as the next IPEC, who advises on US intellectual property strategy.

Music publishers appealed to the US Supreme Court, claiming that a specific ruling in their past legal battle with concert streaming service Wolfgang's Vault misinterpreted American copyright law.

The PRS Foundation and MMF have published reports at The Great Escape, quantifying the success of their music funds.

Now, the details...

Exploration Weekly - May 12, 2023
Compiled by Ana Berberana

President Biden Nominates Former RIAA Lawyer as U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator

On Monday (May 8), President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Deborah Robinson as the next Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). The role was formed in 2008 as part of the Executive Office of the President and advises the president on U.S. intellectual property strategy. Robinson most recently served as the head of intellectual property enforcement at Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS), but before that, she worked at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for five years, protecting music rights. She also spent seven years as an assistant district attorney for Philadelphia. Along with her strong history of employment in the entertainment business, Robinson serves as co-chair of the diversity committee of the IP section of the New York State Bar Association and as a Board Member of Aequitas, a non-profit focused on access and quality of justice in cases of human trafficking and gender-based violence.

Music Publishers Ask US Supreme Court to Intervene Over Founder Liability Questions in Wolfgang’s Vault Case

A group of music publishers have asked the US Supreme Court to intervene on one aspect of their past legal battle with the concert streaming service Wolfgang’s Vault. They argue that a specific ruling in that case in the Second Circuit appeals court incorrectly interpreted American copyright law and sets a dangerous precedent. Launched in 2003, Wolfgang’s Vault began life as an archive of concert recordings previously owned by promoter Bill Graham, although it later expanded its content sources. As that happened, and the channels through which the firm disseminated and monetised the live recordings expanded too, the company became somewhat controversial in music industry circles. It was claimed that neither Graham nor Wolfgang’s Vault had ever secured the necessary rights to stream the concert recordings that the promoter had captured over the years. A consortium of publishers sued in 2015 arguing that songs they controlled were contained in the concert films and Wolfgang’s Vault hadn’t secured the necessary licenses to stream them.

PRS Foundation and MMF Reports Hail Success of Music Funds

As The Great Escape – one of the key conferences for the British music industry – kicks off in Brighton, two industry bodies have published reports quantifying the success of their music funds. First is PRS Foundation, which is celebrating 10 years of its PPL Momentum Music Fund with a report explaining how it has awarded more than £5.2m to 526 emerging artists in the last decade. It also estimates that the fund has helped to generate more than £22m for the UK’s music industry. A healthy more-than-4x return on investment. Separately, managers body the MMF has published a report about its own MMC Accelerator programme, which is five years old. It has supported 115 managers, and estimates that they have generated at least £9.4m in turnover for the artists they represent. Both reports also focus on diversity, stressing the fact that women and people who are Black, Asian or of ethnically diverse heritage have made up a significant percentage of beneficiaries.

SoundCloud Unveils New Direct-to-Fan Messaging Tool

SoundCloud has unveiled a new direct-to-fan tool within its SoundCloud For Artists platform that will allow music-makers to directly message their most engaged fans about upcoming releases, shows, merchandise or other activity. The new tool seeks to address a key issue in the streaming domain, which is that new artists use streaming services to build a fanbase, but then can’t really identify who those fans are or access them in any meaningful way via said streaming services. That’s mainly because the mainstream streaming platforms want to tightly control access to their subscribers. Partly for the obvious commercial reasons. But also partly because they don’t want to annoy subscribers with a flood of messages from artists that those subscribers may not really be that interested in, despite listening to some of their tracks. Previewing the new direct-to-fan communication tool – which is simply called Fans – in a blog post yesterday, SoundCloud’s SVP Creator Tracy Chan writes: “The music industry has a dirty secret. The promise of the music streaming business model is that as an artist, you can get your music to the world and build a fanbase. And with that fanbase, you can make money selling your fans tickets, merch and music, and make a comfortable living from your art”.

Spotify Rival Anghami Doubles Down on Artificial Intelligence With AI-Powered Podcasts And Newsroom

Anghami, the Middle East and North Africa region’s challenger to Spotify, is sharpening its focus on artificial intelligence with the upcoming launch of its AI-Powered Personalized Podcast and AI Newsroom. The company says its AI-Powered Personalized Podcast is “the first of its kind in the world.” The feature will allow users to create and customize their own personalized podcast by selecting topics, voices, and languages including English, Arabic and French. Topics range from local, global news, to music, sports, technology, business, and more. Anghami’s AI then creates a podcast that is tailored to the creators’ interests, providing a unique experience. “We are excited to introduce this cutting-edge feature enabling users to personalize their daily content and curate a unique audio journey. This is a testament to our ongoing commitment to innovation and delivering exceptional user experiences,” said Anghami co-founder Elie Habib. Complementing the new AI-powered feature, Anghami launched on May 4 its first ever daily news podcast, Anghami AI Newsroom, that is generated solely by artificial intelligence. The AI Newsroom is a daily podcast that is solely produced by AI without human intervention, said Anghami.

Random Ramblings

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  • A compendium of history’s most famous hip-hop rhythms.
  • New streaming study focuses on Swedish artists’ Spotify payouts.
  • The revolutionary impact of Riot Grrrl on women in music.
  • The expanding universe of music sync: How it works, understanding the opportunities.

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