In this newsletter:
- Slacker Owes SoundExchange $10M in Unpaid Royalties, Judge Rules
- Is Spotify Readying a $20-a-Month “Platinum” Tier That Includes HiFi Audio?
- IMPALA Again Confirms Opposition to ER on Streams, While Calling for Focus on Music’s “Investment Stream”
- YouTube to Let Advertisers Target Podcast Listeners
- TikTok Rolls Out Monetization for Makers of Its “Most Engaging” Content
- Ed Sheeran’s Legal Team has Another Go at Getting “Thinking Out Loud” Song-Theft Lawsuit Dismissed
According to a recent ruling by a federal judge, streaming platform Slacker owes SoundExchange nearly $10 million in unpaid performance royalties. The ruling also permanently bars Slacker from using the statutory license, a federal provision that makes copyright licenses for recorded music automatically available at a fixed price.
Spotify is readying the launch of a new $19.99-per-month “Platinum” tier that includes HiFi audio, based on reports from a 9to5 Mac article. It may also include additional features such as a “Headphone Tuner”, “Audio Insights”, “Library Pro” and “Playlist Pro”, plus “Limited-ad Spotify podcasts”.
Pan-European trade group for the indie music sector, IMPALA, is voicing its opposition once again to the extension of performer equitable remuneration to streaming, calling for “all labels to pay fair contemporary digital royalties” to artists. The organization is also urging those EU member countries to implement the 2019 Copyright Directive if they have not already done so.
Exploration Weekly - October 21, 2022
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Slacker Owes SoundExchange $10M in Unpaid Royalties, Judge Rules
Streaming platform Slacker owes SoundExchange nearly $10 million in unpaid performance royalties, according to a recent ruling by a federal judge, issued after settlement talks between the two broke down. SoundExchange sued Slacker and parent company LiveOne in June, claiming they had refused to pay millions over a five-year period. Last week, SoundExchange presented a pre-signed consent judgment, inked by execs at Slacker back in 2020 as part of a previous effort to get the streamer to pay its royalty bill. On Thursday, a federal judge ordered Slacker to pay $9,765,396 in unpaid royalties and late fees. He also permanently barred the company from using the so-called statutory license, a federal provision that makes copyright licenses for recorded music automatically available to internet radio companies like Slacker and Pandora at a fixed price.
Is Spotify Readying a $20-a-Month “Platinum” Tier That Includes HiFi Audio?
Spotify is reportedly readying the launch of a new $19.99-per-month tier that includes HiFi audio. According to a 9to5 Mac article, this new tier will include HiFi audio, a “Headphone Tuner” and “Audio Insights”, as well as “Library Pro” and “Playlist Pro”, plus “Limited-ad Spotify podcasts”. 9to5 Mac reports that a reader shared a survey with the news site sent to them by Spotify after trying to cancel their subscription. The survey reportedly contained the information about the “Platinum” service’s features listed above, and asked the user if they would consider returning to Spotify “in the next 30 days”. The potential imminent arrival of HiFi audio on Spotify would bring the platform in line with competitors that offer higher-definition listening options.
IMPALA Again Confirms Opposition to ER on Streams, While Calling for Focus on Music’s “Investment Stream”
The pan-European trade group for the independent music sector, IMPALA, has again voiced its opposition to the extension of performer equitable remuneration to streaming, while calling for “all labels to pay fair contemporary digital royalties” to artists. It also urges those European Union member countries yet to implement the 2019 Copyright Directive to hurry up and do so, while encouraging governments across Europe to consider financial support measures for the record industry similar to those available in France. IMPALA’s latest statement regarding the economics of streaming follows a recent review of the organization’s digital strategy at the Reeperbahn festival, and builds on the ten point plan to “make streaming work” that it published in March 2021.
YouTube to Let Advertisers Target Podcast Listeners
In YouTube’s latest expansion of its podcasting efforts, the video giant will roll out audio ads globally and allow marketers to target users who are listening and watching podcasts on the platform. YouTube first launched a beta version of its audio ads in 2020 to cater to users who listen to podcasts and music on the video platform. Announced on Monday during Advertising Week, advertisers will now be able to place 30-second audio ad spots on videos. U.S. advertisers will also be able to narrow their ad campaigns based on podcast genres, which will include comedy, news, sports and society and culture, according to a YouTube spokesperson. According to one survey by Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights, YouTube has become the most-used podcast platform in the U.S. for listeners.
TikTok Rolls Out Monetization for Makers of Its “Most Engaging” Content
TikTok is finally sharing ad revenue with some creators. The platform unveiled its first revenue-share program, called TikTok Pulse, back in May. Pulse appears to be a bit like YouTube Select: both programs bundle together a small crop of popular creators whose content is deemed extremely brand-safe. In Pulse’s case, TikTok says monetization is available to makers of the top 4% “most engaging” videos across 12 categories. TikTok never gave a specific launch date for Pulse, but there are now reports on Twitter of creators getting notices telling them they’re now eligible for the program. According to the notices, in addition to being in the top 4%, creators must have at least 100,000 followers, must have posted at least five videos within the last 30 days, and must be at least 18 years old to start earning revenue. Creators who meet all these criteria will earn 50% of revenue from ads “placed adjacent to their videos,” the notice says.
Ed Sheeran’s Legal Team has Another Go at Getting “Thinking Out Loud” Song-Theft Lawsuit Dismissed
Ed Sheeran’s legal team last week had one last go at trying to stop one of the song-theft lawsuits relating to his song “Thinking Out Loud” from proceeding to trial, urging the judge overseeing the case to reconsider a recent decision he made about the copyright dispute. The estate of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” co-writer Ed Townsend sued Sheeran for allegedly ripping off his song, at which a company and stakeholder of “Let’s Get It On” called Structured Asset Sales also filed its own lawsuit. The Sheeran team had urged the judge to dismiss the SAS lawsuit via summary judgment. In a ruling last month, Stanton noted that both sides in the dispute agree that the shared elements are “commonplace and unprotectable”. Responding to the latest development in this legal battle, SAS owner David Pullman told Billboard that the new legal filing from Team Sheeran was simply “confirmation and validation of just how important [last month’s] decision was”, adding that he “looks forward to more success in this case”.
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- Glass Animals’ "Heat Waves" becomes the longest-charting Hot 100 song of all time.
- Why the music industry is headed for a tussle with TikTok over royalties.
- Christina Aguilera reimagines her multi-awarded anthem "Beautiful" in a new video.
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