“The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
'I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.'
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you--just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”

Shel Silverstein

YouTube has released a new shortform video experience called Shorts, now available to all US users. The company initially beta-launched the feature in India in September. And since then, it has passed 6.5 billion daily views globally. YouTube has added a new homepage section to highlight the shortform videos.

Yesterday, Spotify unveiled a demystifying guide explaining the process of streaming royalty payouts with “Loud and Clear”. There are no artist names on the site, but the company says it “aims to increase transparency by sharing new data on the global streaming economy and breaking down the royalty system, the players, and the process.” One statistic states that as of 2020, Spotify has paid over $23 billion in royalties to rights holders - including over $5 billion in 2020 alone, up from $3.3 billion in 2017.

YouTube is allowing video uploaders more control over whether their content falls into Content ID by launching a new copyright-checking tool called “Checks”. In a span of around three minutes, Checks will take a look at a video during the YouTube upload process for potential copyright claims. After that, it will take two more minutes to check for ad suitability restrictions.

Next up in Metadata March, songwriter organization SONA will be hosting their next webinar about The MLC as part of their Sexy Metadata Action Group initiative. The event is to be held on Monday, March 22 at 12 PM PST, so don’t forget to register!

Our COO and co-founder Rene Merideth explains the intricacies of lyrics licenses in the “Music Industry - 5 Mins or Less” video series. Please take a look by clicking here below:

In this newsletter:

Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - March 19, 2021

YouTube’s TikTok Competitor Launches for US Users

YouTube is the latest tech giant to roll out a TikTok competitor in the US, called Shorts - a shortform video experience designed for mobile phones. The launch comes after YouTube announced a beta test of the experience in India, where TikTok is banned, in September. Since then, Shorts have passed 6.5 billion daily views globally, the company says. In a blog post, YouTube Shorts product lead Todd Sherman described the feature as being for "anyone who wants to create short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones." To promote Shorts, YouTube has added a new section to its homepage that will highlight the shortform videos. Last year, Instagram launched TikTok competitor Reels and Snapchat launched a similar feature called Spotlight. YouTube says it is still exploring how to add monetization to Shorts.

Spotify Unveils “Loud and Clear,” a Detailed Guide to Its Royalty Payment System

On Thursday morning, Spotify made a welcome step toward demystifying the process of streaming royalty payouts by unveiling “Loud and Clear,” an explanation of the way its payment system and related factors work. It will not tell you how much money Drake made from Spotify; in fact there are no artist names on the site at all. Instead, it “aims to increase transparency by sharing new data on the global streaming economy and breaking down the royalty system, the players, and the process.” Under the “Spotify and the Streaming Economy” section, it shows: As of 2020, Spotify has paid over $23 billion in royalties to rights holders - including over $5 billion in 2020 alone, up from $3.3 billion in 2017. Additionally, in 2020, 184,500 artists generated recording and publishing royalties over $1,000; in 2017, the number was 89,700. Under the “Meet the Artists” section, we see what types of artists are generating how many streams and how much revenue - and it’s not based on musical genres but rather where the artist is in their career.

YouTube Launches “Checks” Tool to Check Videos for Copyright

Content ID is well established as YouTube’s system for identifying copyrighted music in user-uploaded videos, and giving rights holders the option to take them down, claim their ad revenues or leave them be. Now, YouTube is launching a new tool that gives uploaders more control over whether their content falls into Content ID in the first place. It’s called “Checks,” and is a step in the YouTube upload process that takes around three minutes to check a video for potential copyright claims (plus another two minutes to check it for “ad suitability restrictions”). In the case of copyright, people will see details on what the issue might be, and where in their video it happens.

Report Claims Global Recorded Music Revenues Grew 7% in 2020

Midia Research recently posted new statistics, stating that global trade recorded music revenues rose by 7% to $23.1 billion in 2020. “Global revenue was down 3% in Q2 2020 compared to one year earlier, but up to 15% growth in Q4 2020, suggesting a strong 2021 may lie ahead if that momentum continues,” suggested Midia boss Mark Mulligan. The breakdown sees an estimate of 19.6% growth in streaming revenues to $14.2 billion, accounting for 61% of the total. Here’s one potential argument sparker: “2020 was another year of accelerating streaming growth and, given that Spotify’s revenue growth increased by less in 2020 than 2019, this indicates that it is for the first time meaningfully under-performing in the market, due to the rise of local players in emerging markets and strong growth for YouTube.”

Streaming is Growing in Japan, But Slumping CD Sales Drag Overall Revenues Down

According to data released this week by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), the world’s second largest market, Japan, posted its seventh straight year of digital gains with digital music sales up 11% in 2020. This uptick was fueled by a 25% growth in streaming audio revenues. By contrast, physical music sales, largely CDs, fell 15% in wholesale-value terms to 129.9 billion yen ($1.2 billion). In unit terms, physical dropped 21% to 105.7 million. Japan is the world's biggest consumer of physical music products, with physical still accounting for 62% of recorded-music sales in the country by wholesale value. The RIAJ figures also showed sales of streaming music videos rose 47% to 1.9 billion yen ($17.7 million), while sales of single-track music downloads dropped 21% to 11 billion yen ($101 million) in wholesale value.

France’s Recorded Music Market Generated Revenues of $883 Million in 2020

The recorded music market in France generated €781 million (approximately $883 million) in 2020, representing annual growth of just 0.1% in the pandemic year. The results, which include total revenues for physical and digital sales, neighboring rights and sync, were published this week by French trade body SNEP. Music streaming, in particular, generated revenues of €453 million ($511.89 million) in France in 2020, representing annual growth of 20.6% year-over-year. Music streaming accounted for 69% of France’s total sales revenues in 2020, and 96% of all digital revenues. Paid subscriptions to music streaming services were a major growth driver in the country last year. There were 8.7 million paid subscriptions in the country in 2020, up from 7.2 million in 2019 and 5.5 million in 2018. Up by 23% year-over-year, those paid subscriptions accounted for 78% of overall streaming revenues. According to SNEP, 30% of the French population, or 20 million people, now use audio streaming, up 33% versus 2019.

Ariana Grande Settles 7 Rings Song-Theft Lawsuit

A song-theft lawsuit that accused Ariana Grande of ripping off an earlier song on her 2019 hit “7 Rings” has been settled. Grande and her many co-writers on the track were sued last year by Josh Stone. He said Grande’s hit lifted elements of his song “You Need It, I Got It”. The lawsuit stated that “a lay person listening to the ‘hook’ and chorus of both songs can hear the strikingly similar and, at times, identical beat, rhythm and lyrics of both songs”. The dispute had the makings of a classic song-theft court battle, but no such court battle will now occur. The New York court where the litigation was filed has confirmed that a settlement has been reached. No details about the settlement have been revealed.

Random Ramblings

  • The winners who made history at the 2021 GRAMMY Awards.
  • The role of music in Einstein’s thinking.
  • BTS receives a world record title with "Dynamite".
  • The endless life cycle of Japanese City Pop.
  • The 2021 GRAMMYs top moments.

Who is Exploration?

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