Artist Rights Alliance challenges Amazon Music-Twitch integration

The Artist Rights Alliance (ARA), an industry body representing songwriters and musicians, has been vocal in its criticism of Amazon, sending Jeff Bezos a letter demanding a better answer than, “I don’t know” when he was asked by the US Congress about music licensing on the Amazon-owned Twitch platform. After yesterday’s announcement of Twitch’s music livestreams being […]

Amazon IVS could help music companies build their own Twitch

Amazon already owns one of the key livestreaming video platforms, in Twitch. Now its Amazon Web Services division is launching something that could help brands (perhaps including labels) to create their own-brand versions of Twitch. It’s called Amazon Interactive Video Services (IVS) and is described as “a managed live streaming solution that is quick and easy to […]

Watch for YouTube impact of Facebook’s music videos move

Let us take you back on a short tour of Facebook music-video speculation. Start in 2012 when reports claimed Vevo – then the key aggregator of music videos – was in talks to ditch YouTube in favour of a partnership with Facebook. Then move to 2015, when video was one of the topics in the social network’s tentative talks […]

Tools: MUSIXMATCH. The world’s largest catalog of song lyrics and translations.

Musixmatch provides licensed lyric features to the likes of Google, Apple Music, Amazon and Instagram, having deals in place with over 10,000 publishers globally. It also has direct relationships with over 1m artists who are verified on the platform through their labels, their publishers or even directly.  Hot on the heels of the announcement that […]

TikTok strikes licensing deal for Prince back catalogue

There has been a lot of debate about which music licences TikTok has already, which ones it doesn’t (publishers have been particularly sharp on this one) and what it needs to do next to ensure performers and songwriters are getting paid for usage of their work in its app. So it’s interesting to see TikTok press-releasing […]

ByteDance and TikTok revenues under the microscope again

The rise of TikTok, and the assorted controversies around it, have meant there’s a lot more scrutiny of the economics of the app and its parent company ByteDance. Which is welcome for the music industry, as rightsholders go into licensing negotiations keen to strike as advantageous deals as possible. There are two new bouts of […]

Twitch users get retrospective claims for past music use

In yesterday’s bulletin, we covered the news that livestreaming platform Twitch has reminded users that DJ sets are among the “types of music content you may not use in Twitch streams or VODs”. We suggested that the new guidelines may have been in response to an uptick in copyright takedowns filed by music rightsholders, and… […]

Twitch music guidelines rule out DJ sets without licences

The esports community has been chattering about Twitch’s latest guidelines on using recorded music in live broadcasts and video-on-demand uploads to its platform. Dot Esports’ top angle was the fact that using music from streaming services like Spotify is not allowed, but after looking at the guidelines, we think that there are also other points for musicians […]

Canadian PRO SOCAN launches livestreams licensing scheme

Lots of artists and especially DJs are livestreaming on Facebook and Instagram, but as the latter platform recently made clear, there are some licensing restrictions on what music can be played. Canadian collecting society SOCAN has done something interesting though: a new program called ‘Encore!’ that will pay songwriters and publishers when their work is used in livestreams […]

EFF’s Cory Doctorow sets out blanket music licensing plan

Author and activist Cory Doctorow elicits some strong opinions within the music industry, it’s fair to say: he was a key figure in the opposition to the European Copyright Directive (including encouraging “targeting and destroying the political careers of any politician stupid enough to vote in favour of this idiocy”) for example. So, news that he has […]

Kenya Copyright Board takes aim at unlicensed DJ livestreams

Instagram has music licensing deals for user-generated content through parent company Facebook, but even it recently had to clarify its guidelines for people broadcasting music on the platform. The wider question of licensing for online livestreams is provoking debate across the world, including this week in Kenya. The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has delivered a warning […]

Pex study suggests 17% of podcast episodes include music

Licensing music for podcasts is a bit of a tangle. We know that. But how many podcasts are using music, be it licensed or unlicensed? That’s data that analytics firm Pex has been ferreting out for its latest study, announced in a series of tweets yesterday. “To date we indexed 32,402,790 unique podcast episodes. 5,447,823 of those contained […]

Instagram publishes guidelines on use of copyrighted music

Verzuz battles, Robbie Williams’ kitchen karaoke, KT Tunstall solo raving… There have been some joyful musical broadcasts on Instagram Live during the Covid-19 pandemic. But as a blog post from Instagram noted yesterday, the recent boom in livestreams has “highlighted some confusion across the community — especially around the use of recorded music in Live on […]

Merlin CEO promises ‘long view’ around tech partnerships

Earlier this year, indie licensing agency Merlin appointed Facebook music exec Jeremy Sirota as its new CEO. On Friday (15 May) he gave his first public speech in the role at AIM’s online ‘AIM House’ conference. It included some colour about Merlin’s plans, and its recent growth. “I see a lot of value in taking […]

Bad Bunny’s ‘Safaera’ returns to Spotify after sample dispute

Fans of Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny had been raging last week after his ‘Safaera’ song was removed from Spotify. Now it’s back, along with an explanation from the streaming service about why it had been rendered unplayable for a few days. “We are happy to report to Bad Bunny fans that Safaera is once […]

Spotify and WMG seal their deal – including ‘additional markets’

The coronavirus pandemic appeared to have put the long-running soap opera of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels on hiatus. Now it’s returning: with concrete progress. “Warner Music Group and Spotify are pleased to announce a renewed global licensing partnership. This expanded deal covers countries where Spotify is available today, as well as additional markets,” […]

Bootleg podcasts hint at how Spotify could shake up audio shows

What to call them. Podboots? Notcasts? Vice has run a fascinating piece on the Trojan horse world of podcasts on Spotify that are smuggling unlicensed music onto the platform. Vice has trawled Spotify’s music podcasts category and found a range of shows, with names like idk im high, boyband nostalgia and the less i know the circle […]

Super-bundle plans reportedly missing from Apple Music’s new deals

Amid all the blow-by-blow speculation about the progress of Spotify’s licensing renewals with major labels, it’s been easy to forget that – sit down for this revelation – other streaming services also have deals that periodically need to be renewed. Apple Music, for instance, which according to the Financial Times has quietly sealed its new deals with […]

Michelle Phan’s music startup Thematic joins 500 Startups

We first wrote about Thematic in June 2018: it’s a startup founded by YouTuber (and all-round influencer) Michelle Phan, which specialised in licensing music for her fellow online stars’ videos. The pitch was “no membership fees, no licensing fees, no rev-shares” during its public beta, with all the music pre-cleared for use. According to a crowdfunding pitch from the […]

TikTok signs Merlin deal but its licensing work is far from done

TikTok and indie licensing-agency Merlin have announced a licensing deal covering use of music from the latter’s member labels “wherever the platform is available around the world”. The deal is effective immediately, and financial terms have not been disclosed. Cue warm words from both sides. “Independent artists and labels are such a crucial part of […]

Composer Kerry Muzzey tweets tangled tale of Chinese licensing problems

If you want an insight into some of the challenges for composers in 2020, grab a large cup of tea and settle down to read this Twitter thread from Kerry Muzzey, whose music has been used by a number of high-profile TV shows. In it, he details his discovery that his music had been used, without […]

Tracklib launches its ‘State of Sampling 2019’ report

Sample-licensing service Tracklib has published its latest ‘State of Sampling’ report, offering some stats and insight into how samples are being used in 2019’s music industry. “This year, 15% of the songs on Billboard Hot 100 contained samples. A total of 17 samples in 15 of the songs, with some containing more than one,” being […]

David Lowery calls for songwriter input to MLC/DLC settlement

Artist and musician-rights advocate David Lowery has criticised last week’s announcement of an agreed budget for the new US Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC). Agreed with the body that represents the digital music services, the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC), the agreement secured $33.5m for the MLC’s startup costs, and $28.5m for its 2021 ‘initial annual assessment’. […]

MLC and digital music services reach deal over budget

We reported before on the (sadly inevitable) squabbling over the budget for the new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) in the US, with the bill to be footed by digital music services. However, the latter’s representative in the negotiations, the Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC) has reached an agreement with the MLC to bring the argument to […]

Partisan co-founder talks music-licensing for podcasts

When Music Ally and British industry body the BPI held an event about music and podcasts earlier this year, one of the main talking points was about the difficulty of licensing music for podcasts. “Rights are a disaster,” being just the snappiest summary of the current situation. Now podcasting-industry site Hot Pod News has been talking […]

Tencent Music under pressure over exclusive licensing deals

One of the quirks of China’s music-streaming market has been the system of exclusive licensing deals: where a label will license its catalogue exclusively to one streaming firm, which will then sub-license it to its rivals. There has been talk for several months of the system being done away with at the behest of regulators. […]

DiMA and RLMC warn DoJ off hasty removal of US consent decrees

Just the latest potential shakeup to the US system of music-licensing is the Department of Justice’s antitrust division’s review of the ‘consent decrees’ which govern collecting societies ASCAP and BMI. Now the body that represents streaming services, the Digital Media Association (DiMA) has teamed up with radio-industry body the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC) to […]

Amid TikTok dispute, Bytedance hired ICE’s head of rights & repertoire

TikTok has referred licensing hub ICE and its three founders – PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM – to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over licensing terms. The social app will have some expert help in its corner, it turns out. “Exciting times ahead in a truly inspiring company! Thank you TikTok / […]

Lickd says Ed Sheeran is most-longed-for licence for YouTubers

Ed Sheeran is big on YouTube: as Music Ally recently reported, his channel has just passed the milestone of 40 million subscribers, while it’s now also past the 17bn views mark. However, Sheeran is also the top artist cited by YouTubers when asked whose music they most want to license for use in their videos. […]

NMPA-backed consortium wins race to be the US’ new MLC

The keenly (and very publicly) fought race to oversee the US’ new Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has been won by the consortium led by publishing bodies the NMPA, NSAI and SONA. The group prevailed over the rival American Mechanical Licensing Collective, with the pair competing to run the new body set up as part of […]

MelodyVR reveals content-licensing deal with Facebook

It’s a busy time for music-VR startup MelodyVR, with its smartphone app having just launched. Now it has announced an intriguing content-licensing deal… with Facebook. “The agreement will see MelodyVR’s content utilised by Facebook/Oculus for advertising purposes and licenses its exploitation across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and via the Oculus Website, for a period of 9 […]

Epidemic Sound raises $20m and prepares for Asia expansion

Production-music firm Epidemic Sound has raised a $20m funding round, which the company says will fuel its expansion to Asia. The round includes equity funding from Korean investor DS Asset Management, and debt funding from Swedish group SEB. Epidemic is opening an office in South Korea this autumn, in partnership with the former company. “We […]

Replica will help artists ‘license their own voices at scale’

Earlier this year, Australian startup Replica was announced as one of the latest cohort for accelerator Techstars Music: a company using AI “to create the next generation of games, films, music, and other media” providing “millions of ‘Replica’ voice actors on demand”. Now the company has been explaining more about what it does, and how it might be […]

Roli launches Kickstarter for Lumi educational instrument

British startup Roli has launched a series of inventive musical instruments. Its latest has been unveiled with a Kickstarter pre-orders campaign. The instrument is called Lumi, which is pitched as “the illuminated keyboard, app and song library that lets you play great songs and learn as you go”. You might compare it to music game Guitar […]

Merlin CEO steps down after another record payouts year

The boss of indie licensing agency Merlin will step down at the end of 2019. Charles Caldas revealed the news yesterday, having led the organisation since its earliest days in 2007. It’s an amicable life-choice decision, with plenty of praise for Caldas’ work in its wake. “Merlin and the whole independent community owe Charles a […]

Report: Bytedance has Indian label deals for new music service

New details have emerged on TikTok’s parent company Bytedance’s plans to launch its own music-streaming service. Bloomberg reports that the new service will launch this autumn “in a handful of territories, mostly poorer countries where paid services have yet to garner large audiences”. The countries aren’t named, but one clue comes from the news that Bytedance has […]

China’s music industry discusses social music-promotion

This weekend saw the ‘WISE’ conference take place in Beijing, with a lineup of Chinese and international speakers from the music and media industries. Music Ally was there to report back on some of the discussions relating to our industry: particularly a debate over how or if platforms like TikTok (Douyin in China) plan to […]

TikTok was the third most-downloaded app globally in Q1 2019

Social app TikTok may be at a point in its lifetime where big numbers around its growth are counter-productive – at least in one specific context: licensing negotiations with the music industry. The bigger TikTok gets, the keener rightsholders will be to point out how important music has been to its growth, and why any […]

Soundstripe raises $4m for video music-licensing business

Nashville-based startup Soundstripe is a production library that licenses its catalogue to video producers of all levels, from YouTubers to advertising firms and filmmakers. The company says it has issued more than 2m of its ‘micro-licences’ since it was founded in 2016. Now it has raised $4m of Series A funding to continue growing the business, adding […]

Groups still competing to run US Mechanical Licensing Collective

As part of the recently-passed Music Modernization Act (MMA) in the US, a new ‘Mechanical Licensing Collective’ (MLC) will be created to license and administer mechanical rights in that country. Two groups are competing to be awarded the contract, and details of their plans have now been published, as part of the process. Billboard has […]

Warner Music signs licensing deal with Boomplay in Africa

Warner Music Group has become the second major label to sign a direct licensing deal with African digital-music service Boomplay, following Universal Music’s deal in November 2018. WMG’s deal covers a catalogue of 1m songs for 10 countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Boomplay will make the music […]

MelodyVR signs four more music-publishing licensing deals

Music virtual-reality startup MelodyVR has announced four new licensing agreements, focusing on the publishing world. The deals include UMPI (part of Universal Music Publishing Group); Sacem; Ascap and BMI. “As MelodyVR continues to expand, these four music licensing deals enhance our opportunities for content creation and distribution on a global basis. Following a successful 2018 and with […]

BMI and ASCAP publish thoughts on replacing US consent decrees

We reported earlier this week on moves afoot in the US to modernise / replace the longstanding ‘consent decrees’ governing licensing in the US. Now collecting societies BMI and ASCAP have published an open letter setting out their views on what should happen. They are calling for an “orderly transition” with new decrees that would […]

US could overhaul its music-licensing rules for publishing

Even as the row over Spotify’s publishing licensing in India rages, so attention is switching back to the US, where the Department of Justice is mulling a shakeup of the long-established ‘consent decrees’. “The Justice Department in the coming weeks is expected to call for public input on whether it should modify or terminate two […]

Court ruling emerges as Warner Music calls Spotify’s comments ‘appalling’

An Indian court has made its ruling on Warner Music Group’s application for an injunction as part of its dispute with Spotify over publishing licensing in the country. Does the ruling settle the matter one way or the other? Unsurprisingly, it’s complicated. Here’s Spotify’s statement, sent out to journalists this morning: “We’re pleased with today’s […]

Sandbox Issue 222: SYNC IN. Music Synchronisation Gets Smarter

Lead: as synchronisation grows in importance, a new wave of tools is emerging to make that whole process work seamlessly and smarter, covering both micro-licensing and pitch management. We look at the key players here, what they do and where they are taking synch – plus consider how AI is set to shake things up […]

Songtradr buys music-licensing agency Big Sync Music

There is more consolidation afoot in the music-licensing world, with Songtradr announcing yesterday that it has acquired British firm Big Sync Music. The latter company focuses on sourcing music for brand campaigns, and counts Dove, Samsung, Amazon, Johnnie Walker and Axe among its clients. Songtradr intends to combine the agency’s contacts and knowledge with its […]

Pitchfork calls TikTok ‘the great music meme scam’

Pitchfork spares no punches in its profile of social-video app TikTok, drawing an unflattering comparison between the value of its parent company Bytedance, and the level of royalties being paid to musicians for use of their work. That said, a tale does emerge of viral TikTok videos sparking streams of music on YouTube and other platforms […]

Marshmello Fortnite concert thought to have attracted 10m fans

Those rumours that dance artist Marshmello was going to play a concert within video-game Fortnite were right: it happened on Saturday. In fact, he played two concerts, 12 hours apart, to ensure people could attend at a suitable moment for their timezone. What’s startling is how many people the first of those concerts attracted. Pollstar […]

ClicknClear gets approval from International Cheer Union

We first wrote about British startup ClicknClear last year (when it was known as Clickamix) with its plans to license music for use in performance sports like cheerleading, figure skating and gymnastics. The company has since started working with more than 100 music rightsholders, including Universal Music Publishing, Warner Music and BMG. Now ClicknClear has […]

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