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Monday, August 27, 2012

How Do You Discover Music?



Here's a fun post from Digital Music News that lists 62 different ways to discover music, plus a few additions in the "comments" section for good measure. What are your favorite ways to discover music? Leave your comments below!

Full List from Digital Music News: http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2012/120808discovery

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Modern Musician



The publication "Electronic Musician" recently ran a very engaging article titled "Survival of the Artist". It features insight, analysis, professional opinion and recommendations from a diverse group of leading figures in today's music business. The topic? How to navigate the current music landscape and create opportunities for success as an artist.

"How can artists make money? What is effective social-media engagement? Is touring crucial? What are the missed opportunities? Electronic Musician set out for answers and enlisted help from The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne, solo artist/Kickstarter queen Amanda Palmer, Chester French frontman/Spotify advisor D.A. Wallach, Glee music supervisor PJ Bloom, Linkin Park manager Ryan DeMarti, San Francisco alt rock radio leader Live 105 FM’s music director Aaron Axelsen, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, and Walk Off the Earth member/YouTube sensation Gianni Luminati."

Here are some of the key takeaways:

- Be a pleasure to work with and treat people with respect.

- Earning success takes time and hard work.

- Engage in two-way communication with fans. Don't be that "needy friend" who is always self-serving. But also don't under-estimate fans' willingness to help. They can be your biggest asset!

- You still need talent too!

- Don't put all your eggs in one glorified and coveted basket. Build momentum by piecing together smaller opportunities and work your way towards the big win.

But ultimately, this is all best heard from the featured men and women themselves, and their quotes resonate much deeper than the high level summaries provided above. Take a read for yourself! You won't regret it: http://www.emusician.com/eq-mag/0765/survival-of-the-artist/149199

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A2IM's White House Submission



As strong supporters of creative value and a healthy respect for copyright, All Music Matters has taken a special interest in the U.S. Government's effort to beef up its enforcement of intellectual property protection. We recently wrote about the open submission program led by U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel, and followed up with some suggestions for submitting your own ideas and recommendations.

Today, AMM would like you to take a look at the American Association of Independent Music's (A2IM) submission to Ms. Espinel. As mentioned in our post about the proposed UMG/EMI merger A2IM is a not-for-profit trade organization that serves independent labels, artists and publishers around the country, and even the world. Their letter to Ms. Espinel does a wonderful job detailing many of the issues that affect independent content owners and creators as it relates to weak copyright protection. Informative and inspirational, it will surely speak to and benefit any independent artist, label and publisher who reads it.

A2IM's Top Concerns:

- Search engines and ad networks that link to and trade on websites providing access to unlicensed music

- User-uploaded content services that encourage consumers to upload their favorite content and then disseminate that content even when there is no license from the creators

- Loopholes in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) that put an unsustainable burden on copyright owners to act as "24/7 takedown notice servers, diverting resources from creating and marketing their artists' music"

- Insufficient education and awareness surrounding statutory digital royalties that content owners are entitled to receive, and sometimes unknowingly sign away

While these are a few of the major takeaways, there is so much more to the letter. Please read it in full at: http://a2im.org/2012/08/09/a2im-files-comments-to-obama-administration-regarding-new-joint-strategic-plan-on-intellectual-property-enforcement/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Google Announces New Effort to Downgrade Pirate Sites in Search Results



Last week Google announced that it has adjusted its search algorithm to account for copyright removal notices filed against infringing websites. In theory, this means that websites with high totals of copyright removal requests will be more likely to appear lower in Google's search results, thus favoring sites offering legitimate access to licensed music (which will appear higher up, in place of the pirate sites).


Read the initial coverage from the Associated Press, via Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/google-downgrade-pirate-sites-search-results-205348515--finance.html

Read Google's announcement on Inside Search - The Official Google Search Blog: http://insidesearch.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/an-update-to-our-search-algorithms.html


Given Google's tenuous relationship with the entertainment industry, some may see this as an olive branch offering, but others are skeptical at best. For starters, Google does not seem to be subjecting its own YouTube to these new rules.

First, take a look at this report released by Google which lists domains with the most takedown requests filed over the last 16 months or so: http://www.google.com/transparencyreport/removals/copyright/domains/?r=all-time

While there are some familiar names high up on the list, YouTube is not one of them. Of course, the natural question is: why? Online publication "Search Engine Land" may have found one contributing factor: Google seems to treat YouTube takedown requests differently than search removal requests. For more details, follow "Search Engine Land" as they walk through the process step by step: http://searchengineland.com/how-youtube-will-escape-googles-new-pirate-penalty-130180

But YouTube may not be the only site that qualifies for special treatment. This follow up report by "Search Engine Land" suggests that Google's algorithm is actually considering much more than just the total number of takedown requests received, which ultimately may limit the effects on all sites with illegally posted content: http://searchengineland.com/google-many-popular-sites-will-escape-pirate-penalty-130289

Finally, Billboard has shared their findings from a few casual searches for pirated music conducted one week into the new algorithm changes. So far, the results don't seem to be too different from before: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/business-matters-the-first-week-with-google-1007857952.story

That said, these changes are only one week old, so there is a lot left to see. Mark Mulligan offers some interesting thoughts as to Google's real intentions behind this move and how it all may play out over the coming months (Hint: cooperation from content owners may become increasingly important to the success of "Google Play" - Google's paid content ecosystem). You can read Mark's projections here: http://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/why-google-are-really-downgrading-pirate-sites/

How do you think this will ultimately play out? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Money for Nothing? Well, Almost...



It may feel free, but you've earned it.

Back in July, we wrote a post about SoundExchange and the work they are doing to help make sure artists and labels receive digital streaming royalties due to them under statutory law. Well, if you didn't believe it before, it's hard not to believe now: they mean business.

Last week, SoundExchange announced that they are sitting on "tens of millions of dollars in unclaimed digital performance royalty payments", including "more than $31 million in royalties that are three or more years old." And guess what? They REALLY want to get rid of it all. The organization released a list of over 50,000 recording artists and labels to whom the money is owed. Amounts range anywhere from  $10 to over $100,000, but can't be claimed until the artist or label registers with SoundExchange.

Think you might be entitled to a piece of this pie? Why not check out the searchable database on the SoundExchange website to see if you're on the list? Regardless of what you find, be sure to register as an artist or label to help ensure any future royalties you earn make their way right to you.

Read the full press release from SoundExchange: http://www.soundexchange.com/2012/08/15/soundexchange-releases-list-of-recording-artists-and-record-labels-with-unclaimed-digital-performance-royalties/

Friday, August 17, 2012

What Is Fair Use?



In short, there's no simple answer. But Christiane Cargill Kinney, entertainment law columnist for CD Baby's "DIY Musician" blog, has summed up some key things to consider for those attempting to claim, or combat, "fair use" of a copyrighted work.

The key takeaways are:

1) There is no hard and fast definition of "fair use". "Fair use" is determined by weighing each particular usage against a combination of categories and factors as used by the Courts. Every scenario is unique and may result in differing or inconsistent rulings.

2) There are six major categories of fair use: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Usage that falls into one of these categories doesn't guarantee a "fair use", but it's a necessary place to start.

3) There are also four factors to consider when determining "fair use": the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used, and the effect of the use upon the potential market. These factors are weighed both individually and collectively. There is no pre-defined combination that guarantees a "fair use" every time.

4) See #1

Learn more about each of the categories and factors on CD Baby's "DIY Musician" blog. It's a fun and informative read! http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2012/07/but-what-about-fair-use-entertainment-law-for-indie-musicians/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=but-what-about-fair-use-entertainment-law-for-indie-musicians

Thursday, August 16, 2012

America's Map of Music



Where in America do musicians and music businesses tend to gather? It's an interesting question, and one that Charlotta Mellander from the Martin Prosperity Institute has helped answer.

Online publication "The Atlantic Cities" describes how Charlotta used "Bureau of Labor Statistics figures on the concentration of musicians and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis stats on music and recording industry business establishments, and combined the results into a Metro Music Index." The article is careful to point out that "we are measuring the concentration of musicians and music-related businesses, not the vibrancy or impact or quality of artists to emerge from a regional scene."

What large metro area (over 1 million people) do you think has the highest concentration of musicians and music businesses? Can you think of any small metro areas that over-index in either category? While some cities may seem quite obvious, others will certainly surprise you!

Take a look at the top music scenes in America here: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2012/08/geography-americas-music-scenes/2709/#slide10

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Twitter Tips from Amanda Palmer



Think you've got Twitter figured out? Think again. Amanda Palmer (formerly of the Dresden Dolls) has had an ENORMOUSLY successful year thanks to her clever utilization of the real-time information network. Throw in a record breaking $1.2 million raised through Kickstarter and you've got yourself quite a case-study in direct-to-fan engagement.

Amanda recently shared some of her secrets to success with Billboard.biz. It's a quick, easy and worthwhile read. Check it out here: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/amanda-palmer-talks-twitter-it-s-replaced-1007728552.story

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Free Culture Advocacy Is Older Than You Think

It may feel like the whole "copyleft" movement is a relatively new phenomenon that has only come to prominence in the digital age. As it turns out, while the concept certainly has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, it is in fact an age old idea.

Around the turn of the 20th century, James Frederick Willetts ran a massive piracy operation in England, printing and distributing unlicensed copies of the day's most popular sheet music. The below article from Copyhype contains excerpts from a hearing held by the British Parliament, at which James Willetts testifies and makes his case for "permissionless innovation".

Sound familiar? Read it for yourself and leave your comments below!

http://www.copyhype.com/2012/08/enter-the-pirate-king/

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Impact of Weak Copyright: A First Hand Account


Eric Hilton and Phil Hawken of the independent Washington DC based record label ESL Music (a label founded by Eric Hilton and Rob Garza - aka "Thievery Corporation" - in 1996) speak about their early success as a DIY operation and the challenges they now face with diminishing returns on the sale of their music.

Says Eric, "people are listening to the music...they're just getting it for free"..."Every day we talk about copyright because it's the number one issue in our business right now. I mean, we don't really sell the records anymore. They're stolen."

These issues obviously extend well beyond ESL and are exactly the kind of issues that we, as creators, need to bring to the forefront of the conversation about copyright.

Watch the short 4 minute video about ESL on The Copyright Alliance Blog: http://blog.copyrightalliance.org/2012/07/esl-music-on-being-the-evil-record-company-creativity-and-copyright/ 

Friday, August 10, 2012

A2IM's Reasons Against the Universal/EMI Merger


The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) is a not-for-profit trade organization that serves independent labels, artists and publishers around the country, and even the world. The organization recently took a very strong and clear stance against the proposed UMG/EMI recorded music merger. As it stands now, UMG is working to gain approval of proposed divestments (i.e. selling off rights to some of their catalogs) as a way to compensate for what they will gain by acquiring EMI. A2IM has called on the FTC to block the acquisition altogether, and if not, to make sure these divestments include properties in the U.S. market (the initial proposal included divestments mainly in Europe). A2IM's goal is to help maintain an even playing field for the independent music community as well as for new music technology companies.

Read A2IM's statement against the merger here: http://a2im.org/2012/07/30/a2im-on-universalemi-news-negative-impact-on-music-consumers-is-clear/

In a more recent article, pressure seems to be mounting for UMG to include divestments on a global scale: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/record-labels/pressure-mounts-for-universal-music-to-make-1007754552.story#qCTKTzmEoX1KOY2U.99

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Act Now! Contribute to the White House's IP Enforcement Strategy by Friday, August 10



You may recall our previous post about Victoria Espinel and the Federal Government's "open submission" program for shaping it's approach to the enforcement of intellectual property.

Well, the deadline for all submissions is approaching fast and will end tomorrow, Friday, August 10th. It's time to make your voice heard!

Submit your comments here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=OMB-2012-0004-0002

About the Program
As the White House’s Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), part of Victoria Espinel's job is to coordinate the many federal agencies that work to stop copyright infringement and counterfeiting. Now she's asking for input from the very people whose lives are most affected by IP policy - the songwriters, composers, musicians, music publishers, producers and other creative professionals whose livelihoods depend on strong copyright protection. That means you! Espinel is seeking public input to help shape a strategic plan for the federal government's IP enforcement efforts. This is a unique opportunity for all artists and creators to advise the White House on which strategies and tactics you feel are most effective.


What You Can Do
Espinel is seeking information on the costs versus the benefits of IP enforcement practices. Here are some themes you might want to touch on in your comments (suggestions courtesy of ASCAP):


Cost of IP theft

What is IP theft costing you as a creator?


Impact on individual creators

How are IP rights important to you as an individual creator?  How does IP enforcement (or lack of enforcement) impact you as an individual creator?  Some like to claim that IP benefits only corporate entities, which is clearly not the case.


Human, creative, free speech rights of creators

What are the benefits of IP enforcement to you as a creator, not just in economic terms, but in terms of human rights, creative rights and the freedom of speech?  For example, some copyright opponents claim that online enforcement stifles free speech.  In fact, lack of enforcement stifles the free speech rights of creators.  How is free speech protected when pirate sites can profit from your work as a creator, but you cannot?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SEO Basics for DIY Musicians

These days, it's hard for an independent artist to be JUST an artist. Aside from creating awesomely compelling music, one must also know how to expose it to the world as effectively as possible. And while there's no single silver-bullet solution, there are some basic concepts that can help guide the way.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most basic and important concepts to know. This is what helps make you, as an artist, discoverable on the web. The people at Disc Makers have put together an easy-to-read guide to SEO. Check it out below - it really gets you thinking in the right direction.

Read Disc Makers' "A Musician's Guide to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)": http://blog.discmakers.com/2012/08/a-musicians-guide-to-seo/

Then, check out some of these tools to help find the most effective keywords for your music, website, videos and social media posts. Courtesy of Bobby Owsinski's Music Industry Blog.

Read About New Keyword Research Tools: http://music3point0.blogspot.com/2012/07/new-keyword-research-tools.html

Friday, August 3, 2012

Amazon's New Scan-and-Match Service



Amazon has just announced new scan-and-match functionality for its Cloud Player music service. Originally, Amazon's Cloud Drive + Cloud Player required users to manually upload their music for anywhere, anytime access. Scan-and-match technology identifies the music in a user's collection and matches it against an existing collection of over 20 million songs that Amazon has licensed, requiring no uploading whatsoever (assuming Amazon has everything that you have in your collection). At $25/month, this competes directly with the iTunes Match service. However as a complete music solution, it still falls short of the recently launched Music Hub service from Samsung.

Labels and Publishers are happier because they're now getting paid by Amazon (Amazon did not have any licenses in place for Cloud Drive + Cloud Player before introducing scan-and-match). The question is, are they getting paid fairly? And if so, how much money, if any, are artists and songwriters seeing?

Read more from Billboard.biz: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/amazon-launches-scan-and-match-service-for-1007709952.story

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Non-Exclusive Retitling: What You Might Not Know

Another insightful piece from Production Music Association board member Ron Mendelsohn that dives into the dirty details of non-exclusive retitling. For the unfamiliar, this is the practice of creating multiple titles for the same piece of music and making this music available to license through several competing distributors. It's commonly done these days, and while it may seem quite enticing on the surface there's really a lot left to be desired. Ultimately, it all comes down to how we, as an industry, value our creations.

An important read for songwriters, composers, publishers and artists. Learn more at: http://app.e2ma.net/campaign/27456.af55d60b404c79870d1c9931918a94fc


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Music Hub: Samsung's Holistic Music Experience

Here's an interesting concept - a single music service, for one low monthly fee, that provides access to a cloud storage locker, unlimited on-demand streaming of over 19 million tracks, personalized radio and a full track download store (purchases cost extra). These services all exist individually, with separate fees and accounts required for each (iTunes Match, Amazon Cloud Drive, Spotify, Pandora, etc) however they have yet to be combined into a single, low cost service. For only $10 per month, Samsung's new Music Hub service provides just that. It's certainly an intriguing proposition. The catch is that for now the service can only be used with the Galaxy S III phone, although Samsung says they will be "expanding to other devices soon".

Is this the future of digital music consumption? Does Samsung have a chance of success with this service, or will they merely provide the model for another more established digital music service provider to scale? How might this affect the way in which copyright holders are compensated? Leave your thoughts, comments and predictions below.

Read more from Billboard.biz: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/samsung-launches-u-s-music-hub-with-cloud-1007714952.story

And: http://www.billboard.biz/bbbiz/industry/digital-and-mobile/business-matters-samsung-s-music-hub-shows-1007722952.story

Visit the official Music Hub website: http://www.musichub.com/music/home.php