Spotify remains exclusive to PlayStation, sorry Xbox

With a giant summer update some thought that Xbox consoles might finally get Spotify, but their exclusive deal with PlayStation is alive and well… for now.

The upcoming update for Xbox promises some cool new features like Cortana support and the long awaited ability to play music in the background. Unfortunately when you’re listening to music whilst exploring your game worlds on Xbox it won’t be played through Spotify.

Spotify have had an exclusive contract with Sony that has brought their popular music streaming to Playstation game consoles. In response to a tweet asking whether we could see Spotify coming to Microsoft’s xbox consoles soon, Spotify said: “Right now we’re focused on our exclusive partnership with PlayStation, we don’t have any info regarding other consoles”.

That doesn’t mean we won’t see Spotify come to Xbox sometime in the future, Spotify even suggested that we could expect some news soon in a follow up tweet. When user Daniel Duke said that he wouldn’t purchase their family plan because Spotify isn’t on Xbox, they responded: “We want to be available on as many platforms as possible. We don’t have any more info to share right now, but stay tuned”. Oh Spotify you tease.

For now we will have to make do with the existing music services on Xbox, which is currently only Microsoft’s own streaming service Groove. They haven’t revealed whether any new services will be introduced to the platform when they launch background music compatibility with Xbox but we’re hoping that we get to see some new additions.

Although music streaming is primarily popular on mobile devices and computers their appeal is clear on consoles as Spotify’s PlayStation app has been home to over 5 million streams. For now Spotify remains a PlayStation exclusive when it comes to game consoles, but fingers crossed we could see that change soon.

SOCAN acquire Audiam to “fix” online music rights and royalties

Canadian organisation SOCAN have made another purchase that positions them in the prime spot to help artists fairly receive what they’re owed from music online.

SOCAN’s latest purchase is royalty collecting society Audiam, founded by Tunecore executives. Audiam scans music from around the web, including music services like YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and many more to identify and collect the appropriate royalties for artists.

Audiam will remain a separate body with Tunecore founder and CEO Jeff Price retaining his position as CEO at Audiam. Performing rights association SOCAN’s purchase of Audiam follows another purchase by the company in May this year of metadata tech providers MediaNet, which gives them access to an expansive list of information about digital sound recordings allowing them to match tracks and issue licenses so that rights-holders can get paid.

SOCAN’s CEO Eric Baptiste said: “In 2013 Audiam shook up the music royalties system by identifying and correcting serious gaps in the digital music rights value chain, particularly with music used in YouTube videos, by correctly matching data to the rights-holder. By acquiring Audiam, SOCAN steps even further ahead with our vision to lead the global transformation of music rights with substantial new tools for our more than 135,000 member songwriters, composers and music publishers, dramatically expanding our ability to ensure that creators are properly and fairly compensated.”

SOCON digital copyright artists

SOCAN say that with the purchase of Audiam they will begin leveraging it’s software in music identification and it’s other services to more accurately pay rightsholders their entitled earnings. They also plan to expand with Audiam’s other business areas like it’s licensing and administration of mechanical income from digital service in North America.

Jeff Price said: “SOCAN is not only the most technologically advanced, efficient and transparent music rights organisation on the planet, but its board of directors and executive team are singularly focussed on assuring all the works of composers and publishers are licensed and that rights-holders are paid for the use of their music. Adding SOCAN’s resources and knowledge to Audiam allows us to finally fix the global industry problems, remove liability for services and get rights-holders paid.”

This video game is getting a live music score and performance

In a groundbreaking move video game ‘Dear Esther’ is getting a full performance in London’s Barbican with a live music score and narration.

Theater with live music is nothing new, even film viewings featuring an accompanying orchestra aren’t unusual nowadays. Dear Esther, developed by The Chinese Room, however is taking a revolutionary move with  a performance of it’s video game with live music and narrative accompaniments at the Barbican Centre in London.

The mystery exploration game will be played through in it’s entirety whilst BAFTA-nominated narrator Nigel Carrington leads you through the game. All the while BAFTA-winning composer Jessica Curry will bring the game’s story to life with a “powerful score” performed live alongside the playthrough.

The game is described as:

A deserted landscape, memories of a fatal crash, a book written by a dying explorer – explore an island shrouded in mystery.

Starting on a small beach, with only brooding cliffs and a small lighthouse in view, Nigel Carrington takes you through the game, journeying from the desolate Hebridean island to a car crash on the M5, a crisis of faith of a guilty heart, the lost shores of a dreamed shoreline and a final ascent through the waters of madness to the release of flight.

Originally released in 2012, Dear Esther quickly gained critical acclaim for abandoning traditional gameplay in favour of atmosphere, rich storytelling and extraordinary art, proving videogames are capable of the same musical, narrative and artistic expression as film, literature and Classical music.

The Telegraph described it as: “A beautiful and thought-provoking piece of work. It is oil painting, poetry, eulogy and video game all at once. And it’s never less than fascinating.”

It is thanks to Dear Esther’s unique gameplay style based on discovery, rather than action or puzzles, that allows it to break new ground with a live performance and accompaniment of theatrical scope.

Tickets for the performance at Barbican in London are now available for £10 – £22.50 here.

Social network VKontakte (VK) launching a music subscription service

Russian social network site VK (formerly VKontakte) have revealed plans to launch a music subscription service sometime this year.

In a massive shift for the popular European social network VK they have revealed plans to release a music subscription service in the next 6 months. This will see the platform that had been rife with illegally uploaded music by users which had caused contention between VK and labels.

VKontakte’s CEO Boris Dobrodeyev said: “Following extensive negotiations, we have agreed terms with all of the major music rights holders, enabling us to draw a line under this process. This is a historic moment and a new milestone in VKontake’s history. Our constructive and mutually beneficial collaboration has put an end to earlier disputes with the record companies.”

VK have now secured licensing agreements with the three major labels removing legal barriers, which Dobrodeyev says will allow them to “create new products based on VKontakte’s music service that users will value”. At VK Fest this week Russian executives from Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment all spoke on the upcoming service.

Senior Vice President of UMG, Adrian Cheesley said: “Music has tremendous value and we’re gratified to reach a commercial agreement that ensures UMG’s artists are fairly compensated for the use of their music. Russia is an important, and growing, market for UMG and with this important step we’re looking forward to developing more local artists, investing in growing the music scene and broadly licensing services.”

The Moscow Times reported that some of the functions will still be in development until early 2017 when they hope to implement them. The label executives said at VK Fest that new features and functions would be rolling out by the end of the year and that the service would cost about the “price of a cup of coffee”.

Alexander Blinov of Warner Music Group Russia said: “Users will still be able to listen to audio recordings for free but some paid functions will appear, such as adding audio to your own account. If you love performers, you have to support them. Musicians must earn a living in order to create new songs.”

VK is the largest social network in Europe and is particularly popular in it’s home country of Russia. VK has roughly 143 million users worldwide with more than 88 million registered users in Russia alone.

YouTube Change Policy on Copyright Strikes, Account Standing and Community Guidelines

YouTube have updated their policies on Copyright Strikes, Account Standing and Community Guidelines.

Copyright strikes now only last for 3 months instead of 6 months. Thus, if you had a copyright strike older than 3 months on your account it should now be removed.