IFPI and BMAT launch SoundSys a distribution system for performance rights revenue collection

IFPI and BMAT team up with four music licensing companies (MLCs) in Asia to launch SoundSys.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is a non-profit organisation that helps the industry license music. IFPI are teaming up with BMAT, who identify music across TV, radio, venues and digital services. IFPI and BMAT along with four music licensing companies in Asia launch SoundSys.

“IFPI, and the respective MLCs in India, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, working with BMAT, have designed, and delivered the industry’s first shared, cloud-based software that serves as a complete, cost-effective back-office distribution system for revenue collected for the broadcasting and public performance of sound recordings and karaoke videos in these countries.” Developing a shared system across the four Asian countries listed, means the societies do not have to build it themselves.

SoundSys

SoundSys follows the launch of repertoire data exchange service RDx. “The roll-out of both systems globally will provide a standardised, high quality recording metadata supply pipeline and data processing capability for MLCs that will significantly improve the performance rights management landscape worldwide.” IFPI plans to rollout the fully scalable shared system to other parts of the world.

Kings Of Leon Offer New Album As An NFT In Music Industry First

Image credit: Kings of Leon

The “non-fungible token’s” are a form of cryptocurrency and will unlock perks including limited-edition vinyl and front row seats to future concerts.

The American rock band will be the first-ever band to release an album as an NFT (non-fungible token), when their latest record ‘When You See Yourself’ drops this Friday (5th March). 

Listeners will be able to buy the album on blockchain, a cryptocurrency wallet, exchange, and explorer. The album will also be available in physical form and on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. 

The tokens will unlock special perks such as limited-edition vinyl and front-row seats for future concerts. 

NFTs are a form of cryptocurrency that can hold assets such as art, concert tickets, and music instead of money. As with most cryptocurrencies, they are expected to increase in value over time but can also be instantly valuable too. In fact, this week artist Grimes sold $6m (£4.3m) worth of art as NFTs.

As cryptocurrencies gain traction and become more of a mainstream asset, we’ll likely see more artists using NFTs to sell their music and art. 

Watch Kings of Leon play new song ‘The Bandit’ live on Jools Holland here:

Spotify Podcast Listeners Are Predicted To Top Apple’s For The First Time In 2021

Image credit: Austin Distel

It’s a gamble that Spotify investors have been waiting to pay off and it’s looking like it may be about to in 2021 and beyond.

Spotify has been a home for podcasts since late 2018 but in recent years with the rise in their popularity, the streaming service has been looking to become a podcasting powerhouse. Their first big move (and arguably most controversial) was signing an exclusive deal with The Joe Rogan Experience, a popular and often controversial show. 

The 2020s Spotify Wrapped boasted that over 1 million podcasts were launched that year via the platform and recent data from MIDiA confirmed that 42% of all podcast consumption comes from Spotify. 

It’s clear to see that Spotify’s gamble with podcasts has paid off and a recent market forecast has predicted that U.S podcast listenership will surpass Apple Podcasts for the first time this year. It’s been predicted that 28.2 million U.S users will listen to podcasts on Spotify at least monthly, compared to 28.0 million via Apple Podcasts. 

The eMarketer forecast also predicts that in the two years to follow, Spotify will widen the gap with Apple, reaching 33.1 million monthly podcast listeners by 2022. Apple is however predicted 28.5 million podcast users by 2022. By 2023, Spotify is expected to see 37.5 million monthly listeners in the U.S, compared with Apple’s still flat 28.8 million. 

The firm notes that Apple has been in a state of decline with podcast listeners since it started tracking the market back in 2018. At that point, Apple Podcasts had a 34% market share, which plummeted to 23.8% this year. 

Overall, there are likely to be 117.8 million people in the U.S who listen to podcasts on a monthly basis in 2021, a 10.1% increase year on year. Podcast listeners will also be expected to account for 53.9% of monthly digital audio listeners, surpassing 50% for the first time, according to eMarkerter.  

“By putting podcasts and music in one place, Spotify quickly became the convenient one-stop-shop for everything digital audio,” noted eMarketer forecasting analyst Peter Vahle. “Apple was the de facto destination for podcasts for a long time, but in recent years, it has not kept up with Spotify’s pace of investment and innovation in podcast content and technology. Spotify’s investments have empowered podcast creators and advertisers through its proprietary hosting, creation, and monetization tools,” he said.

Keeping the momentum up Spotify has signed several exclusives and originals but will also implement new, more interactive features such as paid podcast subscriptions, WordPress integrations, and a variety of new tools for creators. 

SoundCloud’s new user-centric payment system is revolutionary, but there is a catch

This week SoundCloud announced the brand new way in which they will be paying artists to make streaming royalties fairer for smaller artists with dedicated fans. Sadly not every artist will gain from this.

The new user-centric payment system announced by SoundCloud this week is game changing. Rumoured to be on its way at the start of February, SoundCloud have made huge announcements revealing that yes it is coming – and very soon!

It pays artists out based on the revenue generated by their actual listeners. What this means is that someone paying a £10 subscription who listens to only one artist, all of the streaming revenue pay-out from that £10 goes to that artist.

It is incredible news, particularly for smaller artists and labels with dedicated communities and fans. The previous system, and the one adopted by all major streaming services, means that all streaming revenues go into a large pot and are then distributed based on a percentage of streams amongst all of the song streams in a period.

Does SoundCloud’s new user-centric payment system sound vastly more fair? Absolutely it does, especially if you are an independent artist or record label. SoundCloud’s move into this payment model is pioneering – Deezer have discussed it before but never managed to make the leap – however, sadly not all artists on SoundCloud will be benefitting from the new payment system.

Which artists are eligible for SoundCloud’s fan powered royalties?

The new user-centric payment system will only apply to artists who monetise their music directly with SoundCloud. So eligible artists include Pro Unlimited subscribers in the Premier Program, Repost by SoundCloud subscribers, and members of Repost Select.

It’s a brilliant move and unfortunately it is understandable that they can only provide it for direct distribution. The reason that Deezer haven’t been able to implement the model is that there is that there is sadly still resistance from major labels. Though they have said that they’ve been able to get “the majority of French labels” on board for an initial test in France, it hasn’t yet happened.

Hopefully with SoundCloud leading the way with the first to adopt a UCPS then the flood gates will be opened for others to try it. We know how much it could benefit the independent artists and labels we work with. We now eagerly await to see the results when the new payment system goes live for SoundCloud’s eligible users.

The new system of payments will begin on April 1st next month and eligible Premier artists will receive their first statement in May whilst Repost artists will see their first report in June.

Historic first as SoundCloud challenge music streaming payment system with “fan-powered royalties”

Image Credit: SoundCloud

In an industry-first, SoundCloud is introducing a user-centric payment system so that artists get paid based on their actual listeners.

SoundCloud has become the first streaming service to switch to a user-centric payment system for independent artists on the platform. In a move that was rumoured last month, from April a “fan-powered royalties” arrangement will see subscriber’s money go only to the artists they listen to.

At the moment royalties on SoundCloud and other streaming services like Spotify are pooled and rights-holders are paid according to their market share of total plays on the platform. User-centric licensing has been peddled as a fairer alternative to this current pro rata streaming payment system. It’s an option that’s been debated in the economics of music streaming government inquiry in the UK.

Critics say the current pro rata model is great for music superstars, but not so great for indie artists and specialist genres like jazz, and that fans of these genres are funding music they never actually stream. According to SoundCloud, “fan-powered” royalties equal a more transparent and fairer system.

Image Credit: SoundCloud

The hope is to level the playing field for some indie artists by linking payments to fandom, meaning fans can directly influence how their favourite artists get paid.

Michael Weissman, Chief Executive Officer of SoundCloud, said: “Many in the industry have wanted this for years. We are excited to be the ones to bring this to market to better support independent artists. SoundCloud is uniquely positioned to offer this transformative new model due to the powerful connection between artists and fans that takes place on our platform.

“As the only direct-to-consumer music streaming platform and next generation artist services company, the launch of fan-powered royalties represents a significant move in SoundCloud’s strategic direction to elevate, grow and create new opportunities directly with independent artists.”

Once it kicks in on April 1st, SoundCloud’s move will benefit nearly 100,000 independent artists who monetise directly through SoundCloud Premier, Repost Select or Repost by SoundCloud.

Learn more about the new system on SoundCloud’s microsite.

Spotify Confirms Hundreds Of K-pop Releases Have Been Removed From The Platform Worldwide

Image credit: RBW Entertainment

The streaming platform that launched in South Korea earlier this year hopes that the “disruption will be temporary”.

The music streaming platform Spotify has only recently launched in South Korea but it is already having some issues. Hundreds of K-pop releases have been removed worldwide as they continue to reach an agreement with distributor Kakao M. 

The streaming service launched in South Korea on February 1st 2021 but without music from artists with licensing deals under Kakao M which includes IU, Zico and more. 

Releases distributed by the Korean label have now been removed from Spotify around the world. Kakao M is one of the largest distributors in in South Korea with 37.5 percent of the songs featured on the 2020 top 400 yearly song chart from Gaon Music Chart. 

Speaking to NME, a spokesperson for Spotify confirmed that Kakao’s M’s catalogue would no longer be available to Spotify users across the globe from the Monday 1st March, 2021 “due to the expiration of our licence.”

They continued, “We have been working with KakaoM over the last year and a half to renew the global licensing agreement, so that their artists’ music would remain available to Spotify’s 345M+ listeners in nearly 170 markets around the world.” Adding, “Despite our best efforts, the existing licensing deal we had with KakaoM (which covered all countries other than South Korea) has come to an end. The fact that we have not yet reached agreement on a new global deal is unfortunate for their artists, as well as for fans and listeners worldwide. It is our hope that this disruption will be temporary and we can resolve the situation soon. We remain committed to working with local rights holders including KakaoM, to help grow the Korean music market and overall streaming ecosystem together.”

Twitter user @lemonphobic has compiled all the artists who’s music is unavailable via Spotify here: 

It’s also worth noting that Katao M’s parent company also owns and operates the MelOn streaming service, one of the top digital music platforms in South Korea. 

YouTube Music Might Be Testing New Library Tracks Playlist

Image credit: YouTube Music

YouTube Music may be adding one of the most requested features from users.

After adding a Youtube Music PWA (Progressive Web App) for Chromebooks earlier in the month, it appears that google is now testing a new Library Tracks playlist in YouTube Music, one of the most requested features among users. The new playlist has been spotted by some users but the feature isn’t widely available yet. The feature gives users easy access to all the songs in their library in one playlist. 

A recent Reddit post by user u/lordbrack showed the new feature in the YouTube Music app on Android. In the post they explain that after listening to music from their library it later showed up in their history, it is there where the playlist “Library Tracks” appeared, it included all the music in their history. However, they playlist wasn’t able to be played and showed a 404 error but it was possible to download it initially and view it offline. 

Credit u/lordbrack

From the screenshot above you can see that the Library Playlist looks like every other playlist in YouTube Music. The cover art is at the top, right next to the playlist name and the total number of tracks. There is also a download button for users to click to have the library in offline mode.

Currently there is no official information regarding this addition to YouTube Music but it’s looking likely this is a feature that will be implemented. 

Apple Music follow Spotify’s lead in highlighing songwriters with ‘Behind the Songs’

‘Behind the Songs’ is Apple Music new hub, full of radio shows, playlists and video series, showcasing songwriters, producers and session musicians.

Launching last Friday, Apple Music’s new Behind the Songs section shines a light on all of the promient songwriters you may have never heard of, plus top artists you may not have realised also write. Listen to radio shows such as Deep Hidden Meaning Radio with Nile Rodgers or playlists series such as Song Book, Behind the Boards promoting producers and On the Session dedicated to session musicians. You’ll also find video series and documentaries such as Lyrics to Live By, The Stories Behind the Songs and Beat x Beat, featuring artists such as Dua Lipa, Omar Apollo, Lizzo, Sam Smith and Bastille.

Behind the Songs hopes to help listeners find the songwriters responsible for their favourite song. It will also act as the centrepiece for The Ivors Academy award show for Britsh songwriters and composers, that’s sponsored by Apple Music.

Find the hub by search ‘Behind the Songs’ on Apple Music, or click here.

Spotify have also recently been helping drive more recognition to songwriters, with their Songwriters Hub launched in December last year, as well as their brand new site Noteable.

Watch CGI Post Malone Perform for Pokémon’s 25th Anniversary concert

Image credit: Pokémon/Republic Records/YouTube

Post Malone vibes with various Pokémon in his headline virtual show for Pokémon’s 25th Anniversary concert.

As we’ve previously mentioned, Post Malone was re-created in CGI for the virtual headline show for Pokémon’s 25th Anniversary, dubbed Pokémon day (February 27th).

The rapper played a 12-minute set in a variety of colourful settings from the franchise. In addition to this there were also some fan favourite Pokémon’s in attendance, from Gyarados, Umbreon and of course Pikachu. 

These saw a CGI-rendered Post Malone performing ‘Psycho’, ‘Circles’, and ‘Congratulations’, as well as his recent cover of Hootie and the Blowfish’s ‘Only Wanna Be With You’

It was a weird juxtaposition that saw the often lewd rapper singing about sex and breakups to the backdrop of Pokémon and subsequent landscapes. However, you cannot deny the absolute vibe that the artwork, scenery and CGI matched with Malone’s music creates. 

The Post Malone show is the first in the year long P25 music programme which sees Pokémon teaming up with Universal Music Group. Other artists expected to get the CGI treatment are Katy Perry and J Balvin. All three artists are expected to feature on a special anniversary record for the Pokémon franchise, titled ‘Pokémon 25: The Album’

Check the full performance from Post Malone here: