What Else? UMG’s Dirty Contracts, Spacebar, Siriusly Big, Jon Spencer Really Hates Spotify, Twitter #Music Secrets, RIP Barry Fey, SHZM…

How’d you like to see a large pile of Universal Music Group artist contracts, with a particular focus on digital payouts?  This stuff has ‘leaked‘ through court battles before, and now, UMG is asking a judge not to force the submission of a large number of artist contracts in a pending class action lawsuit.  Essentially, UMG is now battling an army of potential litigants seeking a massive, class action lawsuit over the classification of digital downloads as ‘sales’ instead of ‘licenses’.

And now to the disruptive concert space, where everything from tickets to performances themselves are getting reinvented.  The latest disruptor is Spacebar, an iOS app (with an appropriate roid injection) that allows performers to stream their live shows straight from the soundboard.  Early takers include Kanye West, John Legend, and Lady Gaga (whose manager, Troy Carter, is involved in the effort).

And the largest music subscription service just got more gigantic.  According to stats shared by the company, Sirius XM Radio now has 24.4 million paying subscribers, a near-20 percent gain since 2011 (with a price increase to boot).  The company also bumped earnings 15 percent to $124 million, all part of a nice, solid counterargument to the roiling freemium revolution.

Oh, we like you: separately, Sirius has now named James Meyer as its permanent CEO.

And the latest artist shaming Spotify?  That would be Jon Spencer, who opted against mincing words on the freemium streamer.  “Spotify is bullshit,” Spencer told Artrocker.  “They make a big deal out of the fact that they pay artists royalties, but it’s minimal.”

Remember Twitter #music?  Ah, it seems like it just launched last week.  Anyway, let’s see if Twitter can CPR this thing with some new twists: on the new feature front, Tyler Hayes just discovered a tweak that produces a similar artist list.  Just add ‘/instant’ at the end of an artist url, and you get a plethora of similarities.

And RIP to Barry Fey, a longtime, legendary promoter in Colorado who took his own life.   Fey, an oft-polarizing and powerful figure, published a controversial tell-all prior to his death.  He was 73.

The question is whether Pandora killed the IPO possibilities for every other music tech.  That includes Spotify, obviously salivating for a Wall Street bow, and Shazam, which is also now angling for a big Street offering.  As part of that ambition, the company has just named ex-Yahoo executive Rich Riley as CEO, with Andrew Fisher stepping into an Executive Chairman role.

More ahead!



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