The Queen of Soul, 18-time Grammy winner Aretha Franklin, might be next on the list of celebrity American Idol judges. In an email to CNN on Saturday, Franklin expressed interest in joining the show, even suggesting a sidekick in songwriter Patti LaBelle. The departure of judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez this week comes as American Idol continues to struggle; just recently, Idol lost its top position to NBC's Sunday Night Football.
There's more surfacing in the European Commission's plans to modernize more than 250 societies that collect royalties for copyright holders in the European Union. Currently, the societies are inefficient at best. According to the commission, less than half the amount collected in royalties is redistributed in the first year, and up to 10 percent not until three years after collection. The crackdown follows news that some of these groups have lost money on risky investments, and in several cases, have failed to pay copyright holders altogether. Under the new proposal, societies would have to pay out all royalties within one year of collection. Stay tuned for updates.
Facebook is testing a feature that will allow fans of artists' pages to search for and share Spotify links to their favorite music. The feature aims to encourage users to share Spotify links rather than YouTube links, and increase Spotify's user base.
The Pitchfork Music Festival, held at Chicago's Union Park, just wrapped its third and final day, with Vampire Weekend and Beach House amongst the headliners.
Mac Miller and his label, Rostrum Records, have now responded to an aggressive infringement lawsuit from Lord Finesse. The suit surrounds a clear rip-off of a Finesse track, but Miller never positioned the song for sale. "There have been a lot of misstatements online and in the press, so we thought it'd be best to make some brief comments," Rostrum offered in a statement. "Lord Finesse was given credit on both the video and the mixtape from the very beginning. We've never distributed 'Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza' for sale on iTunes and have consistently policed digital retailers and other sites to make sure that no pirates were ever illegally selling the song."
Could there be another Stones today? It was roughly 50 years ago that the Rolling Stones played their first gig, specifically at the Marquee Jazz Club in London on July 12th, 1962. The band name was pulled from a Muddy Waters record, the lineup was still coming together, and the setlist unrecognizable...
There's more discussion of divestitures to satisfy regulators scrutinizing the proposed UMG+EMI. Actually, the latest seem to be coming from the EMI side: according to the New York Times, partial or outright selloffs involving Virgin Records and EMI Classics are under discussion, as well as distribution rights surrounding Mute.
Pandora is just getting started in Australia and New Zealand, but there's lots of interest in the royalty situation. "Pandora expects to pay less than 25 percent of revenue for music copyright royalties for authors and performers in New Zealand," the company revealed in recent SEC filings, though Australian details were not disclosed. Either way, that's half the royalty requirement in the US; the Pandora expansion is currently web-only, not mobile.
And, in celebration of its one year anniversary in the US, Spotify has just published its top 100, most-streamed songs in the states. A lot of it is predictably mainstream; you can add the playlist here.