Latest Industry: TIDAL’s Got 99 Problems, XXXTentacion, Choon, Exactuals, PRS, HMV, Roc Nation, More…

A better logo for TIDAL?
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A better logo for TIDAL?
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A better logo for TIDAL?

Even more accusations launched against TIDAL.

First, Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) found that TIDAL likely manipulated 320 million false sessions on genuine user accounts to drive up Beyoncé and Kanye West streams.  Then, DN found that the Jay-Z owned streaming music service abruptly dropped royalty payouts to labels from 62.5% to 55%.  Now, the Norwegian newspaper has found that TIDAL has failed to pay record labels on time.

Speaking to DN, multiple sources claim that TIDAL is “behind with payments directly to the three major international record companies.”  Two prominent Norway-based businesses – indie label Propellor Records and its distributor, Sony-owned Phonofile – confirmed the news.

Sveinung Rindal, CEO of Phonofile and Head of the Orchard in Norway, said,

“It is correct that there are delays in payments from Tidal.”

Frithjof Boye Hungnes, CEO of Propellor Records added,

“We have not been paid since October.”

The news confirms TIDAL’s poor financial standing.  Last December, Dagens Næringsliv found that TIDAL had enough cash to last only six months.

The UK’s Copyright Tribunal approves a new PRS Live performance license.

Following three years of discussions with PRS and representatives of the live sector, The Copyright Tribunal in the UK has approved the new terms of a new live music agreement.  In April 2015, PRS initiated a consultation on Tariff LP – which applies to live popular music events – with PRS members, licensees, stakeholders, and live sector industry bodies.  The key amendments to the tariff include:

The royalty rate for concerts and all other live music events within the scope of Tariff LP will increase from 3% to 4% (or 4.2%*).

The creation of a new royalty rate within the tariff for festivals that meet certain criteria.  For qualifying festivals, the royalty rate will drop from 3% to 2.5% (or 2.7%*).

The minimum charged fee for events will be waived entirely, providing music reporting requirements are met.

The incorporation of a direct licensing mechanism, as agreed with the live sector.

*The higher charge in both instances (4.2% and 2.7%) would apply to situations in which the licensee elects not to account to PRS in respect of revenue generated from booking fees, administration, and service charges.

Exactuals debuts Palantir for Music.

Exactuals, a service offering payment management software for the music industry, has debut R.AI.  The new tool, dubbed the ‘Palantir for Music,’ tracks songwriting information and rights across different platforms to ensure attribution for music distributors.  According to Exactuals, the company has tracked 59 million songs for their “Interested Party Identifiers,” International Standard Work Codes, and International Standard Recording Codes.  These ensure that songwriters and musicians receive payment for their work each time their songs are downloaded, streamed, covered, or viewed on distribution platforms.

Researchers find modern pop music in the UK may actually be much sadder than 30 years ago.

Researchers from the University of California, Irvine have found a downward trend in happiness and an increase in sadness in popular songs in the UK over the past three decades.  The study, published in Royal Society Open Science, analyzed 500,000 songs released between 1985 and 2015.  Researchers had categorized them according to the songs’ moods.  Co-author Natalie L. Komarova told the Associated Press,

“‘Happiness’ is going down, ‘brightness’ is going down, ‘sadness’ is going up, and at the same time, the songs are becoming more ‘danceable’ and more ‘party-like.”

Woman who accused XXXTentacion of assault was apparently just kidding.

XXXTentacion has dropped a defamation lawsuit against a woman after she signed a statement stating that she was “joking around.”  In the video, XXXTentacion hit the woman in the head.  After the video went viral last March, the woman wrote in Instagram,

“For those who are questioning why I didn’t come forth earlier was because I was terrified for my life…  Imagine someone doing that to you unprovoked?  At 16?  Let alone the people he associates himself w/?  Truth of the matter is I would still be holding onto this secret if it wasn’t leaked.”

UTA signs Vic Mensa.

United Talent Agency has signed Vic Mensa.  The rapper recently grabbed international attention by opening Jay-Z’s 4:44 tour.  Mensa has previously worked with Justin Bieber, Disclosure, and Beyoncé in their respective tours.  Last month, he joined Dua Lipa on her UK and Ireland tour.  The rapper is managed by Scooter Braun, David Appleton, and Cody Kazarian of SB Projects.  UTA will represent Mensa in all areas.

Would you use an alternative streaming music service if it fairly rewarded artists?

Choon, a blockchain-based streaming music platform, has published research showing that 52% of people would use an alternative streaming music service if it rewarded artists more fairly.  76% agree that they would love to see their favorite artists support themselves.

Other responses were all over the map.  For example, 13% of respondents believe artists get paid on the same day as their music has been streamed.  One-fifth believe that it takes artists one to three months to earn royalties from streaming music services.  31% added they feel it’s wrong for music labels to own a stake in these services.

The research also highlighted how people discover new music.  37% of respondents used playlists to discover new music.  36% used the suggestions given by the services.  Among 16-to-24-year-olds, more people preferred streaming service playlists over radio playlists to discover new artists and music, 43% to 41%.

YouTube tests Incognito Mode.

YouTube has started testing Incognito Mode for its mobile apps.  Android Police first spotted the feature.  Incognito Mode will only appear when users tap on their account avatar in the top right of the app.  When enabled, YouTube won’t save viewing and search activity, nor will it show new videos from subscriptions.  Only a few users have spotted the feature.

The CMA presents ‘The Country Consumer: The Next Phase of Streaming Growth.’

The Country Music Association (CMA) recently presented the panel, ‘The Country Consumer: The Next Phase of Streaming Growth.’  CMA Senior Director of Research Karen Stump introduced the panel, moderated by UMG Nashville’s Annie Ortmeier.  Stump presented CMA research slides detailing five key insights about Country and streaming.

Insights included positive signs for successful opportunities, streaming consumption making up a greater share of overall Country consumption globally, the Country audience as an active, core, and monetizable audience today, and the Country audience as a key segment for targeting new subscribers.  Data also shows that Country fans are the most loyal to physical consumption.  Amazon Music’s Emily Cohen, Pandora’s Beville Dunkerley, YouTube’s Margaret Hart, and Spotify’s Brittany Schaeffer also participated in the panel.


Live Nation establishes a female-oriented live music business fund.

Live Nation Entertainment has announced the Women Nation Fund.  The initiative aims to secure early-stage investment in live music businesses led by women.  The global entertainment company will provide access to its resources and capital for females working in concert promotions, events, and festival spaces.

Viacom lays off 100 employees.

As part of its efforts to streamline operations, Viacom has laid off 100 employees.  CEO Bob Bakish had signaled the cuts in the company’s quarterly earnings conference call on April 25th.  A company spokesperson confirmed that the layoffs will help “strengthen and evolve Viacom for the future.”  The company will now focus on becoming a more agile and efficient organization.

Roc Nation announces key signings to its publishing operation in Nashville.

Roc Nation has signed Mustard, Cary Barlowe, Steven Lee Olsen, and Brandon Day to Rhythm House, the company’s joint venture in Nashville with singer and songwriter Jesse Frasure.

San Antonio Entertainment Complex breaks ground on May 16th.

Designer Hoefer Wysocki has announced the construction of the Santikos Entertainment Complex in San Antonio, Texas.  The new venue will include an amphitheater.  Wysocki has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony on May 16th.

Stevie Wonder announces a limited-engagement summer concert series.

Stevie Wonder has announced ‘The Stevie Wonder Song Party: A Celebration of Life, Love & Music.’  The limited-engagement summer concert series will take place in four cities: Las Vegas, Atlantic City, National Harbor, and Springfield.  Tickets start at $69 and go on sale Monday, May 21st at 10 am PT.

Dice announces three key hires.

Ticketing and music discover app Dice has announced three new appointments.  The company has hired Jason Edwards as Head of Music UK.  In a newly created role, Dice has appointed former NME senior staff writer Leonie Cooper as Editor.  Patrick Duffy has also joined the company from Airbnb as Creative Lead.

Proper adds a new client and hires three new members.

Indie distributor Proper has hired three new members across its London and Dartford offices.  It has also signed up NewState Entertainment as a client.

In a newly created role, Proper has hired Erika Brennan as Head of Business and Commercial Affairs.  She previously served as the Senior Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs at BMG UK.  Proper has also hired Sue Brown as Royalties Manager.  She previously served at Plangent Visions, Zomba Music, and Union Square Music.  Indie veteran Pete Dodge will provide project management overview across a series of planned developments to Proper’s existing services and systems.

HMV announces its third annual Vinyl Week.

British retail chain HMV has announced the return of its Vinyl Week.  Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the 12” 33 1/3 vinyl LP format, the third annual event will run from Friday, June 8th to Sunday, June 17th.  Liam Gallagher leads the first wave of special releases announced with his album, As You Were, released on picture disc.  HMV will also exclusively feature limited releases of The Proclaimers’ Sunshine on Leith on yellow vinyl and Siouxsie & The Banshees’ Juju pressed on gold vinyl.

BBC Music launches BBC Music Introducing Live ‘18.

BBC Music has announced the launch of a new music festival, BBC Music Introducing Live ’18.  The event will welcome 15,000 budding musicians and industry talent to London’s Tobacco Dock from November 8th to the 10th.  The show aims to draw on the passion and experience of the UK music industry.  The music festival will compromise over 100 masterclasses and interactive sessions, performances, talks, practical workshops, and Q&As.  BBC Music Introducing Live ’18 will also feature over 250 speakers from all quarters of the music industry.


Deezer launches Ramadhan Channel to honor Muslim holy month.

To celebrate Muslim holy month, Deezer has launched the Ramadhan Channel in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.  The channel will host a selection of exclusive Qu’ran recitals, special prayer playlists, and tracks from popular Muslim artists. Musicians featured on the Ramadhan Channel include popular Muslim artists Dato Siti Nurhaliza, Dato’ AC Mizal, Afgan, Maher Zain, Hafiz Hamidun, Ungu, Sami Yusuf, Gita Gutawa, Unic, Chomel, and Raihan, among others.

Featured image by PxHere (CC0)