Blog Archives

4 Tips For Choosing An Entertainment Attorney

You worked really hard to secure the deal, and they finally sent over the contract.  Congratulations! As you looked over the contract, you might have thought to yourself, “I can negotiate this without an attorney!”  After all, I perpetuated the deal, and did all the legwork, why should I pay the additional cost?

Attorneys, (especially with regards to the entertainment business) are responsible for a lot more than just looking over contracts and giving their clients insight on the law.  In my 20-plus years of experience, our entertainment attorney has always been very much involved in shaping our deals in a way which moved our careers forward. A lot of our successes could not have been achieved without the help of our attorney. Let me be clear, if you do decide to do your deal without consulting an attorney, you’re asking for a world of trouble. With that in mind, it only makes the best sense to really take the time to find an attorney that you’re comfortable with.

Here are 4 tips for choosing an entertainment attorney.

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Why I Almost Quit The Music Business

Common said it best, “I used to love her”  Her being hip-hop. My her was the music business overall.  You see, when I started my journey into the music business, I thought I wanted to be a rap star, nah fuck that, I wanted to be a mogul!  But as I grew into the business, I quickly realized that wasn’t what I truly wanted at all.

My love for music started extremely young. Maybe that’s why my parents made my brothers and I take piano lessons.  As I started to dive deep into the exploration of hip hop, my world changed. I wanted to rap ever so badly. I used to move from my friends cribs, who were DJ’s and had instrumentals and microphones. We used to make these tapes (remember those?) back in the day.   

As an artist I felt I couldn’t be touched. I was from the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop. I felt that nothing could stop me. That was until I realized that producers wouldn’t give me any beats. Guys who had equipment, wouldn’t part with their beloved beats. So I needed a plan .  Fuck it, I dropped some money into some equipment and learned how to make beats with the help of an OG from my block.  (Shout out to Infinity Phree!) 

I would literally spend hours upon hours working on music.  It was like the air I needed to become alive. Soon after I found out my cousin was also into music and we immediately started to share ideas.  Fast forward, we started to achieve; scoring platinum and gold records from the most legendary artist hip hop has to offer. We had gotten a large production deal and we were working the best of the best in the business. When we were flying at our highest, I literally felt my lowest.  

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Is YouTube Music a Win for Music Industry and Listeners? – VideoInk

YouTube Music is designed to help users quickly find music videos, tracks, artists and albums, as well as remixes, covers, lyric videos and concert footage. It also provides a leanback experience that creates endless playlists for users, based on their previous selections.
“Today, any artist can upload a video to YouTube and get discovered by over 1 billion people around the globe,” wrote T. Jay Fowler, director of product management, music, products, for YouTube, in a blog post announcing the launch “That global exposure has allowed YouTube and Google to pay out over $3 billion to the record industry to date. But it’s also provided an incredible source of promotion for artists, helping fuel ticket sales, move merchandise, and boost album and song downloads. Just this month, Adele’s “Hello” became the fastest rising video of the year on YouTube, while also breaking the record for first week download sales.”
Subscribers to YouTube Red, the platform’s subscription service launched last month, will be able to experience YouTube Music ad-free, play music in the background and listen to music offline. YouTube Red also includes an audio mode for the Music app that lets users play songs without loading video.
Used in concert with YouTube Red, YouTube Music is essentially a refinement and re-branding of its YouTube Music Key subscription service, launched in beta in Nov. 2014. Priced at $9.99 a month ($12.99 for iOS devices), Red also gives free access to Google Play Music, which is currently priced at $9.99 a month all by itself, as are competitors Spotify and Rhapsody.

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Who Spends More on A&R: Record Labels or Music Publishers?

The debate continues to rage over the proportion of streaming revenue paid to songwriters and publishers vs. that passed to record companies and artists.
One of the justifications you often hear for labels continuing to take the lion’s share of payouts from Spotify etc. is that they invest a huge amount more in A&R than those who develop songwriters. Not true, says UK Music’s new Measuring Music report. According the trade body’s numbers, record labels spent £178m on A&R in 2014. That was certainly ahead of the investment in songwriters made by music publishers – but by less than you might assume. Publishers spend £162m on writers in the year, according to the UK Music report. If you count that as ‘pure’ A&R investment, it was just £16m behind their peers in record companies. (In like-for-like terms, this is a rough approximation: the publishing figure – drawn from MPA data – is defined as ‘investment in writers (advances etc.)’, while the record label figure – derived from BPI data – is defined as pure ‘A&R expenditure‘.)

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UMG Digital Income Falls By $18m – Apple Music Blamed Or Surprise Dip

Universal Music Group’s income from digital recorded music fell by €17m ($18m) in the three months to end of September, compared to the prior quarter.
And parent Vivendi is pointing the finger at one culprit over any other for the dip: Apple Music’s free trial. According to MBW analysis, Universal turned over €450m (€485m) through digital music services in Q3.As previously reported, 51% of this figure came from streaming across ad-funded and subscription – the first time in UMG history that the format had overtaken downloads as a revenue driver. That means that the likes of YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music drove €229.5m ($247m) in the quarter for UMG.Downloads, meanwhile, fell in value by 8% for the company in Q3 – down to €220.5m ($237m). (A bit of reverse engineering, and we can work out that in Q2, downloads contributed around €239m ($257m) to UMG’s bottom line.)Hooray for streaming? Hang on a moment. Let’s take a closer look at UMG’s recent quarterly digital income.

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Why This Billion Game Company Is Entering The Music Business

Video game accessories, peripherals, and hardware company Razer has sold over 17 million connected devices, including Razer Blade gaming laptops and Razer Nabu smartbands. The gaming company, which is valued by many analysts as being worth $1 billion, has entered the music business with Razer Music.

Every new 2015 Blade laptop will come with a free key to download a copy of Image-Line’s FL Studio Producer Edition software, which is used by professional music producers and artists across multiple genres. In addition, Razer Music has created a free online site featuring weekly tutorials and insights on the future of music production from established artists in the EDM genre such as deadmau5, Dyro, Project 46, Zircon, as well as in the hip-hop space, like Drake’s producer Metro Boomin.

“I’ve had a lot of people reaching out to me directly online from both the music and the gaming worlds saying they’ve watched my tutorials on the new Razer Music platform and found them helpful, so it’s cool to see great responses from both sides,” Dutch House producer Dyro says. “It’s united both industries and technologies together–and what’s better than music and gaming?”

Those two industries have been intertwined for decades. And Razer sees this new venture as a natural extension of its business model. Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and CEO of Razer, says the lines dividing music and gaming from a commercial point of view were altogether obliterated with the advent of online content distribution in both industries.

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How the YouTube era damaged brands’ relationship with the music industry

At this year’s SXSW music conference, no less a figure than Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, was discussing a $64,000 question shared by brand marketing and procurement execs the world over:

“How much is music worth?”

It’s a pertinent question.Especially in the YouTube era where, to all intents and purposes, music has become a ‘free’ commodity to an entire generation – some of whom are joining the marketing profession.

Those who ignore the finer points of intellectual property do so at their peril
As envisaged by David Bowie more than a decade ago, music now flows openly like water. Fans no longer need to plumb the murky waters of Pirate Bay since the entire history of music, licensed or otherwise, is now available at a click. However, against this consumer backdrop of diminishing value, for brands and their agencies, negotiating the price of music licences for marketing communications remains a minefield.

The music rights landscape is fragmented and complex – controlled by record labels and music publishers – and those who ignore the finer points of intellectual property do so at their peril. (On this point, Bowie’s future-gazing went somewhat awry – in 2002 he also predicted that “copyright…will no longer exist in 10 years”

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YouTube Music is here, and it’s a game changer

YouTube is first and foremost a video portal, the world’s largest and most popular online collection of moving images. But it’s also a search engine, the world’s second largest, trailing only its parent company, Google. And while the library on YouTube is made up of videos, in practice it has also become the world’s largest streaming music service, used by more people than well-known names like Spotify or Apple when it comes to consuming songs and albums.

Today, the video giant is rolling out a new app, YouTube Music, that attempts to capitalize on its dominance in this space. The app is free, and you can use it in free, ad-supported mode, but it becomes a lot more powerful and interesting if you pay for a YouTube Red subscription.

The fact that YouTube Music and Google Play Music both exist is a touch confusing, especially since you can use them both for free, but they both add a bunch of features if you subscribe to YouTube Red. The best way to understand the new music app is to think of Facebook. Just as the social network broke out Messenger into its own so it could optimize the experience, YouTube now has dedicated apps for its three most popular verticals: kids, gaming, and music.

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How Bitcoin’s Blockchain Could Fix The Music Industry’s Payment Problem | Musonomics

Professional musicians know that royalty payments and the concept of transparency are mutually exclusive. As we mentioned briefly in our seventh episode , “The Transparency Moment,” the current performance royalty payment system is antiquated and fragmented. Payments can take months to be sent out and usually arrive via paper check. Some payments don’t even reach rights holders because records of who owns what are incomplete or incorrect. Those payments are trapped in what David Byrne calledthe music industry’s black box. Black box lost revenues are said to be in the millions of dollars, but we might not be locked out of that box forever. 

Cracking into that revenue is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry and the solution might be found in blockchain, an important part of the inner workings of Bitcoin. But before we get into how to solve one of the music industry’s biggest conundrums, let’s take a look at the conundrum itself.

Each time a song is broadcast via terrestrial or digital radio — in supermarkets, cafes, your Spotify feed, or anywhere trackable — the broadcaster owes the rights holder a performance royalty payment. To receive those payments, rights holders must sign up with a Performance Royalty Organization (PRO) like the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) or SESAC, who collect those royalties for their members — but that’s not such an easy task. Payments per play or stream are often tiny, micro-payments no more than .0015 cents per stream, and there are thousands upon thousands of them pouring in every minute. PROs are stuck with huge mountains of data to sift through without an adequate system by which to process, accredit, and pay-out all those streams, micro-payments, and corresponding royalty checks.

Here’s where Bitcoin comes in:

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, unregulated by a central bank — but any currency needs a method by which to keep track of itself, and for Bitcoin that method is a permanent public ledger called blockchain. Through a process called “mining,” every Bitcoin transaction is tracked and recorded on the blockchain. You can see where each bitcoin changes hands, to whom it was sent, and from whence it came. This allows transactions to be completely transparent, preventing money from being skimmed or otherwise improperly distributed by a middleman.

In theory, a like-minded system could be implemented for royalty payments in the music industry. This would create a central database containing information for all rights holders, streamers, broadcaster, and record labels. Using a similar process to Bitcoin’s “mining” we could track how often each song is played, automatically compute who is owed how much money, and distribute the royalty payment to the correct parties. The author, publisher and label could all be payed exactly what they’re owed in a dramatically shorter timeframe.

D.A. Wallach, investor and artist-in-residence at Spotify, explains blockchain and the music industry in a simple way, comparing it to a VISA system for royalties. The VISA credit card system is the underlying structure that connects most major banking transactions throughout the world. You might use Bank of America in the United States, and another person in Brazil might use Citibank, but the VISA system is what allows those two entities to communicate and perform transactions. The blockchain could become the music industry’s common system in which all involved parties —  Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, the PROs, songwriters, performers, and publishers — can communicate and keep record of their communication.

Of course, this is easier theorized than done. In 2008, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes started the Global Repertoire Database Working Group (GRD WG) in an attempt to create a blockchain-inspired system for the music industry. The GRD WG never made it off the ground. In 2014, after spending $13.7 million, the GRD WGwas abandoned because of coordination issues, lack of quality technical guidance, and a misalignment of interests among major PROs in the U.S. and Europe.  

Any new royalty payment system will only be possible when the US Copyright Office updates its policies and frameworks to allow the growth and regulation of such a system. PROs will have to learn to work together amidst interests that are not always 100% aligned. Moreover, running and maintaining a system that processes such a large amount of data on a daily basis, as the GRD WG learned, is expensive — and there’s no clear party willing to pay. However, if these obstacles can somehow be conquered, blockchain could be a vital part of a new-look music industry where transparency and timeliness aren’t just fantasy and the music industry’s black box is no more.

by Alonso Villagomez

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Jadakiss Taps Platinum Producers Arkatech Beatz For Top 5 Dead Or Alive | Arkatech Beatz – Platinum Producers/Beat Makers

Jadakiss Taps Platinum Producers Arkatech Beatz for Top 5 Dead Or Alive Legendary lyricist, Jadakiss – is the latest artist to become part of platinum

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