|TUESDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has published its annual report on music consumption, now called the 'Music Listening' report. More people are streaming, they are listening to more music, and they love the music they hear. But more than a quarter still tap illegal sources for some of those tunes. So, basically, the world is full of super-duper music-loving copyright-infringing bastards. No change there then... [READ MORE]|
More music, more streams, more love - yes, MORE music listening stats from IFPI
In terms of devices, although smart speaker usage is on the up (20% had used a smart speaker in the last quarter, 30% in the UK and 34% in the US), smartphones remain the key device for accessing online services. That's particularly true, of course, for the younger demographic, with 68% of 16-24 year olds saying that - if they had to pick just one device for listening to music - it would be the smartphone.
That said, across the whole research group, the device that still accounts for the most listening overall is the good old fashioned radio set. And given that just over half of those surveyed said that they also listen to radio services on their smartphone, that confirms that - globally speaking - radio remains an important music platform.
Back in the streaming domain, across the 34,000 respondents, the average user listened to about four hours of music on their streaming service of choice each week.
Which, for any full-on music fans browsing the stats, might seem quite low. And that fact illustrates why shifting to user-centric royalty distribution in the streaming domain would have an impact on how streaming monies are shared out each month. Because the four hour weekly average suggests that there are a lot of low-usage subscribers, whose monthly subs are being shared out with artists listened to by high-usage subscribers.
Of course, a disproportionate number of the low-usage subscribers may be mainly using free streaming platforms. But where they are paying into the system each month, a chunk of that money is certainly going to artists they never listen to.
That might be why, although this new report lists pop, rock and oldies as the most popular genres overall, it's generally felt that fourth place hip hop does particularly well out of streaming, financially speaking. Unsurprisingly, hip hop ranks highly among younger demographics, who are much more likely to be high-usage subscribers.
Respondents were also asked about how important music is to their lives. Do they love it? Are they fanatical about it? 54% answered "yes" to at least one of those questions. Among the 16-24s the loving-it/fanatical-about-it brigade constituted 63% of those being surveyed. And across all age groups, only 2.5% adopted a glum expression and mumbled that music was "unimportant" to them and their miserable lives.
As for all the sneaky music thieving, 27% said they had accessed music from an illegal source in the last month. Stream-ripping was the most commonly used piracy platform.
Commenting on all this, IFPI boss Frances Moore said: "This year's report tells an exciting story of how fans are increasingly engaging with music. At a time when multiple forms of media vie for fans' attention, they are not only choosing to spend more of their time listening to - and engaging with - music, but they are doing so in increasingly diverse ways".
However, she added, "the report also highlights that the availability of music through unlicensed methods, or copyright infringement, remains a real threat to the music ecosystem. Practices such as stream-ripping are still prevalent and return nothing to those who create and invest in music. We continue to co-ordinate worldwide action to address this".
For those Brexiters out there who don't want foreigners interfering with their music listening stats, in the UK about 60% of respondents had accessed an audio streaming service in the last month, up from 52% last year. Among the kids (16-24), the figure is 88%. But, despite all that, many Brits continue to buy CD or vinyl releases alongside the streams, with nearly a third buying music in that way at least once a month. The percentage of people still buying physical music products is higher in the UK than on a global basis in every age group.
Providing a British spin to the new IFPI data, the boss of UK record industry trade group BPI, Geoff Taylor, said: "The way we make and discover music may be going through a radical shift, but the passion we Brits have for the music we love never changes".
"There are now more ways to access and enjoy the songs and albums we love", he went on, "whether on radio, our smart phones and speakers and, of course, on turntables and CD players. And with all this choice, we are giving more people across all ages the opportunity to engage with the music they love the way they want to".
Kanye West close to settlement with EMI Music Publishing
West went legal at the start of a year in a bid to get out of his ongoing contractual commitments to EMI Music Publishing. He sued in the Californian courts. The location was important because key to his case is a rule under Californian state law that says that no one can be forced into a service contract that lasts longer than seven years. West started working with EMI in 2003 meaning, he argued, his commitments to the company ended in 2010.
Whether or not California's seven year rule applies to record and publishing contracts has long been debated in the US music industry. Though in a countersuit, EMI pointed out that its deals with West fall under the laws of New York State anyway, where there is no seven year rule. West then filed new legal papers seeking to keep the dispute on the West Coast.
However, throughout all of this - and despite West claiming that his EMI deal amounted to "servitude" - talks between the two parties were ongoing. And now West's legal team have filed paperwork in the Californian courts saying that the rapper and the publisher have reached an "agreement in principle" which would end the litigation. The legal filing added: "The parties expect to draft and finalise a settlement agreement within 90 days".
Needless to say, terms of that settlement are not known. But it is looking increasingly certain that we won't get any quality court time with West in the witness stand laying into EMI and all who work there. Which is no fun at all.
Learn-language-through-music app raises new funding
The company behind Lirica says that its app is "at the intersection between education and music" using "songs to make language learning fun and engaging". Meanwhile, it adds, the concept of using songs in a foreign language to help people learn said foreign language is "supported by scientific research demonstrating the emotive and memorable power of music in the context of learning".
Originally conceived in 2017, to date the focus has been on the Spanish language, but the company hopes to be able to expand on that now it has the new funding in place.
Founder Paul Custance says: "We are the only app which creates curated language learning lessons focused on the most exciting and varied music that a language and culture has to offer. We are very excited to raise this funding as it allows us to extend the Spanish learning platform into other languages. As we see our platform as collaborative with class-based language learning, we will also be working with schools and institutions to get music used in the classroom in a more structured manner".
DIY radio app that pulls music from Spotify or Apple adds on-demand programmes
Stationhead has enabled live radio shows since its launch last November, but now users can record shows and store them, so that other people can tune in and listen at any time. Stationhead DJs chat away through the app while also picking tracks from the Spotify or Apple Music catalogues (whichever they subscribe to). When people listen back to their shows, those tracks will be played via the listener's Spotify or Apple Music account.
That's obviously important from a licensing perspective, in that the music is streamed under Spotify and Apple's licences. And plays are counted by the streaming services, so that royalties are paid to labels, publishers, artists and songwriters as if the music had been directly played within the Spotify or Apple app. Which means the bedroom DJ doesn't need to worry about licensing and the music industry earns more than it would under an online radio licence administered by a collecting society.
From a licensing perspective, tapping into Spotify and Apple in this way isn't quite as easy as it might first seem. But Stationhead seems to have official partnerships with the two streaming firms, and counts a bunch of music companies and music industry execs among its financial backers to date.
The company's founder, Ryan Star, who is also an artist, says that he hopes that Stationhead will allow music fans to introduce artists and tracks to their friends and social network followers, helping said artists and tracks get more listeners, and more streaming royalties.
"As an artist, I know first-hand the value of these music streaming platforms", he explains. "That's why Stationhead was designed to get more people streaming and more people connecting around streaming".
While confirming the new on-demand functionality, the start-up's COO Murray Levison adds: "Stationhead is the YouTube of audio, and our current growth rate is matching and sometimes exceeding YouTube's early numbers. In the midst of an audio revolution driven by podcasting, music streaming, and smart speakers, Stationhead is the only social platform built for it all".
TikTok partners with Youth Music on new awards event
The video sharing app is supporting the first ever Youth Music Awards, via a partnership that will see the charity launch a channel on the TikTok platform to showcase the nominees for its Original Track prize. The winner of that award will win studio time to record their song, and then get support releasing and making a video to promote their track.
Says Youth Music boss Matt Griffiths: "We're completely THRILLED about Youth Music partnering with TikTok, helping young musicians and their original tracks reach a wider audience. We both firmly believe in the importance of creative expression and supporting young people's lives in music, so I look forward to our partnership going from strength to strength".
Speaking for TikTok, the firm's Head Of Music Partnerships, Farhad Zand, adds: "We are excited to collaborate with Youth Music in supporting these young musicians and bringing their talent to life. In addition to the winning prize, we are also providing these young musicians with a platform to connect with music fans all over the world whilst giving them the reach and exposure that they need to succeed as an artist".
The Youth Music Awards take place at Battersea Arts Centre in London on 16 Oct.
Jax Jones announces 2020 UK tour
"Thank you to everyone for all the love and support on my debut album, 'Snacks'", says Jones. "We're top ten, baby! To celebrate, I'm bringing my live show to a city near you on my biggest ever tour, including a special homecoming show at Brixton Academy. You know how I do it, I'm bringing you the full Jax Jones carnival experience, the dancers, inflatables, pyros, and, of course, the bangers. It's gonna be lit!"
Good news about the whole thing not being in total darkness. That would be a health and safety nightmare, I'd imagine. Tickets go on general sale this Friday.
Here are the dates:
5 Mar: Norwich, The Nick Rayns LCR
Circa Waves frontman Kieran Shudall has signed a publishing deal with Sentric Music. "I'm exceptionally CHUFFED to be working with a man who truly knows how to write an utterly massive chorus", says the company's Global Director Of Music Services Simon Pursehouse.
Reservoir and CTM Publishing have partnered to jointly sign Thom Bridges to a worldwide publishing deal. "I'm so excited to finally announce that I've signed a publishing deal with Reservoir and CTM Publishing", says Bridges. "New family, new adventures, and a lot of new music to come".
Big Deal Music Group has launched a new joint venture with Nice Life Copyright Company. Together they have already signed publishing deals with Lizzo collaborator Tele and producer/writer team King Garbage.
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Pan-European indie label trade body IMPALA has elected six new board members. There are two new label members - the UK's Eleven Seven Label Group and SCL/Lusitanian from Portugal - and four trade bodies - Hungary's HAIL, Romania's INDIERO, Austria's VTMÖ and RUNDA, which covers the seven former Yugoslavian territories and Albania.
Sony Music has promoted Mark Cavell and Per Hauber to lead the company's classical, jazz, Broadway and non-traditional contemporary music business. I'd imagine most of the job will be explaining to people what that actually means. That must be why there needs to be two of them. "Their understanding of the importance and evolving nature of the market underscores their commitment to maintaining Sony Music as a home to iconic and developing artists, music experiences, live entertainment and stage soundtracks", says Sony Music chief Rob Stringer, not helping at all to explain what they're actually doing.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
The Ivors Academy has launched a new initiative partnering with educational establishments to provide education and support to young music creators. The new Ivors Academy Youth Council will also allow young people to directly influence the development of the organisation as a whole. "In today's rapidly changing world, [young creators] need our help - and we need their voices and ideas", says board director Martyn Ware. "This will help create a more vibrant and energetic attitude for The Ivors Academy and a more sustainable economic future for all music creators".
K Flay has released a climate change themed video for 'Not In California' from her latest album 'Solutions'. "We're looking out at a world that is getting hotter and scarier by the day, and still nothing seems to compel the government to take action", she says. "The video imagines a trash universe in which social isolation and littering and bad policing are the status quo - a universe that doesn't feel so different from ours now".
Kills Birds have released the video for 'Volcano', from their recently released debut album. "'Volcano' is meant to encapsulate that feeling of being a teenage girl on the verge of adulthood", says frontwoman Nina Lieti. "The constantly fluctuating feelings of excitement, power, sexuality, insecurity, and inadequacy as you are trying to get a sense of who you are".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Five Star crank caller apologises after 30 years
Ask anyone the world over what the greatest moment in TV history was, and they will undoubtedly tell you that it was that time in 1989 when Eliot Fletcher swore at Five Star on the BBC's 'Going Live' programme.
The band were appearing on the Saturday morning children's show to promote their single, 'With Every Heartbeat'. During a live phone-in, Fletcher was patched through to the studio, uttering the immortal phrase "I'd like to ask Five Star why they're so fucking crap", before being quickly faded out by the show's producers.
For those of us who saw it as it happened, it was our moon landing. Everything changed that day. I honestly believe it is the reason I do this job now.
After the classic clip was recently tweeted by a 'Top Of The Pops' fan account, the group's Doris Pearson responded by noting that she would still quite like to meet Fletcher and finally come face to face with her nemesis.
Later, an account purporting to be Fletcher's - which has been dining out on the notoriety of the clip for several years - got in touch with Pearson and apologised. He declined to meet her though, saying that she "would probably throw her drink over me and rightfully so". Pearson, for her part, said she harbours no ill feelings and finds it all very funny now.
A solemn Fletcher also refused media interviews, telling one journalist: "I would suggest an interview with Doris be much more constructive. She's still creative and actually bringing something to this world".
So that's sort of a nice conclusion to this story after all these years. Although Five Star still haven't actually answered Fletcher's question.