Adding to its list of predators, Grooveshark is now on Google’s blacklist for anti-piracy searching filters. The search engine has eliminated the Autocomplete option for the music sharing site as it similarly has done for curse words and certain parts of the human anatomy.
TorrentFreak first discovered the elimination. As they explain, Google’s piracy blacklist was introduced to curb copyright infringement and prevents popular keywords from appearing in Google’s Instant and Autocomplete services. Now it appears that Grooveshark’s name has been added to said list. Neither Google or Grooveshark have responded for comment on their findings. However, pior to this discovery, Google had given comment on their general anti-piracy procedures. “When evaluating terms for inclusion, we examine several factors, including correlation between the term and results that have been subject to valid DMCA takedown notices,” a Google spokesperson said.
It seems that Grooveshark was added to Google’s naughty list in April. The speculation is that music labels have been making requests to Google to target these sites. That would make sense considering that Grooveshark has not made many friends in the business lately, with various labels, bands and publishing companies issuing lawsuits against Grooveshark and its parent company Escape Media. Grooveshark has been accused those cases for never paying royalties for music the site uploaded by its artists. So needless to say, this new block from Google isn’t good news for Grooveshark.
Now that Nine Inch Nails is coming back with a new album and constantly changing lineup, Trent Reznor is making his way around the press circuit. However, during a recent radio interview on The Kevin & Bean Show, Reznor further discussed the new music streaming service he’s been working on with Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine and Beats Electronics called Daisy. Not only did he give more insight into his role behind the project, but also claimed that Daisy aims to not take advantage of artists (unlike its competitors).
The entire interview can be heard over at CBSlocal.com, but here’s what Reznor had to say about the streaming service:
“… I was working with them, kind of as an experiment, on some hardware products that haven’t seen the light of day yet. But the talk around that camp—a couple years ago—was a real interest in putting out a subscription music based service that differs from the current offerings; by being a lot easier to use, and more based around curation. In a nutshell, it being smart enough to not just offer you ‘hey here’s all the tracks in the world, good luck, search for whatever you want’—that experience. But one where you’re being turned on to new things, based on what you like, and from trusted sources being served up things that is the right music for the right time and the right place. It was a really interesting proposition and project to be involved in from the ground up. Designing something that could reach a lot of people on mass scale—that also what I could bring to the table and have brought into the design of this—is the opportunity for it to be musician friendly and provide tools to the artist community which seems very disconnected from all that with current offerings.
On Spotify, my music is on there but I have no say or how it’s presented or what it looks like and me as a person has no connection to the artist in there. I’ve learned from doing everything myself in the last few years that there’s a lot of tools that could be provided and this doesn’t have to be end game where one side wins everything. I think that if a new platform emerged that could be the next big channel of the way people consume music—and at the same time it carves out some rights for the actual people that are making the music, and provides them with some tools and a way to curate their own material in a way that presents it hey way they’d like it to be presented—that feels like something worth fighting for.”
Reznor was then asked whether he thought services like Spotify were taking advantage of musicians, to which he replied by saying “Certainly, not only from royalties, but also from control of my wares. At least presenting things the way I’d like to. I find my music on services—I didn’t put it on there—I signed a contract 20 some years ago that said future technologies because I would have signed anything, and I did sign anything. And that meant any new thing comes out we can put your music on however we want and we’ll make sure we get taken care of, but you know, thanks for the good song.”
We’ve never considered how streaming services don’t really give artists any say as to how their music is presented to consumers (then again, most mp3 webstores don’t). However, the issue regarding royalties from streaming services (or lack thereof) has been well documented (emphasis on well documented). Most recently, Cracker frontman David Lowery revealed in a blog posting that Pandora paid him $16.89 for 1,159,000 plays of the song “Low” last quarter. “Less than I make from a single T-shirt sale. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration. That’s only the premium multi-color long sleeve shirts and that’s only at venues that don’t take commission,” Lowery joked. He does note that he only owns 40% of the song while the rest of the band owns the other 60% (thus the actual amount paid to songwriters multiplied by 2.5 or $42.25), and that he’s also paid a separate royalty for being the performer of the song that’s slightly higher. However, Lowery also claims that in comparison, Sirius XM paid him $181 while terrestrial U.S. radio paid him $1,522. Check out more detailed graphs Lowery shares in his blog posting, but maybe Reznor should consider artist royalties in addition to “visual control” when putting the finishing touches to Daisy.
When you think of the biggest cities for metal, which ones come to mind? If you’re a concert booker, the largest markets (New York, Philly, Chicago, Boston) probably come to mind. If you think historically, there are many cities that have spawned metal scenes, like Athens GA, Richmond VA or Austin TX. However, Amazon today unveiled their first-ever “Cities That Rock” list, a per capita assessment of Amazon MP3, CD and vinyl sales in the top 100 markets. Surprisingly, the city that topped the list was Miami.
It’s a little odd that Miami, which is much more of a Latin American city than a “rock” one would take the top spot. Given that Tampa is the death metal capital of the world and Jacksonville spawned Limp Bizkit (ugh), Cold (ugh) and Evergreen Terrace, there are more metal cities in Florida alone. Yet more people bought metal via Amazon in Miami than anywhere else. In fact, Miami also too the top slot for Latin music (unsurprising), dance and children’s music than anywhere else. In terms of Rock, Pittsburgh is the biggest city (and #2 on the list overall).
Here are the top 20 cities for music purchases, according to Amazon: Read more »
Yesterday, the Copyright Alert System was launched in America. If you’re a normal person and consume your music via Spotify, Pandora, YouTube or sites like this one, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And even if you still illegally download music, you don’t have that much to worry about yet, but consider yourself on notice. Launched by the Center for Copyright Information and its record label and movie studio partners, the system seems a lot less harsh and more reasonable than the RIAA suing its customers or Nuclear Blast going after All Shall Perish fans via a third party.
The way the Copyright Alert System works is that content owners (aka the labels) can send infringement notices to offenders via their Internet Service Providers (ISP), with AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon on board. The first notice someone gets will be just that, a notice stating that they’ve been found downloading copyrighted material. A subsequent offense will require the infringer to acknowledge receipt of the notices. If you continue to infringe, you might have to watch an educational video or your internet service may be slowed. It’s not a “three strikes” program, which means if you, for example, have your internet slowed for a few days and don’t download anything illegally, it’ll eventually return to normal.
The Copyright Alert System won’t do anything to persecute you. There are no criminal penalties or fines for any of this. However, according to the Daily Dot, the content companies may try to sue you as a serial pirate after you’ve been cited six times or more. And that definitely seems like something that could be used against you in court. With all the ways to listen to music for free, it’s hard to imagine that there’s still that much file sharing going on. This likely has more implications for people that illegally download movies or TV shows.
[Billboard.biz and The Daily Dot, via The Daily Swarm]
Led Zeppelin is unarguably one of the biggest bands to ever exist in rock music (just ask President Obama). So would having exclusive rights to stream their vast catalog be a major grab for any streaming subscription service? Hell yeah it would! And apparently such a deal could come to fruition very shortly.
According to The New York Times, Led Zeppelin and its longtime label WMG is in negotiations with a handful of subscription services for the right to stream their entire catalog online. Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio are reportedly a few of the companies taking part in the talks. A spokesman for WMG reportedly had the following to say about the negotiations:
“We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Led Zeppelin to activate streaming rights for their catalog. We’re supportive of the band’s discussions with W.M.G.’s streaming service partners to create a window of exclusivity to maximize the impact of this launch.”
Led Zeppelin has previously taken their good old time to adapt to digital formats, holding out from iTunes until 2007. And even without digital sales, Led Zeppelin have been one of the best -selling rock groups of all time. So Led Zeppelin’s participation in any subscription service will give the streaming model itself a big boost (though whether joining Spotify has helped Metallica yet is still debatable). We’ll have to wait and see where the negotiations will lead to and which streaming service you’ll be able to blast “Stairway To Heaven” on.
Earlier this month, Metallica’s entire catalog was made available on Spotify. It was a major grab for the European streaming service, with Metallica being one of the biggest and best-selling groups in rock (not just metal). But would the move prove to be a good one for Metallica? Well, new reports suggest that the move to Spotify may have had an effect on Metallica’s album sales…but not in a good way.
According to Billboard.biz, Metallica’s studio albums have supposedly taken a dip in sales since being made available via Spotify. Taking a look at Nielsen SoundScan data for Metallica’s studio albums for four-week periods leading up to Christmas from 2008 to 2012, Billboard.biz found that album sales were 15% below expectations the week the titles were added to Spotify, and 35% below expectations the following week. Plus, during the four-week period leading up to Christmas, Metallica’s sales increased to 27.2%. That pales in comparison to the 60% to 61% increase they experienced during the same time range in 2010 and 2011.
With that said, Billboard.biz does acknowledge that Spotify may not be entirely to blame. They do note that the end of the SoundScan sales week this year occurred further away from Christmas, while sales weeks ending closer to Christmas tend to better reflect late holiday shopping. It also doesn’t help that the number of retail outlets to purchase music has decreased dramatically over the years. Plus, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Metallica’s agreement with Spotify includes a higher percentage of revenue from streaming.
Still, many continue to question whether Spotify actually helps or hurts existing album sales, and Metallica’s decreases in sales aren’t helping the streaming service’s case. Furthermore, this isn’t exactly a great start for Metallica own label.
We know that Trent Reznor is a busy guy, especially with all sorts of new musical collaborations. As it turns out, though, the Nine Inch Nails mastermind has also been busy creating his own streaming service.
During a feature interview with The New Yorker, Reznor revealed that he’s been working with Beats Electronics (aka Beats By Dr. Dre) on a new music streaming service. Tentatively being dubbed Daisy, Reznor is reportedly aiming to make the service more “personable” and better exposes users to more new forms of music. When comparing his service to Spotify, Reznor claimed “Here’s sixteen million licensed pieces of music,’ they’ve said, but you’re not stumbling into anything. What’s missing is a service that adds a layer of intelligent curation.”
But that’s not all Reznor revealed during the interview. While we know that new Nine Inch Nails material has been in the works, Reznor revealed that Interscope Records is preparing to release a “best of” compilation for tentatively 2014. While it’s unclear how involved he’ll be with the release, Reznor did say that two new NIN songs would appear on the compilation. It’s unclear, though, as to when (or how) an album completely made of new material will be released.
Check out more highlights from The New Yorker interview online (note, you need to have an account to read the entire piece).
AC/DC was one of the remaining major acts to hold out from distributing music through iTunes. Well that changed this morning, as the Australian rock legends’ entire catalog is now available via Apple’s juggernaut music store.
In addition to individual records, iTunes is now offering the “Complete Set” of AC/DC for $149.99, as well as the “Studio Collection” for $99.99, ringtones, and the group’s new live album Live At River Plate. Other than a generic post on Facebook, no specific member of AC/DC has comment on the move to iTunes. Regardless, this move does come as a surprise since not only has AC/DC been very vocal about their hold out, but they are unarguably one band that doesn’t need iTunes to sell albums. Ironically, this announcement comes the same day that Kid Rock (another long-time hold out from iTunes) made his debut on iTunes by releasing his new album Rebel Soul.
Chances are many fans already have most (if not all) of AC/DC’s albums. For those who don’t or want digital copies, though, head over to iTunes now.
Digital radio and streaming services have been a hot button issue in the music industry, especially relating to revenue. So it’s understandable why many musicians would be unhappy that Pandora is lobbying lawmakers in U.S. Congress to pass the “Internet Radio Fairness Act,” which would change regulation of how royalties are paid to artists. In fact, 125 artists specially are so opposed by the online music company’s push that they’ve signed an open letter to voice their concerns.
According to Digital Music News, heavy acts like Megadeth, Rush, KISS, Skid Row, and Duff McKagan included their signature in the open letter to Pandora that also included Rihanna, Billy Joel and many others. Here is the open letter to Pandora (along with all 125 signatures):
“We are big fans of Pandora. That’s why we helped give the company a discount on rates for the past decade.
Pandora is now enjoying phenomenal success as a Wall Street company. Skyrocketing growth in revenues and users. We celebrate that. At the same time, the music community is just now beginning to gain its footing in the new digital world.
Pandora’s principal asset is the music.
Why is the company asking Congress once again to step in and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon? That’s not fair, and that’s not how partners work together.
Congress has many pressing issues to consider, but this is not one of them. Let’s work this out as partners and continue to bring fans the great musical experience they rightly expect.
Bryan Adams, Alabama, Greg Allman, Steve Angello, Rodney Atkins, Sara Bareilles, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Clint Black, Jack Blades, Blondie, Jonatha Brooke, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Oteil Burbridge, The Cab, Colbie Caillat, Camper Van Beethoven, CoCo Carmel, George Clinton, Keyshia Cole, Common, Easton Corbin, Cowboy Mouth, Cracker, Randy Crawford, Robert Cray, David Crosby, Joel Crouse, Sheryl Crow, Drew Davis, Taylor Dayne, Dead Kennedys, Raheem DeVaughn, The Doors, Down, The Dream, Vikter Duplaix, Missy Elliott, Lupe Fiasco, The 5th Dimension, Flyleaf, John Fogerty, Guy Forsyth, The Game, Vince Gill, David Gilmour, Genevieve Goings, Martha Reeves, Rihanna, Eric Roberson, Darius Rucker, Rush, Bobby Rush, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Skid Row, Michael W. Smith, Britney Spears, Dave Stewart, Survivor, T.I., Susan Tedeschi, Robin Thicke, George Thorogood, Toto, Butch Trucks, Derek Trucks, Josh Turner, Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio (The 4 Seasons), Dionne Warwick, Roger Waters, Bobby Whitlock, Whodini, Chuck Wicks, Otis Williams (The Temptations), Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), BrianWilson, BeBeWinans, Zac Brown Band, Andy Grammer, Amy Grant, CeeLo Green, Gyptian, Warren Haynes, Don Henley, Hootie and The Blowfish, Mallary Hope, Bruce Hornsby, Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), The J.Geils Band, Jaimoe, The Jazz Crusaders, Billy Joel, John Paul Jones, Mick Jones (Foreigner), Journey, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds), KISS, Jana Kramer, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nick Mason, Duff McKagan, Megadeth, Janelle Monae, Alissa Moreno, Jason Mraz, Nas, Graham Nash, Ne-Yo, Stevie Nicks, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent, Owl City, Christina Perri, Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, John Pointer, The Pointer Sisters, Primus, Marc Quinones, Joel Rafael, Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt.”
There’s no denying Pandora’s growth over the past year alone, as the open letter points out. However, Pandora (along with Clear Channel Communications and other streaming services) believe it to be unfair that they have to pay more for the rights to music as they gain customers. “This bipartisan bill will end royalty rate discrimination against internet radio and bring greater fairness to our industry. Today, the discrimination is extraordinary. In 2011, Pandora paid over 50% of revenues in performance royalties, while SiriusXM paid less than 10%,” Pandora claimed on their website.
This comes during a time when artists and labels have been battling it out over digital royalties, while music industry groups recently came to an agreement over a new royalty deal regarding digital and cellular services. We’ll just have to wait and see how far the debate amongst musicians and streaming services like Pandora will go.
[via Digital Music News and Reuters]
While much of America has gotten on board with Spotify since they launched in a year ago (especially since their integration with Facebook), there have been some notable holdouts from the service. While it’s mainly been established bands (Tool, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, The Beatles) or acts waiting to put their newer full length albums up (The Black Keys, Adele, Coldplay), Century Media, Metal Blade, Sumerian and Prosthetic made headlines last year by pulling their entire catalogues from Spotify. Now it looks like Century Media is back.
We got a press release earlier today stating that Century Media, as well as InsideOut Music, Superball Music and People Like You Records, have put their music back on Spotify. The press release says that feedback from fans and continued discussions with Spotify led to the label to reverse their decision. So basically, it wasn’t just a combination of fans and blogs like ours bitching that led to the reversal – it looks like they might have negotiated a better payment rate. But given how they freaked out earlier in the year when their distributor accidentally put a few releases on Spotify, something’s definitely led to their change of heart.
“Spotify offers great tools to discover new artists, CM’s European GM Antje Lange stated. “We feel that this is essential for our promising newcomers. In that respect, Spotify gives those artists a very good forum.”
“We respect that music fans wanted to have instant access to our catalog via Spotify,” states CM North America president Don Robertson added. “But we also have to consider the rights of our artists. After practicing some due diligence, we’re moving ahead confident that both the artist and the fan are being fairly served by this developing platform.”
Century Media says they’ll continue to “evaluate Spotify as a music discovery tool and welcome the fan’s opportunity to preview a release in its entirety before deciding to buy a copy.”It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The last sentence sounds like somewhat of a veiled threat that they could just as easily pull their titles again. But considering that people that want to illegally download music will continue to do it anyway, labels are leaving money on the table by pulling out of Spotify. Granted, that money pales in comparison to an actual album purchase, but it adds up.