Pearl Jam Tribute Band ‘Pearl Jamm’ Changes Their Name to ‘Legal Jam’ After Receiving Legal Threats from the Band

After receiving legal threats over its name, Pearl Jam tribute band ‘Pearl Jamm Tribute’ has officially been renamed ‘Legal Jam’ – though the switch may have brought about additional name-related legal threats from a company that operates well outside the music space.

In a Facebook post dated December 31st, 2020, the band formerly known as Pearl Jamm Tribute recapped its performance-related successes on the year, celebrated the release of Pearl Jam’s Gigaton, and indicated that its members were “looking forward to playing some more tracks off the new album live soon.” The three-paragraph-long message doesn’t mention any sort of legal dispute with Pearl Jam proper and features hashtags including “#PearlJamTribute” and “#PearlJamm” at its close.

But roughly two weeks later, the London-based Pearl Jam tribute group posted video of a BBC News segment entitled “Pearl Jam Got Legal.” In the brief clip, the tribute band’s members said that they’d received a cease-and-desist letter, complete with calls to turn over domain names and destroy Pearl Jamm merchandise, from Pearl Jam’s counsel.

Additionally, the five-year-old act emphasized that complying with the demands would exacerbate financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, besides noting that their comparatively small gigs (and comparatively modest merch line) hadn’t before been confused with those of Pearl Jam itself. It’s unclear what exactly prompted the legal crackdown, but it bears mentioning here that Pearl Jam is scheduled to kick off the European leg of its Gigaton tour, encompassing 15 stops, in mid-June.

Three days after posting the BBC News clip, with the legal pressure having evidently continued, the tribute band sent an open letter to Pearl Jam. “You have broken our hearts,” the text begins.

“You have known of our tribute band for years yet have waited until a global pandemic to have threatening legal letters sent,” the document continues. “This isn’t the Pearl Jam we know and love, the Pearl Jam that stands up for social issues and against corporate giants. Yet your lawyers tell us it is indeed you, the band, that are behind this.”

Plus, the musicians said in the message that the situation could have been avoided if Pearl Jam had “personally” reached out, aside from calling on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s members “to respond either publicly or privately and rescind the legal threats.”

Finally, the five-piece tribute act specified in a follow-up post that it would “yield” to Pearl Jam’s demands by becoming Legal Jam, including adopting a new web address. “Our disappointment,” wrote Legal Jam, “was only ever of the timing and manner in which those demands were made. … We will continue to perform the music of Pearl Jam in the most heartfelt and authentic way.”

Unfortunately for Legal Jam – the band, that is – the name change has only spurred further threats of litigation. Yesterday morning, an individual who’s purportedly associated with an India-based provider of “customized judicial services courses,” Legal Jam, called on the Pearl Jam tribute group to “cease and desist” using the shared name.

“Please can you cease and desist from using our brand name. Our lawyers will be in touch. We feel that people may attend your gigs thinking it was one of our seminars,” this person penned, also linking to the older Legal Jam’s Facebook page, which has over 5,000 likes and features content that was published several years ago. Significantly, Legal Jam hadn’t personally posted about the tribute band – on its own profile or as a visitor – at the time of this piece’s writing.

The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum made headlines last year after changing its name to Lady A – only to find that the title had long been in use by Seattle-based blues singer Anita White. The parties remain embroiled in a high-profile lawsuit over the moniker, and the courtroom confrontation appears unlikely to conclude anytime soon.

Latest Music Industry Gigs: Asylum Records, Warner Chappell, Sony/ATV, More

Latest music industry gigs – Asylum Records’ new president, Dallas Martin.

Here’s a recap of recent executive shuffles — including both hirings and in-house promotions — from across the music industry.

If you have a job shuffle to share, we’re all ears. Send us a note to [email protected] If you’d like to post a job on our Job Board, just send us a request to [email protected] And, keep track of all the latest music industry shuffles here.

Asylum Records

10-year Warner Music veteran Dallas Martin has been appointed to president of Asylum Records – a role he’ll fill while remaining executive vice president of A&R at Atlantic Records.

Warner Chappell Music

Warner Chappell has promoted Natalie Madaj, who joined the company in 2018, to senior vice president of digital licensing for the Americas. Additionally, four-year Warner Chappell higher-up Daniel Lang is now vice president of digital licensing for Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa (EMEIA).

Walt Disney Music

Tom MacDougall, who joined Disney 28 years ago, has become president of Walt Disney Music.

Black River Entertainment

Black River has promoted Nikki Abbamont to associate director of project management and named Ainsley Barry social media coordinator. Plus, Megan Hazeltine, who Black River hired last year, is now the Nashville-based indie label’s marketing coordinator.

Concord

Concord has promoted chief revenue officer Victor Zaraya to chief operating officer and named former Warner Music Group higher-up Ruth Martinez chief people officer.

TuneCore

TuneCore has hired former Kobalt Music Group marketing exec Gareth Mellor to head its UK division. (Believe Digital, TuneCore’s parent company, is reportedly weighing the prospect of a $2.4 billion IPO.)

PRS for Music

Singer-songwriter Michelle Escoffery has been tapped to fill the newly created role of president of the PRS Members’ Council.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Sony/ATV has promoted 30-year music industry vet Audrey J. Ashby to senior vice president of business affairs and catalog.

Native Instruments Sold Again — Majority Stake Purchased by Francisco Partners

Francisco Partners has purchased a majority stake in Native Instruments. Photo Credit: Ricardo Abreu

Berlin-headquartered music-hardware company Native Instruments has been sold once again, this time to San Francisco- and London-based private equity firm Francisco Partners.

Native Instruments and Francisco Partners recently unveiled the sale, which is expected to formally close in 2021’s first quarter. This companies didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deal, though “founding shareholders,” “key employees,” and Munich-based investment fund EMH Partners “will retain a significant minority stake in” Native Instruments, the parties disclosed in a release. Plus, “the purchase price reflects the significant value generation during EMH Partners’ ownership.”

EMH invested about $60.84 million (€50 million) in Native Instruments in 2017, before upping the interest (obtaining majority ownership in the process) last year. According to the release, Native Instruments’ music-creation tools have experienced a 60 percent revenue uptick since EMH initially backed the company, while on-platform “industry partners” have increased by the same amount. Monthly active users (MAUs), for their part, “more than doubled to 1.5 million” by 2020’s end, per the release.

Under the new ownership, Native Instruments intends “to further enhance its product leadership, drive consolidation in the growing and fragmented market for digital music creation and extend its already leading position in the industry,” the text indicates. Matt Spetzler, partner and co-head of Europe at Francisco Partners, is set to join Native Instruments’ board of directors.

Addressing the deal in a statement, Native Instruments CEO Constantin Koehncke said, in part: “We’re thrilled to team up with Francisco Partners to enter the next phase of our journey, combining their global resources and expertise with our passionate team, deep relationships within music and proven track record of technical innovation. Together we can realize our mission to empower and inspire the global community of music creators and help them unlock their creative potential through more seamless experiences.”

Worth noting is that Francisco Partners currently has a stake in Eventbrite, according to its website. During today’s trading hours, the event-management and ticketing website (bought and sold under the symbol EB) saw its stock price grow by nearly 2.5 percent from yesterday’s closing value.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching economic impact, the last month or so has brought an array of high-profile acquisitions in the music industry.

Live Nation this week secured a majority stake in Veeps, a ticketed livestream platform created by Good Charlotte cofounders Joel and Benji Madden. Audible Magic acquired MediaNet from SOCAN about 10 days back, while Gibson closed a deal to bring boutique amp maker Mesa/Boogie under its umbrella shortly before that.

In December, Reddit purchased short-form video-sharing platform – and TikTok rival – Dubsmash, whereas Artlist bought Motion Array and Sony Music expanded its merchandising footprint with a buyout of Probity.

Apple VR Headset Plans Leak – ‘An Expensive Precursor to AR Glasses’

Photo Credit: Minh Pham

An Apple VR headset is in development, but you may not see it before 2022 – if at all.

The Bloomberg report suggests Apple views the project as a niche step on its way to augmented reality. Apple is pricing its VR headset at a premium, as it has encountered several development hurdles.

“As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3D digital environment for gaming, watching video, and communicating. AR functionality – the ability to overlay images and information over a view of the real world – will be more limited,” the report says.

Apple has conservative sales estimates for the VR headset, which won’t arrive until 2022 at the latest.

Apple’s VR headset will face stiff competition from players like Facebook, Sony, and Valve’s partnership with HTC. Apple isn’t building the VR headset with widespread consumer adoption in mind, either. Instead, the company believes it will be a niche product that will prepare outside developers and consumers for its AR glasses.

Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 can be had for around $300 with no PC needed. Apple’s rumored VR headset will be ‘far more expensive’ than rivals. That’s a huge price range since the Valve Index starts at $900. Apple is looking to build hype around the product by making it extremely exclusive – think Google Glass.

Apple insiders who spoke to Bloomberg anonymously report the company may only sell one headset per day, per retail store in America. Apple has around 500 stores, which would bring annual sales to just over 180,000 units.

The Apple VR headset is codenamed the N301 and is currently in the late prototype stage.

The headset is not yet finalized, so Apple’s plans for the VR headset could change. It might even be scrapped entirely before it goes to market. The AR glasses are codenamed N421, and they are in the early stages of development, where Apple is still working on perfecting the underlying technology. Insiders say the AR glasses are several years away – as far away as 2023 at the earliest.

“The powerful processors and the inclusion of a fan initially led to a device that was too large and heavy,” insiders report. “Apple removed the space VR headsets usually reserve for users who need to wear eyeglasses,” insiders confirm.

That move would shrink the size of the VR headset and bring the screens closer to the face. Apple’s VR headset reportedly features a system where custom prescription lenses can be inserted into the VR screens.

How to Switch from Apple Music to Spotify and Keep Your Playlists

Photo Credit: SGC Design Co.

Ready to switch from Apple Music to Spotify? Here’s how to keep your playlists intact during the move.

Many people are reluctant to switch music streaming services because of years of playlists. But what if you could take your playlists with you? You don’t have to spend hours curating which playlists, either. There are several services that will match up your music tracks and sync your playlists between Apple Music and Spotify.

Switching from Apple Music to Spotify Guide

Several third-party services make it easy to switch between music streaming services. It’s a great way for people with multiple streaming subscriptions to keep all their playlists synced, no matter which services they’re using. Here’s a quick guide on setting up SongShift to sync Apple Music and Spotify playlists.

  • Open the SongShift app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Tap the SongShift icon at the bottom to get started.
  • Tap ‘Setup Sources.
  • Tap ‘Connect Music Services.
  • Find the Apple Music icon and tap ‘Connect.’
  • Enter your Apple Music credentials and agree.
  • Repeat steps 5 and 6 for connecting Spotify.
  • Great! Once you’ve completed this step, SongShift is all set up for the switch between Apple Music and Spotify. Now you need to select which music, playlists, and albums you want to sync in the process.

  • Select ‘Set up Source‘ and choose Spotify.
  • Choose the album, playlist, or song you’re syncing.
  • Tap ‘Set up Destination‘ and choose Apple Music.
  • Tap ‘I’m Finished,’ and then you’re done.
  • SongShift then meticulously crawls through your Apple Music playlists. It will find matches for those songs and playlists on Spotify, then present you with a list. You can then choose to approve the import or make changes if you’re not happy.

    It’s worth noting that not every song from Apple Music is available on Spotify. If you’ve saved an unavailable song, you won’t be able to move it over. SongShift will identify any songs that won’t be available on Spotify after it syncs your music.

    SongShift not your cup of tea? There are a few other apps that allow users to transfer playlists from Apple Music to Spotify. Here’s a quick list.

    Switch from Apple Music to Spotify – AlternativesTune My Music

    Tune My Music is more focused on people who want to keep two music services in sync. One example given is curators who wish to keep playlists synced across multiple services. Another is copying playlists between platforms and keeping them updated with new additions. Tune My Music is a paid service with no free trial.

    Soundiiz

    This platform is more similar to SongShift and offers individual playlist syncing for free. It connects with multiple music streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, TIDAL) and features a premium upgrade for automatic playlist syncing.

    Free Your Music

    Free Your Music supports more platforms than some of the other music streaming services. For example, it supports JioSaavn and other India-only music streaming services. It is also the only app on this list that offers a paid one-time fee for unlimited syncing instead of a monthly subscription.

    Kodak Black Pardon Trump Issued Didn’t Include Sexual Assault Charges

    Photo Credit: David Cabrera / CC by 4.0

    Kodak Black got a pardon from former President Trump, but it didn’t include his sexual assault charges.

    Now South Carolina prosecutors want to put Kodak Black back into state custody. He would face charges for sexual assault after being pardoned for gun law violations. Black was among several rappers and prominent figures in the hip-hop community who received a pardon.

    Kodak Black, whose real name is Bill Kapri, was serving 46-months in federal prison. His charges included making false statements on paperwork for a gun sale, lying about felony charges. He also allegedly penned a scrambled version of his Social Security number to avoid detection.

    Attorneys in his case argue that the sentence the rapper received was too harsh for a non-violent crime. “[Kodak Black] gets sentenced to 46 months for lying on a government form. Big difference if you are someone in power from a young African American,” his lawyer, Bradford Cohen, tweeted.

    According to Courthouse News, the Florence County Solicitor Ed Clements has a detainer on file against Kapri. He plans to bring him to South Carolina to face his charge of sexual assault.

    Kapri is not shielded from facing prosecution in South Carolina because a presidential pardon grants clemency to federal charges only, not state charges. Even the Kodak Black pardon does not mention his sexual assault allegations.

    Those allegations happened in 2016 when prosecutors say Black forced himself on a woman in a hotel room. The altercation escalated into him biting her neck and breast. The woman repeatedly told him to stop, but he did not. Clements says the COVID-19 outbreak has slowed the prosecution of the case.

    “We’ll move forward as fast as we can. The pandemic ground court to a halt,” Clements says. Kodak Black himself has not been silent since the pardon commuted his sentence.

    The rapper dropped his lawsuit against the Bureau of Prisons over abuse he allegedly suffered while in a Kentucky prison. That lawsuit claims Black was beaten by correctional officers, tortured, and held in four-point restraints for hours with no bathroom access. The Bureau of Prisons has disputed the allegations, claiming Kapri was only restrained when he was violent.

    Trump also granted a pardon to Lil Wayne, who pled guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon. Lil Wayne’s private jet was raided in Florida at the end of 2019, where officers found a gold-plated pistol that was loaded.

    Bob Dylan Faces $7.25 Million Lawsuit After Selling His Catalog to Universal Music

    Bob Dylan performing live. Photo Credit: Alberto Cabello

    About six weeks after selling his entire catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group, in a deal that was reportedly worth over $300 million, Bob Dylan is facing a $7.25 million suit from the estate of songwriter, theater director, and psychologist Jacques Levy.

    Jacques Levy’s wife, Claudia Levy, recently submitted the multimillion-dollar complaint against Bob Dylan to the New York State Supreme Court. Levy, who cowrote seven of the nine tracks on Dylan’s 1976 Desire album, signed a contract guaranteeing him 35 percent “of any and all income earned by the compositions,” according to the suit. Nevertheless, Levy’s estate didn’t receive a payment from UMPG’s aforementioned Bob Dylan catalog buyout, per the plaintiffs.

    Among the seven Desire tracks that Jacques Levy helped pen are “Hurricane,” “Isis,” “Mozambique,” and “Joey.” During a 2009 interview, Bob Dylan noted that Levy himself had written the latter song’s lyrics, and that he (Dylan) “just sang” the approximately 10-minute-long work.

    Levy, who passed away in 2004, also directed Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour, and his wife said in a recent sit down that he had “worked all the time” on the concert series, which kicked off in October of 1975 and wrapped in May of 1976. Separately, the estate of Jacques Levy maintains in the complaint that it hadn’t immediately received payments from other projects, including Desire placements in Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese.

    At the time of this piece’s writing, neither the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bob Dylan nor Universal Music Group had commented publicly on the case from Jacques Levy’s estate. More broadly, UMPG’s Bob Dylan catalog acquisition is the latest in a long line of high-profile music-IP investments – including many such deals that have come to fruition in the last month or so.

    Two days ago, Round Hill Music acquired the back catalog of Collective Soul and closed a futures deal with the Atlanta-based rock band’s frontman and primary songwriter, Ed Roland. Mick Fleetwood sold his recorded catalog to BMG one week back, and three days prior to that, Round Hill Music bought the catalog of veteran songwriter Jim Vallance.

    Lastly, Hipgnosis today announced that it had secured 100 percent of Bob Rock’s production credits on Metallica/The Black Album (1991) as well as four Michael Bublé efforts, for a total of 43 songs. On the year, the Merck Mercuriadis-founded fund has unveiled agreements with Lindsey Buckingham, Jimmy Iovine, Neil Young, and Shakira.

    Over 100 British Music Stars Warn Brexit Endangers European Tours

    Photo Credit: Spencer Davis

    Over 100 British musicians are warning that Brexit threatens possible European tours.

    Musicians from all genres have come together to comment on the state of affairs. Ed Sheeran, Sting, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, and even Simon Rattle have spoken out about the current state of Brexit in a letter to The Times newspaper.

    The musicians accused the government of breaking a promise to negotiate for them. The deal would have allowed British musicians to perform in the European Union without requiring work permits or visas. The letter calls for another deal allowing paperwork-free travel for both British and European artists who are touring.

    “The deal done with the EU has a gaping hole where the promised free movement for musicians should be: everyone on a European music tour will now need costly work permits and a mountain of paperwork for their equipment,” the letter states.

    These British musicians aren’t wrong in their assessment of the post-Brexit European tours situation, either.

    Brexit took effect on December 31, 2020. One of the direct consequences is that British and EU citizens can no longer freely travel among the two territories. The extra costs of obtaining paperwork for artists and equipment will then be passed along to the average concert-goer.

    “The extra costs will make many tours unviable, especially for young emerging musicians who are already struggling to keep their heads above water owing to the COVID ban on live music,” the letter continues. The UK is amid a new COVID-19 shutdown ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    The deal struck with the EU is far less than most artists hoped for when it was announced. It allows British and EU musicians to tour without a visa for 90 days of any 180-day period. However, work permits are still needed to perform in some countries, including Spain and Germany.

    Several other technical rules have disrupted how British artists can even plan European tours.

    New rules on road haulage mean British trucks must return to the UK after two laden journeys in the EU. That makes arranging a multi-leg tour across Europe impossible to arrange without running afoul of these rules. Both the British and European governments are pointing fingers at one another for the current state of things.

    The European Commission says Britain’s decision to end the free movement of EU citizens to the UK has consequences. Travel for business persons is restricted and no longer as easy as the pre-Brexit rules, which leaves artists with little to no recourse.

    Glastonbury Festival Canceled for the Second Year In a Row

    An evening shot of Glastonbury 2011. Photo Credit: jaswooduk

    Glastonbury organizers have officially canceled their five-day-long music festival for the second year in a row.

    Glastonbury cofounder Michael Eavis and his daughter Emily, who organizes the 51-year-old event, announced the cancellation “with great regret” this morning, via a formal statement. Last year’s 50th anniversary edition of Glastonbury was put on ice in March of 2020, amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Emily Eavis told supporters earlier this month that she would “let you know right here as soon as we have an update” about 2021’s festival. (Also on January 4th, she responded to rumors that Glastonbury wouldn’t take place in 2021.)

    “In spite of our efforts to move Heaven & Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down,” Michael and Emily Eavis wrote this morning to fans of their Pilton, Somerset-based festival, which was last shelved for two or more consecutive years back in the 1970s.

    The text doesn’t appear to cite a precise reason for the cancellation, and neither Michael nor Emily elaborated upon the matter in time for publishing. In July of 2020, the two stated that they were already in the process of implementing safety measures for Glastonbury 2021, including pre-entry health screenings and contact-tracing procedures. Plus, the elder Eavis acknowledged that another cancellation would likely mark the end of his festival.

    On this front, however, today’s Glastonbury cancellation message wasn’t without positive takeaways, as its authors struck an encouraging tone when addressing the possibility of Glastonbury 2022. “We are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!” wrote Michael and Emily Eavis.

    Many acts who had been booked for Glastonbury 2020, including headliner Paul McCartney, Cage the Elephant, Blur, Diana Ross, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, and Dua Lipa, were reportedly scheduled to play Glastonbury 2021. Additionally, fans who initially purchased Glastonbury passes in October of 2019 can once again roll their £50 ($68.59) deposits over and “guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022,” the Glastonbury 2021 cancellation message specified.

    Most live music execs expect the full-scale return of traditional concerts and music festivals to arrive in 2021, and the results of a recent study – as well as the continued distribution of COVID-19 vaccines – appear to play well for the possibility.

    Moreover, fans have made clear that they’re eager to resume enjoying non-socially distanced gigs. EDC Las Vegas 2021, Day Trip, and other festivals quickly sold out, and Live Nation has indicated in multiple earnings reports that the vast majority of ticketholders are foregoing refunds, opting instead to wait for shows’ rescheduled dates.

    “Cars” Singer Gary Numan: ‘I Got £37 From a Million Streams’

    Gary Numan performing live. Photo Credit: Man Alive!

    “Cars” singer, songwriter, and producer Gary Numan has revealed that he once earned just over $50 (£37) for one million streams — or about $0.00005 per stream.

    Gary Numan disclosed his decidedly small royalty payment – and relayed his stance on today’s streaming-driven music landscape – in a recent Sky News interview. The Hammersmith, London-born musician’s comments starkly contrast figures released this week by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which touted streaming as financially beneficial to artists.  The BPI noted  that “labels receive gross revenues of around 4.33” from a standard $9.99-per-month subscription, “of which artists receive 1.33.”

    The 62-year-old Numan didn’t specify which of his tracks generated the minuscule payment for one million streams, or from which platform the check arrived.  “I had a statement a while back and one of my songs had had over a million plays, million streams, and it was £37,” Numan relayed. “I got £37 from a million streams.”

    For reference, Spotify pays most artists between $.003 and $.005 (one-third of a penny to one-half of a penny) per stream, based upon DMN’s much-cited royalty-rate breakdown – meaning that creators would receive $3,000 to $5,000 for one million plays.

    But Numan didn’t say whether these streams derived from Spotify (YouTube and Pandora pay less per play, it bears mentioning), and a number of factors affect the Stockholm-based platform’s per-stream royalty rate. Classical violinist Tasmin Little, for instance, said that she earned just $17 or so (£12.34) for five to six million Spotify streams.

    Numan, who is preparing to release his 19th studio album later in 2021, also described the time (“about a year ago”) that he printed a streaming-royalty statement without checking its precise length beforehand.

    “It was hundreds and hundreds of pages. And the end of it was, like, £112 [$153.07]. It was barely worth the [paper] it was printed on, and it took nearly half an hour to print. You know, it’s so much stuff, so much streaming, and there’s absolutely nothing in it,” he said.

    Lastly, the “My Name Is Ruin” creator summed up his position on streaming’s role in the contemporary music industry: “The solution’s simple. The streaming companies should pay more money. They’re getting it for nothing.”

    Earlier this month, an investigative article shed light upon the prevalence (and listenership success) of “white noise” songs, which earn the same royalties as proper music, on Spotify. Separately, many have pushed back against the platform’s recent moves to delist indie music artists over alleged “artificial stream” violations, and a number of the impacted artists are denying that they used third-party services to boost their play counts.

    District Court Judge Dismisses Pro Music Rights’ Lawsuit Against Apple

    A district court judge has officially dismissed Pro Music Rights’ collusion lawsuit against Apple, which, along with Spotify, SoundCloud, Amazon, and many others, was named in the complaint back in March of 2020.

    Pro Music Rights (PMR) maintained in the 120-page-long initial filing that the defendants had “entered into an illegal agreement, combination and/or conspiracy to shut PMR out of the market and to fix prices at infracompetitive levels.” July saw the Florida-based PRO drop Napster and iHeartMedia from the complaint, and the entities’ logos subsequently appeared under a Pro Music Rights website banner reading “Trusted by Top Companies Worldwide.”

    Additionally, PMR and Connoisseur Media, a Westport, Connecticut-based operator of 39 radio stations and digital assets, settled in late October of 2020 – though as was also the case with PMR’s iHeartMedia and Napster settlements, the terms of the agreement weren’t made publicly available.

    Building upon the latter point, the order dismissing Pro Music Rights’ high-profile case against Apple just recently surfaced, and it’s unclear what exactly prompted the development. PMR, which announced plans in late December to pursue a Spotify-style direct listing, is unable to comment on the matter owing to its ongoing SEC quiet period.

    But a different legal filing, submitted to the court about one week ago, revealed that PMR founder Jake P. Noch had entered into settlement talks with Spotify as part of a separate suit. Pro Music Rights and indie label Sosa Entertainment (which is also owned by Noch) levied this $1 billion complaint in November of 2019, claiming that Spotify had removed its tracks “for anti-competitive reasons” beginning in 2017 – and failed to pay royalties for a staggering 550 million streams.

    Spotify denied the stunning allegations and fired off a firmly worded countersuit, alleging that Noch had plotted to “artificially generate hundreds of millions of fraudulent streams on songs he had seeded,” in addition to engaging in “a multi-year campaign of fraud and harassment.”

    In the aforementioned one-week-old filing, the case’s parties jointly requested a 60-day stay so that they could “attempt to negotiate a resolution of this matter.” Noch said in a statement that he was “happy” about the talks and looked forward to finding “an excellent resolution to the issues between us.”

    It remains to be seen whether Spotify and Noch will reach an agreement and put the courtroom confrontation in the rearview, but the above-noted settlements and the Apple lawsuit’s dismissal may be indicative of an approaching compromise.

    More as this develops.

    Digital Music News’ Intellectual Property Protection coverage is sponsored by Pro Music Rights. Pro Music Rights is leading the charge for protecting rights among artists and rights holders.

    Apple Podcasts Introduces ‘Spotlight’ — Featuring New Editorial Highlights Every Month

    Photo Credit: 9to5Mac

    Apple Podcasts gets a new Spotlight editorial header with a new podcast every month.

    The new feature was unveiled earlier this week in the Apple Podcasts app on all platforms. The first Apple Podcasts Spotlight creator is Chelsea Devantez, who hosts Celebrity Book Club. Apple hopes the new feature will help highlight some of the up-and-coming talents in the podcast industry.

    “Apple Podcasts Spotlight helps listeners find some of the world’s best shows by shining a light on creators with singular voices,” says Ben Cave, Global Head of Business for Apple Podcasts.

    “Chelsea Devantez has created a fun, vibrant space with Celebrity Book Club for listeners to gain new perspectives on the celebrities we thought we knew. We are delighted to recognize Chelsea and Celebrity Book Club as our first Spotlight selection and look forward to introducing creators like Chelsea to listeners each month.”

    The first Apple Podcasts Spotlight focuses on the memoirs of ‘badass’ celebrity women.

    “Writer, comedian, and filmmaker Chelsea Devantez and her talented friends recap and celebrate the memoirs of badass celebrity womxn who have been torn down by tabloids and dissected by social media – all while facing career obstacles, broken relationships, and incredible triumphs. You can read along, or just listen, but either way, you definitely want to join this book club,” reads the podcast’s synopsis on Stitcher.

    Apple is gearing up to help take some of the wind out of Spotify’s podcast sails.

    Spotify spent most of 2019/20 acquiring several podcasting properties. Amazon Music joined in, acquiring Wondery and producing several Audible Originals. The battle for spoken word content is heating up as Apple, Spotify, and Amazon find themselves in a three-way stand-off over a new marketplace.

    SiriusXM is in a somewhat distant fourth place as it moves to transition some of its content to podcasts. The acquisition of Pandora and Stitcher has helped transform some of its satellite radio shows into more easily digestible podcasts. But the real battle between Apple and Spotify is just heating up.

    Apple is finally looking at producing its own original podcasts and acquiring podcast studios. There are also rumors that Apple is considering adding a premium podcast subscription to its offerings. That premium podcast subscription would undoubtedly become part of the Apple One bundle subscription.

    That would also help Apple differentiate itself from Spotify, which is also mulling a separate podcast subscription for those who want to listen to podcasts ad- and sponsor-free.

    Wave Shuts Down VR App, Says ‘Artists Need Audiences to Thrive’

    Photo Credit: Stella Jacob

    Virtual concerts company Wave is dropping its VR app, citing slow development of the tech.

    That’s after the company raised $30 million from investors like Scooter Braun back in June. CEO Adam Arrigo explained the company’s decision to shutter its VR app on Twitter.

    “Two years ago, we pivoted out of VR into gaming and live-streaming, as the VR industry didn’t develop as quickly as we’d hoped,” Arrigo writes. “Artists need audiences to thrive, and we realized VR just wasn’t there yet, and there was a bigger opportunity for artists outside headsets.”

    The Wave VR offered virtual reality concerts for both the Steam and Oculus platforms. But adoption of VR technology has been slow, partly because of how expensive it remains. Facebook introduced the Oculus Quest 2 as a standalone VR experience that requires no costly PC hardware. But it still costs $399, more expensive than the Nintendo Switch and other last-gen consoles.

    Arrigo says due to the slow adoption of VR tech, development slowed to a snail’s pace.

    “As much as we’d love to, we aren’t able to spend the resources to build a new backend pipeline since we are already spread so thin trying to accomplish our current set of non-VR objectives,” Arrigo continues on Twitter.

    “We are still a relatively small startup. The hardest part of running a startup is choosing what to focus on, which has led us to the difficult decision to sunset The Wave VR app on Steam and Oculus.”

    Virtual reality concerts were once hailed as the future for live experiences. The industry hasn’t been able to overcome the high barrier for entry, though.

    When the technology costs as much as a gaming console, the average household isn’t going to have one. VR has a chicken/egg problem. There are no VR developers because the consumer hardware is too expensive. And consumer hardware is too costly because there’s no consumer demand – so there are no developers, either.

    Spatial audio may be one of the defining factors that helps increase consumer demand. It’s a relatively new technology that Apple has embraced with the release of the AirPods Max. Sony is also working on its own spatial audio tech for its headsets and the PlayStation 5. Spatial audio is an important part of bringing a VR concert to life and making the listener feel as though they’re in the live audience.

    While Wave is pausing its VR app, it’s not out of the live-streamed concert business. Recently, The Weeknd teamed up with Wave for a TikTok LIVE concert, reaching over two million viewers.

    Who Are the Super Bowl LV Performers? – National Anthem Singer Revealed

    Photo Credit: Jennifer Villaume / CC by 3.0

    The Super Bowl LV performers’ line-up is nearly complete after the latest reveal.

    Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan will perform the national anthem before the big game. Singer H.E.R. will also perform “America the Beautiful” before kick-off. Deaf rapper and artist Warren “Wawa” Snipe will perform both songs in American Sign Language.

    Demi Lovato sang the national anthem at the Super Bowl last year. Previous performers who were granted that honor include Gladys Knight, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Idina Menzel, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Neil Diamond, Luke Bryan, Jordin Sparks, and Billy Joel.

    This year, CBS will air the game on February 7, with the kick-off show starting at 6 pm ET. Super Bowl LV performers for halftime is The Weeknd. Last year, the Super Bowl Halftime Show attracted more than 104 million viewers.

    The Super Bowl LV performers are some of the most diverse line-ups of stars ever featured. It’s nice to see that the NFL is sticking to its guns to support racial equality. The national anthem and “America the Beautiful” have always been an important part of these sports ceremonies.

    As of the time of writing, it’s still undecided who will play. This weekend, the Buffalo Bills are playing the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC title. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face-off against the Green Bay Packers for the NFC title. The winners of both of those games will then face-off against in Super Bowl LV.

    The NFL received tons of backlash when it pushed back against Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest against police brutality. That backlash reignited in 2020 with George Floyd’s death, bringing into question if the anthem should be played at all.

    A study in 2020 found that 52% of Americans approved of NFL players kneeling for the anthem. That has sparked a shift in how the NFL approaches racial justice. After banning kneeling in May 2018, the NFL admitted it was wrong for not listening to players.

    “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Commissioner Roger Goodell recently said. The NFL has stuck to that statement while supporting several racial justice initiatives both on and off the field.

    It will be interesting to see if The Weeknd’s Halftime show breaks last year’s record of 104 million people watching it at once.

     

    How Much Do Major Label Artists Earn From a $9.99 Spotify Subscription?

    The BPI recently revealed how much major label artists earn from a $9.99-per-month music-streaming subscription. Photo Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

    A new release from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has shed light upon how much major label artists earn from a “typical” $9.99-per-month Spotify subscription.

    The BPI disclosed this telling figure in a formal message, before the Big Three record labels’ regional heads – Warner Music UK CEO Tony Harlow, Universal Music UK & Ireland CEO David Joseph, and Sony Music UK & Ireland CEO Jason Iley – testified before the House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

    For background, the DCMS Committee in October of 2020 launched an open investigation into streaming, and specifically its impact on record labels, artists, “and the sustainability of the wider music industry.” Singer-songwriter Nadine Shah said during one of the probe’s hearings that she has difficulty paying her rent despite boasting north of 100,000 monthly plays on Spotify, and lawmakers subsequently indicated that some artists were hesitant to participate in the investigation “because they fear action may be taken against them.”

    However, the BPI defended music streaming in the aforementioned release, including by touting the amount that major label artists earn from the standard $9.99-per-month streaming-service subscription.

    Stating at the outset that approximately 1,800 artists generated over 10 million streams apiece in the UK during the last year, the 48-year-old trade association proceeded to emphasize that “the top 10 artists dominated less of streaming (5%) in 2020 than was the case for CD sales (13%) in 2005.” Building upon the point, the BPI relayed that the top 1,500 artists in the UK receive an average of nine times more streams from international listeners than they receive from domestic music fans.

    “Artists are receiving a higher share of revenues nowadays than they did in the CD era. As acknowledged by witnesses who have already appeared before the Committee, artist royalty rates are typically higher in streaming, commonly ranging between 20-30% – compared to CD era rates more typically at rates of 15%-20% of net PPD (and subject to deductions),” continued the BPI, before transitioning directly into the amount that major label artists earn from a $9.99-per-month streaming subscription.

    “On average, based on a typical 9.99 subscription to a streaming service, labels receive gross revenues of around 4.33, of which artists receive 1.33,” proceeded the BPI.

    “Of the label’s remaining share of 3.00, costs represent 2.49 (including investment into artists such as A&R and global marketing) – this leaves a label margin of 0.51. The remaining 5.67 is received by: the exchequer (VAT); the streaming service (DSP); and publishers and songwriters.”

    During the nearly 210-minute-long DCMS Committee hearing featuring the Big Three labels’ UK CEOs (as well as PRS for Music CEO Andrea Martin and Phonographic Performance Limited CEO Peter Leathem), the participants mentioned today’s comparatively modest recorded-music revenues (despite growth in recent years) as well as the stiff competition associated with the streaming landscape.

    And interestingly, when discussing music piracy at about the 29-minute mark of the livestream, PRS for Music’s Andrea Martin took aim specifically at stream-ripping platforms.

    Donald Trump Pardons Kodak Black, Lil Wayne, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, and Death Row Co-founder Michael Harris

    Photo Credit: The White House

    During the Donald Trump presidency’s final hours, several prominent figures in the music industry received pardons.

    An official White House statement released late Tuesday night indicated the full list. In total, President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 more individuals. Some of the high-profile individuals who were pardoned include Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, and Michael Harris, co-founder of Death Row Records.

    President Trump commuted the sentence of Michael Harris, also known as ‘Harry-O.’ He was convicted of attempted murder and kidnapping and has spent more than 30 years in prison. Trump also granted a commutation to Bill Kapri, better known as rapper Kodak Black. the rapper was convicted of weapons charges in Florida.

    Rapper Lil Wayne received a full pardon from President Trump. Also known as Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, the rapper was in prison on weapons charges and previously announced his support of the President before the election. Also granted a full pardon was Desiree Perez, the CEO of Roc Nation.

    “Ms. Perez was involved in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics,” the White House’s statement reads. “Since her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full accountability for her actions and has turned her life around. She has been gainfully employed and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in her community.”

    Here’s a peek at all the President Donald Trump pardons issued for members of the music industry.

    Perez released a statement early Wednesday morning thanking the President for her pardon. “I’m grateful to have received a pardon and to have formally closed that chapter of my life in the eyes of the law. I have taken full responsibility for my mistakes from 25 years ago, but I also take tremendous pride in my personal growth, perseverance, and accomplishments since then. This pardon reinforces my lifelong commitment to advocating for criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives,” Perez says in her statement.

    Lil Wayne pled guilty in federal district court in December for illegally possessing a gold-plated handgun. Police raided Lil Wayne’s private jet when it landed in Florida. He was facing up to 10 years in prison on the charge. He previously served eight months in prison in New York on criminal possession of weapons charges.

    Kodak Black was sentenced to 46 months in prison on federal weapon charges in 2019. Born Dieuson Octave, he admitted to lying on background check forms to buy multiple firearms.

    Rapper Lil Yachty petitioned Trump to pardon Black, who promised a $1 million donation to charity if he was released. Snoop Dogg reportedly lobbied for the release of Death Row Records co-founder, Michael Harris. Oddly enough, everyone seems to have forgotten about Suge Knight, who is also serving a prison sentence on manslaughter charges.

    Live Nation Acquires Majority Stake In Ticketed Livestreaming Platform Veeps

    Live Nation has acquired a majority stake in Veeps, a ticketed livestreaming platform created by Good Charlotte cofounders Joel and Benji Madden.

    The Beverly Hills-based concert promoter formally announced its investment in Veeps today. Though the financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Live Nation noted in a message that “Veeps has helped artists make millions of dollars in revenue” since its 2017 founding. During 2020, the ticket-focused livestreaming platform hosted approximately 1,000 gigs, the most popular (and financially successful) of which came in the year’s latter half.

    In addition to emphasizing ticket sales, the “commission-free” Veeps “facilitates enhanced engagement between artists and fans” and supports “broad social marketing and intimate VIP offerings,” per Live Nation.

    Addressing the deal in a statement, Joel Madden said, in part: “Last year Veeps live streams helped artists — both big names and new acts — make over $10 million dollars [sic] for themselves, their families, their crew and their chosen causes[,] and we’re looking forward to helping even more artists connect with fans this year in ways that support their art and their development.”

    Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the release concerns Veeps’ growth strategy in the coming months and years, as in-person concerts and music festivals return. Aside from continuing to deliver “its core experiences,” the four-year-old platform will tap “into Live Nation’s network to connect fans with exclusive content, new vantage points, sold out shows, and unparalleled access to events all around the world.”

    Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino, in a statement of his own, acknowledged the long-term earning potential of streaming traditional concerts.

    “Live streaming is a great complement to our core business, and essentially gives any show an unlimited capacity,” Rapino said in part. “Looking to the future live streams will continue to unlock access for fans – whether they are tuning into a sold out show in their hometown, or watching their favorite artist play in a city halfway around the world.”

    On the day, Live Nation stock (LYV) experienced a nearly seven percent boost, with shares resting at $76.54 apiece when the market closed – almost touching their 52-week-high of $78 each. Though the uptick may have resulted in part from the Veeps buyout, it appears that the gain is chiefly attributable to CNBC commentator and Ritholtz Wealth CEO Josh Brown’s relaying that “there’s a lot of upside” associated with LYV.

    Back in October, investors including Scooter Braun and Jared Leto dropped $1.5 million on a different ticketed livestreaming platform, Los Angeles-based Moment House. Braun also joined Alex Rodriguez and Twitch co-founder Alex Lin, among others, in participating in a $30 million funding round for virtual concert startup Wave.

    And Mandolin, which enables musicians to livestream their shows from venues, raised $5 million in seed capital during the fall.

    SoundCloud Inks Exclusive Ad-Sales Representation Deal with SiriusXM’s AdsWizz

    SoundCloud has expanded its “existing global relationship” with audio-advertising platform AdsWizz, which is set to become the exclusive seller of SoundCloud advert space in 14 European nations “effective immediately.”

    Berlin-headquartered SoundCloud and AdsWizz – a direct subsidiary of Pandora and, in turn, SiriusXM – announced their advertising-focused partnership today, in a formal release emailed to Digital Music News. This release also reiterates that Pandora is SoundCloud’s “exclusive ad sales representative” in the United States; SoundCloud received a $75 million investment from SiriusXM in February of 2020.

    In terms of the SoundCloud-AdsWizz deal, however, “AdsWizz and its regional sellers are the exclusive sales representative for advertisers” who are looking to reach SoundCloud users based out of Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.

    Moreover, these advertisers can now target “SoundCloud’s inventory specifically” or channel their promotional efforts towards one or more of the listed European states via the AdsWizz Marketplace. The latter reaches north of 100 million unique devices per month, according to the release, and offers advertising professionals “rich audience segment targeting” tools, encompassing all manner of demographic, geographic, and listening-habit specifications.

    Lastly, in terms of options for prospective SoundCloud advertisers, the AdsWizz Audio Buying Platform (“an audio-centric DSP”) affords access to the aforementioned SoundCloud inventory and includes exclusive “new audio ad formats like ShakeMe, Second Screen Device Retargeting, Dynamic Creative Optimization, and Voice Ads.”

    Addressing the AdsWizz agreement in a statement, SoundCloud’s vice president of partner management, Vanessa Baria, said: “Through AdsWizz, we’re making it easier for European brands to reach our audience of music fans across local markets. The agreement leverages AdsWizz’s advanced audio ad technology, giving us access to their deep sales capabilities and global reach to support the continued growth of our ad supported service across Europe.”

    And AdsWizz’s senior vice president of global demand, Pierre Naggar, added in part: “As digital audio becomes ubiquitous, advertisers are looking for ways to reach listening audiences at scale with precise targeting and measurable results.

    “Additionally, premium publishers like SoundCloud are looking to integrate an ad solution that can support their free services while maintaining a positive listening experience. This agreement between AdsWizz and SoundCloud delivers both of those needs through an advanced, yet accessible platform.”

    In late November of 2020, we took an in-depth look at SoundCloud’s newly released 2019 financials, which revealed a 37 percent year-over-year revenue uptick. The following month, the 14-year-old platform announced that the late Pop Smoke had garnered nearly 200 million plays during 2020 – the most of any artist on SoundCloud.

    The Major Label Legal Battle Against Stream-Ripper Yout Focuses on YouTube’s “Rolling Cipher”

    In late October, Digital Music News was first to report that Hartford-based stream-ripping platform Yout had filed a lawsuit against the Recording Industry Association of America. Now, the RIAA has moved to dismiss the complaint, which stemmed from a trio of DMCA takedown notices concerning alleged violations of YouTube’s “rolling cipher” technology.

    Yout submitted the high-profile suit to a Connecticut federal court about two weeks after stream-ripping giant FLVTO.biz officially petitioned the Supreme Court in its own legal showdown with the RIAA.

    To summarize the courtroom confrontation between Yout and the RIAA, the latter entity sent Google three DMCA takedown requests (two in October of 2019 and one in June of 2020) “with the purpose of causing Google to delist Yout’s software platform, rendering it undiscoverable for many Internet users to record content stored on YouTube,” according to the original filing.

    In each of these requests, the RIAA maintained that “to our knowledge,” Yout provides access to a service or a technology that “circumvents YouTube’s rolling cipher” asset. Yout, however, emphasized that it “is not designed to descramble, decrypt, avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair the YouTube rolling cypher technology.” Furthermore, the stream-ripping platform indicated: “Any digital mechanism in place designed as anti-circumvention technology stops Yout users from recording and saving that protected work.”

    Consequently, Yout stated that the RIAA had “acted with intent and actual malice” and caused “third parties to believe Yout engaged and continues to engage in illegal and unlawful conduct.”

    But as mentioned, the RIAA has officially taken aim at Yout’s claims and moved to dismiss the complaint with prejudice. DMN obtained exclusive copies of the corresponding filings, including the actual motion to dismiss as well as a 23-page-long memorandum of law in support of this motion.

    Cutting right to the chase in the firmly worded memorandum, the RIAA relays that Yout’s “service is a haven for copyright infringement,” besides claiming that the plaintiff “reaps ill-gotten profits by facilitating the unlawful reproduction of the record companies’ copyrighted sound recordings without obtaining licenses or paying the record companies.”

    Then, segueing to a point-by-point refutation of Yout’s allegations, the RIAA states that “a technological measure’s effectiveness is judged from the perspective of an ordinary consumer” – meaning, in brief, that because the rolling cipher largely prevents regular YouTube users from downloading videos, Yout is in fact designed to circumvent the underlying technology.

    “Plaintiff’s claim that it does not avoid or bypass the rolling cipher is not plausible on its face,” the RIAA continues. “Indeed, the only plausible conclusion from the few facts alleged is that the Yout service does circumvent.”

    In terms of allegations that the RIAA violated Section 512(f) of the DMCA by issuing allegedly false takedown notices against Yout, the defendants make clear that the section “creates a cause of action expressly limited to alleged misrepresentations regarding copyright infringement.” Additionally, even if the section also covered circumvention, the RIAA did not submit the DMCA takedown requests to Google “with actual knowledge of their falsity,” per the legal document.

    Towards October’s end, the RIAA started seeking information about the owners of 40 different YouTube ripper sites – though the overarching effort to take down stream-ripping platforms hasn’t come without decidedly public pushback.

    Round Hill Music Acquires Collective Soul’s Catalog, Closes Futures Deal with Ed Roland

    Collective Soul frontman Ed Roland, who closed a futures deal with Round Hill Music. Photo Credit: John Colden

    Round Hill Music has acquired the back catalog of Atlanta-based rock band Collective Soul, in addition to inking a futures agreement with the group’s founder, lead singer, and chief songwriter, Ed Roland.

    Round Hill Music recently unveiled the catalog acquisition – one of many such deals that have come to fruition during 2021’s opening three weeks – in a formal release. This announcement didn’t disclose the financial specifics of the transaction, but the agreement covers each of the 10 studio albums that Collective Soul has released to date, including the five-piece act’s 1993 debut effort, Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, and 2019’s Blood.

    In terms of the futures portion of the deal, it bears mentioning that Ed Roland also releases music with The Sweet Tea Project. Plus, the 57-year-old specified in a statement that based upon the quality of Blood, on which he penned all 10 tracks, he believes that strong projects are forthcoming from Collective Soul.

    “I think Blood is the beginning of a lot of good music to come,” said the Stockbridge, Georgia-born Ed Roland. “We’re doing the best that we can do. Blood is an accumulation of all the different styles we’ve used over the years — but it’s still Collective Soul. I think it’s the best we’ve ever done.”

    Round Hill CEO Josh Gruss, for his part, said of the catalog buyout: “Collective Soul are staples of American radio. I dare someone to travel the U.S. for a week with ears perked up, and NOT hear one of their songs. I am very happy to have gotten to know Ed personally over the last year.”

    Having raised over $280 million in November to acquire music IP, Round Hill announced eight days back that it had purchased the catalog of veteran songwriter and longtime Bryan Adams collaborator Jim Vallance. Adams’ “Summer of 69” and Alice Cooper’s “Die for You” are among the hundreds of tracks that the Chilliwack, British Columbia, native Vallance has penned to date.

    Moreover, Hipgnosis has continued to snag catalogs at a breakneck speed in the new year, including securing 100 percent of Shakira’s 145-song catalog, the 161-track catalog of former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, and the 259-song catalog of production mainstay and Beats by Dre cofounder Jimmy Iovine.

    Aside from deals closed by Hipgnosis and Round Hill, BMG purchased the more than 300-track recorded catalog of Fleetwood Mac cofounder and drummer Mick Fleetwood earlier this month, while Eldridge Industries made its first music-IP play in November of 2020, picking up The Killers’ entire publishing catalog (excepting 2020’s Imploding the Mirage).

    Less than one month thereafter, Primary Wave announced that it had bought a majority stake (reportedly for north of $100 million) in the publishing catalog of Fleetwood Mac vocalist and songwriter Stevie Nicks.

    AirPods Max Battery Issues Surface — Reports of Headphones Draining Overnight

    Photo Credit: Arne Müseler / CC by 3. 0

    AirPods Max battery drain issues are surfacing on social media, even inside the charging case.

    Some AirPods Max owners report that their $550 headphones can’t hold a charge overnight. That’s even if the headphones are inside Apple’s official bra-like case designed to put them into ultra-low-power mode. While the extreme AirPods Max battery drain seems to be limited to a few cases, owners are less than satisfied.

    Here is just a small collection of some of the feedback users are sharing on the Apple Support Forums, Reddit, Twitter, and other social media.

    “My AirPods Max are deeply self-discharging overnight. They go from 90+% down to 0% overnight,” one post reads. Another in response to that one confirms the same problem.

    “Yup, experiencing the same exact problem here. I fully charge my AirPods Max, place them carefully in the Apple case (which is supposed to put them in low power mode’). Then when I go to use them a few hours later or the next day, they make the ‘death sound’ indicating the battery is low, and I see the battery has dropped down to 1%. Now the behavior I expect in a $549 pair of headphones,” the post reads.

    Several Reddit posts from buyers report the same AirPods Max battery drain issue. So far, Apple has not publicly acknowledged it.

    “Charged them in the morning to 100% used them occasionally (2-3 hrs) during the day and in the evening, put them into the smart case. Wake up to 0% battery,” one post on Reddit reads. One right below that confirms the same behavior.

    “Yup, same here. Although, I used mine for an entire evening. But still, when I woke up this morning, 1% left on the battery.”

    So what’s the problem, and what’s causing the AirPods Max battery drain issue?

    It may be tied to a firmware release issued on December 18th. Further diagnosing of the issue has narrowed it down to a few use cases. Apple Tips reports that the issue doesn’t seem prevalent for AirPods Max users with iPhone-only connections. The AirPods Max battery drain issues don’t start appearing until Apple TV or other non-Apple devices are connected.

    How do you fix AirPods Max battery drain issues?

    So far, there’s no consistent fix in place. Apple may issue a firmware update that addresses these concerns. Here are some things you can try to help resolve the issue.

    Restart the AirPods Max by pressing and holding the Digital Crown and noise control button. An orange light will repair, signaling the headphones have restarted. You can also try disabling automatic switching to other devices. These workarounds shouldn’t be necessary on a $550 audio device – but here we are.

    All Three Major Music Labels Suspend Contributions to GOP Members Who Voted Against Election Certification

    UMG headquarters in Santa Monica, CA. Photo Credit: Cool Caesar / CC by 3.0

    All three major music labels — Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment — are pulling contributions from GOP members who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results. Major publishers are also joining suit.

    Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment are joining a chorus of companies that are pulling their financial contributions from certain GOP members of Congress. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents the major label conglomerates, confirmed the pullback in an official statement. Additionally, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has also released a statement of support.

    “NMPA’s political action committee donates to those Members of Congress who support songwriters and the music publishers who represent them,” NMPA president and CEO David Israelite says. “However, more importantly, we are committed to the rule of law and our democratic institutions.”

    “In light of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, we will be suspending indefinitely contributions to those who voted against the lawful certification of the Electoral College,” the statement continues.

    Specifically, the three major music labels will no longer donate to eight Republican Senators and 139 Republican members of the House of Representatives. UMG, Sony, and WMG are part of a growing number of companies doing the same. Last week, Comcast, Disney, and AT&T announced they would suspend their contributions.

    The RIAA released this statement concerning the Capitol riots. “RIAA condemns the attack on the U.S. Capitol. We support candidates who respect both the rule of law and the results of free and fair elections. In light of the events of January 6, we have reviewed the criteria for our political giving and are not contributing to those who voted against the peaceful transition of power.”

    The 147 Republican lawmakers who opposed certification have lost many of their corporate backers.

    The Washington Post reached out to 30 companies that supported these lawmakers through PACs. Two-thirds, or 20 of the firms, said they would suspend all or some of their payments to PACs. Ten companies said they would review their political giving or did not commit to taking any action against politicians who supported the Capitol riots.

    Donations from political action committees can grease the wheels in Congress. In fact, political donations are often expected if a lawmaker sits on the right committee or exercises enough power — or could assume greater power in the future. It’s all part of a money game in Washington that borders on corruption, and corporations often have the power to make-or-break candidates they dislike.

    Other companies that are suspending their political donations include Honeywell, General Electric, Verizon, and KPMG. Many firms that suspended their donations have direct relationships with consumers. Taking little to no action could harm that business’s reputation.

    Garth Brooks to Play Biden Inauguration – “This Is Not a Political Statement. This Is a Statement of Unity.”

    Photo Credit: Greg2600 / CC by 2.0

    Country music superstar Garth Brooks will play the Biden inauguration tomorrow.

    Brooks announced that he had accepted an invitation to play the inauguration on Monday. “This is not a political statement. This is a statement of unity,” Brooks told reporters during the news conference. “It’s kind of how I get to serve this country,” Brooks says.

    Brooks says he has played for every president since Jimmy Carter, except for Reagan. He says it’s always an honor to be asked, no matter who the president is.

    Who is performing at the Biden inauguration aside from Garth Brooks?

    Aside from Garth Brooks, there are several other performers at the inauguration. Celebrities like Carole King, James Taylor, Fall Out Boy, Michael Bivins, Ben Harper, and AJR have all performed in a new “We the People” concert that aired on January 17.

    Lady Gaga is performing the national anthem for the inauguration ceremony. Other remote performers for the inauguration include John Legend, Bruce Springsteen, the Foo Fighters, and Jennifer Lopez. Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, and the New Radicals are also slated to make an appearance.

    Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old Black author, will be the youngest inaugural poet. After the inauguration ceremony, a 90-minute special entitled Celebrating America will air. That show will feature even more performances from musical stars. Demi Lovato, Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, and Ant Clemons are all confirmed as performers for this event.

    Celebrating America will be hosted by Tom Hanks, and it will air across several networks. Justin Timberlake spoke briefly about the song he will be performing on Instagram.

    “This past year brought a lot of frustration, grief, anger – and there were times when it was easy to feel powerless,” Timberlake says. “This song was our way of doing what little we could to encourage everyone to stay hopeful and keep working towards a better, more equal future.”

    The Presidential Inaugural Committee will be streaming the event on all of its channels. It will also be live-streamed on services like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Facebook Live.

    “This inauguration presents a unique opportunity to spotlight the resilience and spirit of an America united,” says Tony Allen, the PIC CEO. “We have witnessed countless heroes this past year step up to the frontlines and serve their fellow Americans, so we are telling their stories, spreading their collective light, and celebrating the best of our country and its people with this prime-time program.”

     

    FBI Arrests Iced Earth Guitarist Jon Schaffer for Capitol Riots Involvement

    Photo Credit: Cameron Smith

    The FBI has arrested Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer in connection with the Capitol riots.

    The heavy metal guitarist surrendered to federal agents after being placed on the FBI wanted list. Photos and videos from the Capitol emerged, showcasing the guitarist amongst a crowd of Trump supporters.

    In response to a tweet from the official FBI account, several fans identified him. “The FBI is seeking to identify individuals instigating violence in Washington, D.C. We are accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting or violence in and around the U.S. Capitol on January 6,” the FBI says.

    Photo Credit: Twitter

    One fan tweeted a picture in reply, circling a man in the crowd. “Jon Schaffer, guitarist of Iced Earth,” the tweet read. As soon as Schaffer was identified in the photos, his band mates spoke out. They released a joint statement denouncing the riots and their bandmates’ participation.

    “We want to thank those of you who have sent words of support in recent days. Some of you have been concerned by our silence, which we understand. We needed some time to properly process the information and find out some facts before we made a statement,” the statement posted to Instagram begins.

    “We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6 at the U.S. Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.”

    On Sunday, the FBI Office in Indiana confirmed Jon Schaffer was taken into custody.

    “Jon Schaffer, Columbus, IN, has been arrested in connection to the January 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol. Schaffer faces six charges, including engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building. Schaffer was allegedly among rioters who sprayed Capitol police with ‘bear spray,’” the FBI Indianapolis field office tweeted.

    Other charges Jon Schaffer is facing include “disrupting the orderly conduct of government business” and “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.” The court filing says Schaffer attended a MAGA rally in November. While there, he expressed his belief that the presidential election was fraudulent.

    “My name’s Jon Schaffer, I’m from Indiana,” he says on a video taken at that rally. “A group of thugs and criminals hijacked this country a long time ago. And now they’re making their big move, and it’s not gonna happen. People need to wake up and snap out of the Matrix because they’re going down,” Schaffer says.

    Disappointed fans are now requesting refunds from the band’s most recent Kickstarter. 666 backers helped raise over $100,000 for a book of Schaffer’s lyrics and interviews.

    Warner Music Group Earnings Call Slated for February 1st — Here’s What to Expect

    Photo Credit: Unsplash

    Warner Music Group has scheduled its Q1 FY 2021 earnings call (covering the three months ending on December 31st, 2020) for Monday, February 1st. Here’s a brief rundown of what to expect from the Big Three record label’s latest performance report.

    Warner Music Group (WMG) announced yesterday, in a formal release, that it had scheduled the Q1 FY earnings call for the first day in February. (SiriusXM is set to post its own earnings breakdown, for the same three-month stretch, on Tuesday the 2nd, and Spotify will follow with a report on the 3rd.) WMG will make its fiscal analysis publicly available early on February 1st, while the conference call itself is slated to kick off at 4:30 PM EST, half an hour after the market closes.

    Building upon the latter point, this will mark the first Q1 FY earnings report that Warner Music Group has delivered since returning to the stock market in June of 2020, in what was the largest IPO of the year. WMG shares briefly approached $40 each (from $25 apiece out of the gate) in late December, and the stock is currently hovering around a per-share worth of nearly $36. The upcoming performance analysis could determine whether Warner Music’s roughly eight-month-old stock cracks $40 per share in the near future.

    Perhaps the most significant takeaway from WMG’s Q4 FY 2020 earnings report was the company’s continued uptick in digital earnings. Warner Music’s quarterly revenue was flat year over year ($1.126 billion in Q4 FY 2020 as opposed to $1.124 billion in Q4 FY 2019), but within the newer of the two totals, a strong showing from digital managed to offset declines attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    To be sure, overall Warner/Chappell earnings fell from $173 million to $169 million, across Q4 FY 2019 and 2020, respectively. But digital publishing revenue hiked $24 million year over year, as part of an overarching 15.4 percent digital-earnings jump from the identical period in 2019. In total, digital accounted for nearly 70 percent of Warner Music Group revenue in Q4 FY 2020 – up from 60 percent during the same window in 2019.

    Accordingly, logic suggests that investors could zero in on WMG’s digital performance in the coming earnings report. More broadly, with concerts and music festivals still on hold, these revenues will once again have to supplement clear-cut income falloffs in certain categories. (In Q4 FY 2020, “artist services and expanded rights” dipped $73 million year over year, whereas publishing revenue attributable to performances declined by $20 million.)

    Earlier this month, Warner Music Group participated in Roblox’s $520 million Series H funding round, and several WMG execs received shares from their company’s “long-term incentive plan.”

    Kanye West Is Suing His Former Intern for $500,000

    Kanye West and his Yeezy apparel line are officially suing a former intern for $500,000 over alleged non-disclosure agreement (NDA) violations.

    Kanye West and Yeezy recently submitted the half-million-dollar complaint to a California federal court. Having allegedly signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of a summer internship with Yeezy, an individual named Ryan Inwards proceeded to post a series of company images on his personal Instagram account, according to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs allegedly sent Inwards “multiple” cease-and-desist letters, which he allegedly ignored.

    At the time of this piece’s writing, neither Kanye West nor Ryan Inwards had commented publicly on the case. (The newest messages on West’s Instagram and Twitter profiles are from early November and concern his 2020 presidential run.) An Instagram account bearing Inwards’ name is set to private, with zero posts (and zero followed profiles) featured presently. Additionally, a Twitter account for a New York City-based individual with the same name as the lawsuit’s defendant is also set to private.

    Worth noting is that Kanye West put two major courtroom confrontations to rest in 2020 and remains embroiled in a high-profile suit filed against him in autumn. Beginning with the former, the “Stronger” artist and EMI Music Publishing settled their on-again, off-again case in February. Later, the 43-year-old reached another out-of-court agreement, in a copyright infringement lawsuit stemming from his sampling a child’s prayer in “Ultralight Beam.”

    And interestingly, Pennsylvania-based video-technology company MyChannel (MYC) maintains in its complaint against West and Yeezy that the billionaire and one-time presidential hopeful violated the terms of an NDA, besides failing to come through on an allegedly promised $10 million investment.

    Per this separate complaint, which arrived in the court in late August of 2020, Kanye West consulted MYC to integrate the Yeezy online store with its video assets, aiming to improve conversions and profits. Having finalized a verbal contract (as well as an NDA, to protect “proprietary information”), MYC worked on the Yeezy webstore for about 18 months, during which time it spent over $7 million to fund the project, according to the plaintiffs.

    Nevertheless, a purportedly promised $10 million investment in MYC from West/Yeezy never came to fruition, and the defendants allegedly “misappropriated MYC’s proprietary information and technology” in the digital platform for Sunday Service, in violation of the aforementioned non-disclosure agreement.

    The Chicagoan West, who shed light upon the nuances of his record deals with a flurry of social-media posts last year, dropped a surprise five-track album, Emmanuel, on Christmas Day.

    TikTok Goes After Source Code Leak with DMCA Takedowns

    Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

    TikTok is using DMCA takedown requests to remove a source code leak online.

    A coder has reverse-engineered the TikTok Android app, showcasing how it works. The coder says TikTok is a data collection engine rather than a social network and calls it “legitimate spyware.” It’s the same reason the app came under fire at the end of 2019 and throughout 2020.

    Many U.S. government agencies banned TikTok on government devices. It started with the Navy before expanding to the Army and then members of Congress over the summer. These privacy concerns ultimately culminated in the President banning TikTok through executive order.

    The U.S. court system prevented the Commerce Department from enforcing that ban. But renewed concerns about privacy in TikTok have sparked concerns. A reverse engineer named ‘augustgl’ on GitHub has brought those concerns to the forefront.

    “This project is a bit different from my other projects. TikTok is a data collection engine disguised as a social media platform. It’s legitimate spyware, so I thought I would reverse engineer the Android application,” the GitHub repo read before it was removed.

    The coder exposed just how much data collection TikTok does. The app includes dedicated location tracking, phone call collection, collects screenshots, all information about WiFi networks, and includes some facial recognition technology. The repository was only up for a few days before TikTok got wind and started sending DMCA takedowns to GitHub to remove the source code leak.

    “I am legal counsel to TikTok Inc., owner of the copyright that is the subject matter of this notification, and am authorized to act on the owner’s behalf,” the DMCA takedown notice begins.

    “The original copyrighted work is source code for the TikTok Android app. GitHub user augustgl appears to claim to have reverse-engineered the app. He posted the code to the following GitHub repository.” The request also mentions 19 other repositories that had forked the original code. TikTok then targeted five more repositories that uploaded the code after the initial sweep.

    TikTok is continuing its aggressive action to keep the source code leak off of GitHub.

    The original coder who uploaded the source code has not said anything since. TorrentFreak attempted to contact him but has not heard anything back. TikTok remains a national security concern for the U.S. government, even throughout the administration change.

    Joe Biden has expressed reviewing security concerns around the app but has not committed to continuing the Trump administration’s crusade against Chinese apps.

    Music Producer Phil Spector Dead – Convicted Murderer Dies Aged 81

    Photo Credit: Phil Spector

    Music producer Phil Spector is dead at age 81, another COVID-19 casualty.

    Spector is noted for his “Wall of Sound” recordings in the 1960s. He was convicted of the murder of an actress in 2003 and was serving out his life sentence in prison when he died. The gruesome murder overshadowed Spector’s prowess as a legendary music producer.

    Phil Spector produced 20 top 40 hits between the years of 1961 and 1965. He worked with The Beatles on “Let It Be,” along with other acts like the Righteous Brothers, Tina Turner, and Leonard Cohen. Spector began his career as a performer, recording a hit single as a teenager. He found his true calling as a producer in the 1960s after backing girl groups like Crystals and the Ronettes. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

    Spector became increasingly agitated with the music business. He married Ronettes singer Veronica Bennett, who says he was abusive. Bennett says he made her a virtual captive in their own home. Despite significant success with The Beatles on “Let it Be,” Paul McCartney later released a naked cut to remove most of Spector’s work on the project.

    By the end of the 1970s, Spector had become a recluse, retreating into his 33-room mansion in Los Angeles. It’s the same mansion where he would later commit murder in 2003. He was convicted of second-degree murder during his second trial. The case drew national interest because of Spector’s status as a rock producer.

    Prosecutors charged Spector with murder, despite Spector asserting Lana Clarkson committed suicide. He told Esquire magazine during an interview that Clarkson had “kissed the gun” in an apparent suicide.

    Spector himself often carried a pistol to the recording studio, placing it on the console while he worked. He reportedly fired a shot in the studio during a recording session with John Lennon.

    The music producer was diagnosed with COVID-19 four weeks ago. He was transferred from his prison cell to a hospital where he could receive treatment for the disease. However, Spector did not recover and died over the weekend.

    The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation released a brief statement. It asserts that Spector died of natural causes at an outside hospital. The department says the medical examiner will determine Spector’s official cause of death in the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.

    Spector was due for release for serving his sentence in 2024.

    Switching from Spotify to Apple Music? – How to Keep Your Playlists

    Photo Credit: Giorgio Trovato

    Are you switching from Spotify to Apple Music? Here’s how to keep your playlists during the move.

    One of the most cited reasons users are reluctant to switch music streaming services is curated playlists. Spending years with a music service and curating playlists for your moods can seem daunting. But there are several services online that make the process a breeze. Here’s how to keep your playlists when switching from Spotify to Apple Music.

    Switching from Spotify to Apple Music Guide

    Thankfully, several third-party services make it easy to switch between music streaming services. These services sync your playlists from one streaming service to another, making them great for audiophiles with multiple streaming services. There are some hitches with these services, but here’s how to get started.

  • Open the SongShift app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Tap the SongShift icon at the bottom to get started.
  • Tap ‘Setup Sources.’
  • Tap ‘Connect Music Services.’
  • Find the Spotify icon and tap ‘Connect.’
  • Enter your Spotify credentials and agree.
  • Repeat steps 6 and 7 for connecting Apple Music.
  •  

    Great! Now you’ve got SongShift setup for switching from Spotify to Apple Music. Now you need to select what music you want to sync. You can sync albums, playlists, or individual songs.

  • Select ‘Set up Source‘ and choose Spotify.
  • Choose the album, playlist, or song you’re syncing.
  • Tap ‘Set up Destination‘ and choose Apple Music.
  • Tap ‘I’m Finished,’ and then you’re done.
  •  

    SongShift will then meticulously crawl through your playlists and albums on Spotify. It will find matches on Apple Music and present you with a list to approve. You can review the matches and make any changes you want before syncing to Apple Music.

    It’s worth noting that not every song from Spotify is available on Apple Music. If you’ve saved a song that isn’t available, you won’t be able to move it over. SongShift will identify any songs that won’t be available on Apple Music.

    SongShift offers a one-time move for free and a paid upgrade feature. The paid feature allows you to move multiple playlists at once, simplifying the process. The paid service also allows audiophiles to keep their favorite playlists synced between various services.

    Not a fan of SongShift or found it doesn’t do what you want? There are a few other music syncing services that offer help for switching from Spotify to Apple Music.

    Tune My Music

    This service is focused more on people who want to keep two music services in sync than switching. One example given is curators who want to keep their playlists synced between Spotify and Apple Music. Another is copying playlists between platforms and keeping them automatically updated with syncs. Tune My Music is a paid service.

    Soundiiz

    This platform is similar to SongShift and offers individual syncing of playlists for free. It connects with multiple music platforms and also features a premium upgrade with music syncing features.

    Free Your Music

    Free Your Music supports more platforms than SongShift or Soundiiz. For example, if you want to move between JioSaavn and Spotify, that’s possible with Free Your Music. It’s also the only app that offers an (expensive) one-time payment for unlimited syncing instead of a monthly subscription.

    Spotify Stock (SPOT) Dips as Citi Tells Investors to ‘Sell’

    Spotify stock (SPOT) has dipped in value following Citigroup’s changing its rating from “neutral” to “sell” and expressing doubts about podcasts’ ability to attract premium subscribers.

    Citi analyst Jason Bazinet recently unveiled his bearish stance on Spotify stock, which recorded substantial gains in 2020 and reached yet another all-time-high per-share price ($370.95) earlier this month. For additional context, Spotify shares were worth about $152 apiece at 2020’s start and dipped as low as about $109 apiece during the domestic onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

    On the heels of a modest rebound in April of 2020, SPOT took off in May after the Stockholm-based platform announced that it would become the exclusive home of the ultra-popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast. By June’s end, shares had cracked $260 each, and many financial professionals relayed when explaining their bullish target prices that podcasts – including programs from the DC Comics world, Addison Rae, and Michelle Obama, in addition to JRE – could help the company to achieve long-sought profitability.

    (On the other side of the coin, virtually all the investors who voiced a bearish position on SPOT indicated that they don’t expect podcasts to be a major source of near-term revenue.)

    Shares approached $300 apiece multiple times throughout the remainder of the year, but subsequently dipped beneath $250 on each occasion. (One such fall arrived following the release of Spotify’s Q3 2020 earnings report, in which the company reported strong subscriber additions but limited growth in podcast engagement.) Moreover, SPOT proceeded in December, when new JRE episodes became available solely on-platform, to blow past $300. This uptick set the stage for the aforementioned record high in the new year.

    These points bear reiterating because they – in coordination with the ambitious target prices and stock ratings issued by other investors in recent weeks – demonstrate the high hopes that many financial professionals have for podcasts on Spotify. The chief reason behind Citi’s downgrade, uncertainty surrounding podcasting’s potential to generate new subscribers and revenue, may have contributed more to SPOT’s dip than the downgrade itself.

    To be sure, Spotify shares closed at $319.82 apiece on Friday, January 15th – an almost seven percent falloff from Thursday and just $9.82 above Citi’s new target price, which increased (despite the “sell” rating) from $270 to $310. Citi and Bank of America’s respective SPOT target prices are now separated by a staggering $118, and Spotify’s quick-approaching Q4 earnings report (slated to release on February 3rd) appears poised to have a significant impact upon the stock’s trajectory.

    Assuming that Spotify continued to add paid accounts in 2020’s fourth quarter, it’ll be particularly interesting to see how many of the platform’s over 320 million monthly active users (MAUs) enjoyed podcasts. The service gained about 400,000 podcasts in Q3, upping its total library to some 1.9 million, but just 22 percent of MAUs “interacted with” at least one of the programs.

    As December marked the first month of true Spotify exclusivity for The Joe Rogan Experience – while the streaming service continues to make additional multimillion-dollar podcasting investments – it appears that all eyes will be on the percentage of users who’ve engaged with podcasts. SPOT could continue its ascent or part with further value depending upon whether the engagement figure aligns with that which bullish or bearish investors are banking on.