Jimmy Iovine says he’s not leaving Apple

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Despite recent reports by Billboard that Jimmy Iovine would be leaving Apple Music in August for a new tech giant, it seems the former Interscope CEO is committed to the company.

Iovine recently sat down with Variety were he revealed he’s committed to doing whatever Apple needs him to do.

He stated,

“I am almost 65, have been with Apple for four years, and in two and a half years, the [Apple Music] service has gotten to well over 30 million subscribers and Beats has continued its successful run,” he said. “But there’s still a lot more we’d like to do. I am committed to doing whatever Eddy [Cue], Tim [Cook] and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band.”

While the details of Iovine’s present dealings with Apple have not yet been made public, Iovine’s relationship with Apple, or the possibility of the lack thereof, would likely warrant a major shift in the company, as he’s been in an executive role since the purchasing of Beats Electronics in May of 2014.



H/T: Complex

Photo Credit: Gus Ruelas

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Live Nation settles Songkick lawsuit for $110-million

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Live Nation’s Ticketmaster subsidiary has settled its two-year legal battle with Songkick, the ticketing start-up that began out of a Brooklyn loft, despite the fact that the case’s trial was set for later this month in federal court.

Live Nation has subsequently agreed to pay Songkick’s owners $110-million in exchange for the company’s remaining assets.

The settlement’s closing arrives two years after the original legal battle began between the two companies, in which Songkick’s argument originally hinged on their rights to ticket sales. They’d believed Live Nation’s blocking of presale tickets and demanding fees on the sale of tickets was anti-competitive behavior. Eventually, Live Nation countersued, arguing they had given respective venues the right of determining how presale block tickets were to be sold.

The case only continued to deepen over time, wherein Songkick accused Live Nation of antitrust violations. Allegations arose when news leaked that a former Songkick employee was hired by Ticketmaster to monitor Songkick’s internal business, sales, and clients. Court documents reportedly show that Ticketmaster did indeed view Songkick as a competitive threat and stated: “that the company could possibly disrupt the exclusivity system in North America that allowed Ticketmaster to have a dominant marketshare.”

While it’s unsure at the moment what the direct ramifications of this settlement will be, Ticketmaster’s acquisition of Songkick could lead to a major shift in the current landscape of their ticketing commerce platform, as the company has gained access to Songkick’s anti-scalping algorithm, their API applications, and patent portfolio.

H/T: Billboard

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A Radiohead v. Lana Del Rey copyright infringement lawsuit could be imminent

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Radiohead might pursue legal action against Lana Del Rey on the grounds of copyright infringement. The singer-songwriter’s track “Get Free” allegedly borrowing several sonic elements from the English rock band’s 1993 single, “Creep.” “Get Free” is the 16th and final track on Del Rey’s fifth studio album, Lust for Life, released in July of 2017.

Both camps are reported to be “trying to thrash it out behind the scenes to prevent [the issue from] going to court,” according to The Sun, the news source additionally noting “It’s understood that Radiohead’s team are hoping for the band to either receive compensation or to be credited on the list of songwriters to receive royalties.” Only time will tell whether the issue can and will be resolved both amicably and outside of the courts.




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Dancefair announces key seminars and further conference details

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Dancefair, a conference that is often regarded as a hot spot for electronic music education, has announced its 2018 dates along with event details. A haven for industry entrepreneurs, Dancefair focuses on producers, DJs, modern musicians, and music professionals.
It’s essentially the electronic music conference for electronic musicians.
In addition to star DJs and Producers in attendance like Dyro, Firebeatz, and Brooks, labels Armada, Revealed, and Spinnin’ will be hosting their own areas.
Dancefair 2
The key seminars that will be taking place at the event will include:
– In the studio with high level DJ’s / Production masterclasses
– Seminars about promotion and raising your awareness as a DJ
– How to start and run a record label
– Tech Talks – Albeton / Pioneer / Spotify and more
– Technology demonstrations
The full program can be accessed here: https://dancefair.nl/schedules/jaarbeurs-utrecht-2018/
The event is set to take place from February 17-18 in Utrecht, and more than 170 artists and 300 brands will be in attendance.

Spotify slammed with a $1.6 billion-dollar licensing lawsuit

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A regular on the legal circuit of late, Spotify will see its court-related entanglements extend into 2018 as Wixen Music Publishing served the streaming giant with a $1.6-billion-dollar lawsuit. Notable for its licensure of music produced by more than 200 artists, including Tom Petty, Neil Young, Stevie Nicks and more, Wixen alleges that Spotify does not possess the proper licenses to use “thousands” of songs that are made available on the streaming platform, a reiteration of the central claim previously made by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick in their copyright infringement suits against Spotify.

Wixen has opened the case on the grounds that the $43.4-million-dollar settlement proposed by Spotify in response to Lowery and Ferrick’s class action lawsuit “does not adequately compensate Wixen or the songwriters it represents.” Wixen founder Randall Wixen relays that he does not view the lawsuit as the legal pursuit of a pot of gold, but as a justified response to the settlement: “We’re just asking to be treated fairly,” Wixen states, “We are not looking for a ridiculous punitive payment. But we estimate that our clients account for somewhere between 1% and 5% of the music these services distribute. Spotify has more than $3 billion in annual revenue and pays outrageous annual salaries to its executives and millions per month for ultra-luxurious office space in various cities. All we’re asking for is for them to reasonably compensate our clients by sharing a miniscule amount of the revenue they take in with the creators of the product they sell.”

Wixen additionally alleges that Spotify “made insufficient efforts” to secure the correct licenses, citing said “insufficient effort” as the consequence of Spotify’s desire to be “first to market” in the context of the music streaming market. Spotify’s suggested failure to acquire such licenses led the company to violate the requirements of Section 115 of the Copyright Act, according to Wixen.

Spotify responded to Wixen’s lawsuit on the same day, filing court papers that countered that Wixen’s clients had not received an adequate amount of time in which to withdraw their names from the legal action, Wixen supposedly giving its clients only a brief op-out period.

H/T: Variety

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Ever try DJing with a DDR inspired MIDI controller? Pennywild wants to help

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Ever wonder what it would be like to DJ using a Dance Dance Revolution MIDI controller? Pennywild has created a prototype for a controller controlled through dancing. The MIDI dance pad works by users pressing down on sensors connected to the dance pad with their hands and feet, after which the sensors transmit the information to the software and convert it to audio.

According to Pennywild, creating the product was quite challenging;  evidently, the task of converting video game language into MIDI files is an ardous one. The company plans to create a beta version of the product regardless, and is currently working to land a partnership with a hardware company to manufacture it.



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YouTube solidifies deal with Sony and Universal, moves closer towards paid service launch

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Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that YouTube‘s music streaming service could arrive as early as March. The service, which has tentatively been titled Remix, has been experiencing delays in its launch due to its failure to negotiate agreements with major music publishers.

Negotiations with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group have been ongoing for quite some time, and until now had been stunting the new service’s launch. Now, Bloomberg reports that both of the music labels have signed long-term agreements with YouTube.

Sony and Universal’s contracts set an aggressive policing of user-uploaded copyrighted songs. Additionally, the deal means that both companies set the royalty rates for music video rights holders. Ultimately, YouTube will now be able to move towards a Spotify-like subscription model. The paid service will also feature content under a paywall, akin to Spotify’s premium subscription.

Historically, YouTube’s believed to have inadequately policed the misuse of copyrighted material. Many believe their failure to do so has held back the music industry’s growth, and while the Universal and Sony partnership will see out that the paid service is able to launch quite soon, it’s still unclear just how long the contracts are for, or how another new streaming service from a mogul like YouTube will affect the industry.

Source: Bloomberg

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Facebook and Universal Music Group strike music licensing deal allowing users to share videos

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As if constant sharing wasn’t exasperating enough, Facebook and Universal Music Group have struck a deal regarding music licensing that will make is easier for music enthusiasts to bombard family members with videos of the latest Gorillaz album or the newest Martin Garrix single.

The two companies have officially announced a global, multi-year agreement allowing Facebook users to share videos containing music licensed by UMG. “In time,” states a press release regarding the partnership, “functionality will expand to enable access to a vast library of music across a series of social features.” In the past, Facebook has worked to remove videos containing content from UMG licensed artists. Terms of the deal were not disclosed in the joint press release.

The move comes fresh off the heels of Universal’s deal with Soundcloud back in 2016 and, more recently, their global agreement with YouTube a mere week ago.

Their deal with Facebook licenses music and publishing catalogs for video and social platforms, including Instagram and Oculus.

“There is a magnetic relationship between music and community building.” says Tamar Hrivnak, head of music business development and partnerships at Facebook “We are excited to bring that to life on Facebook, Instagram, Oculus and Messenger in partnership with UMG. Music lovers, artists and writers will all be right at home as we open up creativity, connection and innovation through music and video.”

The deal addresses major copyright issues around music licensing, and its tumultuous relationship to social media. While the agreement is only the first step in solving the enigmatic relationship between social media and music licensing, Facebook states that it will work with UMG to launch “music based products” on its platforms, including a music based messenger app.

“Together, Facebook and UMG are creating a dynamic new model for collaboration between music companies and social platforms to advance the interests of recording artists and songwriters while enhancing the social experience of music for their fans,” Michael Nash, Universal’s Vice President of digital strategy states in the joint press release. “This partnership is an important first step demonstrating that innovation and fair compensation for music creators are mutually reinforcing — they thrive together.”

Barring the duo’s joint press release, neither Facebook nor Universal provided information regarding their digital product strategy.

“As with our deal with Spotify earlier this year and our license renewal with YouTube,” said UMG’s Chief Executive Officer Lucian Grainge in an internal company memo, “our deal with Facebook leverages the experience we’ve gained and the wealth of data we’ve amassed to win both greater flexibility as to how our music is offered to the public as well as fairer compensation for our artists — as we continually refine the balance between direct promotion and monetization.”

Universal is the first label to sign an agreement with Facebook, but the Verge reports that they are also in talks with Warner Music Group and Sony regarding licensing deals.

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Twitch is launching their own reality show

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Reality shows are not just for Bravo and E!. In 2018, an American-Idol esque reality show is coming to online streaming platform Twitch. The show will be called Stream On, and it will feature an American Idol-esque competition where aspiring streamers battle it out to become the next famous streamer on the platform. There will be up to 14 broadcasters selected for Stream On, and they will be competing for $60,000 that will be paid out in 12 $5000 monthly installments. Other competitors who are eliminated will receive weekly prizes for their participation.

Twitch described the upcoming show saying “contestants will face challenges designed to test important streamer skills, and be evaluated by a panel of Twitch judges.” Audience commentary will also play an integral part in the decision making for the judges (who have yet to be announced). The platform currently has a partner revenue sharing program, where there are 25,000 creators Twitch will choose from. The goal of the show is to take a streamer who is on the cusp of being able to make streaming a full time profession, and allow them to do so.

In the world of electronic music, Deadmau5 is one producer known for utilizing the platform. He recently raised $15,000 for a children’s charity from one stream.The potential to be an influencer is enormous on Twitch, so may the best aspiring streamer win. Those who are looking to enter can apply here.


h/t The Verge ; Variety

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Behind closed decks: former Dubspot employees offer insight on the school’s shoddy business practices, eventual closure

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Dubspot CEO Dan Giove resigned from his position with the company on May 19, 2017. A self-proclaimed “global leader in electronic music education,” Dubspot was founded in 2006 by Giove in an effort to market engaging production and DJing instruction from its flagship location in New York’s Meatpacking District.

Giove’s vision for Dubspot would draw many patrons to the its decks, as major news outlets like TIME and Time Out New York spotlighted the enterprise. The caliber of the institution’s offerings seemed to be further elucidated by the school’s attraction of central industry figures — DJ Shiftee taught there, while DJ Sprinkles and Nile Rodgers also had involvement with the program.

At its peak, Dubspot touted “events, a café, a podcast series, a blog, and notable alumni across the electronic music spectrum,” features that only further contributed to the brand’s illustrious reputation as an authority of electronic music instruction. It routinely sold out its classes, frequently priced in the thousands.

Former Marketing and Research & Development manager, Dave Cross, recalls its conception as a platform of, “really healthy activity in the NYC school and an online school that was starting to take off.” The success of its New York City location would prompt Giove’s establishment of a Los Angeles center in 2014. As the CEO would move from New York to California to develop the West Coast school, he would leave behind a business model fraught with financial misconduct.

Dubspot’s credibility as an esteemed educational arena for electronic preparation grew suspect once VICE Media’s electronically-focused channel, Thump, ran a story detailing the school’s course fraud. Written by David Garber, the original story cited more than 55 respective complaints that the school had failed to host classes that enrolled students had paid for. The students that registered and paid for the classes prior to their start did not receive refunds.

International enrollees Nina Braith, Iva Zabkar, and Mee Eun Kim each applied for visas to travel to New York to study at Dubspot. Braith, Zabkar, and Kim each paid $4,000 to join matriculate, but were subjected faulty orchestration soon thereafter. While Zabkar eventually elected not to take classes there after Giove informed her that the then “current disorganization” was due to an impending loss of lease, Braith accepted Giove’s promise that the courses would continue at the New York location in spite of Dubspot’s rent concerns. Her class never ran, nor did the school refund Braith — she only received her original payment amount once her credit card company processed a refund to her account several months later.

Kim’s course never began either. To complicate matters, Kim had paid for the class via bank transfer, negating her ability to initiate a chargeback. She did initiate a small claims court case against Dubspot in May, but Giove notably did not appear in court on the trial date. Kim has since discovered that Giove has closed the accounts that he held at many banks.

Giove’s negligence became apparent to various employees rather early in the school’s foundation. Henrich Zwahlen, who assisted Dubspot in the creation of courses working with Ableton, Komplete, and Maschine attributed his resignation to noticing the company’s depleting funds. Zwahlen imparts that some staff members were aware of Giove’s plunging finances, and accordingly sought to invest in the company. Once the interested parties offered to give Giove a minority stake in the salvation effort, Zwahlen reports that Giove rescinded the proposal and fired the employees.

An anonymous source notes of Giove’s questionable fiscal behavior, “There were lots of shady refund practices with students; it seemed like a money-grab kind of situation. [Giove] still owes me money to this day.”

Dave Cross further underscores Giove’s “shady” financial actions, admitting that he and four other “higher-ups” eventually recognized that Giove had spent money allocated for Dubspot’s Los Angeles base on a number of luxuriant art pieces, including an African mask that allegedly cost $50,000. Giove maintained that the purchase of such props was necessary to the induction of an “art-focused community space.”

A number of other employees were attuned to the insufficiency of funds available to formidably open another location. Cross and other his colleagues spoke to many of the company’s “middle managers” about the dwindling budget, devising a plan to persuade Giove to postpone the opening of the West Coast location. Giove promptly fired three people presumably involved in the suspension effort, and Cross resigned shortly afterward.

While Giove did kickstart Dubspot’s Los Angeles initiative, the West Coast edition of the school would flop alongside the New York location. Some of the pricey décor that Giove had purchased with money from the Los Angeles budget would later be given to Mike Henderson, a member of Dubspot’s Los Angeles team. Henderson recalls Giove presenting him with a “bunch of gear” in place of his commission checks. Giove reportedly gave Henderson the items, saying “Here, man. I can’t pay you, but just take this gear, sell it.”

Some of Giove’s former employees have identified an alcohol-related problem as a potential culprit in many of Giove’s poor business decisions, despite his claim to have been sober for nine years following Dubspot’s opening in 2006. “For young business owners, dealing with mental health issues when you’re starting a business is one of the hardest things you can ever do,” Giove declared. “It makes you absent. There’s a lot I think that could come out of this for anyone working in the music industry. It’s so closely tied to mental health issues. For me it’s been dealing with depression and anxiety and all kinds of other things that come with doing this.”

Reflecting retrospectively on Dubspot’s collapse, the former CEO laments having to close the company. “It’s beyond heartbreaking,” Giove remarks of Dubspot’s demise. “The worst part of it all was not being able to pay the students, teachers, and creditors the money they were owed.”

Thump’s original Dubspot report can be read here.




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