May 2nd, 2013
On June 1, I’ll be speaking at the first SheTek Conference. The conference is in New York City at 151 w. 26th street between 6th and 7th aves from 11 am to 6 pm.
Panel topics are:
- Wendy Day Keynote Address
- The Business of Music**
- Music Streams - Distribution and Synchronization
- Marketing, Branding & Social Media
- Music Videos, Independent Films & Multi-Media
** I’m a panelist on “The Business of Music” panel
Tickets are available here. Each panel is $25 or pay $100 for the entire conference.
October 22nd, 2012
Happy hour will be extended to 9 pm for us – $5 draught craft beers, $5 well drinks, $2 off all other drinks.
September 30th, 2012
Lyor Cohen is leaving Warner Music Group after eight years at the company. The WMG executive’s most recent title was Recorded Music Chairman and CEO. Cohen released the following statement: ”To all the artists and employees who live and die for the music every day, and who personally sacrifice for the good of the creative process: ‘keep on keepin’ on’ in the tradition of a company that respects and honors the artistic community.”
Big Jon Platt, formerly at EMI Music Publishing, is now the President of North American Creative at Warner/Chappell.
Richard Strasser has been named an interim judge for the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB).
Massive entertainment company AEG is now for sale, its assets including Coachella, a partial stake in the Lakers, AEG Live, and over 100 venues. Offers are starting to come in but no specific price tags have been published.
Dangerbird Records co-founder Jeff Castelaz may be moving to WMG-owned Elektra.
Matt Pincus, founder and CEO of Songs Music Publishing, has just been added to the ASCAP Board of Directors.
Fox Music president Robert Kraft has stepped down after 18 years with the company.
January 17th, 2012
The White House has released an official statement by Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmid in response to petitions again SOPA and the E-Parasite Act.
Full text below:
Official White House Response to Stop the E-PARASITE Act. and 1 other petition
Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet
By Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt
Thanks for taking the time to sign this petition. Both your words and actions illustrate the importance of maintaining an open and democratic Internet.
Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support. Any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet.
While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.
Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected. To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity. Any provision covering Internet intermediaries such as online advertising networks, payment processors, or search engines must be transparent and designed to prevent overly broad private rights of action that could encourage unjustified litigation that could discourage startup businesses and innovative firms from growing.
We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security. Our analysis of the DNS filtering provisions in some proposed legislation suggests that they pose a real risk to cybersecurity and yet leave contraband goods and services accessible online. We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.
Let us be clear—online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, and threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs. It harms everyone from struggling artists to production crews, and from startup social media companies to large movie studios. While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders. That is why the Administration calls on all sides to work together to pass sound legislation this year that provides prosecutors and rights holders new legal tools to combat online piracy originating beyond U.S. borders while staying true to the principles outlined above in this response. We should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values.
This is not just a matter for legislation. We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.
So, rather than just look at how legislation can be stopped, ask yourself: Where do we go from here? Don’t limit your opinion to what’s the wrong thing to do, ask yourself what’s right. Already, many of members of Congress are asking for public input around the issue. We are paying close attention to those opportunities, as well as to public input to the Administration. The organizer of this petition and a random sample of the signers will be invited to a conference call to discuss this issue further with Administration officials and soon after that, we will host an online event to get more input and answer your questions. Details on that will follow in the coming days.
Washington needs to hear your best ideas about how to clamp down on rogue websites and other criminals who make money off the creative efforts of American artists and rights holders. We should all be committed to working with all interested constituencies to develop new legal tools to protect global intellectual property rights without jeopardizing the openness of the Internet. Our hope is that you will bring enthusiasm and know-how to this important challenge.
Moving forward, we will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis on legislation that provides new tools needed in the global fight against piracy and counterfeiting, while vigorously defending an open Internet based on the values of free expression, privacy, security and innovation. Again, thank you for taking the time to participate in this important process. We hope you’ll continue to be part of it.
Victoria Espinel is Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget
Aneesh Chopra is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Howard Schmidt is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff
December 30th, 2011
Croatian journalist James Braddock has sued Angelina Jolie for copyright infringement of his book, The Soul Shattering (his website discusses the legal dispute in detail). Braddock claims Jolie’s directorial-debut documentary, In the Land of Blood and Honey, infringes upon his 2007 book. Braddock allegedly discussed the book in detail with the Bosnian producer of the film before the film was made. The movie commenced production in 2010, and Braddock only recently filed the lawsuit, just weeks before the scheduled release. Because of the late timing, the judge seemed reluctant to grant Braddock’s motion for a temporary restraining order and Braddock withdrew the motion before the decision was finalized. The case was filed with the federal court in Illinois, but the judge has indicated a likelihood he will transfer it to California, given that the parties – Croatian and Californian – have pretty much no connection to the midwest state.
The Meester family will be having a peaceful Christmas, now that the Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester and her mother Constance Meester have resolved their legal dispute. The suit began over Leighton alleging that Constance misused the actress’s money, then developed into the issue of whether Constance was entitled to compensation for her alleged role in guiding her daughter’s career. Most recently, Constance withdrew her claims leading to a default judgment in favor of Leighton.
The estate of Bruce Gary, drummer of the band The Knack (best known for the song “My Sharona”) has sued Capitol Records, claiming unpaid royalties for digital downloads. The issue is whether digital downloads on platforms such as iTunes count as a ‘license’ of the master or a ‘sale’ of the phonorecords under the recording agreement. Phonorecords implies the physical album sale, rather than digital and the label pays significantly lower royalties to artists on sales than licenses. For a license, the royalty rate could be up to 50%, whereas for a sale the rate would likely be closer to 12%.
2011 has been a rough year for The Hangover II. Earlier this year, Tyson’s tattoo artist sued over the use of the iconic face tattoo. Now Louis Vuitton is suing, claiming that the bag carried by Zach Galifianakis marked LVM was a fake. In the scene, Galifianakis says, ” “Careful, that is.. that is a Louis Vuitton.” LV is suing under state and federal claims for unfair competition, false designation of origin, and trademark dilution. The full complaint can be read here.
December 29th, 2011
Hip-hop agent Cara Lewis is leaving William Morris Endeavor.
Vickie Nauman moved up to president of 7digital North America.
Don Ienner is working with Universal Music Group in a consultancy role.
Live Nation has been making some changes. Alan Ostfield is now President, North Atlantic, covering the New York and Philadelphia regions. Jason Miller is President of the New York operation, replacing Kevin Morrow, who moves to LA to join the North American Touring office as Senior Vice President.
Now-Bertelsmann exec Thomas Hesse joined the board of broadcaster RTL Group.
Bob Stohrer became CMO of Clear Channel Digital.
BMI promoted Tavi Shabestari and Nicole Plantin to director-level positions in the Los Angeles office, with a similar promotion to Atlanta-based David Claassen.
Edgar Bronfman, Jr. is leaving his role of chairman at Warner Music Group, although he will remain a board member.
Live Nation owned BigChampagne just hired Ethan Kaplan, a music technologist and former SVP of Emerging Technology at Warner Music Group.
Former AMPAS president Sid Ganis is now working at Dolby Laboratories as a strategic advisor.
Wynton Marsalis has been named ‘Cultural Correspondent’ at CBS News.
David Foster is now chairman of UMG-owned Verve Music Group.
November 15th, 2011
Big changes are happening in iTunes. iTunes in the Cloud automatically pushes iTunes Store purchased downloads to all of your devices without syncing or plugging in. Now, with iTunes Match, even songs uploaded from CDs or purchased from other sites can be sent to iCloud wirelessly and accessed by your mobile devices for $24.99 a year. Because iTunes in the Cloud is a free service, iTunes match makes the most sense for people who get their music outside of the iTunes store.
It is called iTunes Match because not all of your tracks are actually uploaded to the cloud. First, it looks to its library of 20 million tunes to “match” up your track with one already in the cloud. If it’s there, you stream those tracks to your devices; if the song isn’t already in the cloud, it will be uploaded and available for streaming. Another plus – according to Apple, “all the music iTunes matches plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality – even if your original copy was of lower quality.”
Sounds great? Maybe not. Jared Newman at PC World brings up some of the downsides to the service:
First, the matching process takes a long time–especially right now, as there is a rush of new users putting a strain on Apple’s servers. My 15GB library, most of which comes from ripped CDs, took about an hour to match. Uploading unmatched songs takes much longer–after a half-hour of uploading, I was only through about 20 percent of my 1100 upload items.
The bigger issue, however, is how iOS devices manage your newly matched library. Activating iTunes Match on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch erases all of your locally-stored music (so it’s a bad idea to turn on the service if you’re about to hop on a long flight).
(UPDATE: According to Macworld, iTunes Match does not delete your local music library right away, despite Apple’s warnings. To double check, I tried this on my iPhone and found that all my local music was available even after disconnecting Wi-Fi. On the iPad, however, roughly half of my library is unavailable when Wi-Fi is turned off, because the songs haven’t finished re-downloading through iTunes Match. I’m not sure why my two devices behaved differently, but I’d warn against switching on iTunes Match until you have enough time to deal with any snafus.)
Songs are downloaded to your device automatically as you play them, and you can download entire playlists or individual albums with one tap, but there’s no “Download All” button for grabbing your entire library. The workaround, of course, is to create a playlist that consists of your entire library, but I wish Apple had come up with a better solution, including a way to keep locally-stored files on the device until they’ve been replaced by their iTunes copies.
Furthermore, once you’ve downloaded songs to an iOS device, deleting them can be a hassle. You can either swipe over individual tracks to remove them, or you can delete entire albums by pressing and holding on them, then hitting the “X.”
Neither solution is obvious, and if you try latter method on a playlist, it’ll delete the track list itself, not just the downloads within them. Apple needs to make bulk song management clearer and easier for users who want to swap playlists in and out.
November 8th, 2011
On October 25, the US Copyright Office released a document which summarizes the priorities of the Copyright Office for the next two years.
Here is a list of the top priorities. For more detail, the full document is available for download here.
- Small claims solutions for copyright owners
- Legal treatment of pre-1972 sound recordings
- Mass book digitization
- Rogue websites
- Illegal streaming
- Public performance right in sound recordings
- Orphan works
- Copyright exceptions for libraries
- Market-based licensing for cable and satellite retransmission
Trade and Foreign Relations
- World intellectual property organization (WIPO)
- Trans-pacific partnership and other trade priorities
Administrative Law Practice
- Prohibition on circumvention of measures controlling access to copyrighted works
- Electronic system for the designation of agents under the DMCA
- Review of group registration options
- Registration options for websites and other forms of digital authorship
- Electronic administration of the statutory licenses
- Recording notices of termination of copyright transfers
- Study of fees and services
- Revision of the compendium of Copyright Office practices
- Technical upgrades to electronic registration
- Dialogues and roundtables with copyright community
- Research partnerships with academic community
- Revision of Copyright Office website
- Public outreach and copyright education
- Business process reengineering of recordation division
- Public access to historical records
- Skills training for Copyright Office staff
Do you think the priority list is addressing the most pressing current issues in copyright law? In the coming weeks, I plan on exploring some of these topics through blog posts that will address them individually in detail.
October 26th, 2011
The article details how various online music services pay artists.
The entire article is worth a read, but here are some excerpted charts that should provide a good intro understanding to the complicated landscape:
(Keep in mind two things. First, an artist won’t see any of this money until the label has fully recouped expenses for the album. Second, an artist may choose to partner with a company like TuneCore to distribute to these digital services and avoid the label payout all together.)
October 6th, 2011
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”