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Kerrymuzzey
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This chart is a great example of how the information is skewed when it comes to indie artists. This chart represents the label's deal with Pandora, which is where the 2 largest slices of the pie come in (84% of what Pandora pays to major labels for music). If you're an indie artist, self-published and on your own label, or you release your music through an aggregator like Tunecore, the only portion of the pie chart that you're entitled to is Songwriter (3%), Publisher (3%), ASCAP/BMI (1%) and Soundexchange (5%). So if you are an indie artist that is the sole writer and publisher and owner of the recording being played, you are receiving only 12% of the pie shown above. So if your song received the same 1,159,000 plays on Pandora, you wouldn't receive $1,372: your total take for that 1,159,000 plays would be $164.64. If you share the ownership with 1 or more individuals (and thus publishers) then this $164.64 would be divvied up according to your ownership shares. If it's an even 50/50 split, this many plays would net each of you $82.32. If you have 4 cowriters (like in a band) and all 4 of you in the band own the recording, then for 1,159,000 plays you would each receive $41.16. So again, the Cracker example might contain honest figures but it's a little disingenuous from both sides of the equation: 1 band member doesn't like that he only got $16 for 1.15M plays, but that's not directly the result of Pandora: that's because of his deal with his publisher and his label, and the fact that he's 1 of multiple writers. But from Pandora's side, they don't see this individual band member: they see "here is what it costs us, bottom line, when this song receive 1.159M plays. We pay this amount" (which is then distributed according to existing contracts: their fee to the label & the publisher, fees payable pursuant to writer and publisher contracts, which also affect ASCAP/BMI payments, and the label agreement between the band and the band members.) It's a lot of if-then scenarios. I think what would help in the apples-to-apples comparison is if Hypebot and Pandora did this same exact breakdown but for indie artists, in order to demonstrate what the dollars look like for an individual who owns 100% of everything. In that scenario, 1.159M plays doesn't net $1372: the identical number of plays would only net $164.64. And suddenly you can see why it feels like there's so much misinformation out there. The straight facts are hard enough to grasp, but add in a little spin or creative interpretation of the straight facts, and this stuff gets confusing FAST. Kerry
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Westergren actually makes accurate points here. I'm an artist as well, and I don't get much out of Pandora $$-wise, but I think it's important that the numbers be accurate. Lowery's royalty statements in question are his BMI performance royalty statements, not his actual Soundexchange statements, which is the primary income Pandora is paying. The BMI statements are always low for radio/internet radio use. Those BMI royalties are split 50/50 between publisher and writer(s): so if he's one of several writers, he's only getting his share of the 50% that the writers get through BMI. Pandora pays out the larger sum to sound exchange, and that payment goes to the recording owners. So if he owns a portion of the recording, he would get that percentage of the soundexchange payment as well. The performance royalty thing is very arcane & confusing unless you're in the middle of it, and the mechanics of it are a tough thing to convey in a short article where you try to explain Soundexchange royalties for the master recording and performance royalties for the publisher and the writers. I hate to say it, because I think Pandora underpays artists and writers and I'm tired of them trying to game the system, but Pandora's info here is accurate and makes sense. It still sucks, but at least it's a full picture of the royalty situation.
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Are you of the school of thought that piracy is good for artists? I'm not. When my music is used in a YouTube video that has 50k hits, and a user asks what the music is, and the poster replies with the title along with "and you can download it here at my rapidshare link"-- it's a pretty safe bet that some of those 50k users downloaded the pirate copy. It's not a suspicion that piracy may have happened: it happened. It's empirical. My remedy was to send a DMCA takedown notice: 2 days later the video came down. I don't know how many additional pirate downloads happened during that 2 days, but I think I was more damaged in the transaction than the original uploader. It's a bummer that Michelle Obama's live stream in YouTube was interrupted. Thankfully though, every news website was carrying it live, and you could tune into any of the major tv nets as well as the cable news channels to see it. In fact, the news websites all carried an archived version of the speech as well. My problem with this example is that it has become the new talking point in forums for people who just want another reason to say "piracy is good.". If your overarching assertion is that because the technology isn't perfect yet, it should be thrown out entirely, I disagree from the get-go. But if your assertion is bigger than that, and is actually that piracy is OK, then I think there's no way to bridge the gap between that position and an artist's wanting to NOT have his work pirated. And if your assertion goes even further -- to be that because Joe YouTube User's clip got taken down accidentally, therefore copyright is bad and copyright owners are bad and are somehow treading on some greater moral right -- I don't buy it. The technology will eventually get ironed out, I'm sure. From the DMCA Takedown side of things, I agree that it would be great if google/YouTube had some real people that I could connect with. But in the meantime I'll just keep sending DMCA takedowns when I need to, and I'll continue to enjoy the 48-72 hr waiting period for them to be Addressed. And as my frustration mounts during that time period, I will probably find myself thinking, "I need to get me me of those automated copyright bot things, cuz they work faster."
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I'm coming from the viewpoint of being a DIY artist who frequently has to send DMCA Takedown Notices for unauthorized uses. Just so you know in advance where my comments come from. I get that it's inconvenient for Joe Youtube User to sometimes have his video taken down accidentally. I also get that sometimes larger corporations get errant takedown notices by copyright bots, and that there is some level of PR-related or financial-related impact. Millions of dollars worth? No. A couple bucks' of convenience worth? Sure. But the minor inconvenience that these aggrieved parties experience is very small when stacked up next to the damage that the actual infringed-upon party experiences. Let's keep in mind that YouTube is a free service, and Joe Youtube User isn't having anything of his stolen, misued, monetized without his consent, or given away freely without his permission. My problem with the ever-increasing ever-escalating "are copyright takedown bots coming to steal your children" argument is that it creates a false equivalency between 1 person's actual work being infringed upon and 1 person's minor inconvenience of having his clip accidentally taken down. From a free service. The DMCA was a stop-gap:it provides remedies for a copyright owner, but not timely ones. 48- to 72-hours later, the material comes down. But in the meantime it remains active, and this includes youtube entries where the info field , or comments, often include things like "if you want to download this song, hit my rapidshare link" -- where not only are the thousands, tens of thousands, or even millions of people then downloading the music for free, but they're going to continue to do it for the next 48-72 hours, while youtube ponders your DMCA Takedown Notice. And the person who posts the link is getting $ from your copyrighted content, used without authorization, driving traffic to their download link where people can sign up and then a percentage of that signup is a commission for the person who posted the rapidshare link to begin with. When you're the DIY artist whose work is being stolen, reading an article that says, "Yeah but Johnny's video got taken down because it had a PD song in it that was misidentified" is kinda infuriating. I'm really sorry that Johnny's video got taken down, but ultimately no damage has been done to Johnny. Damage *has* been done to the copyright holder.
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I think Tunecore artists are in a tough spot. If they switch aggregators, all of their reviews & iTunes Genius data will be zero'd out and they'd be starting from scratch. So they're a bit trapped and kinda HAVE to stay with Tunecore. This is why my heart just broke for Tunecore indie artists when Tunecore jacked up their prices so much: the artists couldn't walk away and find a more competitive deal, because they'd lose any momentum that they had gained in the iTunes store. All of that iTunes Genius data that was collected and attached to their albums, that would result in other uses getting the "people who like ____ also liked __(tunecore artist)" message -- gone. This is something that isn't talked about enough: that if you switch aggregators, the lights get turned off on iTunes and then turned back on. And when they get turned back on, you're at zero: it's a clean slate. And it takes a lot of time to rebuild that extremely valuable Genius data and to accumulate reviews and ratings again. A great story idea would be "why can't iTunes keep data attached to an album or artist account, independent of the aggregator that distributes it." The concept is an easy one, but the iTunes ivory tower is a tough nut to crack.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2012 on VOTE: Should Musicians Leave Tunecore? at hypebot
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I think this sort of article is a bit misleading in the way the language often used in politics is misleading. "Label earns 80% of its revenue from Spotify" doesn't mean anything really, unless you say what its annual revenue is. If it's an indie, maybe the guy does it on the side and makes $5k/year from it, so 80% of that $5k is what comes from Spotify. The headline alone, not to mention the article itself, implies that there is huge money being made here. This article could be made better by wrapping it in the proper context: how much does this label make annually, how much of that comes from sales and how much of that comes from Spotify streaming revenue.
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The ASCAP Awards themselves would never make up for the amount of performing that a touring artist like Zoe Keating does. To apply for the award, you need to list all of your "achievements" for the year, like "scored 2 independent films, both of which played at Sundance and Tribeca, performed 50 live concerts" - that sort of thing. And even with a list of accomplishments like that, you'll be lucky if you hit the $200-250 range for your ASCAP Award. This is one of those instances where that entire ASCAP fee for that night's performance, perhaps less some tiny administration fee, should be paid to the artist who performed their ASCAP-registered and ASCAP-published works at a venue that was paying a performance license fee to ASCAP for that one specific artist that night. Why it *doesn't* work that way, I'll never understand... and why any PRO continues to get away with that sort of thing? I'll also never understand.
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Apr 24, 2012