May 16, 2016

Who Owns Prince's Music?

This article was originally published on GenFKD

After Prince’s untimely passing, there’s been a remarkable bump in his music sales – 230,000 albums and one million singles were sold in one day – and frustration over the fact that his music can’t be found on music streaming services. It’s left a lot of people wondering who owns Prince’s music and what will happen to his catalog now.

While we can’t answer that question for sure, we can take a look at the behind-the-scenes of music rights to understand who might have the power to decide whether or not the public gets to hear Prince’s unreleased catalog.

Copyright 101
Before you can understand who owns, controls access to, and stands to profit from Prince’s music, you need to know a little bit about how copyrights work.

A copyright is a legal right to a creative work that gives the copyright owner the right to control how that work is used. In the United States, it gives the copyright holder the exclusive right — or ability to grant others the right — to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, display, and create derivate works based on that work. When we ask who “owns” the rights to music, we’re talking about the person or company that has these rights.

March 23, 2016

Happy Democracy Day: Register to vote!

Young people, women, and people of color have had to fight for right to have a voice in our government. You get to choose who represents you in Washington D.C. and shape the future of this country -- and you are the future of this country. 

Today is National Democracy Day. Celebrate by getting registered to vote so you can vote in the upcoming national elections. Get started right here, thanks to our partners at Rock the Vote. Just fill out the form, print the copy of the form Rock the Vote sends you, and follow the directions for your state (some states require you to mail the application in and some will let you register online.)

March 22, 2016

Internships at Spin Doctors Music Group in Nashville

Interns wanted for growing Music Business artist services company in Nashville. 
The ideal candidate will:

  • Possess an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Be passionate and excited about the music industry
  • Have excellent communications skills 
  • Have the ability to function productively in a fast paced creative environment
  • Computer skills: mac os and windows, graphic design, audio editing software, etc.

We have a virtual label, with several developing artists, a management company, marketing and social media, radio promotion company, and other artist services. Our goal is to hire future employees and promote from within. This is an excellent chance to get in on the ground floor of a growing Nashville music business company.

March 19, 2016

Stream Wars: Is There Any Hope Left for Jay Z’s Tidal?

This article was originally published on GenFKD

A rough couple of months for Tidal culminated in the company’s satirical skewering in a recent Saturday Night Live skit. Despite support and ownership by several major artists, Jay-Z’s music streaming service is struggling to gain traction among consumers despite Kanye’s earnest efforts.

So, what’s unique about Tidal’s business model and why has it failed to keep pace with competitors like Spotify and Apple Music?
Jay-Z 2011
By Joella Marano [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Music industry 101
To understand why Tidal is different from any other streaming service, let’s start with some basic information about the music industry and its economics.

When you stream or download a song, there are two pieces of the song that are making money: the song itself and the recording of that song. The songwriters get paid for the song and the record label gets paid for the sound recording (this is admittedly oversimplifying things, but we did say this was just the basics). The artist gets paid a contractually agreed amount per stream or download based on their contract with the record label.

So, when a song is streamed, companies like Spotify and Apple Music owe both the record label and the songwriter money for using that song (again oversimplified). The problem is that many musicians have said that these streaming services aren’t paying very much. What’s more, when you take into account that many artists get paid only a portion of that money from their record label, it means that musicians aren’t necessarily making very much money from streaming.

Since streaming is becoming increasingly popular and has been touted as the future of the music industry, this is kind of a big deal. If musicians can’t earn a living by making music it will radically shift the nature of the music industry and put a lot of people out of work. That’s why people like Taylor Swift, who are popular enough to have a bigger say in what happens to their music, have been pulling their music from streaming services.

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