Posts Tagged music

What’s The Verdict: Janet Jackson’s announces new album + new label with artist incentives but is it feasible?

What’s The Verdict: Janet Jackson’s announces new album + new label with huge artist incentives but is it feasible?

Here it comes…the moment you have all been waiting for…Janet Jackson’s next studio album since 2008 will be released this fall (potentially end of summer) via BMG as the distributor. The album will mark Jackson’s first venture with her newly formed label Rhythm Nation, which will be offered to both new and established artists, although there is no one signed to it yet (that we know of).

The partnership between BMG and Rhythm Nation is an “artist services deal,” which is different that a traditional record deal in one major way.  It basically allows her and other artists that are signed to the label to retain full ownership and revenue over recordings. The artist services deal is designed to put artists in the driver’s seat, which is arguably a new concept within the music industry.

This gets a bit more interesting after clarifying that BMG is not a record label, but a publishing company.  With that, BMG functions to find licensees and on the flip side of that means that artists are financing their own records and getting them out into the world via distribution deals.

To be clear, the artist services deal is a wonderful concept of putting artists in the driver’s seat and giving them more ownership; however, the artist services deal likely means that Janet is paying for the artists.  This is great, so long as it can be maintained.

In effect, the amount of money used to finance artists may (or may not) be contingent upon the success of her album to be released in fall.  Perhaps, there is enough to financially support Jackson and other artists long-term, but it’s undeniable that the first venture is always important in terms of future predictions.

Do you think the new album  will be a smashing hit? Or perhaps will she be a bit rusty? Can’t wait to get more promo details on the upcoming album. Stay tuned for more updates on What’s The Verdict!


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What’s The Verdict: Update on Blurred Lines case and 7th Amendment


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What’s The Verdict: Hollywood Falling Short of Guild Agreements over Original Soundtrack Music Recycling?

What’s The Verdict: Hollywood Falling Short of Guild Agreements over Original Soundtrack Music Recycling?

The state of originality over in Hollywood has been under scrutiny lately.  A new lawsuit was just filed against the largest film and television studios just this morning by the American Federation of Musicians.  Apparently, these studios, including Sony, Viacom, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros all violated terms of an agreement by recycling previously recorded film soundtracks.

While the American Federation of Musicians argue that in guild agreements “All music sound track already recorded…will not be used at any time for any purpose whatsoever except to accompany the picture for which the music sound track was originally prepared….” But these guidelines were not being followed.  For example, 33 seconds of music from Cast Away was used in Bridesmaids and 18 seconds of music from Jaws was used in Little Fockers, amongst other examples.

The American Federation is shaking their finger at the studios essentially saying ‘this is a big no no.’  The complaint was filed in California federal court this morning.  You may read the complaint here.  

Stay tuned on What’s The Verdict for more updates.

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What’s The Verdict: American Idol May Be Cancelled but Affiliated Record Company is Putting Up a Fight Against Sony!

What’s The Verdict: American Idol May Be Cancelled but Affiliated Record Company is Putting Up a Fight Against Sony!

An American Idol-affiliated record company, representing Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Carrie Underwood, has asked a federal judge to take a dispute over streaming income to an appeals court.  This type of dispute comes as no surprise considering the recent controversy betweens streaming service Spotify and competitor Tidal over the difference in streaming royalties paid out to artists.  [Tidal is paying artists 5x as much as Spotify].

The record company, 19 Recordings, sued media giant Sony Music back in February 2014 claiming that streaming music was being treated as “sales” or “distributions” instead of as “broadcasts” or “transmissions.”  In doing so, Sony was calculating incomes off platforms, including Spotify, and paying out much less than was allegedly due. Who wouldn’t want a bigger piece of the pie though? 19 Recordings is suing Sony Music with claims of breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.

A New York federal court judge, Ronnie Abrams, has dismissed claims that Sony was working in bad faith; however, breach of contract claim still stands, where damages are said to amount to as much as $3 million! Although the judge dismissed bad faith claims, 19 recordings would like him to reconsider. It can be assumed that Judge Abrams doesn’t want to come off as inconsistent by reversing his original decision.  In the event that he doesn’t reverse, 19 is prepared to request and file an interlocutory appeal.  If Judge Abrams agrees, 19 Recordings would attempt to get to Court of Appeals to give its two cents on whether Sony has “unfettered discretion to choose between two different classifications, and, thus, two different royalty structures without any regard for the actual structure of the exploitation.”

Why is this important? An appellate decision on this matter could be extremely valuable for artists as streaming continues to become the dominant platform that consumers listen to music.

Bad timing? The request from 19 Recordings comes right after a contract between Spotify and Sony was leaked highlighting the $25 million advance Sony got for the first two years under the contract.  This puts into question whether the money is being put into the ‘cookie jar’ for artists or being kept by Sony without sharing.  You gotta keep those hands out of the cookie jar!

What do you think federal judge Ronnie Abrams will do? Will he sacrifice his own reputation by appearing wishy washy? Or will he grant the request to move the case to the appeals court?

Stay tuned on What’s The Verdict for more updates!


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What’s The Verdict: Is Jay-Z’s Tidal Streaming Service in Trouble?

Jay-Z Speaks Out: Is Tidal Streaming Service in Trouble?

In response to minor backlash and rumors, Jay-Z sent out a series of messages via Twitter defending his latest business venture Tidal. Although the music streaming service launched under a month ago, there have been reports claiming that the service is “struggling.” The app has fallen out of Apple’s top 750 app charts after peaking at #83 on April 7th.  Additionally, other artists including Lorde have publicly criticized the company; not to mention the CEO was recently fired. Clearly, there have been some bumps in the road, but what company doesn’t have a few in the beginning? Jay-Z has come to the defense of Tidal via social media using the hashtag #TidalFacts. One statement put forth says: “The iTunes Store wasn’t built in a day. It took Spotify 9 years to be successful.”  Despite reports that the service is failing, Jay-Z says that Tidal has over 770,000 subscribers and is reminding everyone that “Tidal is doing just fine.” In other words, they are right were they are supposed to be. Many of the subscribers are within their first month, which means that it’s possible some will unsubscribe once that 30 day trial is up. I wonder how much that number will drop in the next couple weeks.

I find Jay-Z’s response to be quite interesting considering that he hardly ever tweets! Since joining Twitter back in 2008, he’s only tweeted 231 times and does not follow a single person.  The marketing campaign for Tidal has featured lots of social media promotion, so it was no surprise that #TidalFacts began trending amongst affiliated artists as well as fans. Jay-Z both defended his company and reiterated what separates Tidal from competitors, which is its value on music as an art and artists being fairly compensated. Check out his stream of consciousness here!

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Lil’ Kim Attacked Over Zombie Makeup Photo

After posting an image on instagram, rap star Lil’ Kim was sued over a photo of zombie makeup by a Vancouver artist. Samantha Ravndahl is claiming that self proclaimed Queen Bee “splashed” a photo of Ravndahl modeling zombie-style makeup across the internet, including on the rapper’s social media pages, and is prepared to go to court to protect the image and stake some claim in her “original makeup design”. The Ravndahl allegedly posted the image on instagram and other social media outlets as part of a step by step “how to” tutorial. The artist alleges that Lil’ Kim put her name and copyright notice on the artist’s face and makeup design prior to distributing it on the internet. The lawsuit claims that Lil’ Kim’s alleged exploitation of the image is unfair and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

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Springsteen Paves the Way: Inks First Ever Early Release with CBS Network

Bruce Springsteen’s eighteenth studio album “High Hopes” is set to release on January 14 but fans will be happy to know they will have early access to the tracks via Beginning Sunday January 5, the album will be available for streaming as a result of Springsteen’s exclusive early release deal with CBS network. Those who tune into CBS’ ‘The Good Wife’ for the January 12 episode, will be treated to three snippets of new Springsteen material from ‘High Hopes’. According to some publications, the purpose of the deal is to attract Springsteen’s older fans to the show and to However, many speculate that the deal was essentially spoiled when the album was leaked on Amazon last week. 

Do you think the deal with fulfill its purpose in spite the Amazon leak?

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