Home of the Global Music Community, Midem is the world’s leading music business event, which unites, connects, serves and supports the global music ecosystem to exchange, create, play, forge relationships and shape the future of the industry. With a rich 4-day programme of conferences, competitions, networking events ...
Appeared in Hypebot
Artist services companies like CD Baby and label service providers like DashGo had no clue what would happen when the lockdowns started. “We weren’t sure how the artist community would react,” says CD Baby’s SVP of Marketing, Artist Brands Kevin Breuner. “there was a little bit of panic mode,” agrees Ben Patterson, CEO of DashGo. “Everything is shutting down and our industry must be shutting down, so let’s recalculate...
Appeared in Hypebot
Artist services companies like CD Baby and label service providers like DashGo had no clue what would happen when the lockdowns started. “We weren’t sure how the artist community would react,” says CD Baby’s SVP of Marketing, Artist Brands Kevin Breuner. “there was a little bit of panic mode,” agrees Ben Patterson, CEO of DashGo. “Everything is shutting down and our industry must be shutting down, so let’s recalculate everything.”
What happened instead was artists began to release everything they could, and labels committed themselves to getting their digital revenue house in order, especially on key platforms like YouTube. What these rapid changes promise for the months and years ahead is explored in the Midem Digital Edition panel, Monetization and Revenue Trends During and After Covid
Moderator – Ethan Millman, music business reporter, Rolling Stone
Ben Patterson - CEO, DashGo
Kevin Breuner- SVP of Marketing, Artist Brands, CD Baby
Jesse Worstell – VP Rights Management, AdRev
Artists “have gone into hyper release and distribution mode,” CD Baby’s Breuner notes. “At the beginning, we were distributing almost double. That was very unexpected. ...it’s clear that people decided, ‘We’re going to get new music out.’ That’s one of the big trends; we’re really under a high volume situation now.”
Worstell relays that AdRev, which specializes in monetization on platforms like YouTube, has been inundated with requests from artists and labels. “You can’t play shows, so you concentrate on the things that help bring in revenue. We’ve seen a lot more people submitting music to get ingested into YouTube Content ID. A lot of our clients have already relied on YouTube revenue, but now we’re seeing a lot of independent acts and publishers really focusing their efforts on YouTube.”
This push to maximize digital revenue is paying off for artists, though it’s unclear how long the boom will last. “It took a few weeks for people to see that the revenue trends for digital music were, at worst, on pace with where they were prior ot COVID and at best a little bit ahead,” reports Patterson. That said, “We can’t minimize the long-term impact this has had on other parts of the economy... We may see a trickle-down effect later in the year.”
For the time being, however, platforms like YouTube are going strong for music rights holders. “We’re lucky that views are up,” Worstell says. “Ad rev is less but it’s still climbing. With everyone home and not having much to do, we were wondering how this would look, but it’s stayed pretty steady. Getting more content to monetize helps fuel that need.”
Along with increasing digital revenues, all three companies pointed to outside DSP partners moving faster to get new products and features out to musicians, and to their own internal efforts to speed up technological growth and business model shifts that reflected their future. “We’re really thinking outside the box, building more software-as-a-service tools to enhance what our artists need. Who knows if the CPM rates will decline? How creative people are getting with new ways to share their music. Making sure we have all bases covered and trying to cater to what our artists needs are instead of just monetizing on one platform.”
CD Baby had made a pivotal decision to close its retail store online, the site the entire service was built on. “We’re still doing physical distribution,” Breuner explains, just doing it differently. “We were looking at what our core business is. It's helping artists to monetize their assets everywhere. New ways music is getting used on these services are popping up every month. Our retail store wasn’t that great an experience, our artists weren’t using it, but in general we needed to leave it behind. It didn’t make sense to keep maintaining things that weren’t our future.”
For the first crazy weeks after lockdowns began in key markets, livestreaming felt like the future, as artists explored its potential and fans logged onto livestreams, some for the very first time ever. “Between March 15th and April 1st, there were a lot of email conversations and video calls about virtual concerts. There was a lot of initial excitement that this would fill a gap in the live entertainment angle,” Patterson recalls. The reality is more measured: “There aren’t going to be a bunch of virtual concerts that will replace Coachella or a tour for an artist.”
Flooding fans with livestreaming dates is not always a good strategy, Breuner argues. “You don’t need to go live every day of the week because there’s a global pandemic. Let’s make it stand out and be more special. Take the time to use these tools better. Have one event you put some effort into every couple weeks. I saw a lot of major label artists going live every night. No one said you have to do this every night. Make it more of a special event for you and your fans.”
The expansion of digital revenue in size and importance is a worldwide phenomenon, and the COVID crisis has added significance to the panelists’ efforts to build a global team that can serve artists and rights holders in a wide range of markets. “We are really putting a lot of effort into territories outside North America,” says Worstell. “The Latin American scene has blown up. We’ve hired a team to help with efforts there and in Asian countries and African territories that are often overlooked. They shouldn't be, because the music’s great and is consumed in massive amounts. We try to streamline how rights are managed [in these markets] and make sure people aren’t infringing on that content.”
Along with getting people on the ground with local knowledge, companies are working on the global aspects of their tech and web presence. “We’ve gone a long way to localize our platform,” notes Patterson. “It’s available in everything from Spanish to Korean. We’ve long seen global growth for the business. CD Baby has the same perspective and a lot of the initial wins we had were from the strong start they had in Brazil and Argentina.”
So much is changing, perhaps for good: the way and cadence in which artists release music, the balance of revenues artists see, the emphasis on digital platforms and experiences in growing their audiences and business. “It’s going to be a while before it can be business as usual. I don’t know if we’ll ever go back. People are taking a closer look at their digital business,” Breuner states. “There’s so much opportunity in the digital world you can take advantage of. It’s a good time to finetune that digital engine."
Appeared in Hypebot
“We’re in a radically transformed landscape,” notes Amy Wang, Music Business Editor at Rolling Stone and moderator of “Data for Dollars,” a Midem Digital Edition panel that explores how the music business could make more value from its rich data, when listening can generate billions of data points in mere hours.
The perpetual question of how artists and rights holders can get an equitable share of the music dollar drives current discussion around music copyrights. As all three of the companies represented on this panel suggest, access to data and control over content helps ensure present and future revenue streams for rights holders. All argue that data is the path towards greater power over the shares of those dollars.
Amadea Choplin of Pex sees the full scope of the problem, however: “There’s no way to aggregate the information about where [an artist’s] tracks are. We help them understand the scope and value of virality.” She gives the example of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you.” On Sheeran’s accounts, the track generated about 7.5 million views. But, Choplin says, “When you aggregate all the views from the social accounts that have shared the video or use the music, it’s really 22 billion streams, just UGC plays of the song. It’s important to understand that it’s not just about Spotify; it’s about this larger ecosystem as well.”
The ecosystem is vast and uses a lot of music. On YouTube, Choplin notes, 84% of videos contain at least 10 seconds of music, as do 17% of podcasts. These usages involve copyrights and with new copyright protections coming into play, especially in Europe, “it’s crunch time for platforms,” Choplin explains. “We’re helping these platforms put in place the mechanisms they need. Building a system that attributes content is essential and that will help bridge the value gap” between usage, data and monetization. In short, “Every artist should be able to monetize their work, and every platform should offer monetization.”
Data volume and quality remain just as challenging on streaming and other music platforms that don’t involve UGC. “There are 50,000 new sound recordings hitting the commercial system each day,” says Michael Shanley, VP at Music Reports. “In one month of 2020, we released more music than we did in the whole 20th century. We’re only going to continue making music in a DIY way, and it could be 60,000 next year.” Translating this flood of music into revenue that can flow back to artists is no easy task: “Monetization is being held up because the data simply doesn’t exist. 90% of the music distributed today does not have corresponding publishing information.”
With persistent problems like these, Shanley argues that alongside more radical innovation, other change can help. “There are middle steps and experimentation on the streaming platforms, things like user centric accounting, for example,” Shanley notes. “We’re building systems in that space to let indie rights holders engage with the biggest uses of music, which are basically big tech companies. Looking to close that gap” between individual, often independent artists and global tech corporations.
Artists know something isn’t quite right, that they have valuable data as well as great music. “Artists understand there is an asymmetry somewhere. You have numbers growing every year. We are celebrating all these data but it’s not ending up in artists’ pockets,” muses Stefan Schulz, CEO of Bitfury Surround. “The truth must be somewhere in the data. People are eager to find out where it is.”
Part of the problem is the reactive nature of the music business response to new technology and platforms. “Generally, what’s happening is the collection and the passive part, but we need to get more engaged in proactively increasing the value,” Schulz says. Learning from how sports and gaming use content and discover value drivers is key. “Individually monetizing data points and bringing leverage into every piece of the conversation have been underdeveloped.” However, there’s reason for optimism, if the industry bands together and changes its mindset around data and monetization. We can make, “this transition in our minds,” he argues. “Together we make the market better. It’s not just market share, market share!
Appeared in Hypebot
“Now more than ever, it’s time to innovate,” says Canadian CMO executive and moderator Veronica Syrtash, kicking off this panel on new, thought-provoking ways for artists to find new opportunities and revenue streams. This Midem panel is open to all thanks to the Midem Digital Edition.
The three panelists are experts in specific, rapidly evolving areas in licensing, sync, and streaming content monetization. In building their companies, they all saw opportunities in digital music and new formats, turning online and multimedia content into cornerstones of a new music business model.
Now, in the wake of worldwide changes due to COVID-19, they dig deep into the shifts in their areas of expertise and how artists, managers, labels, and rights holders can seize any and all opportunities.
The crisis has accelerated innovation at many partner platforms, which are rolling out artist-centered focus to make up for the near-total collapse of live performance revenues. “We see a lot of our partners creating more content, putting out more videos and songs. We’re also trying to help them with other sides of the business,” recounts Roy LaManna of Vydia. “Due to our relationships with DSPs like Facebook or Twitch. Facebook Live has a new live monetization feature, something they’ve always had in the mix, but that they’ve accelerated due to COVID. We’re trying to meet with and have discussions with all our partners and figure out what solutions they are coming up with and who in our client base fits that. There’s not one solution, but there are various solutions partners are coming up with to get [artists] through this period.”
One of the things we decided to do is create a free solution for artists, so they didn’t have to put a credit card in or put up any money to distribute their music.
Now is the time, the panelists urge artists, to distribute, register, and monetize their work. “When I was a musician that lived gig to gig, when it was 1995 or so, If we had had a pandemic then it would have been impossible to make any money,” says Paul Wiltshire of Songtradr. “We do have this wonderful thing called the internet now and so much opportunity coming out of that. There’s more time to spend uploading your music to different opportunities. This is the time to focus on taking care that all your music is out there, to finish music and get more music out there. We are seeing significant growth of distributed music, four times as much in the last month [April] compared to March. This is a time to channel your feelings into those masterpieces.
It’s also the perfect time to maximize their potential income by gathering all the diverse, if still small streams together into a growing pool of revenue in the long run. “The early adopters on a new platform tend to benefit the most,” says LaManna, “when and if that platform takes off.” And it’s not all bad news: “Some verticals are experiencing a boom time, and some a pause,” notes Wiltshire.
As Darryl Ballantyne of LyricFind pointed out, “it’s all additive.” In many cases, it’s not that innovation is simply replacing older approaches or formats, Ballantyne explains, but that a new revenue stream has been added to more traditional ones, as is the case with many lyric uses, including licensed translations, allowing artists to “create once, earn forever.”
“There are opportunities now because of digital music to have all these new revenue streams,” he continues. “It’s created a situation where we’re in a unique time of a shared global experience in going through this. That connects all the world in a way we’ve never been connected before. We’re all in this together, fighting a common enemy.”
In a time of worldwide distancing and isolation, the IAEL (International Association of Entertainment Lawyers) has come together to mount its first-ever digital IAEL Legal Summit as part of major music conference Midem.
“The IAEL has participated at Midem in Cannes for 46 years and we were determined to continue this tradition,” explains Jeff Liebenson, IAEL President. “This year, we’re excited to welcome our colleagues from around the world who will be able to join no matter where they are, free of charge. It reflects the more global nature of our work in this day and age, and marks a new milestone in our collaboration.”
Presented as part of Midem Digital Edition, the IAEL Legal Summit will take place online for the first time on June 3-4, 2020, both days at 10am ET/4pm CET, and on June 5, 2020 at 9am ET/3pm CET. “There are IAEL members throughout the world and many of them--from Toronto to Rio, and from LA to NY to Hong Kong—are presenters in this year’s IAEL Legal Summit,” notes Liebenson.
The IAEL Legal Summit is comprised of the following sessions:
The IAEL Legal Update is a core IAEL presentation addressing the important legal developments in entertainment law this year from key territories around the globe. The topics will range from the reaction to COVID-19 to an update from the Board Chair of the MLC, and from Kraftwerk’s 20 year battle over a 2 second sample to the Tik Tok v Baidu case, the first copyright infringement ruling from the new Beijing Internet Court.
The IAEL Masterclass presents a deep dive into one particular hot topic, which this year is the surge in copyright infringement claims brought against hit songs involving Marvin Gaye, Katie Perry and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. These cases have stretched our understandings of copyright, and generated an outcry from the music industry. “Did You Steal My Song, An International Perspective” will bring together top experts in NY, London, Milan and Los Angeles to unpack these emerging issues that affect songwriters throughout the industry.
This session will address such questions as:
Do we now have a new standard for infringement?
Are new rulings encouraging creativity or discouraging it?
Are we properly protecting all creators’ rights?
And how does the law vary from one part of the world to another?
The IAEL Main Session. Each year at Midem, the IAEL chooses what it thinks will be the most relevant topic for its next book. Last summer, before the pandemic, it chose the topic, “Nationalism v Globalism.”
These forces have dominated worldwide developments in recent years, and the IAEL wanted to examine these forces as they affect entertainment law around the world.
For clients, the world was becoming an increasingly smaller, more connected place. Technology knew no borders and it spanned the globe. Meanwhile, our legal systems had largely developed on a national basis, with key rights and rightsholders often different from market to market. “Nationalism v Globalism” examines how the entertainment lawyer manages this, and what deals can be done on a regional or global basis and which ones need to be made locally.
The book’s editors have taken this on with input from IAEL contributors around the world, and in Main Session will share highlights from several of them with presentations on Brexit and the entertainment industry, attempts at regulating fake news online, the environmental impacts of recorded music, and data protection and the global effects of the European Union’s GDPR.
Meet the Lawyers—This IAEL session will enable Midem participants to interact with and pose questions to various members of the IAEL.
“Meeting with colleagues in person has been meaningful, but I’m confident that this year’s Summit will allow us to expand our circle of colleagues and share our experience in way that will benefit our profession immensely,” says Liebenson.
About the IAEL
The International Association of Entertainment Lawyers - the IAEL - was officially founded in 1977 at Midem in Cannes, France. However for three year prior to that the lawyers who were to become the Association's founding members had been holding informal seminars and discussion groups for Midem participants interested in the legal aspects of the entertainment industry.
Over the past forty-six years, the IAEL has come to fulfill a unique role for lawyers involved in the entertainment industry throughout the world. It has expanded enormously in terms of both the numbers of its members and the scope of its activities. Nonetheless, continuity of membership (some of the founding members of the Association are still actively involved with the IAEL) combined with the energy of its officers, past and present, mean that the IAEL's style remains distinctly personal and informal.
IAEL members have areas of expertise that cover nearly all aspects of entertainment law. If you are a lawyer or executive working in the entertainment industries, you may wish to find out about joining the Association or merely to contact us via Duncan Calow at email@example.com.