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Facebook have been handed the aux cord

Facebook has launched a new app called Aux.  Recently appearing exclusively in Apple’s Canadian App Store, Aux is being described as a ‘DJ for your school’.  In an effort to understand what angle they’re coming from with this we need to better look at its creators, Facebook’s NPE Team.

In an effort to regain some occupancy in the teen market, Facebook created a subsidiary New Product Experimentation {NPE) Team in July to focus on developing experimental consumer-facing apps.

Facebook’s NPE Team developed Aux, stating “The app is aimed at school-aged kids and teens who join a party in the app every day at 9 PM. They then choose the songs they want to play and compete for the ‘AUX’ to get theirs played first. At the end of the night, a winner is chosen based on how many claps are received”

It can’t come as a surprise that social currency is at the forefront of any app created by Facebook, music based or not. Whilst music is inherently social, it’ll be telling to see how the competitive nature of Aux plays out when/if the app gains popularity. Although the NPE Team’s announcement in July made it clear that experimentation overrules permanence, stating that “Apps will change very rapidly and will be shut down if we learn that they’re not useful to people”.

Will Aux be successful enough to become available in the UK? Could this be a prelude to the regularly threatened release of Facebook Music? Would Zuckerberg be someone you’d confidently pass the aux cord to? We have so many questions!

MKM at BBC Music Introducing Live

We’re heading to BBC Music Introducing Live next week! MKM CEO Lee Morrison will be one of the mentors in the 4-5pm Industry Session hosted by AIM on Thursday 31st.  The event gives attendees the rare opportunity to have industry pros assess their music and give personally tailored advice on how to accelerate their success in the music industry.

BBC Introducing Live is a three day event hosted at London’s Tobacco Dock, bringing together key industry figureheads from global artists such as Nile Rogers to the people behind the industry’s biggest businesses. Whether you want to be an agent, manager, artist, work at a label or organise some of the world’s biggest festivals, this will be the place for you- whatever stage of your career.

Tickets available at- www.introducinglive.co.uk

Monokrome Music is Heading to ADE!

ADE 2019 takes place 15th-19th October

Monokrome Music is heading to ADE, Amsterdam’s annual five day music conference and festival! With over 1000 events held across nearly 200 locations in Amsterdam from the 15th-19th October, ADE is widely recognised as the global meeting point for the electronic music industry.

Monokrome CEO Lee Morrison is joining industry figure heads Arjo Klingens (LaLaLa Management, NL), Justin Tatipata (Be Yourself Music, NL), Kees Van Weijen (STOMP, NL) and Wilbert Mutsaers (Spotify, Benelux, NL) as panelists on the ‘Data is King- How Smaller Labels Can Really Benefit from Data’ talk on Thursday October 17th at the DeLaMar Theatre at 11:45-12:30.

“Labels, artists and rights holders need to understand that in the modern world data is now almost as important as the music itself, and this panel, hosted by STOMP, the Dutch Trade Association of Independent labels, will be examining how to access and maximise the success of acts through correct storage as well as the importance of having a decent overview of all catalogues. Panelists will also be discussing how to gain insight into data that goes beyond performance graphs and statistics from online platforms, what the best marketing opportunities are and where you should really focus. The panel will also be looking at how smaller labels can maximise data from platforms such as Spotify by interpreting and using Spotify’s analytics, and how acts can use data for concert planning and to more effectively target audience groups.”

We hope to see you there and feel to reach out on hello@monokrome-music.com for meetings or a chat!

https://www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl/en/artists-speakers/lee-morrison/24727/

Monokrome Music launches online platform rightsHUB

Monokrome Music has launched rightsHUB, an online contractual rights and file management platform for labels, artists, managers, and other rights-holders.

The service acts as a single, central place to store contractual information alongside release metadata, publishing and neighbouring rights data. Files and information can be securely and selectively shared with partners, alongside reporting and sales statements that can be tracked within the platform to ensure contractual compliance.

From the rightsHUB dashboard, users can also store any files relevant to a release: contract documents; audio, images, video, stems and press shots; neighbouring rights and publishing information; with all files having associated metadata that can be edited as appropriate.

Easily deliver consistent data to new and existing partners eliminating the need for double data entry. All data and rights remain the property of users and are fully exportable at any point.

rightsHUB pricing is flexible and works on a monthly, no contract basis, beginning with a £1 offer for the first month. Thereafter, pricing starts at £15 p/month for catalogues smaller than 50 tracks, scaling with catalogue size.

Monokrome Music CEO Lee Morrison says: “In this increasingly data-driven music industry it’s imperative that labels and others stay on top of their contractual obligations. We’re proud to launch rightsHUB as an affordable, one-stop solution for music rights-holders to manage all of their data and assets in a clear, easy and concise way.

“All too often both artists and labels lose out because rights-holders are unable to maintain full and accurate records of rights and the relevant contractual terms. Many labels are acting outside of the rights granted to them — exposing them to potential litigation — while many artists and producers are seeing the continued exploitation of their rights after the contractual term with a partner has expired, losing them money and reducing the control they have over their creative output.”

rightsHUB has been built with all sizes of organisation in mind, with a particular focus on cross-referencing contractual information with other data points. It is aimed at alleviating the music industry’s data collection and maintenance problems around contracts and rights, especially as they relate to smaller record labels and their artists.

Monokrome CEO and rightsHUB designer Lee Morrison has sat on the board of the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) since 2015. Earlier in 2019, AFEM launched the free Metadata Best Practice Guide (associationforelectronicmusic.org/afem-ci-metadata-best-practice-guide/) to address the problem of incomplete or inconsistent metadata causing lost revenue.

In support of Morrison’s aims for rightsHUB Greg Marshall, General Manager, AFEM says:

“Earlier this year we launched the AFEM and CI Metadata Best Practice Guide highlighting the importance for managers, artists and rights-holders to correctly manage the data and assets related to their music. This information is often provided to, and held by, multiple business partners including labels, distributors, publishers, anti-piracy companies and promotional partners — but rarely are all assets stored and organised in a single centralised location. It is great to see a new AFEM member with a service designed to address this and to help rights-holders keep an up-to-date, independent and accurate record of all their data and related assets.”

rightsHUB is available now for all rights-holders, packages start at £15/pm and is only £1 for your first month!

Find out more at: https://monokrome-music.com/rights-hub/ 

For more information please contact: hello@monokrome-music.com

Monokrome Music joins the Association for Electronic Music

Music industry services company Monokrome Music has joined the Association for Electronic Music.

AFEM (https://www.associationforelectronicmusic.org/) is a not for profit trade association and is dedicated to creating a thriving business and cultural environment for its members worldwide. Current initiatives include Get Played Get Paid, Protect Mental & Physical Health for Fans & Professionals (Safe In Sound), Diversity and Inclusion, Metadata, Green Initiatives and Stealing Our Own Success.

Lee Morrison CEO of Monokrome Music commented: “After supporting AFEM in various different roles since its inception, I am delighted to join as a business owner and look forward to continuing to support the good work done by the team going forward”

Monokrome’s Lee Morrison has sat on the board of the Association for Electronic Music since 2015.

Earlier in 2019, AFEM launched the free Metadata Best Practice Guide  (associationforelectronicmusic.org/afem-ci-metadata-best-practice-guide/) to address the problem of incomplete or inconsistent metadata causing lost revenue, something Monokrome is looking to help solve.

The move comes as Monokrome edges closer to announcing its brand-new Rights Management Platform… More to follow.

Resale Renegade: Will Ticketmaster’s new decisions combat touts or cause more web rebellion?

Resale Renegade: Will Ticketmaster’s new decisions combat touts or cause more web rebellion?

“That’s right, we’ve listened and we hear you: secondary sites just don’t cut it anymore and you’re tired of seeing others snap up tickets just to resell for a profit. All we want is you, the fan, to be able to safely buy tickets to the events you love” (Ticketmaster, 2018).


One door closes and another opens as Ticketmaster UK shuts down its controversial ticket resale websites Get Me In! and Seatwave for a updated and more regulated site. Drastic actions have taken place, one namely being a stricter ticket pricing regime, including a 15% commission rate, all in order to reduce ticket-touting on its web page. Perhaps restricting the resale value could do the trick?

Some hold faith with this outlined plan by Ticketmaster; Mark Savage, BBC Music Reporter has since welcomed the disposing of such websites being “excellent news”. Furthermore, they believe that the reduced number of outlets will serve the updated site well and will inevitably provide ticket buyers with “another safe and trusted place to resell their tickets”.

The FanFair campaign also share a similar opinion about Ticketmaster’s unprecedented decision. As an organization of unified promoters, managers, primary ticket sellers and agents their collective purpose is to eliminate large-scale ticket-touting and therefore any action that benefits their goal is seen as a success. They believe it has brought “a genuine transformation of the secondary market… much closer”. In response to such widespread approval, Ticketmaster has since removed all listings of events from both Seatwave and Get Me In! from August 13th, 2018.

On the other hand, others believe that such action taken by Ticketmaster is “futile”. The chief executive of The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers, Jonathan Brown, states despite this change, reselling for a profit will still continue in other marketplaces, “including those based overseas”. Although the process of two of these outlets being shut down is positive, critics could argue that ticket resellers may move onto other sites such as Viagogo and Stubhub.

Personally I believe that this was a clever move on behalf of Ticketmaster. Despite this change being in its early stages, its impact so far suggests that a permanent change to industry isn’t far off. Furthermore not only are Ticketmaster financially improving their company’s sustainability in the industry, but they’re supporting concert ticket consumers by making all of their associated ticket sales fair and left untampered. Arguably this also has the potential to benefit touring artists in the music industry, as tickets are sold to dedicated fans as opposed to secondary retailers, which often price real fans out of seeing their favourite artists.

More importantly, what are your thoughts on this?

YouTube Red: The Next King Of The Hill Of Streaming?

Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, recently stated at the ‘Code Media Conference’ with Kara Swisher, that the 3-year-old paid streaming subscription service, YouTube Red, is going to “roll out of the paid-for platform to around 100 countries” (Music Business Worldwide, Article). This interview has tickled many music fanatics and has given rise to several questions surrounding the aftermath of this remodel; will changing this to more of a global service be more appealing to a mass audience? How will other streaming services compete, will YouTube Red be the next new favoured music service everyone uses?

Keach (2018) argues that YouTube Red is having an ‘identity crisis’ due to the wide range of content it supplies, it can’t be classed as a music-based server and therefore incomparable to servers such as Spotify. However, Wojcicki (2018) expresses ‘“YouTube Red is a service that is really a music service. We have an amazing collection of music; we have all these music videos”, suggesting that its rivals are music servers, like Spotify, opposed to video based streaming services, like Netflix. In addition, surely paying for a service that provides more than just musical content and at the same price as a solely music releasing platform, is going to be more favourable to users? Arguably, you are getting more for your money… right?

Spotify Comparison:

Spotify and YouTube Red are extremely similar: they both have a free service, a premium opt-in service, exclusive content to paid users and the luxury for paid users to download content for when they are offline. Despite both offering the same services, Spotify has a far larger number of users in comparison to YouTube Red and this may be due to it being globally available to more people; ‘most of Europe, most of the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia’, whereas YouTube Red is currently only available ‘in five countries: the US, Australia, Mexico, South Korea and New Zealand’ (Wojcicki, Interview).

However, without this global advantage it’s hard to see what is holding Spotify users back from using a service that is just as good, or if not offers more (due to the video content). Investopedia (2015) states, “with over 20 million subscribers and 75 million active users, Spotify has taken a significant share of the streaming music market but may struggle to differentiate itself in the face of competition from services like YouTube Red”. Wojcicki (2018) goes on to express “now that we’ve finished all of our music deals we’re actually going to be expanding to a large number of countries”.

On the contrary, one thing that does differ between the two services is the income revenue creators earn from their content uploaded. YouTube is known to pay less per stream than Spotify does to their creative users. Sanchez (2018) states, “Last year, at $0.0006 per play, the video platform had the worst artist revenue pay-outs”. Therefore, artists/creators may favour putting their content on Spotify over YouTube Red and as a result bringing their fans along with them. Although, this can ultimately affect the content uploaded on to these different platforms, it’s more likely for artists to upload their music on to both platforms, therefore shouldn’t have a huge effect overall.

All in all, while it is great to hear that YouTube Red is growing globally – not to mention supposedly coming to the UK, we are still unsure on whether Wojcicki’s promises will actually go to plan. The real question is, what do you want to happen? What streaming platform do you prefer? Let us know!

Spotify’s New Feature: Giving the Unsung Heroes of Music Recognition

Spotify have now announced their latest feature which allows users to view a song’s production and song-writing credits while listening to a track on the desktop platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annika Goldman, ‎Director of Music Publishing Operations, says, “The more we share information, the more opportunities we can help create for songwriters.” The company is aiming to increase visibility and shed light on song-writers and music producers in order to “foster discovery among new collaborations, industry partners and fans.”

So now, when you right-click on a track and select “Show Credits” from the menu of options, you will be able to view information on the performers, song-writers and producers of the song, therefore acknowledging their hard work. This is important because many talented people go overlooked as the main focus is on the performer. Competing services such as Tidal have also recently announced similar features in which they give credit to the people involved behind the scenes.

 

Songwriters Ali Tamposi, who has written songs for Justin Bieber, Kelly Clarkson & Camila Cabello along with Frank Dukes, also a writer for Camila Cabello, Lorde & more are both extremely excited for this launch saying that it’s “definitely a step in the right direction.”

This comes with the news that Apple Music are predicted to overtake Spotify in having the most paid subscribers in the US this summer. Globally, Spotify still lead with 70 million subscribers and it is presumed that the upcoming launch of the HomePod speaker has attributed to the growth in Apple Music’s subscriber numbers.

ShaoDow Joins Forces with Monokrome Music

MonoKrome Music have announced the signing of ShaoDow, having recently won the UK’s hardest working artist award at the AIM (Association of independent music) awards and the same accolade at the AME awards, ShaoDow has chosen MonoKrome to provide publishing, distribution, sync, neighbouring rights & back end services.

ShaoDow picks up the AIM Hardest Working Artist Award 2017

ShaoDow says:

“After meeting the team it was apparent they share many of the same values as I, it’s amazing to have them as an extension of my team and look forward to working with them whilst I continue on my journey. This year I have an appearance on Ninja Warrior UK whilst also doing a UK tour and releasing more records, by having the support of MonoKrome it means I can now do more than ever before”.

MonoKrome have also signed Attaque, previously signed to Bad Life Artists he released his last record through a label services deal with Kobalt, The record ON LY OU was received with great acclaim and achieved support from the likes of Lauren Laverne, Annie Nightingale, The Guardian, NME, Uncut and more.

Attaque (aka Dom Gentry) album ‘Protection’ will land in 2018

Attaque is to self release his next record in conjunction with Amplify Music, MonoKrome have secured this deal and will manage the project end to end for distribution, Sync, Neighbouring rights and campaign management for this and future records, they have also secured a publishing deal with Attaque.

Dominic Gentry AKA Attaque has sung the praises of the MonoKrome team:

“From the start of our talks until landing the deal with Amplify the team has been a pleasure to deal with, always on hand for a chat and to offer support. It feels like the perfect way to retain creative freedom while having the right team to in place in moving the project forward, I am really looking forward to working on the rest of the project with them”.

Other notable signings announced by MonoKrome include TQX Project, the first record featured Sia and was released in November, Cream Collective and Vinnie Stergin both on publishing whilst DJ Luck & MC Neat and J Lee & The Hoodoo Skulls have signed for distribution.

DJ Luck & MC Neat

Kristian Davis Downs – MonoKrome Founder said

“It’s really great to see that people are beginning to take note of what we are here for, by using our services it frees artists and labels up to concentrate on live and building their profiles. We now have tech and teams in place to take away the mundane chores associated with releasing records and are able to work with multiple companies in order to make our clients lives easier”.

 

 

 

Withdrawal Symptoms – Britain’s EU Comedown.

Sorry. I truly am sorry. I’m just as sick about hearing about the EU as you are. We’re actually refusing to use the “Br**it” word in the office – partly because it’s an annoying verbal mesh that has no place in society, like “Kimye” or “Hiddleswift”, and partly because it’s fills us with the same feeling of dread we get when we see letters from the bank on the doormat. We know we need to be grown up and open them but it’s just so much easier to put them on the side and use them as ominous paper coasters. The reason I’m writing this article is because talks have begun and there is so much on the line for the music industry. So what is it exactly that we have to fear?

Before the crucial vote on 23rd June last year, most in the music industry, from artists to labels to promotors to the guy who cleans the windows at Sony*, were united in their desire to remain in the EU. A pre-referendum report by the BPI found that 67.7% of UK record labels were in favour of staying, with fears about EU copyright laws being scrapped. 90% of members agreed that it’s important that we are a part of the governing body that dictates the terms of British music sales in Europe – after all, 1 in 4 albums sold on the continent last year was by a British artist.

News stories about the Prime Minister trying to fill the committee that handles the passing (and scrapping) of EU laws into British legislation with prevalent “leavers” from her own party are slightly disconcerting. The “Great Repeal Bill” could be an opportunity for the Government to refine and update music copyright laws, making them fit for the YouTube age. But it could also be the chance some libertarian-leaning politicians have been waiting for to trash certain EU laws that they believe inhibit ‘progress’ (that’s sneaky-speak for ‘profit’). Neither of the two main political parties have been particularly clear on their positions, no one wants to fly their flag on a sinking ship, but Labour’s recent revelation that they wish to remain a part of the single market for a transitional period at least puts some distinction between them and the Conservatives. They may be offering some short-term stability but sectors like the music industry require long-term assurances when it comes to writing and renewing contracts and this move still falls notably short of a complete withdrawal plan.

Let’s get real. Europeans aren’t suddenly going to shun British artists. They won’t be smashing up their Ed Sheeran CDs and returning their Coldplay tickets. At worst, they might sharpie the odd accent on their album covers – 25 by Ádèle maybe… In fact, No, it’s not the popularity of our musical exports that are at risk, it’s the value that they return to us. If copyright is not sufficiently protected, recording income for musicians is going to continue to fall, and that has wider ramifications for all of us.

If that recorded income falls and if touring artists are required to apply for visas, tax levies and insurances as a result of leaving the EU, then musicians’ belts will grow ever tighter, making it harder for them to take the time required to make the truly expressive music that is part of the make-up of our lives.

As put by Achal Dhillon, MD of Killing Moon Records, in the Metro: “Quality music, albeit to a lesser extent prior to the digital age, relies on sustainable income in order to perpetuate itself. The business and the music must co-exist as they are inherently reliant on each other. So if the business takes a hit, my fear is that it is only a matter of time before the music logically does also”.

If artists’ incomes start taking a kicking, the bruises will be felt in the consumers’ pocket. Not only could ticket prices hike as bands have to pay for visas, the merch stands could also see price hikes if t-shirts, cds and vinyls are subject to import duties. There are some, like Vannesa Higgins (Director of Regent Street & GoldBar Records/BPI Council Member) who predict this may stop some artists touring in Europe altogether:  “We could be looking at not only visas for the artists involved on European tours, but increased safety checks on all equipment (as used to happen) with the increased costs that both of those would incur. That could stop many acts of all sizes from being able to tour in Europe.”

This could have a positive effect on UK music festivals as both artists and attendees see the cost of going to European festivals increase. The weather may not be quite as appealing but the line-ups might feature some great bands who would otherwise be rocking out in Amsterdam.

It’s a different story for vinyl however. Every indie band’s dream of one day holding their first vinyl LP in their hands may have to stay that way – a dream. This is because the world’s leading producers of vinyl is Czech company GZ Media. They, and their other European competitors, produce nearly all our vinyl. The unpredictable exchange rate between the Pound and the Euro plus the potential levies on imports could drive up the price of buying vinyl, perhaps to the extent that it’s no longer financially viable to produce. This does, however, present an opportunity for UK vinyl pressing plants to step up to the plate and absorb some of the business of their continental counterparts.

The truth is, not much is clear about the future for the music industry in relation to Europe. Only time will tell how copyright, touring, distribution and ultimately the revenue of British music will be affected by Brexi- WHOOPS – nearly said it!

What is clear is that artists, labels and publishers alike must adopt an outward-looking/forward-facing approach. By forming solid partnerships with Collecting Societies across the globe and working with worldwide network of partners, MonoKrome are making sure that their artists are taking full advantage of all markets and will continue to have full and effective distribution options, whatever happens. After all, whilst music’s future after Article 50 may not be guaranteed, it’s intrinsic value to our lives certainly is.

*The guy who cleans the windows at Sony was not available for a direct quote.

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