Music Business Roundup: Indie Artists Battle YouTube, Pre-1972 Music Lawsuits, and More

Zoe Keating
Each week on Songwriter U, 
Songspace recaps the top stories in the world of music business. Here’s everything you need to know from the week ending on January 23rd.

Videos by American Songwriter

YouTube Music vs. Indie Artists
Independent musician Zoë Keating has detailed her unpleasant experience with YouTube’s Music Key and the contract they are supposedly “demanding” she sign. The terms include having her release music on YouTube the same time as all other outlets, having her music be on free and premium services, and taking away her right to monetize user generated videos – all terms that will be hard for independent artists to fight against, as they don’t have much leverage.
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Pre-1972 Music Lawsuits for Apple, Google, etc.
Companies including Apple, Google, Sony, and Rdio have been served with lawsuits claiming they have not been properly paying for or licensing pre-1972 music due to a loophole. This is not the first lawsuit of its kind as of late, and courts have generally been favoring the musicians.
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Who’s Buying Music Compared to 10 Years Ago
MusicWatch conducted a survey about music buying habits in 2004 and compared them to results from 2014. Highlights include the main demographic buying CDs has moved from ages 36-50 to 50+ and women buy more CDs than men in both years studied by about 5%.
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Next Big Sound Bands & Brands
Next Big Sound released a report focusing the data on the relationship between music fans’ large online presence and how brands play a large part in an artist’s career and exposure. Some interesting data points are that artists on Twitter gain more followers than Instagram each month by a 3 to 5 margin, and the pop/rock genre has the largest percentage of all online music activity with 24%.
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Apple Buys Semetric
Apple has purchased music analytics company Semetric, furthering the speculation that they are planning a large revamp of Beats which they acquired last April.
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