Music Business Roundup: YouTube vs. Indie Labels, SoundExchange


Videos by American Songwriter

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 June 20th.

YouTube’s ‘Nuclear Threat’ to Indie Labels and Publishers

YouTube is butting heads with independent labels and publishers over its yet-to-be launched on-demand paid streaming service to compete with Spotify and Beats. In what the indies are describing as a “hostage tactics,” YouTube is threatening to remove videos from indie label artists on the world’s most popular internet video site unless they agree to the new service’s terms, which indies say unfairly favorable to the majors. Indie labels and publishers affected represent some notable artists, including Adele, the Arctic Monkeys, and much of Jack White’s catalog.

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New Data on How Americans Listen To Music

For the first time in recent history, there is comprehensive data measuring the cumulative music listening habits of Americans, across mediums. Edison Research conducted a study based on a cross-section of Americans over the age of 13 by having them keep a 24-hour listening journal. The survey showed that broadcast radio plays a more significant role in the average American’s life than any other form of audio media, with each American listening to approximately 4 hours of music every day. 52% of that is broadcast radio, followed by owned music at 20%, streaming at 12%, and other sources like satellite radio making up less than 10%.

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SoundExchange Continues Meteoric Growth

In one of the most promising signs for the recorded music industry, SoundExchange had a record-setting first quarter of 2014, as they distributed more than $162.4 million to sound recording creators and rights holders. That’s a 38% increase over the same period in 2013. The Digital Performance Rights Organization collects royalties on behalf of labels and artists when music is performed digitally, on services like Sirius/XM, Pandora, and Spotify.

In its 10th year of existence, SoundExchange is becoming a major part of the overall industry, accounting for almost 8% of revenue and collecting and distributing over 40% of streaming revenues in 2103.

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