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 27th.
2nd Congressional Licensing Hearing
A second Congressional hearing on music licensing took place last Wednesday, with participating representatives from ASCAP, the RIAA, National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio Music Licensing Committee, and the American Society of Composers. After a full day of testimonies, the hearing ended similarly to the first, with various stakeholders vying for their specific interests. The concept of “promotional plays,” a justification used by radio for years to justify their licensing structure, was hammered by labels and artists as no longer relevant in the streaming age. Legislators are using the hearings as a way to gain insight as they consider structuring legislation to modernize music licensing.
New Studies: Radio’s Impact on Music Sales, Streaming Revenue vs. Traditional Music Sales
Two studies were released that offer insight into revenue models for recorded music. The first, released by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), examined the relationship between radio play and music sales. According to the NAB, radio play is still the major driver of music sales. Radio has traditionally been considered a promotional tool for selling music, and this study bolsters the radio industry’s argument that this model is still alive and well.
A second report released by the RIAA claims streaming revenues fail to match the corresponding decline of recorded music sales. Unsurprisingly, downloads and streaming revenue do not make up for the dramatic decline in CD sales over the last decade. The study questions whether streaming royalties can ever alleviate the recorded music industry’s revenue woes.
Spotify Updates API, Makes it Easier for Outsiders to Build Atop Their Catalog
A new Spotify release could make it easier for independent developers to create platforms for music discovery. Spotify launched its new API (application programming interface), powered by its recent acquisition of popular music intelligence platform The Echo Nest. This new update makes it easier for third-party developers to incorporate Spotify into their apps, offering more metadata, discovery and recommendation data, and thirty-second previews. This move positions Spotify as a more “developer-friendly” streaming service, potentially giving it an edge on a growing field of competitors.