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|Posted on February 15, 2018 at 11:55 AM|
Some of the most senior female executives in the US music industry have co-signed a letter which heavily criticizes Grammys organizer the Recording Academy for being “woefully out of touch with today’s music, the music business, and even more significantly, society”.
The letter, which arrives in the wake of a flurry of controversy surrounding the 2018 Grammys and its lack of female representation, is signed by Jody Gerson (CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group), Julie Greenwald (Atlantic Records COO/Chairman), Sylvia Rhone (President, Epic Records), Julie Swidler (EVP/General Counsel, Sony Music), Michele Anthony (EVP, Universal Music Group) and Desiree Perez (COO of Roc Nation).
According to the New York Times, it calls on the Academy’s board to ensure the organization and its key event become more inclusive and transparent.
Criticism of the Grammys began before the ceremony even took place (January 28), after a report suggested that the Recording Academy had declined to offer Album Of the Year nominee Lorde the chance to perform her own song on the televised segment of the show.
The volume of this criticism then increased dramatically when Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow used an incendiary phrase during an interview – in which he called on female executives and musicians to “step up” to the higher echelons of the industry.
“It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level,” said Portnow.
“[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome.”
“NEIL PORTNOW’S COMMENTS ARE NOT A REFLECTION OF BEING ‘INARTICULATE’ IN A SINGLE INTERVIEW. THEY ARE, UNFORTUNATELY, EMBLEMATIC OF A MUCH LARGER ISSUE WITH THE [RECORDING ACADEMY] ORGANIZATION AS A WHOLE ON THE BROADER SET OF INCLUSION ISSUES ACROSS ALL DEMOGRAPHICS.”
Today’s letter, addressed to the Recording Academy’s board of trustees, stops short at calling for Portnow’s resignation.
However, it reads: “Neil Portnow’s comments are not a reflection of being ‘inarticulate’ in a single interview. They are, unfortunately, emblematic of a much larger issue with the [Recording Academy] organization as a whole on the broader set of inclusion issues across all demographics.”
Following the anger which greeted Portnow’s comment, the exec announced that the Recording Academy was to launch a ‘task force’ to review its work and “overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community”.
The letter from Gerson, Greenwald, Rhone et al calls on the Academy’s board to ensure a thorough review by this task force.
It adds, “as senior music executives with true commitment to the welfare of the organization and the music community, we hereby put ourselves forward for service.”
Today’s news comes four days after a separate letter was co-signed by other senior executives in the US industry, outwardly calling for the resignation of Neil Portnow.
That missive was signed by the likes of John Legend’s manager Ty Stiklorius and Pharrell Williams’ manager Caron Veazey, in addition to Warner/Chappell VP Katie Vinten, MAC Presents founder Marcie Allen, agents such as Cara Lewis, Natalia Nastaskin and Marsha Vlasic, and attorneys Rosemary Carroll, Renee Karalian and Gillian Bar.
Addressed directly to Portnow, it read: “The statement you made this week about women in music needing to “step up” was spectacularly wrong and insulting and, at its core, oblivious to the vast body of work created by and with women.
“Your attempt to backpedal only emphasizes your refusal to recognize us and our achievements. Your most recent remarks do not constitute recognition of women’s achievements, but rather a call for men to take action to “welcome” women. We do not await your welcome into the fraternity. We do not have to sing louder, jump higher or be nicer to prove ourselves.
“We step up every single day and have been doing so for a long time. The fact that you don’t realize this means it’s time for you to step down.
“Today we are stepping up and stepping in to demand your resignation.”
BY MUSIC BUSINESS WORLDWIDE
[Pictured L-R: Jody Gerson and Michele Anthony]
|Posted on January 16, 2018 at 9:15 AM|
With the rise of the blockchain / cryptocurrency world, we are seeing many changes in the entertainment industry, I thought to share my thoughts as a seasoned professional working from major label, music festivals, entertainment management, and beyond - My take on the blockchain & crypto world is from the perspective of how I see the entertainment industry moving forward working with the blockchain and talent across; Film, TV & Music, and how this can provide NEW and exciting income streams for major labels to the new unsigned artist (who is hoping for a golden career).
I will start with what I have seen for many years in the entertainment space. With the fall of income streams across many disciplines, from singles, albums and with the rise of digital and streaming services, it has been difficult for artists to make a steady living, and I mean INDEPENDENT artists who struggle daily trying to earn a living from the entertainment industry, looking for the golden break. The live scene has never been better over the last 20 years, but again it is proving to be really hard for new and unsigned acts to really make their mark, parts of which I can understand, with music promoters under constant pressure to deliver the commercial acts to bring in the audience through the gates each year, and turn a profit. Yes NEW acts do get slots at festivals and grasp the opportunity when the time arrives, but very far and few, if they do get on a tour for example this could be a buy on (paying a fee to support the headline act), in other words, the support acts can NOT profit from the headliner so you have to pay to play, how many times has that been said...!!
The entertainment industry has many income streams across varies disciplines, digital, streaming, publishing, SYNC (for Film, TV & the Gaming industry), albums, live and merchandise, the last two have a big significance with acts, being able to control their merchandise and to a certain degree controlling LIVE (supply and demand) within some cases exceptional fees (working with the live agent). Looking at the collection agencies a lot of royalties do go missing for the acts, which becomes a problem over time, this can be down to many factors, bad management, label, publisher not tracking the income and with an archaic system which in my opinion is broken, and needs a complete overhaul.
This takes me on to the creation of the blockchain technology over the past several years, what is the blockchain and how it can help the entertainment industry ?
MORE ABOUT BITCOIN
A blockchain is a decentralized method of maintaining records digitally that’s incredibly tamper-resistant, thanks to the way individual blocks are linked to one another and time stamped. The technology was first developed to support financial transactions using cryptocurrencies, but it’s already proving beneficial for industries outside of the usual finance sector.
The entertainment industry is particularly ripe for a blockchain revolution as creators and fans alike stand to benefit from the changes the technology could bring about. Not only could a decentralized system offer significant advantages in terms of giving people access to the content, it could also be used to make sure creators are fairly compensated. This is where I see how this technology over time can benefit many in the entertainment sector with a very positive outcome, for the artist, label & publisher as an example.
Smart contracts, like those made possible by the Ethereum blockchain, are one of the most attractive features of the technology. They allow parties to make and execute agreements in a secure, immutable way, and this ability has numerous potential applications within the entertainment industry.
Getting paid as a creative is not always a straightforward process. All too often, up-and-coming musicians are stuffed on their royalties and crew members on film sets don’t receive proper compensation for their work. Smart contracts could help mitigate those problems, ensuring that creators aren’t cheated, which is a great thing !!
As for consumer benefits, today’s streaming services are closed systems as that makes it easier for companies to protect their content — you need to use a service like Spotify or Netflix to access the content on those platforms.
However, the blockchain makes it possible to track permissions in a much more sophisticated manner. You won’t have to use a particular platform’s proprietary audio or video player — individual files will have all the information they need about whether you have the proper credentials, making it feasible for you to use whatever software you like to listen to music or watch your favorite shows.
An correlated challenge is currently facing the VR industry, which is confronting a lack of premium quality content. This may seem like a simple problem, but it’s difficult to solve due to the high cost and complications involved in filming or generating VR compatible video. A potential solution? Merge the demand for the live concert experience with the growing supply of VR headset technology and the proliferation of blockchain technology. One startup working to do just that is CEEK,which aims to extend the reach of events for sold-out shows by allowing artists to sell unlimited virtual tickets and digital merchandise. Projects like CEEK can give the fan, consumer access to live music concert and festivals across the world, while ensuring that artists receive their due revenue fees..
CEEK achieves this through the use of a blockchain framework, which provides fans looking for merchandise or tickets to live and virtual concerts a more reliable and secure systems for purchasing them, as well as the implementation of smart contracts to provide respective rights holders and publishers automatic payments from such transaction. It is designed as a fairer and more efficient system for everyone.
Solutions like those provided by CEEK are permitting artists, labels, and brands to take advantage to new digital transaction technologies without the red-tape that comes with launching their own ICO. Instead, they can create their own new coin or virtual item in less than an hour and reap the benefits of decentralized record keeping.
Blockchain could also make it easier to access media by bypassing some of the geographical limitations on services like Netflix and Spotify. A decentralized ledger isn’t kept in any particular location, so the days of regional broadcasting contacts might be coming to an end.
Then there’s the potential for cutting down on piracy. While blockchain isn’t expected to end illegal content sharing completely, it could provide creators with better ways of keeping track of where their work is being distributed without their consent.
In the film industry, for example, a crytographic transaction could be embedded into the metadata of a particular movie. By tracking uploads or modifications on the blockchain, the owners of the content would be able to see who is responsible for unauthorized distribution of the file.
THE FUTURE OF ENTERTAINMENT
The entertainment industry grew exponentially over the course of the past century. As a result, a status quo has become established in which company executives and the top tier of artists make enormous sums of money, while many of those below them don’t receive nearly as much.
The internet has already started to change things, allowing a much broader swathe of creators to find an audience. However, big problems still exist in terms of revenue, with distribution services and piracy both cutting down on the amount of money that actually ends up in the artists’ hands.
Blockchain technology could remedy that situation — and what’s good for the artist is ultimately good for their fans. Removing as many intermediaries between audiences and creators could be the best way to ensure that the work itself meets both parties’ expectations.
Disclosure: The views expressed in this article are by the team at PRB media. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content. PRB media does not provide investment advice. Writer contribution from Mr. Reuben Jackson & Mr. Brad Jones.
|Posted on December 13, 2017 at 7:20 AM|
Music industry revenue continues to shift from physical and digital sales to streaming revenues and VR represents the highest level of engagement and revenue opportunity for interactive music streaming. Live festivals and concerts continue to domenate the global music spend with up to 49% attending live shows, concerts and festivasl across the world. Ceek VR are providing new and exciting revenue streams for labels, artists, publishers, etc, and if you think about this carefully people have the opportunity to see their chosen artists LIVE with out the disappointment of not receiving a ticket or to the point the artist is not providing a show in your country, and unable to attend.
CEEK VR established in 2015, is an award winning developer of premium social virtual and augmented reality experiences. Headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida the mission is to make virtual reality experiences universally accessible and enjoyable. CEEK simulates the communal experience of attending a live concert, being in a classroom, attending a sporting event and other ‘money can’t buy’ exclusive experiences with friends from anywhere at anytime. CEEK is now embarking on a new era looking towards the blockchain technology to accelerate growth. Even big multinationals and banks are working on their own blockchain projects, looking to maximize the technology’s capabilities.
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Why the music industry needs Blockchain ?
While music lovers have hailed as the democracy of the music industry, the 15.7 billion global music industry remains the same. Music piracy through illegally downloaded, copied and shared content eats into the artist’s royalties and music labels revenues worldwide. Added to this, the lack of a robust rights management system, which leads to loss of revenue to the artist. And the revenue, by the time the revenue's reach the artist, this can take up to two years! Another area of concern is unpaid royalties, which are often suspended in various stages due to missing information or with rights ownership. Also their is a lack of access to real-time digital sales data, which if was available this can be used to strategise marketing & PR campaigns in a more positive way.
Artists are also plagued by a lack of sales transparency where Digital Service Providers (DSPs) report a huge volume of streaming transactions, they end up receiving payment for only 20 to 40 percent of these transactions. This has led to several artists choosing to keep their music off such on-demand streaming services, causing huge gaps in the libraries of popular services like Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, and Google.
These very areas are where Blockchain can make a difference. As a publicly assessable and decentralised database that is distributed across the internet, Blockchain maintains permanent and undeletable records in cryptographic form. Transactions occur across a peer-to-peer network, and are computed, verified and recorded using an automated consensus method, eliminating the need for an intermediator or third party to manage or control information. The very architecture of Blockchain being immutable, distributed and peer-to-peer brings immense potential to deal with the present woes affecting the music industry.
A recent quote from Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, when he says '' If Blockchain technology is going to be the future, we need to dig in and make it happen''.
Blockchain can initiate change in several areas
A major area in which Blockchain can bring positive change is in the creation of a digital rights database. Digital rights expression is one of the main issues in today’s music industry. Identifying copyright of a song and defining how royalties should be split between songwriters, performers, publishers and producers is extremly difficult in the digital space. Often artists lose out on royalties due to complicated copyright environment. Blockchain’s immutable distributed ledger system, which ensure that no single entity can claim ownership, provides the perfect solution. Secure files with all relevant information such as composition, lyrics, linear notes, cover art, licensing, etc., this can be encoded onto the Blockchain creating a permanent and inerasable record.
As a VR platform that targets the entertainment industry and also founded in 2015, Ceek enables artists to create VR experiences for their fans and audiences. It has already worked with several industry giants and headlining acts to power VR events through their hardware and software.
Ceek will also be using its own token to power its “entertainment metaverse.” The user can spend their tokens on Ceek’s Virtual Mint that would allow them to create their own virtual tokens, which can be then used as tickets to VR events and virtual items that could be traded as merchandise. Ceek will be running its own protocol, which is claimed to be cheaper to use compared to other blockchain platforms in the market today.
Currently the company is working on a VR event destination using blockchain technology, www.ceek.io which will also provide artists and acts easy access to the blockchain functionalities such as token and virtual merchandise creation. To accelerate that development, Ceek is set to run its token event through December 2017 and will provide the public sale through January / February 2018.
|Posted on December 6, 2017 at 8:20 AM|
PRB Media are looking at the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency world and how this effects / benefits the entertainment industry. Blockchain is ushering in disruption in various industries. Even big multinationals like IBM etc are working on their own blockchain projects, hoping to maximize the technology’s. Yet despite the upsurge in adoption and amid the rise and rise of Bitcoin, not all of blockchain’s applications are being used by established companies, there are exceptions, for example, messaging platform Kik, Hamburg-based fintech NAGA Group AG with its ecosystem and virtual reality (VR) platform Ceek, who have turned towards token sales to accelerate their respective growth. This article looks at how the blockchain could transform the music / entertainment industry
Twenty years after peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing decimated the music industry, blockchain is emerging as a new P2P technology that could rip into the industry.
But this time, the revolution promises to be different. Whereas digital and illegal downloading once wreaked havoc on the industry at large (from music creators to record labels, none were spared), a blockchain-based model for music pledges to boost the fortunes of artists. Industry middlemen and gatekeepers, however, could be in danger.
This is according to the vision proposed by SingularDTV, a company that is developing an entertainment app ecosystem on top of Ethereum — the blockchain computing platform for launching decentralized apps. Through its apps, SingularDTV hopes to enrich and empower artists, and rewrite the rules of the music and broader creative industry. Some of key steps its taking to accomplish this include:
Creating a token-based economy where value is derived from an artist’s work.Tokens are the native crypto-assets of a blockchain app. They are powered by smart contracts (code-based financial agreements) that are programmed into Ethereum. When an artist tokenizes, they’re turning their intellectual property (IP) into a financial asset, so an artist’s token reflects the value of their creative output. Those who buy into an artist’s tokens buy into owning a share of the artist’s creations and its revenue flows. The more people who consume the artist’s creation, the higher the value of the token.
Enabling artists and consumers to earn money from selling and buying tokens.Artists can raise money through a token launch, which is similar to an initial coin offering (ICO). Here, anyone can buy the tokens upfront. The majority of the windfall will go the artist, and the token launch platform-provider (such as SingularDTV) will retain a service fee. These tokens are programmed via smart contracts to dispense royalty flows: If someone pays a dollar for an artist’s content, then all of that artist’s token-holders will receive a pro rata share of that dollar, explains SingularDTV CEO Zach LeBeau. Tokens can also be exchanged for perks, like special access at a concert or early access to a new film release.
Eliminating middlemen and undermining the influence of industry gatekeepers.Tokenization lets artists raise funds upfront without relying on an advance from their record label. Meanwhile, distributing content via blockchain would allow artists to skirt streaming platforms like Spotify to earn royalties on their own terms. Of course, the success of this model hinges on attracting users, but there are reciprocal incentives in place — on both the artist- and consumer-side — for it to take off, and LeBeau believes this model could become mainstream in as little as two years.
One artist who has a passionate and large following is already onboard with SingularDTV’s vision. Gramatik, the New York-based hip-hop and electronic artist, is the first musician to sign on the company’s tokenization program, and he's set to launch 100 million GRMTK tokens on November 9. “This is something artists have been dreaming about since the beginning of time, to be free of gatekeepers, and to communicate freely — and even be in a business relationship — directly with their fans,” Gramatik told BI Intelligence. It’s not hard to imagine his excitement spreading to legions of artists and fans in the near future too.
Witten by - Robert Elder
|Posted on October 10, 2017 at 10:45 AM|
Listen Up Britain:London Semi Final is set to wow audiences at BIRTHDAYS!
Listen Up Britain & Australia amassed over 700 entries this year and this will be your first chance to hear the Top Ten Semi Finalists from Southern England and Wales play their songs live.... and we're excited that BeX has made the TOP TEN for the London Semi Final with her song 'Every Child Has a Voice' which shares the awareness of the theme 'Being Heard' supporting the charity CALMzone.
Performing their entry, live on the night, will be:
Ben Wheatley, BeX, Daisy Oracle, Drowning In Shadows, Jasmine Power, Leon Helsby, Liam Merrigan, Nadia Rae, Steven Bryan and This Human Condition.
Each song will be performed in front of the expert music industry panel of: Members of Daxx & Roxane, Julie Bateman and Vick Bain (BASCA).
The judges will rate the songs and the Top 5 songs will go through to the London Grand Final, on Saturday 9th December, where they will be performed live once more.
This years theme is "Being Heard" and the event proudly supports The CALMzone.
Come and enjoy a thoroughly enteraining night of live music.
Tickets are now on sale via www.officialtoptennight.com/events-1/listen-up-britain-london-semi-final
#tottn #topten #listenup #listenupbritain #makealistmakeadifference