Digital Media News

March 2016

With the accelerating pace of technological change, the League posts a monthly digest of relevant news and information regarding changes, trends, and developments that may affect the digital media activities that orchestras use to achieve their institutional missions. For each monthly digest, the League’s digital media consultants, Michael Bronson and Joe Kluger, draw from a variety of websites and publications to provide excerpts or summaries of articles. (These do not necessarily represent the views of the League.)

League members with questions about the information in this digest or about other digital media topics – e.g., planning, strategy, and production – may contact Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

9 questions every artist should ask their label about Spotify

If your label is so transparent, why can’t you see any of the numbers? Here are 9 questions to demand from your label (major or otherwise) regarding your Spotify and streaming payouts. If you can’t get straight answers, you’re probably getting ripped off.

1)    What are you actually getting paid per-stream?

2)    Why is your blended per-stream average below industry average?

3)    Why is a giant artist on your label having a problem?

4)    What exact portion of Spotify’s (or other streaming services) blanket payments are you receiving?

5)    Why does your contract specifically state that you CAN’T get paid on certain streaming payments?

6)    Can you have your contract amended?

7)    What is your specific payout from an IPO?

8)    What is your specific payout from the sale of a streaming service that your label has equity in?

9)    What is your windowed release strategy?

(Source: Digital Music News)


Will streaming music kill songwriting?

Michelle Lewis, an indie-rock singer-songwriter who now writes primarily for other artists, was quite surprised to receive to receive a streaming royalty statement for the song “Wings,” which she co-wrote for the British girl group Little Mix. She thought, ‘I have this hit. This is going to be good! Nearly three million streams on Spotify!’ And then my check came, and it was for seventeen dollars and seventy-two cents.” Dina LaPolt, a music lawyer in Los Angeles, who specializes in copyright and songwriter issues, told Lewis and her colleagues that unless streaming rates were changed and the music-licensing system were overhauled for the digital age, the profession of songwriting was on its way to extinction. And they were on their own, she added, because, while everyone loves a songwriter, members of the profession have no actual bargaining power, whether via a union or another powerful institution, and so, when the money in the industry dries up, they’re in serious trouble. (Source: The New Yorker)


Arizona PBS launches new classical music mobile app

Central Sound at Arizona PBS has launched the free mobile application Classical Arizona PBS, providing an innovative way to stay in touch with the local and regional classical music scene and enjoy an abundance of professional classical recordings anytime. The new app features streaming access to state-of-the-art recorded broadcasts of Central Sound productions featured on 89.5 FM KBAQ and Classical Arizona PBS (DTV 8.4), as well as a curated list of live classical music performances throughout Arizona, video excerpts from concerts, event photos and news updates. Content on the app will be refreshed at least twice a week. The curated list of Arizona’s upcoming live classical music performances provides links to venues, performers’ websites and ticketing. The Classical Arizona PBS mobile app is available on iOS and Android. (Source: ASU News)


SoundCloud could be forced to close after $44m losses

SoundCloud struck a landmark deal with Universal Music Group last month, but its latest financial filings suggest the company is in dire financial straits. As Music Business Worldwide reports, the company’s recently published financial report for 2014 reveals that its overheads have increased faster than its revenue in recent years. The report makes it clear that while the company had “adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the forseeable future,” SoundCloud was heavily reliant on “further capital investment” to continue operating in 2015. According to the Financial Times, SoundCloud auditor KPMG said in the report that the need for more investment represented “a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” (Source: Fact)


Can technology save classical music?

As part of its ongoing effort to reach out to younger audiences and different demographics, the BSO has launched "Casual Fridays," a series of themed concerts that offer lower ticket prices, an opportunity to come to the symphony dressed as you are, and a chance to use technology in a fascinating effort to connect with the music and the performers in different ways. A number of seats are in a "designated technology" section. The BSO loans patrons iPads loaded with multimedia content and seats them behind large flat screens that give audience members the same view of conductor Andris Nelsons that the musicians have. (Source: Huffington Post)


Smartphone use encouraged at this classical music concert

Many patrons scowl when smartphones light up at concerts. But the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston is encouraging its audience to test out a new smartphone app. Called Octava, the app provides program notes in real time during the concert and includes comments from the musicians. Reporter Amy Bishop of Here & Now contributor KUHF in Houston went to a concert to see how the app works and whether audience members like the idea of using mobile devices during a concert. (Source: WBUR)


Before you shoot a music video, read this important legal guide

Before making your own video, it’s important to know the legal ins-and-outs of producing them. In the eighth installment of an 11-part series on basic music industry agreements, Digital Music News focuses on the business of producing music videos in an article that contains a form agreement that can be used to hire a video producer, as well as releases for people and locations appearing in videos. (Source: Digital Music News)


What about all that copyright takedown abuse, YouTube?

In a bid to improve the way in which YouTube deals with takedown complaints, the company has decided to commit a dedicated workforce to deal with the issue of bogus video takedowns. The ongoing problem of mistaken video takedowns can often be blamed on YouTube’s automated copyright system, or ContentID. That system allows copyright owners to track their content and decide what happens, including immediate removal. In a typical scenario, a content ID claim is issued, most often followed by a takedown. Unfortunately, that ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ is creating lots of complications and can invite abuse, especially for videos that aren’t copying content or using that content within fair use parameters. But even if the uploader is in the clear, the incident can inflict a negative rating, deprive the uploader from receiving ad revenue (i.e., ‘demonetization’), and alienate sponsor support. (Source: Digital Music News)


Rauschenberg Foundation aases copyright restrictions on art

Museumgoers tend to be unaware of the vast network of copyright protections that underlie images of much of Modern and contemporary art, which requires fees and sometimes elaborate permission agreements that can make projects like publishing scholarly books or publicizing exhibitions prohibitively expensive or an administrative nightmare — often, both. The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has now decided to adopt a new policy of making images of Rauschenberg work much more widely available free. In doing so, it is urging other artists’ estates and foundations to take a hard look at protections it believes — in the name of safeguarding works from piracy or misuse — have become too restrictive, especially in the digital era. (Source: New York Times)


Unlimited free music is about to end, Sony CEO says

Virtually all Hollywood releases march through a windowed release cycle, starting with higher-generating outlets like movie theaters, and ending with lower-revenue spots like Netflix. But the music industry rarely windows at all, while mostly giving everything away for free from day one. Now, that’s about to change: in an interview at the tech- and media-focused Re/Code, Sony Entertainment chief Michael Lynton pointed to windowing as a broader industry response to tanking revenues, and a solution for both Sony Music and other major music content owners. (Source: Digital Music News)


How to use six Google Analytics reports to complete a website content audit

Every good content marketing strategy begins with a comprehensive audit of the website’s current performance. The simple reason is that you cannot plan ahead if you do not already have a great understanding of where you currently are. This article shows you how a content audit with six important Google Analytics reports can help you make some smart decisions about the health of your current site, what your audience wants from your content, and how you can benchmark your performance for future content marketing efforts. The six reports include the following:

  1. Channels report
  2. Landing Page report
  3. New vs Returning Visitor report
  4. Frequency & Recency report
  5. Site Search report
  6. Behavior Flow report

(Source: Moz)


Facebook launches new website to help nonprofits master the platform

Connecting with supporters in the social sphere just got a little easier for nonprofits — at least on Facebook. The social media giant has announced a new website dedicated to resources for nonprofits and NGOs to get the most out of their Facebook Pages. The new site reads like an extensive instruction manual, covering everything from setting up a Page to building a support network of "likes," and it also includes a step-by-step guide covering how to use the platform's latest fundraising tools. (Source: Mashable)