Sony Music has removed original recordings from the SoundCloud pages of more than a half-dozen artists — including Adele, Hozier, Miguel, Kelly Clarkson, Passion Pit, Leon Bridges and MS MR – as part of a breakdown in negotiations between the major music group and the Berlin-headquartered streaming-audio platform. Spokespeople for Sony Music and Columbia Records, the label with the most impacted artists, declined comment, but an executive familiar with negotiations says the recent takedowns are due to “a lack of monetization opportunities” on the platform.
The Sony impasse comes at a transitional time for SoundCloud, which until recently was a completely free service to more than 350 million monthly users. Though its content was unlicensed, the platform has played an influential role in helping developing artists like Lorde and, ironically, Bridges get discovered and ultimately signed by major labels – as well as a destination for established acts like Beyonce, Miguel and Drake to debut new material. “[It’s] been a good place for exposure,” says one notable artist manager. “At the same time, artists and labels need to get paid for music. Until that can be worked out, we’re going to have situations that are incompatible with artist development.”
The company debuted its first monetization strategy last August, the ad-supported tier On SoundCloud, and in November announced Warner Music Group as the first of the three majors to ink a formal licensing agreement with the service. A spokesperson for Universal Music Group, the third major, declined comment on the status of its talks with SoundCloud.
A SoundCloud spokesperson tells Billboard in a statement, “We are in ongoing conversations with major and independent labels and will continue to add partners to the program,” noting that the company has already paid out more than $2 million in advertising revenue to more than 100 partners since On SoundCloud’s establishment in late 2014. “We’ve always put control in the hands of creators, and anyone who makes music and audio can decide when and how they want to share it with fans, allowing artists to essentially broadcast out to the world the availability of new content.”
One organization SoundCloud has made nice with, however, is the National Music Pubslihers’ Association, which on Wednesday (May 6) announced the completion of a rights agreement with SoundCloud with a focus on the NMPA’s independent publishers. The improved negotiations follow NMPA CEO David Israelite’s comments to Billboard last October, in which he compared SoundCloud’s un-licensed content to the organization’s 2007 lawsuit against YouTube over similar un-monetized consumption. “We may still look to sue them, but we’re in a conversation and looking for a win-win situation,” Israelite said at the time.
But in announcing the new deal, Israelite added in a May 6 statement, “This agreement ensures that when SoundCloud succeeds financially, so do the songwriters whose content draws so many users to their site. I am thrilled that we could agree on terms that will benefit both creators and the SoundCloud platform that has brought online music access and creativity to a new level.”
SoundCloud, which previously made money entirely through subscriptions to artists and labels, announced a $29 million loss on $14 million revenues in 2013.
Tonight’s Special Guest Hardly Needs An Introduction Hence He Is The Son Of Rev Run, Founding Member Of Legendary & Influential Hip Hop Group Run DMC! Since Diggy First Introduced The World To His Music He Has Remained Consistent And Continues To Deliver Exceptional Music. Join Us For An Exclusive Insight Into A Day In The Life Of Diggy, Whilst We Introduce His Latest Single, “Can’t Relate,” Featuring Southern Independent Artist Yo Gotti. Don’t Miss!
To Listen or Participate Dial 760-913-4119 or Access The Link or Provided Below:
Joe, Marisa, Rosenberg, Rory & Parks discuss the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight on the new segment “Marisa’s Sports Report” … seriously. Also the concept of “Late Living” with Marisa’s said “Squad”, Rory’s birthday party, the most overrated places to have sex, and the introduction of “I’ll Respond To This Email Later.”
Producer and entrepreneur Jermaine Dupri and So So Def have partnered with That Level, LLC on the release of “4 Lanes,” an iOS game inspired by Dupri’s 1998 hit song “Money Ain’t A Thang.”
The rules of the game are simple: collect as much money as possible while staying away from “haters.” Beat your high score or your friends’ scores.
An avid gamer for years, Dupri first entered the gaming industry in 2000 when he produced the intro to EA Sports’ Madden 2000, which featured a then-unsigned Ludacris.
“Since day one, I’ve been focused on doing things that would put me in my own lane,” says Dupri, who founded the online music communityGlobal14.com in 2010. “‘4 Lanes puts me in front of my peers in the gaming world and marries two of my passions: music and technology.”
“We wanted to work with JD because his music is fun, colorful, and vibrant, which makes for the perfect soundtrack to games,” says Will Willis, Strategy Director at That Level. “‘Money Ain’t A Thang’ fits so perfectly as the soundtrack to a driving game that it’s mind blowing. We also respect Jermaine’s business acumen and ventures into the tech world with Global14, so it makes sense for us to work together.”
Details for an Android version of “4 Lanes” have not been announced.
In addition to the app, Dupri is working on an EP entitled The Dark Recesses Of My Imagination.
“4 Lanes” is available for free on iTunes now: HERE
Twitter: @JermaineDupri, @SoSoDef
Independent investigator Ted Wells’s statement to Commissioner Roger Goodell and the New England Patriots:
“We have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”
“Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls,” the report reads.”
The reports says that other Patriots personnel was not aware of the effort.
“We do not believe that the evidence establishes that any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules described in this Report. In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated.”
In relation to the kicking balls, the conclusion reads:
“We do not believe that the evidence supports a conclusion that there was any deliberate effort by the Patriots to circumvent the NFL’s Playing Rules with respect to the kicking balls used during the AFC Championship Game.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also released a statement on the report:
“I want to express my appreciation to Ted Wells and his colleagues for performing a thorough and independent investigation, the findings and conclusions of which are set forth in todayâs comprehensive report,” Goodell wrote.
“As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type. At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft released his own statement on the matter soon after the report was released.
“Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship Game, would be a gross understatement,” Kraft wrote.
“While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me. Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”
Miguel stopped by The Hot 97 Morning Show to talk about his new single Coffee and his forthcoming album, Wild Heart.