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.
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
I just scored 51 points in 4 Lanes. Can you beat me? https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/top-app/id961122685 …
Chris Brown has been named a suspect in a basketball-related battery incident that went down during the early hours of Monday, May 4, according to Las Vegas police.
The R&B singer was identified as the man who allegedly assaulted another adult male during a basketball game at Palms Casino Resort, according to the Las Vegas police. The man was treated for non-life threatening injuries, which were sustained after a verbal spat lead to a physical fight.
According to the LVMPD, Brown wasn’t the only man who assaulted the victim. After the first hit, “the victim prepared to defend himself and was then hit by another male reportedly with Brown,” the Vegas police’s press release stated.
“Mr. Brown has been given the option of signing a citation for misdemeanor battery, or having the case submitted to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution,” the press release reads. “As of this release, the LVMPD has not heard from Mr. Brown or his attorney indicating whether or not he would sign the citation.”
After spending years on probation for the 2009 assault of his then-girlfriend Rihanna, Brown was officially taken off probation in March of 2015.
Diddy’s Second Coming: The Music Mogul on Why the Fragrance Game “Needs” Him and How He’s Helping You Get “Laid”
In March 1999, Sean Combs, who we knew then as “Puff Daddy,” appeared on the cover of Forbes, along with Jerry Seinfeld, because he cracked the top 20 of the magazine’s inaugural Celebrity 100 list. Fifteen years later, Combs is still on the list at number 31. Say what you want about him, but with his CFDA award-winning clothing line Sean John, his Revolt TV network, and the popular vodka brand Cîroc under his belt, there’s no denying that he is a gifted businessman. Combs’ enviable success in the beauty world is another example of how he uses his savvy marketing and self-promotion skills to turn everything he touches into covetable consumer gold. His first fragrance, Unforgiveable, launched in 2006, and raked in $100 million globally in its first year. The scent went on to win a FiFi Award for Fragrance of the Year in the men’s luxe category. So did I Am King, which debuted in 2009. The question now is, can he do it again?
On May 6, Combs will present 3AM, his first new scent in six years, with a high-profile appearance at Macy’s in Herald Square. The fresh, citrusy juice is safe enough to appeal to a broad audience, and Combs certainly has a powerful brand behind him. But the celeb scent market isn’t exactly booming anymore. The 45-year-old mogul is the first to admit that the game has changed. “A lot of people that were in the fragrance business before, they’re not here anymore, and that’s from the celebrity side and the brand side. Fragrance is an extremely hard business,” he says. When asked why he dared to re-enter the industry now, Combs replied with his trademark confidence: “Because the game needs me.”
It’s doubtful that 3AM will get lost in a sea of spring launches, not only because everybody loves a good comeback story, but also because of the shocking promotional video. It features Combs and his girlfriend, Cassie Ventura—both of whom push the envelope in a provocative new direction. (Let’s just say that this couple make Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele look buttoned up). On his way to film a TV appearance, Diddy called us up to chat about the sexy shoot, his inspiration, and what he hopes you’re doing at 3 a.m. Watch the video, a Style.com exclusive, then read on for the scoop.
How did you develop the concept for the video?
The concept for the video represents one of the things that 3 a.m. is for me. It’s a very one-on-one time. It’s a time to have fun and push the envelope a little bit. It’s definitely an hour where you would find yourself with a young lady. Anything can happen at 3 a.m., and in the video, you see a fantasy that’s in my head of what happened that night.
How involved were you in coming up with the different scenes?
I worked hand in hand with Nabil [Elderkin], who is an excellent director. I gave him the broad strokes, and we just turned the cameras on and let it all happen. A lot of the stuff you see, like the running up the stairs, we didn’t do it 20 times. We shot the whole video in seven hours.
The last scene with you and Cassie is really steamy—what kind of reaction do you think you’re going to get from it?
I think if people hear about the video, they’re going to hear that it’s racy and provocative, but I also think they’re going to hear people say that it’s beautiful. That whole interaction has nothing to do with sex as much as it has to do with love. My concept is that love is the new sexy.
Did the shoot make you miss making music videos?
Yeah, but I also like this style of commercial. I was brought up during that Calvin Klein time, and those sexy videos are part of what made me want to get into the fragrance industry. It was those types of ads.
What vibe are you hoping to evoke with this fragrance?
First of all, I want [people] to like the design of the bottle, but just like with any fragrance, I want somebody to stop you in the elevator and ask you what you’re wearing. No matter what the fragrance is called, that’s my objective. And I want a lot of people to get laid to it!
When you’re creating a new fragrance, do you have certain notes in mind or do you bring other elements to the perfumers for inspiration?
I usually have a name first, then I go to the scent and the design of the bottle. I work directly with my partners and they give me almost all the creative freedom. Scent-wise, I usually say the same thing: I want to smell clean; I want it to smell good. I don’t like woody, musky smells. I use bergamot in almost every fragrance—things that relate to freshness but also give you an erotic type of smell.
Are you picturing this as a going-out scent?
It doesn’t have to be literal. 3AM is a moment, a time or a feeling. The customer is sophisticated enough to know they can wear it 24 hours.
Did you intend for the scent to be unisex?
It evolved into being unisex. I think when you plan to make a unisex fragrance, it doesn’t work. But when you just make a good fragrance that doesn’t smell like you’re trying to be masculine, you always have a great opportunity [to attract] women. In this case, it was made for a man, but a lot of women liked it, so it’s unisex.
What are you usually doing at 3 o’clock in the morning?
Everybody has a 3 a.m. experience, and usually it’s not the regular story that you’re talking about. Why are you even up and out at 3 a.m.? Yeah, there is a story there.
3AM by Sean John, $55, available beginning May 6 at macys.com