iHeartRadio Music Awards Suit Dismissed. In the spring, RadioInfo reported about the suit being brought against Clear Channel by Radio Dogs, Inc. in which the latter was claiming that the iHeartRadio Music Awards was too similar to its own trademarked Radio Music Awards – dormant since the last televised show on NBC TV in 2005. However, after the plaintiff failed to respond to Clear Channel’s motion to dismiss the case, the suit has been dismissed in U.S. District Court without prejudice. The original program – first airing in 1999 – also featured Ryan Seacrest as host.
The Biggest Music Streaming Service You've Never Heard Of
Deezer reaches 182 countries by targeting specific regional tastes. Is the U.S. next?
By Steve Knopper
July 16, 2014 10:00 AM ET
At first, Deezer, the international song-streaming service avaiable in 182 countries, didn't fully understand how to reach music fans in Brazil — its featured-artists homepage didn't emphasize sertanejo country hits or forro dance anthems or even bass-heavy funk that, in turn, turned off working-class Brazilians. But since early last year, as the service made deals with local record labels and hired experienced curators, Deezer has taken off regionally and drawn 2 million monthly users. "It takes a lot of time to get the local knowledge," says Emmanuel Zunz, chief executive of ONErpm, a Sao Paulo-based music-distribution company. "Brazil is such a massive country and every city is quite distinct. Over time, Deezer started to understand what was the right balance."
The State of Streaming Music: Rating the Services
Founded in France seven years ago, Deezer distinguishes itself from rivals Spotify, Beats Music, Amazon, Rdio and others by methodically conquering all kinds of territories, even those with piracy problems or complex music scenes: Russia, Colombia, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil. The company has so far avoided the biggest markets, including Japan, where expensive CDs still reign, and the U.S., although the company has strongly hinted it plans to expand here later this year. "We decided not to enter the U.S. first but to develop a global footprint," Christopher Coonen, the Paris-based service's chief operating officer, tells Rolling Stone. "To be relevant in Turkey or Russia or Brazil, you need to make sure you cover the local aspect."
Streaming music has grown 42 percent since last year, while iTunes-style download sales have dropped 13 percent (for tracks) and 15 percent (for albums), according to Nielsen Soundscan numbers released last week. This growth has created a highly competitive market — Spotify has 10 million worldwide paid users, Apple bought Beats Music in May, Amazon recently launched a service and YouTube is aggressively negotiating with independent record labels for its planned service later this year. Deezer has just 5 million paid users, but its model of partnering with telecommunications companies, such as Orange in parts of Europe and dtac in Thailand, gives it a foothold in many countries. The company is also big on bundling — earlier this year, Samsung announced its Galaxy S5 smartphone would include six months of free Deezer for European customers.
Spotify and others are also available outside the U.S. and Europe, and have local telecom partnerships as well, but Deezer is in more markets and, more than any other service, emphasizes global expansion to distinguish itself from rivals. "If you look at all the markets where piracy was active up until a few years ago, we think we've really helped," Coonen says. "We've taken people who were pirating to paying."
By this point, all the major streaming services are simple to use and provide millions of on-demand tracks, so they distinguish themselves mostly through "curation" — playlists and radio channels that help listeners decide what to hear next. Here, too, Deezer's edge is international, relying on experts to recommend South Korean or Russian songs to listeners in other locations. Deezer supporters say this international focus helps American indie labels break bands outside the U.S., but some say they've yet to see the benefits. "If they have a large usage base, it's one that isn't listening to much of our content," says Robb Nansel, owner of Omaha-based Saddle Creek Records, home of Bright Eyes, the Thermals and others, adding that Deezer provides "light" financial compensation so far.
But Deezer is nonetheless preparing for its long-awaited U.S. launch, recently hiring an American CEO and opening a new office in San Francisco. Deezer reps refuse to elaborate on U.S. plans, but Coonen drops a hint about the importance of expanding here, in addition to almost everywhere else in the world. "We estimate 25 million people in the world, including the U.S., are paying for streaming services, out of a total Web-connected population of 2 billion," he says. "We're really at the beginning of this market."
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The Stupidity of the Music Industry Is Absolutely Stunning
By Rocco Pendola - 07/28/14 - 8:00 AM EDT
Tickers in this article: P SNE
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Word from Peter Kafka over at the artist formerly known as All Things D is that the owners of Vevo are looking for a buyer.
That's noteworthy because Universal Music Group and Sony Music control the music video streamer. That's worth mentioning because, as is the case with Spotify, record labels appear to treat these entities as little more than revenue streams they're happy to share (or divest) with anybody willing to foot the bill to help run the thing.
It's shocking that with the emergence of streaming music and the death of downloads (not to mention the compact disc) the music industrial complex doesn't seek complete control of everything from Vevo to Spotify to Pandora . When the labels saw Pandora break out alongside the release of Apple's iPhone, they should have attempted to take it out via an acquisition or by building their own streaming platform(s).
Why would an industry effectively cede control over its product to technology companies and financial firms with different and, quite often, competing goals? It didn't make sense as Pandora was emerging. It makes even less sense now. It's truly nothing short of stunning that the record labels sit back and watch Pandora make better use of data derived from music (to sell advertising) than the labels themselves.
Has the music industrial complex forgotten what Apple did to it via iTunes? Is it not witness to the battle it's mired in with a Pandora that seeks to pay as little as possible to license music? These companies are, at best, frenemies to the music industry. At worst, they're adversaries or downright backstabbers. But wait ... maybe Google will take sole control of Vevo. They would never even think of hosing the music industry!
At the very least, the record labels should fight to move toward a situation where they can say to a streaming radio/music platform: We'll only let you play our music if we get to see all of the data you can see via dynamic platforms we help you create.
But, better yet, why not strive to jettison third parties all together? Take control of your product from distribution to monetization via traditional means as well as new data-driven options we have only begun to conceive. Shift focus from royalties -- this idea that one play or spin or sale derives X amount of revenue which gets split between Y different stakeholders -- and move into new, more relevant ways of running your business. A model that maximizes digital technology and data. Not one that tweaks old and antiquated rules and regulations that don't deserve tweaking in the first place.
As longtime music industry executive Lyor Cohen said recently, he has spent his entire career not knowing who his customer is. Unless they're forced, don't expect Apple, Pandora, Google -- not one of these self-interested tech companies -- to deliver this information to the music industry. And, quite frankly, they have no obligation to do so. The music industrial complex needs to -- for once -- take control over and steer its own destiny.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.