Friday, September 18, 2020

US To Ban TikTik, WeChat Downloads Sunday | Hypebot

US To Ban TikTik, WeChat Downloads Sunday

The US Commerce Department will restrict access to TikTok and WeChat on Sunday.

Users who have already downloaded the apps should be able to continue using them, but will be restricted from receiving updated versions.

“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business.

More as this story develops.

Bruce Houghton on 09/18/2020 in

Music Business

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Pass The Mic: Karaoke Mode Likely Coming Soon To Spotify | Hypebot

Pass The Mic: Karaoke Mode Likely Coming Soon To Spotify

It looks like live music could be returning – to your living room. A recently leaked screenshot gave us a sneak peak at what appears to be a new karaoke mode, coming soon to Spotify, who coincidentally were just granted a patent for the technology necessary to make it happen.

Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

While Spotify can’t compete with TikTok when it comes to short videos, it might be able to do something else soon that will be just as effective. According to MBW, a screenshot was leaked last week of what looks likes a new Spotify karaoke mode, which coincides with the company being granted a patent for the technology to do it.

Although there’s no details yet, it appears that the vocal level of a song will be able to made adjustable, giving the user the ability to record a vocal track in its place. According to the recently granted patent, this ability isn’t called karaoke per se, it will allow users to “overlay a music track with their own vocals by singing into a microphone as the music plays.”

Auto-Tune As Well

The patent then goes on to suggest that even auto-tune is included in this feature buy saying, “in some implementations, [Spotify’s] media presentation system auto-tunes the vocals using data received from the remote server indicating pitch, beat, and/or chords for the first media item (e.g., pitch data stored in metadata database). The media presentation system overlays the auto-tuned vocals with the first media item to generate the composite data stream.”

I wouldn’t expect this mode to be called “karaoke” since that implies that you’re singing to a pre-recorded track for other people in a live setting. Where it competes with TikTok is to have the ability to upload the track to Spotify so other people can play it. It becomes a sound-only TikTok at that point.

Given that TikTok may be running into trouble soon and perhaps shedding users (I predict), this new feature could be something new to attract those same users to Spotify (which they may be already using) and to keep them there.

Again, this feature hasn’t officially been announced yet, but all signs are pointing in that direction.

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Guide To Creating Instagram Reels with Your Music | Hypebot

Guide To Creating Instagram Reels with Your Music

While TikTok has been awash in press coverage, Instagram Reels has been edging in on its turf. Now, Reels has become a great tool for artists create unique content on a less crowded platform. Here, we look at how.

Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog

In the wake of all the TikTok drama, Instagram Reels has taken over. For those who are already fans of TikTok, IG Reels is the perfect alternative to create unique content in a less saturated space. If you still haven’t hopped on Reels, here’s how to do it…

How to Create Instagram Reels with Your Music

Facebook has partnered with many labels and distributors, including Symphonic, to ensure that content is protected, tracked, and set up for new monetization opportunities within the entire Facebook ecosystem.

Unlike other companies in the space, Facebook is currently not accepting music to launch an on-demand streaming service, but rather, allowing its users to create unique stories and content using works submitted by labels like Symphonic on your behalf.

This partnership lets us upload your content into Facebook’s systems for you, scanning to ensure nobody else is illegally using your content already, then makes it available for fans to use on Instagram and Facebook.

How do I opt-in to this service?

  • You can opt into Facebook monetization for any new release that you distribute. You will see “Facebook” as a selection via the “Partners” page.

Is there a cost to do this through Symphonic?

  • Aside from any potential associated royalties that we normally collect a percentage on (depending on your deal), there is no additional fee or costs.

We’ve already seen how previously unknown songs have gone viral on TikTok and been launched into the limelight. On IG Reels, musicians like you have the same opportunity.

Once you’re ready, it’s time to create!

To record a reel, you’ll see a tool menu on the left. To start, you can:

  • Tap the music note icon to search for a song in our music library. You can choose which part of the song you want to play.
  • Tap the pause/play icon to change the speed of your reel. This will affect both the video and audio of your clip.
  • Tap the smiley face icon to add a camera effect. Swipe left at the bottom of the screen and select an effect. To see more effects, swipe all the way to the left and tap the magnifying glass icon.
  • Tap the stopwatch icon to choose the length of your clip. When you return to your clip, you see a countdown before your clip starts recording.
  • Lastly, tap the overlapped squares (Officially labeled, “Align”) icon to see the end of your last clip. You can use the transparent photo to align your next clip before recording. This will only appear after you record your first clip.

Get creative and see what you can come up with! Get your fans to use it in their own reels and share the best ones on your profile or do shoutouts. Used properly, IG Reels is an amazing way to market your music while gaining new fans and starting trends, all at the same time. Good luck!

To learn more about getting your music distributed onto IG or Facebook with Symphonic, click here.

Owen Davie on 09/18/2020 in

D.I.Y.

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Why Kanye West is the modern-day Prince | Music Industry Blog

Not ‘prince’ in the Machiavellian sense of the term – though there is an argument for that too – but as in the artist formerly known as. Back in 1992, Prince fought his label Warner Bros to get ownership of his rights and more creative control, struggling to get out of a deal he signed when he was 19 and had since decided was unfair and overly restrictive. He famously started appearing with the word ‘slave’ on his face. The bitter conflict resulted in Prince changing his name to ‘symbol’ and self-releasing via an artist subscription service long before subscriptions were even a thing. He then came back to a label deal on his own terms, later returning to Warner Bros and winning ownership of his masters, and finally signed with Tidal (read this for a succincthistory of Prince’s label deals).

Now we have Kanye posting pages of his UMG deal on Twitter and saying it represents slavery. Why, nearly 30 years later, is history repeating itself?

Many artists start naïve and become educated 

Many artist careers follow a similar path: 

  1. Sign a deal as a young, commercially naïve artist 
  2. Become successful
  3. Learn how the business works
  4. Realise that the deal you signed was heavily stacked in favour of the label

In recent years, this path has started to change, with most artists initially spending a few years as independent artists, learning how the business works, before getting a deal. When that deal comes, more of them go into it with eyes (relatively) wide open and negotiate terms that are more equitable for them. Companies like Cooking Vinyl, BMG and Kobalt’s AWAL helped change the market dynamic, pushing a new paradigm in artist deals and, in turn, driving the wider industry in the same direction. Label services, distribution deals and joint ownership deals are now commonplace even among major record labels.

A two-tier system

This dynamic has created a two-tier system. Many of the new generation of younger artists who own their masters have favourable royalty splits and high degrees of creative control. The older, established artists – including many of today’s superstars – are meanwhile still locked into the old way of doing things. These artists are starting to question why, as the artists with most sway, they seem to have less negotiating power than smaller, newer artists, and they don’t like it. Enter stage left, Kanye.

The reason why artists did, and still do, sign traditional deals are simple: 

  1. They are often what is first offered to them by many labels
  2. They reduce the artist’s exposure to risk by putting more of the risk on the label
  3. They give them the best chance of getting the full marketing heft of the label to make them into superstars
  4. They get a big advance

Kanye signed the deal he signed

Kanye’s Twitter posts indicate that he was given millions of dollars in advance payments. Now, however, with his ‘nemesis’ Taylor Swift enjoying the benefits of a new(ish) deal that gives her ownership of her rights, Kanye wants the same treatment. (Kanye’s advisor couldn’t avoid having a little dig suggesting that Kanye’s masters are worth more than Swifts’). I am not a music lawyer so I am not going to get into the details of whether Kanye’s deal is fair or legally watertight, but it is nonetheless the deal that he signed. And it was long after Prince’s campaign to get ownership of his masters. Kanye, knowingly or otherwise, signed the deal that he signed despite other deal types being available. It is a deal that may now look outmoded and out of pace with today’s marketplace, but he remains tied to its terms – for now at least.

From indentured labour to agency-client

Kanye and Prince’s use of the word ‘slavery’ is emotive and has extra connotations for black artists – and there is some logic to the argument. In a worst-case scenario, traditional label deals can resemble indentured labour, with the artist permanently in debt to the label, having no ownership of their work and unable to take their labour elsewhere. Modern day label deals are able to reframe the relationship to one of an agency-client model.

When Prince took on the music industry, he was a lone voice trying to bring a new way of doing things (though others such as the Beatles had previously fought the battle for their masters too). Prince’s actions helped pave the foundation for today’s better-balanced music business, and many superstars have taken advantage of his pioneering efforts, with Rihanna and Jay-Z just a couple of those that now own their masters. Nor is this the first time Kanye has been angling for ownership of his masters.

So, to answer the opening question, why is history repeating itself? Simply put, many young artists new to the profession will take the big cheque and the promise of being made into a superstar over getting a better deal. Many of the newer generation of music companies will note that it is no longer a binary choice if an artist signs a deal with them; nevertheless, the case of Kanye West shows us that for many artists it still is. 

What has changed is that a new artist today has more opportunity to educate and empower themselves – to get a deal that will enable them to build an equitable, sustainable career. For that, they owe a debt of gratitude to Prince.

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Van Morrison To Release ‘No More Lockdown’ #SaveLiveMusic Protest Songs | Hypebot

Van Morrison To Release ‘No More Lockdown’ #SaveLiveMusic Protest Songs

Most musicians are proudly sharing COVID mask photos on Instagram and promoting social distancing to their fans. Not Van Morrison.

Instead, Van Morrisson is releasing three new tracks in response to government lockdown restrictions in the UK and globally.

Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out, and No More Lockdown are “songs of protest:” in which Morrison makes it clear how unhappy he is with the way the government has “taken away personal freedoms.”

He is also campaigning for venues to open at full capacity.

Morrison feels strongly that lockdown is “in danger of killing live music” and that without a date for reopening fully in 2020, many venues will shut down forever.

“I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already. It’s about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.” – says Morrison.

The three tracks will be available for download and streaming only from selected outlets.

  • Born To Be Free is released on Friday September 25
  • As I Walked Out is released on Friday October 9
  • No More Lockdown is released on Friday October 23

He will debut the new tracks later this month at his upcoming shows in the London Palladium and preview the tracks on the #SaveLiveMusic social media platforms.

Bruce Houghton on 09/18/2020 in

Live & Touring

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Trump’s TikTok takedown: App downloads will be blocked in US from this Sunday | Music Business Worldwide

The US Department of Commerce (Commerce) has today (September 18) issued a statement announcing “prohibitions on transactions” relating to Chinese owned-apps WeChat and TikTok “to safeguard the national security of the United States”.

According to the statement: “The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S. Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality”.

As of Sunday (September 20), the following transactions are prohibited:

  • “Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S”
  • Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.

Adds the statement: “While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security.”

As of September 20, 2020, for WeChat and as of November 12, 2020, for TikTok, the following transactions are prohibited:

  • Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;
  • Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.;
  • Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S.;
  • Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S.

“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Wilbur Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary 

U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said: “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,”

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

The statement adds that Trump “has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted”.


On August 6, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Orders (E.O.) 13942, Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok, and E.O. 13943, Addressing the Threat Posed by WeChat. In the E.O.s, the President determined that the apps capture vast swaths of information from U.S. users, leaving the data vulnerable to CCP access for nefarious purposes. Commerce, at the Direction of the President, was required to identify transactions within 45 days to protect national security and the private data of millions of people across the country. Today’s announced prohibitions fulfill the President’s direction and mitigate national security risks.Music Business Worldwide

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Concert Venues To Become U.S. Voting Locations | Hypebot

Concert Venues To Become U.S. Voting Locations

 As the U.S. gears up for what may be the most important election in a generation, Live Nation has announced that they will be doing their part to encourage civic engagement and support access to voting during the election.

Dormant Live Nation-owned concert venues are becoming polling places for the 2020 election.

According to the promoter giant, Live Nation is in talks with state and local governments about temporarily retasking as many as 100 venues across the country for the purpose.

To date, The Wiltern and Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, Emo’s in Austin and the Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta have been confirmed as polling places. The Fillmore has been offered up in Philadelphia, where election officials are in the final stages of vetting the facility as a location for public voting.

“We are proud to partner with Live Nation and announce The Hollywood Palladium and The Wiltern will be Vote Centers in the upcoming Presidential General Election,” said Dean C. Logan, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. “Live Nation has stepped up to the mic in providing our community safe in-person voting experiences at two iconic music venues. It is collaborations such as this that demonstrate the spirit of community engagement and the strength of our democracy.”

“By converting their concert venues into voting locations, Live Nation is creating a safe and convenient way for people to exercise their right to vote this fall,” added Michael Tyler, EVP of Public Affairs More Than A Vote. “Similar to the sports arenas More Than A Vote has worked to convert into voting locations, many of Live Nation’s venues are located in the heart of the communities that we are committed to empowering in this election and offer the same COVID protections due to their large capacity.”

Live Nation is also making it easier for their own team to vote, and will provide up to one half-day of paid time off to all employees on Election Day.

Additionally, amid a nationwide shortage of poll workers, Live Nation will provide any active employees with a full day of paid time off if they volunteer. The company is partnering with Power the Polls to track employee participation and meet the needs for poll workers in communities across the nation.

Furthermore, in an effort to address the national shortage of poll workers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Live Nation will provide any active employee with a full day of paid time off to serve at th

“Core to what we do at Live Nation is helping amplify voices on stage around the world, and supporting voting is another important way we want to continue making voices heard,” said Michael Rapino, President and CEO of Live Nation. “We’re honored to work with such incredible partners and will do everything in our power to support and empower voter engagement among our employees and the public.”

Bruce Houghton on 09/18/2020 in

Live & Touring

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