Monday, February 20, 2017

Online Piracy Can Boost Comic Book Sales, Research Finds | TorrentFreak

yenResearch into online piracy comes in all shapes and sizes, with equally mixed results. Often the main question is whether piracy hurts legitimate revenue streams.

In recent years we have seen a plethora of studies and most are focused on the effects on movies, TV-shows and music revenues. But what about comic books?

Manga in particular has traditionally been very popular on file-sharing networks and sites. These are dozens of large sites dedicated to the comics, which are downloaded in their millions.

According to the anti-piracy group CODA, which represents Japanese comic publishers, piracy losses overseas are estimated to be double the size of overseas legal revenue.

With this in mind, Professor Tatsuo Tanaka of the Faculty of Economics at Keio University decided to look more closely at how piracy interacts with legal sales. In a natural experiment, he examined how the availability of pirated comic books affected revenue.

The research uses a massive takedown campaign conducted by CODA in 2015, which directly impacted the availability of many pirated comics on various download sites, to see how this affected sales of 3,360 comic book volumes.

Interestingly, the results show that decreased availability of pirated comics doesn’t always help sales. In fact, for comics that no longer release new volumes, the effect is reversed.

“Piracy decreases sales of ongoing comics, but it increases sales of completed comics,” Professor Tanaka writes.

“To put this another way, displacement effect is dominant for ongoing comics, and advertisement effect is dominant for completed comics,” he adds.

For these finished comic seasons, the promotional element weighs heavier. According to the Professor, this suggests that piracy can effectively be seen as a form of advertising.

“Since completed comics series have already ended, and publishers no longer do any promotion for them, consumers almost forget completed comics. We can interpret that piracy reminds consumers of past comics and stimulates sales.”

The question that remains is whether the overall effect on the industry is positive or negative. The current study provided no answer to this effect, as it’s unknown how big the sales share is for ongoing versus completed comics, but future research could look into this.

Professor Tanaka stresses that there is an important policy implication of his findings. Since piracy doesn’t affect all sales the same (it’s heterogeneous), anti-piracy strategies may have to be adapted.

“If the effect of piracy is heterogeneous, it is not the best solution to shut down the piracy sites but to delete harmful piracy files selectively if possible,” Professor Tanaka adds

“In this case, deleting piracy files of ongoing comics only is the first best strategy for publishers regardless of whether the total effect is positive or negative, because the availability of piracy files of completed comics is beneficial to both publishers and consumers,” he adds.

The research shows once again that piracy is a complex phenomenon that can have a positive or negative impact depending on the context. This isn’t limited to comics of course, as previous studies have shown similar effects in the movie and music industries.

The full paper titled The Effects of Internet Book Piracy: The Case of Japanese Comics is available here (pdf).

Source: TF, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and ANONYMOUS VPN services.


Sentric Music signs exclusive publishing deal with Doc Brown | Music Business Worldwide

Last month, Sentric Music boss Chris Meehan explained to MBW why the company – best known for its no-strings, rolling 28-day online publishing deals – had started signing more ‘traditional’ publishing agreements with a very select number of acts.

“We approach deals methodically, starting with a strong relationship with the writers and management,” Meehan explained. “This is reflected in the fact that our deals to date have recouped, and we follow on our investments to help artists develop.”

Today, Liverpool-born Sentric has announced the inking of one such deal with a name who is likely to be familiar to to MBW readers – Doc Brown.

The British rapper won rave reviews from attendees as the host of our A&R Awards in London last year, having recently done the same in David Brent: Life On The Road alongside Ricky Gervais.

The Sentric agreement encompasses all of Doc Brown’s previous works including his Life On The Road co-writes, film and TV titles, and a new album.

Alongside his well-known work as a TV actor and stand-up comedian, Doc Brown – real name Ben Bailey Smith – is also a respected MC who has previously worked with the likes of Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse.

2017 will see him return to music fully for the first time in a decade, with new album Stemma set for release this summer.

It features talent such as Mikill Pane, Example, Matt Wills, Andy Burrows, Luc Skyz and Poisonous Poets.

“No doubt I’m a joker, but I’m serious about my music and so are Sentric.”

Doc Brown

Sentric Music CEO, Chris Meehan, said: “After 10 years in business, Sentric is now at a point where it can offer real creative A&R to the right kind of act. We’ve done a handful of exclusive agreements with carefully selected artists, and Doc Brown is a really exciting addition to that roster.

“He’s already made a name for himself with his unique blend of music and comedy, and we look forward to helping nurture his musical career.”

Doc Brown said: “Sentric are such a young, forward-thinking outfit and the whole team is down to earth and properly about the music. For me, that is a perfect fit.

“No doubt I’m a joker, but I’m serious about my music and so are Sentric. I’m the type of guy who is also looking to push the envelope and I had the feeling from day one these were the right guys to come on this journey with me. I’m fully gassed!”

Doc Brown’s manager, Alex Kennedy, said: “You don’t often get to do deals with your favourite people in the music industry – this is one of those times. Chris, Simon and the gang at Sentric are phenomenal people and have quietly and confidently built a formidable outfit over the last 10 years and are now ready to sit at the top table.

“They are without doubt the best team to partner with for Doc’s long-awaited return to music and we couldn’t be more excited about the ride ahead.”

After bringing Peter McCamley on board as Creative Director at the start of 2016, Sentric has been offering a creative A&R element under more traditional publishing deals.

In addition to Doc Brown, other artists signed to similar deals over the last 12 months include Victoria Horn (AKA Lady V), Corey Johnson, Nick Waterhouse, Sarah P, Pariis Opera House as well as ongoing support for 2012 signings Tall Ships and Cattle & Cane.

Sentric Music has offices in London, Hamburg, Amsterdam and New York as well as its Liverpool headquarters.Music Business Worldwide


CdBaby Site Still Down After Down For 21+ Hours | hypebot

CdbabySunday afternoon went down during what the company says was scheduled maintenance.  Almost 24 hours later, the site, an essential sales and distribution hub for tens of thousands of independent artists, was still not online.


CD Baby Down

Mid-day on Sunday, became unaccessible because of a "database issue" which arose during scheduled maintenance.

Almost 24 hours  later, the site was still down. On the front page, a message added more detail: "During our scheduled routine maintenance of the website, we experienced an issue with our database that required us to take our system offline. This has taken longer to resolve than expected. We’re working around the clock to bring the site back online." 

During the ongoing outage, CD Baby has kept its help center open to answer questions. As of 1:30 ET today, CDBaby said the site would "most likely" be back up by Monday afternoon.


Music Copyright Basics: The Book I Recommend | 9GiantSteps

This is the little book I co-authored with Jeff Price.

IMHO, it summarizes the complexities of basic music copyright better than anything else (even though it’s now a few years old). I’ve also become increasingly aware that it’s widely read; because I hear many people quote from it (often in front of me…without knowing I co-wrote it).

In any case, it’s not (and never was) meant to be comprehensive. However, if you can grasp the fundamentals laid out in this little book, it will serve as a solid foundation upon which to add more nuanced (and recent) elements.

I’m embedding it here, as I don’t want it to “disappear” from the internet:



It’s Time For Radio To Make Spots Shorter | Hear 2.0

YouTube has announced that they will no longer support 30-second ads that viewers can’t skip, starting 2018.

No more. Nada. Zip.

Why? A YouTube spokesman said…

We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.

This change will not affect shorter ads – the 20-second videos and six-second bumpers will continue as before. But they are, by definition, shorter.

Obviously, radio is no stranger to shorter ads, but it’s my observation as a listener and a professional in the space that there are still way too many longer ads out there, and “30-seconds” does not begin to describe the duration of the longest. Indeed, the recent trend to endorsements has, if anything, made ads even longer as tiresome duration is cloaked under the guise of “content.”

This, I suggest to you, is fooling no one.

And radio is not alone here. Podcasting’s love affair with lengthy endorsements may prove effective in the direct response market, but rare is the listener who doesn’t skip to the end of a over-lavish Blue Apron recipe list or yet another predictably vivid illustration of the nightmares of the post office courtesy of

Well, maybe it’s just online that users hate long ads, right?


In a research study I conducted for the hivio conference last June, I talked to hundreds of audio consumers and asked this question: “When Does An Audio Ad/Message Turn You Off?”

In this word cloud you can see their answers (the largest words are the most frequently mentioned):

As this picture proves, nothing is more irritating to listeners than an overlong ad. 

Nothing is more irritating to listeners than an overlong ad
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Separately, we asked how likely listeners would be to pay attention to different ad messages possessing different characteristics. While you can’t strictly predict what folks will attend to from their own statements, you can certainly read their preferences for content. And if you believe that their preferences define what is, to them, an optimal user experience, then this is a good guide for the shape of audio ads:

Note that EVERY ad duration shorter than 30 seconds is preferred over a 30-second ad. And in case you predict that shorter is always better, note that consumers indicate they’re more likely to pay attention to a 5-second spot than a 2-second one.

Note, too, that 15-second spots perform much better than 30’s. As do one-sentence promotional mentions.

And this is the top of the chart. Everything else – endorsements, longer spots, etc. – score worse.

[If you want to see the full research presentation from hivio, you can find it here]

Back to YouTube:

The 30-second ads were designed to court traditional TV ad budgets. While advertisers might not like the shift, the argument that television commercials can translate directly to digital appears to be a losing one. Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been able to get brands on board with shorter video formats as video continues to proliferate. YouTube has long offered TrueView ads that can be skipped after five seconds.

It’s time to wake up. The world is moving to shorter ad formats because that’s where consumer demands are driving us. Following this path will no doubt get some push-back from advertisers (who too often want to buy time rather than effectiveness), but it’s good for you to remember that they are being pressured on all sides for shorter messages and for the same reasons.

Give the audiences what they want and give the advertisers what works.

That sounds like a great proposition to me.

And to your audience, too.


Forget PewDiePie: YouTube Still Hosting 100s Of Hate Rock Bands | hypebot

(1)The recent controversy surrounding PewDiePie has drawn further attention to some of YouTube's sordid hosting history, including numerous Neo-Nazi "Hate Rock" bands which the popular video sharing site not only hosts but also makes advertising money off of.


Guest Post by David Lowery on The Trichordist


Neo Nazi bands like Weisse W├Âlfe have large followings on YouTube.   Comments sections for these videos are used for recruitment and organizing by neo Nazi groups.

As I’ve noted on this blog and on twitter in the last few days.  The Trichordist has been reporting on the YouTube’s sordid history of hosting and monetizing (with advertising and data mining) hate rock and other  speech intended to provoke violence against vulnerable groups.

A number of years ago I did some research for a private individual on the extent that hate rock permeates YouTube, and if there was evidence that neo-Nazi groups were using these videos to recruit members and radicalize followers. The results were shocking.  At the time virtually every band on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of “Bigots Who Rock: an ADL List of Hate Music Groups” had a presence on YouTube.   And by any realistic measure there was clearly an effort to recruit and organize those who shared this ideology.

Well I just did a cursory inspection of YouTube and the previous results still seem to hold true:

For example this (somewhat portlandia-ish) effort, here we see Neo-Nazis in the northwest of the US organizing


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5 Countries Showing Big Streaming Gains In 2016 | hypebot

1Although it's had a rough past decade or so, things seem to be improving for the global recorded music market, with at least five different countries showing massive gains in streaming in the year 2016, according to a recent handful of data.


Guest Post by Glenn Peoples, Music Insights and Analytics at Pandora on Medium

Things are looking up for the global recorded music market.The few publicly available 2016 results show these countries’ recorded music markets on the rise. Large streaming gains have overshadowed declines in other formats. All key markets’ 2016 performances will be revealed a few months in the IFPI’s annual report. However, mid-year figures show a handful of countries had double-digital or high single-digit improvements.

Here are five markets with known full-year metrics.

1United States In 2016, according to Nielsen Music, on-demand audio streams increased 76 percent, CD sales fell 16.5 percent, digital album sales shrank 20.1 percent, and digital track sales dropped 25.0 percent. Note that Nielsen Music’s metrics are units, not revenue. As for revenue, the only publicly available figures are mid-year point metrics from the RIAA: total recorded music revenue was up 2.4 percent at wholesale thanks in part to a 111.7-percent gain in premium subscription revenue. If the RIAA follows previous schedules it will release full-year results within a few months. (Sources: Nielsen Music, RIAA and Billboard)

Japan In 2016, physical audio sales were down 3 percent, and CDs, which account for 98 percent of physical audio sales, declined 2 percent. Through Q3, streaming revenue was up 60 percent and single track download revenue was down 9 percent. (Source: Recorded Music Association of Japan)

Germany In 2016, audio streaming revenue rose 73 percent and took 24.3 percent share of the market. Germans still love the CD; its sales fell 9.6 percent and were still 53.7 percent of the market. Download sales dropped 19.4 percent and had a 12.3 percent market share. (Source: Billboard)

France In 2016, audio streaming revenue increased 55 percent and total recorded music revenue was up, although SNEP, the French recorded music industry’s trade group, is waiting until February 28 to reveal details. (Source: Music Business Worldwide)

Spain In 2016, premium streaming revenue rose 37.4 percent, to €62 million, advertising-supported streaming rose 24 percent to €25 million euros, and vinyl LP revenue increased 19.6 percent. The total recorded music market grew 1.7 percent. (Source: Billboard)

As go these markets, so goes global trends. These are five of the larger music markets in the world . The US, Japan and Germany are 1, 2, and either 3 or 4, respectively (sometimes UK is 3….I don’t have the most recent list in front of me). France is 5 and Spain is a top 15 market. Their market size gives them great influence over global revenue changes. Smaller markets might have larger growth but they have also account for a much smaller share of global revenue.

This article is a follow-up to the one I wrote a few months ago about countries’ full-year streaming and total revenue prospects based on their mid-year performances. As for smaller markets, mid-year numbers suggest their full-year results will also be positive. Mid-year total revenue was up 23.2 percent in the Netherlands, up 9.4 percent in Finland, up 8.6 percent in Sweden, up 7.8 percent in Norway, and up 6.5 percent in Belgium.