This is an Excerpt from a review by SOUND on SOUND of the dbx 160S Compressor/Limiter

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan98/articles/dbx.htm

Is the dbx 160S pure technology, a work of art, or a little of both? PAUL WHITE puts it to the test.

You can always tell when a valuable product comes in for review — it turns up in a flight case, not a cardboard box! The 160S is dbx’s top-of-the-range analogue compressor/limiter, and it’s pretty clear that the heavy, sculpted front panel and chunky metal knobs have been influenced by Focusrite’s high-end ‘Red’ styling, but the design aim seems to have been to capture the sonic signature of existing dbx classic products, rather than to go all out for sonic neutrality or attempt to create a new compressor characteristic.

INTRODUCTION

Housed in a 2U rack-mounting case, the 160S is a 2-channel compressor/limiter with the addition of dbx’s proprietary PeakStopPlus limiter on the output. Metering is via moving-coil meters rather than the more usual LED ladders, and full side-chain access is available. The heavy aluminium front panel is blue anodized, and all the controls, buttons included, have a heavy, smooth feel that inspires confidence.

Before going further, it’s probably helpful if I explain the presence of the PeakStopPlus limiter in a product that can already function as a limiter in its own right. The most obvious reason for including a separate limiter after a compressor is so that the user can apply gentle compression to the signal using the compressor section, but still have the limiter keeping watch for peaks that might otherwise exceed the safe limit for the next piece of equipment in line. This is particularly important with digital equipment, which doesn’t tolerate any overload. However, even if you were to configure the main compressor as a limiter, by using a high ratio and a very fast attack time, you’d find this setting less than ideal for low-frequency sounds, which are treated more kindly if the compressor attack time is set a little longer. Of course, setting anything other than the fastest attack time allows brief peaks to slip through the system unchecked, which is why a separate, very fast output limiter is so useful.

PeakStopPlus is actually a two-stage limiter designed to arrest excessive peaks with the minimum of side-effects, and it does this by first employing what dbx describe as their Instantaneous Transient Clamp, which controls the level using a soft logarithmic function to avoid harsh-sounding clipping effects. This effectively prevents overshoots of more than around 2dB above the set threshold, but then stage two comes into action, introducing another new dbx term — Intelligent Predictive Limiting. I interpret this as a type of look-ahead system that monitors the input level, providing a very short but still useful warning that a peak is about to hit the limiter. Apparently the top couple of dBs of the limiting process provide soft clipping rather than simple truncation which, again, helps produce a more natural sound. PeakStopPlus is provided as a kind of peak level safety net, so under normal circumstances the compressor output level would be set so that the limiter rarely operates (if ever). If desired, however, the limiter can be provoked into more frequent action, allowing its use as a creative effect.

dbx® 160 Plugin Overview with Eddie Kramer

Watch renowned producer/engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones) present the Waves dbx® 160 Compressor/Limiter, an authentic-sounding plugin version of the vintage dbx® 160 compressor heard on countless hit recordings from the 1970s, 1980s and beyond.

For more on this great product check out this link and learn more!

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan98/articles/dbx.htm

Balancing Act

Balancing Act

This is a video exploring another side of the music of Mark Allan Wolfe. Noted for Rock, Indie, and New Age music, here is a cinematic piece. The song opens with soft piano, that is haunting and is joined by guitar and cello and culminates in a balancing act of a variety of musical instruments. The swelling of cymbals, orchestral elements, and traditional island percussion. For more music and licensing information please visit markallanwolfe.com
If you are interested in licensing music immediately you can start by visiting the online music licensing store located at
http://markallanwolfe.com/License Music.html

Mark Allan Wolfe and Wolfies Music radio interview

Be sure to tune in this evening at 9 pm est for a very informative and fun time!!

Life has ups and downs, highs and lows yet it is the music we follow within our heart that will ultimately define who we are and what we become. Tonight, we present to you, the gifted composer, Mark Allan Wolfe.

Mark Allan Wolfe is a composer and an artist in the truest sense. His film and TV compositions run from thought-provoking, high energy, laced with adrenaline and  atq times sincerity. Combining heart-pounding Rock ‘n Roll with tributaries of Electronics, World, Hip-Hop, Pop and Americana, Mark’s songs draw on his 25 years of striving for professionalism and musical merger of sound and genre.

His fans span the world and the 1500+ compositions verify that diversity on TV, internet, film and commercials. You may have hummed one of Mark’s tunes not even realizing the tunesmith behind the music. Web site: MarkAllanWolfe

Grace Peterson is an author, garden columnist and blogger. Depending on the weather, she can be found either pecking on her laptop or puttering in her garden. She is a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers and the Association For Writing Excellence and her work has been published in several anthologies.

Tonight we will speaking of her first book, Reaching. Is it Demon possession or mental illness. A personal descent into cult extremism and the aftermath,.

Grace lives in western Oregon, sharing a home with her husband and four furry felines while their four grown children come and go. REACHING is her first book. Her gardening memoir is slated for publication later this year. Web-site: Gracepete.com

More tips on getting music placed

I have been enjoying the feedback and questions from the previous posts I thought I would elaborate a little more and share a few more thoughts with you. Now before I begin I must say that you may not think what I share is perhaps a tip, but these have been things that have and still do help me out. These thoughts and ideas have come from experience and from certain folks I know in the business who are either A&R people, other Music Supervisors, Composers and if I may GATE KEEPERS Muahahaha!

Now some of this MAY hurt your heart and get you angry, but if you are sick you go to the DR to find out whats wrong. If you are trying to get music placed or make some money in the music biz you are reading this humble attempt at a BLOG. I do NOT have all the answers NO ONE does but here we go…

Ok so you have made some music, you are trying to be FAMOUS, you are trying to share with the world your most incredible song that has ever graced the ears of man….now what do you do? How do you go about trying to get it to the right people? Some of you who read this may have years of experience and this will all seem silly or maybe a review of sorts.

To some this will be strange and you have never heard of these things or even contemplated them. Some of the terminology may seem foreign and strange but if you take the time to learn and read up on  these things they will benefit you in years to come.

How do you explain something that has taken a life time to learn and put into practice with in a few senteces? How does one reveal the truth to someone when they do not want to hear it? Wait a minute what? Yes thats right many people do NOT want to hear what I am saying. You want OTHER people to do all the work for you but you want to reap the rewards of THEIR labor? Yes Mr Anderson this is true. I have seen it time and time again. On one hand there are a group of people who will bust their butts and do what ever they can to try to make it in the busness and then there are those who will go half way and expect the same results. Does not happen.

You have to do your homework no matter what you have to study, force yourself to do things you would not neccessriy do as a musucian such as read, educate yourself. I cannot begin to tell you how many people will email me or call and they have NO clue as to how things work and how this business end works, they think that you make the music place it on itunes, or make a youtube video and people will stop in there tracks. Not that there is anything wrong with not knowing for we are all learning. It is the fact that this is all they think needs to be done. That some one beyond the great expanse will hear them and sign them and their music as in the days of old, or the movies.

Ask yourself a few of these questions, and write them down on paper or on your laptop….

Where do you want to be in a year?

Where do you want to be in 5 yrs?

How do you get there?

Who can help you get there?

Why do you want it?

These are your goals, your blue print for what your trying to do.

Where is music used? EVERYWHERE

Who provides them with that music? How can I get my music to them, or that person?

Why do you write your thoughts and ideas down? If you do not have some form of direction YOU WILL NEVER go anywhere. You have to set out a course a plan. You have to put yourself in the right places at the right times. I believe it was Walt Disney who said  “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.”

You need to identify and try to start meeting filmmakers and music supervisors. A few things to try to remember when meeting and establishing ANY new relationships with in this business are as follows;

Composing is primarily a relationship-driven business. If you are not one who likes to work with people you may have trouble working in this field. Not impossible just something to work on. Be seen as a solution NOT a problem.
Be someone who’s easy to do business with and approachable. Do not be arrogant be a little humble. Like with in ANY relationship building, remember to consider others time and thoughts not just YOURS.

Respect their time – when you call, get to the point and always listen. Don’t take anything personally. If someone gives you their thoughts or ideas (like this BLOG) do not trip out just realize that it is just their views. RESPECT, relax, do not stop making music because you got rejected EVERYONE gets rejected.Edison the dude who helped discover the light bulb failed like hundreds of times I think even 206 times!
Always inspire confidence in you and your music. Always remember the unique aspects about you and your music.
Do your homework – learn as much as possible about the person & projects.

I will always share when I can to try to help out everyone. I would humbly ask that if you like this posting and have benefited from it that you write us back share your music with us if you want. I am always looking to network with people of like mind and collaborate so feel free to email. I would also like to ask that you share this with anyone you feel would benefit. It is like we are trying to put into practice what I have been writing about these past few articles. Lets build relationships. ROCK ON!

Tips on getting music placed and listened to

A lot of people email me and ask questions about how to get their music heard, do I have some time to listen and perhaps can I give them some advice? So I decided to put this together as a little posting to try to pass along some VERY IMPORTANT info. I hope it helps it is very basic but sometimes that is all that is needed to do. .

Do your research, find out what shows fit your music. Check the credits. Some of us may respond to Linkedin, Facebook, etc. If I have heavy metal or hard rock songs and cues I am not going to send them along to a show that primarily uses Hip Hop? or Reggae?

You may think this is silly that I say this but I cannot begin to tell you how many times I might post a listing or song search and I get back the totally opposite results. I will post something like I need Hip Hop, or Urban rap tune and someone will eventually send me a singer songwriter or jazz, even once I got a classical score piece. I am not mocking you or making fun of them for I have done that even in the past a long time ago but you need to do your research and find out what shows use what or what have they licensed before. Nothing will get the Music Supervisor to NOT listen to something more than when someone says, “I know your not looking for this at the moment but I feel this will be the best fit for your show…”  Not tripping but if the director wanted something other than what is listed we would have asked for it.

When sending someone an email asking them to listen to your music be sure you make the process as simple as possible. Links to stream with a link to download next to it. Keep it clean and accessible. Something like SoundCloud or Drop Box You Send it, Reverbnation EPK something easy.

Try to think of it like a million folks are trying to get the Music Supervisor or A&R agent to listen to their music. If the one listening needs to fill out forms or go searching on some website then that is NOT going to happen.

“What is the best way for me to get your attention to their music or take a moment to listen?” Be honest about presentation. Be professional yet humble. Try not to tell me you’re the NEXT so and so..Let your music and image do the talking. You maybe working out of a garage or a one room apartment or you may have a great band rocking out every night. THe thing is that if you have great music and great attitude you WILL be heard, your music WILL get you to where you need to be. Might take a while but it will. LOL

Finally BE ENCOURAGED!! and Keep on keeping on. No ONE believes more in your music than YOU! No one will promote it as hard, talk it up as much or try to sell it more.If you send a package out give it some time say 4-6 weeks. I cannot tell you how many times I might have sent something out and not heard nothing back then WHAM when you’re not thinking about it like sometimes months later you get the call, “We LOVE YOUR MUSIC!!” So just because someone does not call you or email you with in a month or so does not mean you’re not being heard.

We live in an age of FAST..somethings take time and for the RIGHT time. If you hold steady and do not quit and believe, make great music SOMEONE WILL notice.

With that I say CHEERS and have a safe summer, stay in touch.

Wolfie’s Music Publishing

The music players on here are from Wolfies Music Publishing and Mark Allan Wolfe

Music Fans Are Prepared To Spend Up To $2.6 Billion More Annually For Premium Content

Nielsen has unveiled the findings from “The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them,” an unprecedented music study created especially for the 2013 SXSW conference attendees that provides beneficial insights about music fans, defined as those who are passionately invested in music. Co-presented by Nielsen and SXSW during this year’s conference in Austin, the report explores how music listeners engage with music and technology, utilize their smartphones, tap into free content, and engage in crowdsourcing; as well as how companies, artists and fans can be better served.

“The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them” reveals that 40% of U.S. consumers � those classified as “Fans” � are responsible for 75% of music spending. These Fans, who spend between $20 billion and $26 billion on music each year, could spend between $450 million and $2.6 billion more on music if compelling content is made commercially available. Additionally, the study finds that that the most avid of “Fans” have downloaded the most tracks for free–approximately 30 digital songs per fan over the course of a year.

“It’s encouraging to see such strong demand for content from music fans,” says David Bakula, SVP Client Development & Analytics for Entertainment, Nielsen. “We are finding that there’s a lot of untapped demand for additional content, which can translate into beneficial and profitable opportunities for artists, labels, and advertisers.”

A majority of “Fans” want greater engagement with their favorite musicians and would be willing to pay considerably for that access. They want to know more about what they’re like as people, and get a better understanding of the creative process. These “Fans” are prepared to pay more for exclusive or premium content, autographed products, and special merchandise. In addition, these fans would consider paying about $30 for an “online ticket” to view an exclusive live webcast.

Neilson data on music fans

Nielsen identifies the difference between a casual music consumer and a music “Fan,” and the best way to reach them. The core music fans include “Aficionado Fans,” “Digital Fans,” and “Big Box Fans.” Fans who don’t meet the criteria to be classified as one of Nielsen’s core music fans are the “Occasional Concert Consumers,” “Ambivalent Music Consumers,” and “Background Music Consumers.”

* Aficionado Fans (14% of respondents) – the most avid and engaged music fans are spending about $400 per year on music, concerts and artist merchandise through retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and independent record stores. These fans prefer alternative rock, are active social network users, attend live concerts and listen to music via computer.
* Digital Fans (13%) � the smartphone is the entertainment hub for these fans, who discover music via technology and listen to music via Facebook. They spend over $300 per year on music and share music more than other fans, giving music as gifts and sharing their playlists.
* Big Box Fans (13%) – these fans shop at mass retailers, are partial to pop and country music, and listen to music through a CD or mp3 player. They are highly influenced by bargains, respond well to brand endorsements, and spend about $200 per year on music.
* Occasional Concert Consumers (14%) and Ambivalent Music Consumers (22%) are less engaged with music than the “Fans,” and they spend less (about $100 and $70 per year, respectively). Nonetheless, the Ambivalent Music Consumer is open to discovery (60% use Pandora) and expressed some willingness to pay for exclusive content.
* Background Music Consumers (24%) are the least engaged of all music consumers, spending only $40 per year on music.

sxsw LOGO

“The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them” presenters included Barbara Zack, Chief Analytics Officer, Entertainment Measurement for Nielsen; David Bakula, SVP Analytics for Nielsen; Benji Rogers, Founder & CEO of PledgeMusic; and Shawn O’Keefe, Interactive Festival Producer, SXSW. During the panel, Bakula projected On-Demand streaming to exceed 100 billion by the year’s end.

Data for “The Buyer and the Beats: The Music Fan and How to Reach Them” was collected via 1,000 consumer surveys using Nielsen’s proprietary, high-quality ePanel in the United States; 1,800 PledgeMusic contributors; and 1,200 SXSW attendees.

Types of Music License

.Types of Music License

Well once again we have compiled a little more info on some catagories of music licensing. we are trying to help promote music and the education of our artist. If you would like to collaborate maybe share some thoughts feel free to add a comment.  Would love to hear from our fellow artist, music libraries

Master Use Sound Recording Licenses
Usage: License master audio recording with no use of visual synchronization.
License Types:

  • Audio Projects
  • Composition and Sound Recordings
  • Master Ringtone (Pre-Recorded music which play actual clips from sound recordings.)
  • Music Compilation (CD, DVD, PC Audio)
  • Public Space (Restaurants, Trade shows, Retail spaces)
  • Radio Ad or Production
  • Sampling, Remixes, Covers and Derivative Works
  • Telephone or Music On Hold

Print Rights Licensing
Usage: Generally sheet music, song folios, scores or notation in any printed or digital form released for sale. Once sold, printed music earns royalties from the print rights license which the publisher negotiated.
License Types:

  • Scores or notation
  • Sheet music
  • Song folios

Sync and Master Licenses
Usage: Use of master in synchronization with visual for film, games, video, etc.
License Types:

  • Corporate, Theater and Competition (unless no visual media is used)
  • Film Sync License
  • Games and Software
  • Internet Website, Flash
  • Products and Toys
  • Single Units (Wedding video, small quantity for profit)
  • Slide Show or PowerPoint
  • Software – Multimedia, All platforms, any use
  • TV Advertising
  • TV Show Sync License
  • Video (Music for Video, DVD or CDROM)

Composition Licenses
Usage: No sync or master, only license to record and sell the song’s composition.
License Types:

Basic Mechanical Royalty application: A mechanical right is the right to record and distribute (without visual images) a song on a phonorecord (e.g. CD) for private use. Mechanical rights or a mechanical license must be obtained in order to lawfully make and distribute records, CD’s and tapes.

  • Phonic Ringtones – Ringtones using standard MIDI sound files

There are two basic types of ringtones:
Phonic Ringtones and Pre-Recorded Ringtones.

  1. Phonic Ringtones are (most commonly) standard MIDI sound files that are either monophonic, where the ringtones are recreated using standard single notes, or polyphonic where notes can be played simultaneously creating harmony and/or counterpoint.
  2. Pre-Recorded ringtones play actual clips from sound recordings. It should be noted that the term ‘Pre-Recorded ringtone’ is not the standard (industry wide) term. They are also known as Trutones, Songtones, Master Ringtones, etc.

Personal Use Licenses
Usage: Non commercial usage, may be sold as retail product, offered for promotion or evaluation for commercial licensing purposes.
License Types:

  • Free Demo – for promo or commercial project evaluation only.
  • Personal Use – typical retail sales application. May not be used for any commercial projects OR purpose requiring other kinds of licenses.

Performance Rights Licensing
Application and Usage: The public performance rights most commonly collected via the Performance Rights Organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SOCAN, PRS and other PROs around the world. Their fundamental job it is to keep track of every single performance or broadcast of all works protected under copyright. Common uses include Film, TV and Radio broadcasting among many other public and live audience venue performances.

Mixed Usage, Special Licenses

  • Custom License – publisher/buyer negotiated according to exact usage, for example, blanket, per-program, exclusive or foreign rights deals, etc.
  • Stock Music License – some restrictions normally apply and vary according to publisher

If your looking to get an idea on some music to use feel free to visit one of the many places to utilize our music. There is a small guitar oriented library and catalog as well as a larger cata log to sample thru with more genres. Please also feel free to add your thoughts, comments and ideas that might help your fellow musical brothers and sisters in the journey to get their music out there.

Wolfies Music Publishing Store

 

More Licensing Terms

Now I know I have posted a whole page on Music Licensing Terms I thought I would make a quick one for those of you who have NO clue as to what is going on. I am trying to help everyone get a better understanding as to the craft you are trying to get into.

For all of you out there who have the whole understanding maybe you can today or sometime do the right thing and try to share that knowledge with someone who has no clue. Pay it Forward so to say. Enjoy!

All Broadcast Rights

Includes Non-Broadcast, TV and Radio, Basic Cable, Internet, Premium Cable, Common Carrier, In Context and DBS

All Media Rights

(excluding Theatrical) Includes All Broadcast Rights as well as Pay-Per-View and DVD/Home-Video – unlimited copies and “all devices now known or hereafter devised”

Audio/Visual Production

Any production such as corporate, educational, government, etc. which is not for broadcast, sale or public showing where a fee is charged.

Infomercial

A commercial no longer than one minute Internet Production
Any production released on a networked telecommunications system (i.e. On-line) such as the World Wide Web through services such as Compuserve, MSN, AOL, Netscape, etc.

Local Commercial

A commercial spot aired in less than three markets, none of which are New York, Los Angeles or Chicago

Network Commercial

A commercial spot aired nationwide

Pay-Per-View

A individual production released on Cable which is paid for by the viewer separate from the normal cable fees

Productions For Sale

Any production sold via catalog, special order, Internet, educational or government auspices as well as mass marketing to the general public

Music Start Ups

I thought this was a great article and wanted to re post it to share with my followers and anyone else out there.

visit markallanwolfe.com for more

Music Startups and the Licensing Drag

by

It is surprising that, to date, most of the conversation around the music licensing challenges faced by new music services has centered on cost rather than friction — the specific prices of royalty rates and the dollar value of advances, instead of the complexity of the process. When that complexity is addressed, it is spoken of in very general or anecdotal terms: music licensing is “complicated,” requiring a “long time,” because negotiations take place among  “countless copyright owners with different perspectives.” Furthermore, it is often argued only broad changes to copyright law — regardless of the impact of other factors — would be sufficient to overcome this friction.

In May of 2012, Sean Parker, an investor and board member of Spotify, claimed the firm’s US licensing efforts required upwards of two-and-a-half years before completion.1 Reuters had reported it spent at least eighteen months attempting to license the service in the US2, while Forbes wrote it had taken two years in Europe.3

Turntable.fm launched a beta version in late May of 2011. While still an invite-only platform, it announced a license from Sound Exchange covering performances of sound recordings, as well as blanket licenses from ASCAP and BMI for the broadcasting of musical works.4  Eight months later, the firm would announce direct licenses from EMI, Sony, Universal, and Warner music.5

In August of 2011, the Financial Times reported that the negotiations between the record labels and Beyond Oblivion, while nearing conclusion, had been ongoing for upwards of eighteen months.6  Four months later, the FT reported that Beyond Oblivion would close shop before launching its Boinc music service. Licensing agreements had yet to be completed.7

These accounts suggest different problems. Spotify was rumored to have spent nearly four years seeking music licenses. Instead, Turntable.fm, launched without them, then obtained the requisite compulsory and blanket licenses within sixty days, and, within ten months of the service becoming available, negotiated directly with the record labels. Finally, Beyond Oblivion was a non-starter after apparently two years of discussions.

Research and Disclosures

This brief was prompted by the concern that there may be a far wider range of factors beyond the law that contribute to the current friction in music licensing. We need a better understanding of how technology firms and copyright holders navigate the intersection at which these two parties meet. For this reason, attention will be given to licensing timelines, process maps, and logics — indirect measures of the transaction costs and the frames within which these negotiations take place.

An expanded description of this research can be found in a report from the same author, released jointly by the National Association of Record Merchandisers and DigitaMusic.org (available at http://bit.ly/Innovation-Paradox). No third party other than Washington and Lee University, through a Lenfest Grant, provided funding for this research. DigitalMusic.org provided the ideal partner for the release of the larger report — not only is their charter “to advocate, educate, and organize on behalf of the entire digital music ecosystem,” but also their various advisory boards include representatives of both copyright owners and technology companies.8

A combination of publicly available and privately obtained data were gathered from more than twenty interactive music services launched or attempted to be launched in the United States, between 2000 and 2012. Published news stories and company statements were inputs for the data. Also, semi-structured interviews were conducted with more than twenty individuals who had been directly involved in music service licensing efforts over the period. In addition, and in order to gain as holistic an understanding of the licensing process as possible, private data was gathered from individuals who had represented both so-called “sides” in these negotiations: technology companies and copyright owners.

 

Importantly, individual sources for this research have been and shall be kept confidential. The direct mention within this article of any particular service does not mean that anyone affiliated with that service provided private data for this project. This writer was not given access to private contracts or any deal terms, and any privately collected data is addressed in the aggregate and/or without attribution.

Legal Background

Any service that makes musical recordings available to the public, whether as downloads, internet streams, or some combination of the two, likely needs to secure licenses from two types of copyright owners: the owners of the sound recording and the owners of the musical work. Sound recording copyrights exist in the music you hear when you hit “play.” Copyrights in the musical work exist in the words and notes (i.e., the lyrics and composition) expressed in what you hear. Record labels, featured artists, producers, and performing musicians have their stake in the sound recording. Publishers, administrators, composers, and lyricists, have their interest in the music work. A single individual might be the performing artist, label, songwriter, and self-publisher. Alternatively, different individuals or entities might play each of these roles.

 

Most interactive services will need to pursue licenses that cover some combination of reproduction, distribution (or publication), and performance rights granted to copyright owners. Two types of entities predominantly license these rights for the use of sound recording and musical copyrights in the US: copyright holders themselves and rights collectives (or aggregators). Rights collectives — such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange — represent specific rights or sets of rights on behalf of their members or stakeholders. Copyright holders, or their appointed representatives/agents, can directly negotiate license for the rights they hold.

Key Findings

First, and most importantly, the licensing process unfolds as it does for reasons far more complex than one party ‘gets it’ while another party does not.

For example, startup founders and investors may express different attitudes toward uncertainty and failure than those expressed by incumbent firms or copyright holders. These differences in attitudes are reflected in clear differences of opinion and outcomes in the negotiation. While startups are encouraged to defray the cost of uncertainty as long as possible, copyright holders have an incentive, if not a fiduciary responsibility, to address this cost upfront. As a result, the parties end up pricing particular uses of music before the value of those uses may be fully understood. Furthermore, for some of the parties involved, failure is seen as a normal part of the innovation equation — a somewhat positive badge, earned pushing the edge of what is possible — while for others failure presents a legitimate threat to professional advance — a negative brand, signaling the lack of procedure or credible analysis.

Second, the directly negotiated licensing activities of interactive music services have required, at the median, roughly eighteen months of effort before service launch.

The majority of licensing time is spent completing deals with major record companies who are also major publishers, while the remainder of time is spent completing deals with rights aggregators and collectives. Between ten and fifteen sound recording deals, across major owners and aggregators of these rights, are believed to be necessary for initial service launch. After initial launch, however, the number of sound recording owners with whom negotiations unfold has expanded from between 20-50 to greater than 500.

For example, one firm spent upwards of six months discussing potential features and pricing with rights holders before even beginning to build some version of the service. While some individuals expressed the belief that ‘familiar’ services might be licensed within six months, almost all services were self-described as ‘groundbreaking’,” or ‘never been done before’.  And so, while some standardization of service characteristics might hasten the licensing process, most operators are looking to innovate in some way, leading to an expansion of the time spent both coming to an agreement over service features and pricing those features for a license.

Over the past decade, the length of time spent negotiating prior to launch does not appear to have significantly changed (the decrease appeared to be no greater than three months). What has changed is the number of tracks services license before launch. As examples: both Pressplay and MusicNet launched in December of 2001 with approximately (or less than) 100,000 tracks.9 In May of 2005, Yahoo! Music Unlimited, powered by MusicNet, launched with roughly one million tracks.10 Rdio launched in August of 2010, claiming upwards of seven million available tracks.11

Third, as noted earlier, interactive music services obtain licenses that cover both the reproduction and the performance rights in musical recordings and works. The sound recording licenses are obtained directly from the appropriate copyright owners. The musical work licenses often engage a combination of both collective and direct (or voluntary) licensing, involving discussions with not only performance rights organizations, but also the copyright owners themselves (or their appointed publisher/representative).

The point is that consent decrees obviously and significantly hasten the amount of time it takes for a new service to be licensed by the core performance rights organizations in the US. When rates cannot be eventually agreed upon, however, the resulting rate-setting proceedings can and have extended for years. Simply stated, due to the terms found in government-established agreements that cover the licensing activities of ASCAP and BMI, a service can operate as licensed (for public performance rights) by simply requesting a price for a license with characteristics not covered by the standard license terms published by these collective rights organizations. The result is a situation wherein a service can operate as licensed, yet the rate for that license has yet to be agreed upon.

Fourth, the amount of time it has taken to obtain a sufficient collection of licenses covering what are called the mechanical (or reproduction) rights in the interactive use of musical works has decreased over the last decade — from what once was years to less than 90 days in some cases.

This new found expediency can be had only as long as the service’s features fit within the categories outlined by a 2008 agreement covering interactive services, and the service chooses to license via what is known as the ‘notice of intent’ process. Essentially, this agreement requires that a service give written notice to the appropriate copyright holder, or their representative, of the intent to operate under established terms before the right to operate under those license terms can be enjoyed. If the service characteristics are outside the bounds of those prescribed terms, the service has had to directly negotiate with each copyright owner, or their representative, whose work might be used within the service.

 

This intent process is not necessarily efficient or affordable, however. Estimates of the number of points of contact for direct licensing or ‘noticing’ musical work copyrights vary substantially: from as few as 500 points, to as many as 6,000, to in excess of 30,000 potential points of contact. This variety depends upon how these rights holders are aggregated and how large the catalog of licenses is. That said, it may be no coincidence that a new cohort of music services were licensed and launched after 2008.

Fifth, the pathway through which innovation unfolds is largely similar across the services studied. Whether there is a right way or a wrong way to travel through the licensing pipeline, there is little variation in the way in which services make this trip. Furthermore, at any point over the last decade, it appears that no greater than two or three law firms, or individual lawyers and their staff, were most central in brokering directly negotiated licensing transactions.

For example, most services began the licensing process in discussions with one or more of the major labels. This initial stage might best be described as a ‘getting to know you’ conversation, during which both personal connections and basic service ideas were discussed. After a few months, the conversations shifted to more specific discussions of service features, pricing, if not also more technical white papers. The final months involved discrete discussions of licensing agreements, which saw between four and nine revisions over a span of one to four months. Once these major agreements had been negotiated, services shifted their attention to other aggregators of independent labels and artists.

Finally, while new services face an expectation to be novel — from the perspective of consumers, investors, and even copyright owners — service characteristics among competing services after launch seem quite similar. The variety in service characteristics that arrive at the table to be licensed appears to be somewhat greater than the service characteristics offered by services that launch as licensed. It is difficult to tell what would happen and what could be learnt by the industry from a much-expanded range of service characteristics.

Conclusion

While technology has historically paved the way for new developments in the music industry, it has both disrupted old business models and transactions over copyrights. Negotiating over music rights has become very complex, and the cost is not just measured in the price paid for a license. All the parties spend too much time, effort, and resources clearing every legal aspect in trade of recorded music. The cost for music startups is arguably large, and music right holders pay a hefty price too measured by the opportunity cost of losing new business.  Whether the party is a copyright owner or a technology company, the process for procuring a music license weighs heavily all round.

 

By David Touve

 

Endnotes:

1.  Isaac, M. 2012. Sean Parker: Why Did Spotify Take So Long to Get Stateside? It Could Have Been Apple. All Things D, May 30, 2012.

2.  Reuters. 2011. Spotify to launch in US after long wait. Reuters, July 14, 2011.

3. Bertoni, S. 2012. Spotify’s Daniel Ek: The Most Important Man In Music. Forbes, January 4, 2012.

4. Popper, B. 2011. Turntable.fm hits 140,000 users in its first month. BetaBeat, June 22, 2011.

5. Van Buskirk, E. 2012. Turntable.fm goes ‘legit’ with licenses from all 4 major labels. Wired, March 13, 2012.

6. Bradshaw, T. 2011. Beyond Oblivion reveals its Boinc service. FinancialTimes, August 23, 2011.

7. Water, R. & Garahn, M. 2011. Beyond Oblivion crashes before launch. Financial Times, December 30, 2011.

8. For further information, see: http://digitalmusic.org/about/

9. See: Garrity, B. 2001. RealNetworks bows subscription service. Billboard, December 15, 2001. Also: Kusher, D. (2001). The digitabt beat: Musicnet doesn’t rock. RollingStone, December 12, 2001. Available from: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-digital-beat-musicnet-doesnt-rock-20011212

10.  Yahoo!, Inc.(2005) Yahoo! premiers Yahoo! music unlimited. Yahoo!, Inc., May 10, 2005 (company press release). Available from: http://docs.yahoo.com/docs/pr/release1237.html

11. Rdio, Inc. (2010). Rdio takes the wraps off social music service. Rdio, Inc., August 3, 2010 (company press release). Available from: http://www.rdio.com/press/rdio-takes-the-wraps-off-social-music-service/