J. Cole Announces ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’ LP

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J. Cole Announces

As 2014 nears its end, a handful of rap artists are scrambling to get new albums out. Among them is J. Cole, who has just announced his next LP. Cole’s fifth album, and the follow up to last year’s Born Sinner, is called 2014 Forest Hills Drive. The album’s cover art is available above. “What up? My new album is finished. It’s called 2014 Forest Hills Drive and it’s very special to me,” Cole said in a statement. “It’s available everywhere on 12/9. This time I’m releasing no singles, just the album. See you in 3 weeks. Thank you for the love and support.” …Read More

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Mac DeMarco Detained by Police During Show

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Mac DeMarco Detained by Police During Show

Mac DeMarco is known as a merry troublemaker, and on Friday night (November 14), his antics got him into trouble with the law, as his concert was cut short when he was detained by police. The incident happened during a show at the University of California in Santa Barbara. According to the Santa Barbara Independent [via Stereogum], DeMarco crowd surfed, and the audience lifted him up to the ceiling beams. He then climbed up to the venue’s second floor and walked back down the stairs to the stage, where he was detained by police. Lt. Mark Signa explained that police…Read More

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Will SoundCloud Take Advantage Of Artists, Or Save Them?

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The following guest post comes from Jeff Price, founder of Tunecore and Audiam.  


To date, for a variety of reasons, no interactive streaming music service has paid the artist/songwriter/publisher all (or any) of the money they earned.

There is an estimated $ 100+ million in earned un-paid money just sitting there.  This number grows each and every day.  To this point in time, SoundCloud has not been part of this equation, but that is about to change as can be seen with the recent announcement of its deal with Warner Bros. setting it up to become an interactive streaming service like Spotify.

The question is, will SoundCloud take advantage of the artist or not?

So why haven’t the artist/songwriter/publisher been paid what they earned, none of them built the infrastructure needed to pay them and outsourced the job to third party companies. (For example, if there is a recording of a song called “Butterfly,” whom does the streaming service pay the mechanical royalties to: the person that wrote the Maria Carey song? The Jason Mraz song? The Crazy Town song? Or perhaps it’s a new song with that title, complete with new rights holders to find).

This problem—combined with the existence of a US compulsory license, bad meta-data, advances paid to major publishers, lack of accountability, confusing royalty rates and no ability to audit—created the perfect storm for hundreds of millions of dollars to be earned but not paid.

The end result is that interactive streaming mechanical royalties made from 15% to 30% of the sound recordings don’t get matched and paid to the person who wrote the song. Of the money that does get paid out, about 7% of it is paid to the incorrect person or company due to wrong information.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as, in a very bizarre twist, the major music companies do make money off the use of their music, its just their clients and songwriters that do not.

It works as follows. The interactive music services usually must pay the large music companies sizable up front cash advances and give an ownership percentage of their company in order to get the rights to the major music company’s music.  For example, Warner now owns an equity position in SoundCloud and the major music companies collectively own about 6% of Spotify.

This aligns the interests of the major music company with the interactive music service allowing the existence of the ominous “Trial Subscription”; a new way to exploit the artist/songwriter/publisher to the sole benefit of the label and music.  A “Trial Subscription” allows a customer to try out the interactive music service for free for about a month.  However, the contractual terms of the streaming services state they will not pay any royalties for “trial subscriber” music streams.  This allows the service to increase its subscriber numbers, thereby increasing its perceived value, while not costing them anything to use the music.

One would think that the major music companies would not allow this, but think again.  The music companies make hundreds of millions of dollars off the “exit” of the streaming music service (i.e. it gets bought and/or goes public) but the artist/songwriter/publisher make nothing. Their contracts with the labels only pay them for the sales/streams of the recordings; there is no “exit” royalty.

Okay, granted, it’s not SoundCloud’s fault that the major music companies keep all the “exit” money, but SoundCloud should agree to pay artists/songwriters/publishers when “trial” customers stream their music.

After all, why should the people that create the music be asked to forgo their royalties so they can be screwed twice; once by not getting paid for the stream of their music and again when an exit is reached that they cannot participate in?

But as bad as the above sounds, things get even worse due to the cash advances paid by the interactive music services.  If the data in the digital music services database is inaccurate/bad (and a lot of it is), the impact on the major music companies is to make more money as they don’t have to account and pay royalties out on the advance they received (they call this “breakage”).  In other words, there is financial incentive for the major music companies to deliver and/or keep the data bad/wrong in the database of the streaming music service.

If the artist calls in an audit on the major music company, the statements don’t show what was NOT paid out and/or what is bad/wrong in the digital music services database.  A solution would be to financially audit the streaming service, but this is not possible as, in the US, there is no audit clause in the compulsory license.  This means there is no way for the artist/publisher to get into the data of the music service to see what has not been paid out and accounted for.

The end result is the major music companies get to keep the money that should have been paid to the artist/songwriter.

Yeah, it’s the same old thing being done in a new way. But let’s bring this all back to SoundCloud.  SoundCloud has not yet launched its streaming interactive music service, but it’s about to….

So now SoundCloud, a company built on the philosophy of helping and serving the artist/songwriter/publisher, has a choice; take advantage of the artist/songwriter/publisher while creating legal liability for the company OR build the necessary infrastructure to pay what’s owed under fair contractual terms.  If they choose the later, not only will the artist/songwriter/publisher get paid more of the money they earned, but SoundCloud would also have a competitive advantage over every other music service in the world due to paying the artists more.

And for the venture capitalists that put the $ 100+ million into SoundCloud, I understand your motivation is to get, at any expense, the highest “return on investment” as possible. But, think of it this way, if SoundCloud rights these wrongs, it will get you more market share and therefore revenue providing a higher return on your investment (and I bet even Taylor Swift will even let her use her music).

And with the giant YouTube train leaving the station in a moment, you’re going to need to do something to set yourself apart.

The question is, will SoundCloud’s founders, its board and it’s investors take advantage of the opportunity?

If they don’t, and this issue comes more to light, it means SoundCloud will lose rights not only to Audiam’s publisher clients, but also compositions to many others.

In which case it better try to rush to the finish line, leaving another trail of decimated artists, and get its “exit” before the inevitable lawsuits begin.


Image by Johnathan Nightingale, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The post Will SoundCloud Take Advantage Of Artists, Or Save Them? appeared first on Digital Music News.

Jeff Price
Digital Music News

Cult Leader Set Sights on New Releases for 2015

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Cult Leader Set Sights on New Releases for 2015

Capitalizing on the attack of this year’s impressive and oppressive debut offering, Nothing for Us Here, Salt Lake City grind unit Cult Leader have announced that another pair of releases are due in 2015. News of the upcoming records came through the band’s Facebook page, with a group statement explaining that they’ll be hitting a recording studio next month with Andy Patterson (DJ Shadow, Gaza) to produce a 7-inch for Deathwish Inc.. Details on the tracks have yet to be revealed, as well as the due date. The act also reported that they’ll be heading to Salem, MA’s GodCity Studio…Read More

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‘Dumb and Dumber To,’ ‘The Theory of Everything’ and ‘Wolves’ Lead Our Friday Film Review Roundup

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If you haven’t made plans for the beginning of this chilly weekend, why not make it out to your local cinema to check out what’s new on the silver screen? We’ve made picking a film easy by providing a fresh bunch of film reviews right here in this week’s Film Roundup. Give them a read, and if you still want more check out our Recently Reviewed section for even more film reviews.

First up we have Dumb and Dumber To from directorial duo the Farrelly Brothers. The endearing dummies Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) have once again set out on a road trip, this time having to deal with the unbreakable ties and love families have. Have the Farrelly brothers recaptured the slapstick humour that defined the previous films? Read our review to find out.

The Theory of Everything depicts the love story between world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane. The film tells the relatable story of both falling in love and the dissolution of relationships, along with the obstacles we come across, overlook and overcome for the people we care about. For further insight on this film, read our review.

Next up is the new werewolf film, Wolves. The film follows protagonist Cayden’s transformation into a creature of the night and whether or not he is the only of his kind. But does this genre-subversion/hybrid coming-of-age film say anything new about self-identity, or does it merely stalk a familiar path? Find out in our review of the film.

Beyond the Lights concentrates on up-and-coming singer Noni Jean, and her inner turmoil of being depicted in an overly sexualized manner in the entertainment industry. Read our review to find out more about Jean’s struggle and her relationship to both the industry and her “scuzzy and lecherous” boyfriend.

The Better Angels tells the tale of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood through moments rather than as a linear narrative. The film shows both the positive and difficult hardships he and his family had to endure, which helped shape and influence the 16th President of the United States. Click the link above for the review.

Lastly, we have Jean Luc Godard’s Goodbye To Language 3D. The film is “intentionally vague on plot details and is more interested in the juxtaposition of sounds and images, rendered literal through his use of 3D superimposition,” our reviewer point out. Click the link above to read more about this revolutionary new film from the French master.

Still haven’t found the perfect film? Then head over to our Recently Reviewed section for more film reviews.

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Beefs 2014: Ariel Pink Says Grimes Is “Stupid and Retarded”

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Beefs 2014: Ariel Pink Says Grimes Is "Stupid and Retarded"

Last month, Ariel Pink ruffled some feathers with his alleged comments about Madonna — which he has since apparently denied saying — and Grimes denounced him for his “delusional misogyny.” Now, Pink has fired back at Grimes, calling her “stupid and retarded” and claiming, “I’m the male version of her.” These insults were hurled in an interview with The Guardian, in which Pink was asked about Grimes’ angry response to his comment that Madonna had been on a “downward slide” since her first album. “What an amazing promotional campaign this is,” he said about the…Read More

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Nicki Minaj’s Nazi Controversy, Will Butler’s Solo Album Plans and Daft Punk’s Live Box Set in Our News Roundup

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Nicki Minaj

Once again, it’s time for a much-deserved weekend, as well as our weekly news roundup. So if you’re feeling a bit out of the loop, here’s your chance to catch back up on the week that was.

First off, it was another good week for controversies and those love ‘em or hate ‘em beefs. Not only did Nicki Minaj draw a whole lot of heat of her Nazi-inspired new video — an aesthetic the video’s director later confirmed he was entirely going for — but the Foo Fighters dudes waded into some other recent hot topics, with frontman Dave Grohl saying he could give two shits about the whole streaming debate and their drummer Taylor Hawkins stating U2’s new album “sounds like a fart.” That being said, the Foos aren’t exactly garnering tons of acclaim for their new album either.

On top of all this, Ariel Pink addressed his own recent Madonna controversy in an Exclaim! interview.

In more positive news, Arcade Fire’s Will Butler is apparently working on a solo album, Ryan Adams is contributing new music to an upcoming Al Pacino film, Daft Punk revealed a new live vinyl box set and YouTube officially launched its own streaming service.

Finally, rising rapper Logic sat down with Exclaim! to address all those Kendrick Lamar comparisons, as well as shed some inside light on his Under Pressure LP.

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Taylor Swift Removes Catalogue from Chinese Streaming Services

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taylor swift

Taylor Swift’s best-selling album 1989 has notoriously been absent from all free streaming service options in the U.S. This was followed up by the decision to remove Swift’s entire catalogue from free platforms. Her team has been carrying this out on a global level.

Taylor Swift’s entire catalogue has now been removed from free streaming services in China.

China Music Business points out that the average Chinese digital music consumer expects music to be free. They expect it even more than the young generation of torrenters in the western world. Less than one percent of digital music consumers in China pay for streaming music. Most Chinese services aren’t currently able to make different music available to free and paying users.

Streaming service QQ Music says:

“We respect the decision made by the artist or label and have followed the instructions. However, we hope that in the future, when there is a chance to meet with the decision maker, we can explain more about the current situation and explore other ways in which to tackle problems and change the market accordingly, as Tencent knows online user behaviour more than someone with no experience in the Chinese Internet market.”

Like Spotify, Chinese streaming service Xiami makes the same catalog available to both free and paying customers. Xiami says they are now working on changing this policy. Swift’s songs have been streamed a total of 43 million times on the service.

+42 Major Artists Threaten to Boycott YouTube…

China Music Business spoke to a 17 year old Taylor Swift superfan, Li Zhiyi. She said:

“if I had the economic resources to pay for her music, I probably would… If she released a new album next week and did the same thing, I’d still listen to it illegally. I’m not an adult, I can’t earn money, how am I supposed to pay for music? Downloading illegally is easier than asking my mum, and you can always find a way online. Only rich people who’ve lived in the US would consider paying, I think. Most people wouldn’t pay in China, because we’re used to free.”


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

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Nina Ulloa
Digital Music News

Facebook Is Making It Even Harder to Reach Your Fans…

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facebook feed

Despite complaints about page reach, Facebook is one of the best online promotional tools for brands (including labels and artists). Many of these brands have paid for ads over the years to increase their fan base.

Facebook will be reducing the amount of “overly promotional” posts from Pages in newsfeeds starting in 2015. Posts that aren’t paid ads will become less visible if they meet the following criteria:

  1. “Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads”

Basically, if you’re going to advertise anything Facebook wants you to pay for it.

Facebook says they’re doing this because surveyed users say many organic posts in their feed are too promotional. Here’s a thought: unlike a page if you don’t want to read about their products.

Another relevant policy went into effect on November 5th. Pages can no longer offer incentives in exchange for Page or post likes.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

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Nina Ulloa
Digital Music News

AC/DC Address Phil Rudd Murder Plot Controversy as “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” Spikes in Sales

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AC/DC Address Phil Rudd Murder Plot Controversy as "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" Spikes in Sales

It’s been a year of ups and down for AC/DC, who will release their new album Rock or Bust next month despite the loss of guitarist Malcolm Young (due to dementia) and drummer Phil Rudd (who was charged with attempting to procure murder before the accusation was dropped). Now, the remaining band members have spoken out about their relationship with Rudd, who first joined the band in 1975, then quit before rejoining in 1994. “Well, we had a few problems. The situation he’s in — that took everyone by surprise. We had a few issues before with him, even when we were recording it…Read More

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