April 2018

April 2018

Gender Pay Gap:  Women Paid Average 33.8% Less Than Men At Sony, Warner, and Universal


The stats reveal differences in pay across the board. 

Universal, Sony and Warner UK have released company figures that reveal the percentage difference of average hourly rates by gender. The numbers show the split between men and women across all levels of the label and the differences in bonuses given to each gender. At all three major companies, male executives have the highest-paid jobs and earn the biggest bonuses, by far.

Across the board, the gender pay gap is significant, averaging 33.8 per cent overall, with 29.8 per cent at Universal, 22.7 per cent at Sony and 49 per cent at Warner. 

With regards to bonuses female executives make 49.2 less at Universal, 45 per cent less at Sony and an extreme 82 per cent less at Warner.

Bonuses are about evenly distributed by gender at Universal and Sony, but there is 11 per centless women get bonuses at Warner.

In comparison to the BBC wage gap difference of 10.7 per cent that caused outrage last October, the difference in pay by gender at major UK labels is much more alarming. But the gender pay gap at the labels remains smaller than international bank HSBC, which was determined to have a 59 per cent difference.



SoundExchange Has Now Paid Over $5BN To Artists And Labels, With $652M Distributed In 2017


The US organization, which collects performance royalties from online radio platforms, paid out a total of $652m to recorded music rights-holders in 2017 to surpass the milestone.

That figure represented a significant (-26%) drop on the $884m paid out in the prior year, but this wasn’t unexpected – thanks to the slowdown in digital radio’s growth, coupled with the fact that leading rightsholders (including the major labels) have now established direct agreements with Pandora.

In 2017 SoundExchange diversified its offerings to add services for the music publishing community in addition to its core business managing digital sound recording performance royalties.

SoundExchange President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Huppe (pictured) said: “Surpassing $5 billion in digital radio distributions marks an important moment for the new music economy. It’s a milestone for the digital music services and, of course, for the artists and rights owners who create the music that makes those services possible.

“We have been on course to diversify our offerings for several years now. With our entrance into music publisher services through the launch of SXWorks and the acquisition of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency, SoundExchange is poised to become the leading global player administering both sound recording and music publishing rights on a multi-territorial basis.”



Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's 'Despacito' Video Reaches 5 Billion Views on YouTube


Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” video has established a new record. The clip reached 5 billion views on YouTube, making it the most watched video worldwide by the long shot (the next closest is Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's "See You Again," which has 3.5 billion views). What's more, the video has increased by one billion views in the last six months alone.

“The day we shot the video, and I don't know how many videos I've done, you could see the crew and the dancers and everybody enjoying the song. It was like no other video,” Luis Fonsi previously told Billboard about his experience filming the record-smashing video. “People were dancing on the streets when nobody was filming. Normally you would get somebody saying, 'Can you please shut it off until we go back to filming again?' But here, people were asking to leave it on. That was the first sign, right there.”

Last year, "Despacito" spent 16 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, tying Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's 1995 hit "One Sweet Day" for the most weeks at No. 1. On Billboard's Latin charts, "Despacito" is still at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, becoming the longest-running song with 49 weeks atop of the chart.

To celebrate the news, Luis Fonsi shared on Instagram a one-minute video in which he gathered the best clips of how the song became contagious worldwide.



Instrumental Listens to 30,000 New Songs A Day to Find the Next Hit. So Why Do We Need A&R People, Again?

nce upon a time, label A&R execs would scour smokey clubs to find the next superstar.  Guess the robots have completely replaced that job function.

To find the next superstar, a startup known as Instrumental listens to thousands of songs every single day.  And they’re not hiring hundreds of people to do it.

You guessed it: Instrumental uses machine learning to discover emerging talent.  The company is targeting the music and entertainment industries and aiming to analyze a portfolio of indicators to pick the next breakout.

TalentAI, an online scouting tool, is the propriety platform of the company.  It’s being pitched to music publishers, book publishers, record labels, promoters, and a select number of consumer brands. Basically, this AI weapon monitors billions of data points each day from sources such as Spotify and social networks.  Accordingly, the data gathered delivers trending intelligence on the music and entertainment industry.

30,000 might seem a humongous amount — but TalentAI says it’s a piece of cake (with thousands of little crumbs).

London-based Blenheim Chalcot led the negotiations.  The round also included ex-CEO of MTV International Bill Roedy.  The fund will be mainly used to expand talent.

The round closely follows Warner Music Group’s acquisition of A&R  insights startup Sodatone.  Guess WMG is also betting big that data and machine learning will make a big difference in who gets tomorrow’s best-performing stars.  Indeed, well-tuned algorithms could differentiate the winners — and make a difference in how label resources are allocated. Actually, it now appears that Warner Music Group will move its A&R monitoring functions to its newly acquired Sodatone music data platform.  Similar to TalentAI, Sodatone combines streaming, social and touring data with the power of machine learning. Other critical metrics include loyalty and engagement among early followers.

Oh, there’s one metric that won’t be used by either platform: an A&R guy saying, ‘this is cool’.



What Streaming Music Services Pay

(Updated For 2018)



This Week In Billboard Chart History



The Piano Man landed his third Hot 100 leader. Plus, remembering feats by Pearl Jam, Michael Jackson & The Beach Boys.

Dec. 4, 1993

Pearl Jam tallied its first Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1, as "Daughter" spent its first of eight weeks at the summit.

Dec. 5, 1998

Celine Dion earned her fourth Billboard Hot 100 No. 1, and R. Kelly his second (and the most recent for each), as their ballad "I'm Your Angel," ascended to No. 1.

Dec. 6, 1969

Long before it became a derisive stadium chant aimed at losing visiting teams, Steam's "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" crowned the Billboard Hot 100.

Dec. 7, 1991

Michael Jackson scored his 12th of 13 solo Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s – the most among male soloists – as "Black or White" reached the top in just its third week on the chart.

Dec. 8, 1990

notched his lone Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with Stevie BBest known for uptempo freestyle classics like "Spring Love" and "I Wanna Be the One," ballad "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)." The cut would leave its stamp at the summit for four weeks.

Dec. 9, 1989

Billy Joel provided a musical history lesson – literally, as the song made its way to classroom lesson plans – with "We Didn't Start the Fire." The rapid-fire lyrics helped the single became his third (and most recent) Billboard Hot 100 No. 1.

Dec. 10, 1966

The Beach Boys earned one of the most acclaimed Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s in the rock era's history, "Good Vibrations." The song became the group's third of four leaders; nearly 22 years later, the act returned to the top with 1988's "Kokomo."

read more >>

Video of the Week

“Highway Tune”  -  GRETA VAN FLEET
These boys are slowly bringing rock back.

Artist Quote


“A guitarist or a drummer can get a cold and still play; I get a cold and sound like a wet mitten trying to sing you a love song. Charming.” 

- Tori Amos



April 2018

How Musicians Can Thrive In The Streaming Era

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
March 23rd, 2018

Don Grierson is an independent music consultant and a long-time executive in the music business. He's helped shape the careers of Celine Dion, Tina Turner, Duran Duran, and many more artists, who sold millions of albums in the days before streaming. Today, with album sales no longer making up the bulk of an artist's income, his job is to help emerging artists navigate and thrive in the digital economy.

The New Era of Streaming

When streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music came on the scene, the business went upside down, said Grierson. "We were about a 30 billion dollar business and went down to a 15 billion dollar business." (Six major record labels also came down to three).  

"The music business as we know it has gone through dramatic changes, but the music creator is still in demand. The problem is getting them paid a fair price for their talent." - Don Grierson

But streaming has also brought back a lot of positivity, points out Grierson. According to Goldman Sachs, by 2030, music will grow to be a 41 billion dollar business thanks to increased usage of music worldwide in films, television, commercials and radio. And the good news is, music creators are still in demand, said Grierson. "The problem is getting them paid a fair price for their talent. That's the ongoing struggle."

Startups Helping Creators

Before streaming, record labels paid a small royalty to creators for every album sold. But now, a number of music startups are trying to change that. UNITED MASTERS was created last year by a former executive at Interscope Records. Its focus is using data analytics to target fans and superfans. Artists pay to have their music distributed across different platforms, and they split the royalties 50/50 with the artist. "It's a much better ratio of income for the artist than a royalty in a label," Grierson said.

"The big money [today] is not really from selling albums, but from touring, merchandising, publishing and branded products. There's some serious money out there especially if you're an international artist." - Don Grierson

Read More>>


April 2018

U.S. Music Industry Hits Highest Revenue Mark in a Decade, Fueled by Paid Subscriptions


You would have to go back to 1994, during the music industry’s heyday, to get the previous best year-on-year growth, percentage wise, when revenue almost hit $12.1 billion in the U.S., up from $10.05 billion in 1993, which equaled 20.1 percent growth. In terms of the revenue seesaw that the U.S. has experienced, the industry is now back at 2008 levels, when revenue totaled $8.78 billion; back then, revenues were on the downswing from the industry’s 1999 peak of $14.58 billion. Prior to 2008, the last time the U.S. recorded-music business had been at this level was when it was on the upswing, in 1992, when revenue totaled about $9 million. 

Within 2017’s $8.72 billion total, streaming overall remains the dominant growth vehicle, with the various channels growing a whopping 43 percent to $5.66 billion, up from 2016’s total of $3.96 billion. Looking at it another way, streaming last year generated 65 percent of revenue, or nearly two- thirds of all recorded-music revenue for the year. 

Breaking out streaming further, paid subscription revenue totaled nearly $4.1 billion — more than overall streaming totals that also included Sound Exchange and ad-supported royalties in 2016 combined — while on-demand ad-supported streaming from the likes of YouTube and Spotify’s free tier grew to nearly $659 million, a 34.6 percent increase over the $489.4 million generated 



Doug Morris In Talks With Warner Music to Distribute His New Label 12 Tone


According to Billboard, sources have revealed that veteran music executive, Doug Morris is in discussions withWarner Music Group (WMG) for distribution of his 12 Tone Music label. The deal, should it be finalized, would mark a return to WMG for Morris who served as President of Atlantic Records’ in 1980 and of Warner Music U.S. in 1994 prior to his transition to leading Universal Music and then Sony Music. Morris, who parts ways with his Chairman role at Sony at the end of this month, sits as the only executive to lead all three majors. 



YouTube To 'Frustrate' Some Users With Ads So They Pay For Music

YouTube will increase the number of ads that some users see between music videos, part of a strategy to convince more of its billion-plus viewers to pay for a forthcoming subscription music service from the Google-owned video site.

People who treat YouTube like a music service, those passively listening for long periods of time, will encounter more ads, according to Lyor Cohen, the company's global head of music. "You're not going to be happy after you are jamming 'Stairway to Heaven' and you get an ad right after that," Cohen said in an interview at the South by Southwest music festival.

Cohen is trying to prove that YouTube is committed to making people pay for music and silence the "noise" about his company's purported harm to the recording industry. The labels companies have long criticized YouTube for hosting videos that violate copyrights, and not paying artists and record companies enough.

YouTube will provide a necessary counterweight to the growing influence of Spotify and Apple, which own the leading online music services and generate significant revenue for the industry, Cohen said. YouTube generated an estimated $10 billion in revenue last year, almost all from advertising, and could make even more if it sells subscriptions.

YouTube has tried to sell its users paid music services in the past, with little to show for it. Most of those efforts predate Cohen, who joined YouTube in 2016 after about 30 years in the record business, including stints as a road manager for Run-DMC and a senior executive at Warner Music Group.



This Week In Billboard Chart History



March 26, 1977

Darryl Hall and John Oates notched their first of six Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s – the most all-time among duos – as "Rich Girl" banked its first of two weeks on top.

March 27, 1965

The Supremes rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the Motown classic "Stop! In the Name of Love."

March 28, 1981

Blondie's "Rapture" reached the Billboard Hot 100's summit. The song is widely considered the first No. 1 to feature rap, courtesy of frontwoman Debbie Harry.

March 29, 2003

Evanescence's debut hit "Bring Me to Life," featuring Paul McCoy, reached No. 1 on Billboard's Alternative Songschart. Parent breakthrough album Fallen reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, while the band has since scored two No. 1s: 2006's The Open Door and 2011's self-titled set.

March 30, 1991

Gloria Estefan’s inspirational "Coming Out of the Dark" became her third and most recent Billboard Hot 100 No. 1. The ballad followed Estefan suffering a broken veterbra after her tour bus crashed in 1990. As she was being transported for surgery, she later told Billboard, "My husband [Emilio] had been in one of the helicopters traveling from one hospital to the other. It was really dark and gray. He got this ray of light that hit him in the face, and he got the idea for 'Coming out of the Dark.' "

March 31, 1984

Kenny Loggins began a three-week reign atop the Billboard Hot 100 with "Footloose," the title track from the classic Kevin Bacon blockbuster.

April 1, 1989

After scoring a string of uptempo hits like "Manic Monday," "Walk Like an Egyptian" and "Hazy Shade of Winter,"The Bangles proved their way around a ballad, too, as "Eternal Flame" hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100.


Video of the Week

Tom Walker - Leave a Light On (Official Video)


Artist Quote

“Let me be clear about this: I don’t have a drug problem, I have a police problem.” 

- Keith Richards

March 2018

Special Throwback


Hollywood's Musicians Institute Teaches the Endangered Art of A&R

From The L.A. Times Music Blog
Jan 4, 2009


In the troubled music industry, many labels have cut or eliminated their artists-and-repertoire staff. But instructors at MI are determined to teach the skill of making a musical connection.

Once upon a time, A&R were the sexiest letters in the music industry's alphabet.

Executives in the artists-and-repertoire division of every major record label were charged with discovering and nurturing new acts, setting them on the path toward gold and platinum albums and Grammy Awards. These high-powered talent brokers would spend their nights scouring nightclubs and street corners after days combing through stacks of homemade recordings in their quests for pop music's next big thing.

In an era of record-label retrenchment, however, many labels have reduced or even eliminated A&R staffs. Most companies are looking only to sign acts that come to them spit-shined and ready to market, or perhaps plucked from a TV talent contest, no nurturing required. But Don Grierson isn't going to let the trade die without a fight. Grierson, a record industry veteran who helped shepherd acts including the Beatles, Little River Band, Heart, Tina Turner and Celine Dion, maintains that the skill set he teaches in A&R classes at Hollywood's Musicians Institute continues to be vital, even as the traditional music industry faces a daunting and uncertain future.

"The key question I always ask new students is, 'What is the first and foremost responsibility of an A&R person?'" Grierson said recently at the institute, where he's part of the music business program staff at the largest independent music school in the West. "Most of them say, 'Signing new bands.' That's important, but it's not the most important thing. To me the most important thing an A&R person should do on a daily basis is work closely with the artists already signed”.

What is critical, he and the other instructors say, is training students to anticipate trends and harness new technologies to better serve artists and connect them with an audience. Bringing people together has long been an essential A&R function, and it is just as important in the modern music era.

MARCH 2018

Cassettes Are Making a Comeback: Total Sales Jumped 35% Last Year in the US, and 112% in the UK


In the UK, the physical format enjoyed explosive growth.  According to The Official UK Charts Company, sales of cassette albums more than doubled.  Thanks to high-profile artists releasing their latest albums on cassettes, sales rose 112% over 2016.  Last year, over 80 albums were released, driving almost 20,000 sales.  The format last reached that mark in 2006, when UK music fans purchased 21,019 units.

In the US, the story is also surging.  According to Nielsen Music, cassette album sales grew 35% last year.  Thanks in large part to Guardians of the Galaxy, sales rose to 174,000 copies sold, up from 2016’s 129,000.

Nielsen Music noted that the format remains relatively niche, comprising only 0.17% of all US album sales in 2017.  Yet, it noted that numbers have more than quadrupled in the past several years.  Combining 2009, 2010, and 2011 statistics, cassette album sales only numbered 34,000.  In the UK, the Official UK Charts Company tracked 3,823 cassette purchases in 2012.


Ed Sheeran Rules All U.K. Retail


We all knew that Ed Sheeran’s ÷ was the biggest selling album in Blighty last year with 2.7m sales, but what’s also interesting is that the record outsold all other entertainment releases (including video games and films), and is one of two music related entries in the Top 10 of the Entertainment Retailer’s Association's biggest sellers chart for 2017.

The second music entry is Rag’n’Bone Man with Human (Columbia) at #10, with just over 1m units sold across both digital and physical.

In 2016, there was one music entry in ERA’s Top 10, Now That’s What I Call Music 95, which appeared at #7 with 908k sales—a third of what Sheeran shifted. The 93rd edition of the popular album compilation appeared at #11 with 852k sales. In 2017, the 96th release charted at #22 with 602k sales, followed by its successor at #23 with 596k sales. Sam Smith was the next artist album at #31 with The Thrill of it All (Capitol) on 502k sales.


IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) Releases Key Statistics for 2016

Here are some key statistical highlights of the global recording industry in 2016.

Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 1.44.00 PM.png



Jay-Z Crowned as Forbes' Wealthiest Hip-Hop Act of 2018

Diddy has repeatedly held the crown for the wealthiest hip-hop act in 2017, but that reign has since ended asForbes released its latest Hip-Hop Wealthiest Acts of 2018 list with a new mogul notching the no. 1 spot: JAY-Z

This is JAY-Z's first time topping the list. The mogul raked in $900 million in the past year, a huge bump from the $810 million he made the year prior that earned him the No. 2 spot on Forbes' 2017 list. Hov's net worth increase is due to his many business endeavors including his label Roc Nation, streaming service Tidal, ventures with spirits brands Armand de Brignac and D'Ussé, among others.


Video of the Week


Dua Lipa - IDGAF ft. Charli XCX, Zara Larsson, MØ, Alma, in the Live Lounge

Artist Quote


"The music industry is dominated by guys. I work with men 98 percent of the time - producers, arrangers, musicians, engineers."

- Shakira

Special Feature: MUBUTV Insider Series

The new season focuses on the best ways for writers and artists to get their music into films, television, trailers, commercials, as well as new arenas like micro-licensing. 

Please join us for intimate, one-on-one interviews with some of today’s top music supervisors from film, television and trailers including; Sarah Webster (Pitch Perfect I&II), Barry Cole from Spot Music, Danny Exum from Workshop Creative), music publishers Cindy Bedell Slaughter from Heavy Hitters Music, Randy Frisch from LoveCat Music, as well as artist manager Jamie Talbot, record producer Eric Robinson) and music attorney (Wallace Collins) just to name a few. Each guest offers their take on the current landscape, and shares their own unique history and how it colors their experience.

MUBUTV™ Insider Series takes viewers on an in-depth exploration into the world of music in film, television, trailers, micro-licensing and other forms of visual media in today’s multi-platform world.  Several episodes examine different aspects of that process; from what each format requires, to how musical choices are made, to the best and most effective ways that artists and songwriters can develop a working relationship with these decision makers and improve their chances of getting music placed into the various outlets.  

The first episode to kick off the new season will feature music supervisor Danny Exum from Workshop Creative

Watch on MUBUTV.com or on our official YouTube Channel.

March 1st, 2018

MARCH 2018

Which is the Best Streaming Service?  Comparing Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music.


We have all become familiar with music streaming apps, creating playlists, sharing music and listening to tens of millions of songs across Spotify, Apple Music and more.

But which music streaming service is best for you? What features do you need and what are the different offerings you can get from premium subscriptions? How long is the free trial, and what perks can you get? Which is cheaper, and how can you get a special rate when you subscribe.

Here are the best streaming services around, and the pros and cons of all the apps and sites out available...



Gibson Guitar Faces Imminent Bankruptcy


Gibson Guitar is now falling on hard times, and softer guitar sales are just part of the picture.  According to details surfacing this week, the company remains deluged in debt, with desperate sell-offs to service a growing list of creditors.

Ringing the scary alarm is Nashville Post reporter Geert De Lombaerde, who unearthed mountainous debt obligations and a worsening financial crisis.  De Lombaerde pointed to a recent, $16.6 million coupon payment by Gibson to service $375 million in senior secured notes that come due this year.

The debt pile wasn’t a secret to frustrated bond holders.  But De Lombaerde is seeing an iceberg ahead.  “The situation facing the iconic Nashville-based music instrument maker, which has annual revenues of more than $1 billion, is far from normal,” De Lombaerde remarked.  “CFO Bill Lawrence recently left the company after less than a year on the job and just six months before $375 million of senior secured notes will mature.”

The issue of plunging guitar sales became glaringly apparent last year.

That’s when sales figures revealed a serious sales drop over the past decade.  Specifically, guitar sales havedropped from approximately 1.5 million units annually to roughly 1 million — all in less than a decade.  That’s still a million a year, though this is all heading in the wrong direction.



Music Career Trend:  Managing Yourself



Ben McLane founded McLane & Wong 22 years ago. It is a full-service global law firm specializing in entertainment law and the music business. McLane’s client list reads like a “who’s who” of music, with an amazing array of superstars, record labels, and general entertainment companies.

Have you noticed more artists managing themselves?

Early in their careers, most artists will manage themselves by default. Mostly because there are very few managers willing to take the time to develop them. The business has changed and the skill set for managers is different. Today, managers don’t just develop artists for a record deal––they have to develop an act’s brand and business model… and that takes a while.

Are there any legal issues artists in groups/bands should know about?
In almost every group, one person (sometimes two if they’re lucky) takes care of business like a manager would. Their efforts will often determine whether the group succeeds or fails. As such, they may be entitled to a larger share of revenue, or have greater voting power. Those issues should be addressed in a group/band contract.

(Note: Nickelback paid lead singer Chad Kroeger a monthly salary to handle the band’s business.)



The Major Labels' Revenues Grew by $1BN in 2017.  Who Had The Biggest Year?


The combined sales of all three major record companies grew by a total of $1.04bn in 2017, with cumulative streaming revenues jumping $1.4bn year-on-year to offset physical and download declines.

That means the market share race between Sony, Universal and Warner is, these days, less a case of ‘who’s winning?’ – and more of a case of ‘who’s winning hardest?’.

Today, MBW can reveal the answer to that question, with the global recorded music market shares of the three major labels in terms of their annual reported revenue in 2017.

Sony, Universal and Warner all reported their quarterly financial results throughout the calendar year, meaning that, with some tricky calculations (and even trickier currency conversion*), we’ve been able to work out which Big Trio had the best 12 months…


Video of the Week

Stormzy - Blinded By Your Grace pt. 2 Ft. MNEK
British Male Solo Artist / British Album of the Year - 2018 BRIT AWARDS

Artist Quote


“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

- Bob Marley



In October, 1988, 24 American songwriter/artists, including Diane Warren, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Bolton, Desmond Child, France Golde, Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, Barry Mann, Mike Stoller and Gregory Abbott, participated in “Music Speaks Louder Than Words”, a “Songwriters Summit” in Moscow, with their Russian counterparts. The 2 week summit, originally conceived by BMI songwriter Alan Roy Scott was co-sponsored by BMI, AFS Intercultural Programs, the National Academy of Songwriters, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, with VAPP, the then Russian Performing Rights Society. Don Grierson, Snr. VP, A&R, Epic Records participated and oversaw an album of songs resulting from the collaborations.