June 2018

Mother Motherland statue, Kiev.jpg

In the Kiev, Ukraine hills 2 weeks ago with the famous Motherland Monument in the background. 

June 2018

Apple Music Steps Closer To Becoming A Record Label

Apple Music is reportedly launching a publishing division. This would make it easier for Apple to license music, and it could also create a channel for the company to establish direct development deals with new artists. Many artists’ paths to wealth and fame, after all, start with publishing and development deals, not recording contracts. Apple may want to be in a position to capture the good ones.

The report says Apple promoted Elena Segal from the iTunes legal team to the head of the new publishing entity, which will comprise “operations, commercial, publisher relations, and A&R” divisions. Apple Music got a new leader last month in Oliver Schusser; the new publishing arm may be part of his artist relations strategy.

Apple Music, with more than 40 million paying subscribers, has outperformed expectations since its 2015 launch. Some of its success owes to exclusive arrangements it’s won with hot artists (like Drake). Publishing arrangements with new artists both sends an “artist friendly” message and may serve as a legal groundwork for future exclusive arrangements.



"Fake Love" is the (non-english) third K-Pop Song to Reach The Top 10


As K-pop superstars BTS score their first top 10 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (dated June 2) --  and the first top 10 ever for a K-pop group, with "Fake Love" debuting at No. 10 -- the track becomes just the 17th primarily or entirely non-English-language song to reach the top 10 in the Hot 100's 59-year history.

After J Balvin and Willy William's "Mi Gente," featuring Beyoncé, reached the region in October, we sought the insights of Paul Haney at Joel Whitburn's Record Research. Thanks to his analysis, it turns out that, of the 4,799 singles that have reached the Hot 100's top 10, "Fake Love" is just the 17th performed primarily or fully in a language other than English.

first leader for a K-pop album chart, where it's also the Billboard 200 on the soars in as the group's first No. 1, which Love Yourself: Tear"Fake Love" is from BTS' new album .


6 Steps - Spotify.jpg

Video of the Week

Maroon 5 - “Girl Like You” ft Cardi B, Camila Cabello and many more. 

Artist Quote



"People want to see musicians sing things that come from their own mind and own heart in real time, responding to the moment for them"

- John Mayer





May 2018

Visiting Kiev


Veteran music executive Don Grierson, credited with discoveries such as Celine Dion, guest speaking re the new blockchain venture YOUNK, at the NEXT BLOCK CONFERENCE in Kiev, Ukraine last week.
Sharing the project’s vision and goals during an ICO pitching session at the event, Don cited the challenges faced by the music industry with the advent of the internet, which led to a sharp decline in revenues due to piracy and illegal streaming.

With time, however, the industry has recovered, especially since the use of legitimate online music streaming services has increased. Now, given the new opportunities presented by blockchain technology, Don believes the community can play a much bigger role and say in what music gets produced and distributed.

Younk essentially seeks to decentralize music production and give power to the community, as opposed to the big labels, which currently dominate the music industry.

Being interviewed by Stuart Rogers, Venture Beat, at the NEXT BLOCK Conference in Kiev, Ukraine last week.


MAY 2018


Collectively, Indie Labels Are Now Bigger Than Any Major Label


Indie labels are now outranking major labels in terms of total marketshare.  In fact, this is the second-straight year that’s happened.

Universal Music Group is a giant major label valued at nearly $40 billion.  But maybe indie labels are worth more than than.  According to revenue data compiled by Music & Copyright, indie labels collectively outranked Universal Music Group for the top slot in 2017.

“A repeat of 2016 saw independent record companies collectively account for the biggest share,” Music & Copyright relayed.

Specifically, indies pulled a 32.2 percent marketshare, with Universal Music Group following at 29.7 percent.  Sony Music Group finished with 21.9 percent, while Warner Music Group lagged with 16.7 percent.

The rankings are based on revenues earned, instead of units sold or total streams.

read more >>

YouTube Music Will Be Supported By The Biggest Advertising Campaign In The Company's History


This time, YouTube looks serious about its music subscription service.  Get ready for an absolutely huge advertising push — with Cardi B kicking things off.

At first blush, YouTube Music Premium sounds like another half-baked re-run.  Over the past few years, YouTube has attempted numerous subscription launches, not to mention an identically-titled ‘YouTube Music’ back in 2015.  Titles have changed, projects abandoned, and executives rotated.

It’s all been a Alphabet-inspired mess, with more focused companies like Spotify and Apple taking the cake when it comes to paying subscribers.

But maybe that’s about to change.  According to YouTube, the upcoming YouTube Music will receive a massive media push, one unprecedented in the company’s history.  Already, Cardi B has joined the effort, and other artist superstars are probably on the way.

“This will be the biggest marketing spend YouTube has done to-date,” YouTube Music product director T. Jay Fowler just told Bloomberg.

Fowler declined to specify the exact amounts involved.  But given that YouTube has triggered some substantial marketing campaigns in the past, this is probably a budget easily tipping into the tens of millions. Just recently, YouTube started a serious marketing blitz for its YouTube TV service, an OTT (over-the-top) offering that includes coveted sports programming.  Even the now-rebranded YouTube Red had a multi-million dollar ad campaign, with splashy banners peppering expensive areas like the Sunset Strip.

At a top level, the latest blitz is expected to traverse online and conventional TV, with major sporting events part of the push.  Actually, YouTube will use its own platform aggressively, starting this week. 


BTS Breaks YouTube 2018 Record, 36M Views In 24 Hours


Korean K-Pop stars BTS' official video for their single "Fake Love"  received 35.9 million views in its first 24 hours, making it the biggest 24-hour debut of 2018 and the third biggest 24-hour debut of all time.  BTS now occupies two slots on the top 10 all time 24 hour debut list, with their 2017 video for “DNA” standing at the #9 slot with 22.3 million views.

The video exploded on YouTube immediately after its release, receiving over 4.8 million views in its first hour, The video received over 3.9 million likes on 3/18, setting a new record for most single day likes for a video in YouTube history. 

BTS also hold the second and third slot for the most “likes” in a single day, with their videos 'DNA' (#2 with 2.3 million) and 'MicDrop, Steve Aoki Remix' (#3 with 2.3 million). 


Warner Music Quietly Launches Free Tunecore Competitor

Warner Music Group has quietly launched a digital music distribution service that is a direct competitor to Tunecore, CDBabyand DistroKid. Level Music, which WMG has never announced it's involvement is live online, accepting artists and offering some additional service. 

Level Music has launched as a digital distribution platform for unsigned artists. Controlled by Warner Music Group, Level will deliver music for release to Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, TIDAL, Pandora, Deezer, and Napster "without any upfront charges or fees." Artists will keep "100% of your rights, royalties and earnings."

Level also offers free tools to showcase releases including Linkfire powered intelligent landing pages that route fans to their preferred music service. The free ride, however, may not last forever.

"We believe in building a product that gives lasting value to artists.Therefore during this beta period, Level is free of charge as we gather feedback to build a platform that best serves our artist community.

Level Music was launched last week by Warner Music Group without an announcement. Only research of the company's filings reveal the major label group's involvement. Radar Scope LTD is listed as the owner of the Level Music site. A search of UK company registration records lists three top WMG UK and US executives using WMG offices in London and New York as their address.


This Week in Billboard Chart History


Your weekly recap celebrating significant milestones from more than seven decades of Billboard chart history.

May 21, 2011

Adele began the chart-topping reign that would net her the top song of the 2011 chart year, as "Rolling in the Deep" spent its first of seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

May 22, 2004

The bad news: Usher fell from the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 after 12 weeks with "Yeah," featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris. The good news: he replaced himself at the summit with follow-up "Burn," which would reign for eight weeks.

May 23, 1998

Mariah Carey scored her lucky 13th Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with "My All." She's since upped her total to 18 leaders, the most among all solo artists in the chart's history.

May 24, 1997

Its lyrics may have been somewhat nonsensical, but, thanks to its undeniable hook, Hanson's "MmmBop" became a smash, beginning a three-week stay atop the Billboard Hot 100.

May 25, 1991

Mariah Carey, who notched her fourth Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 in as many tries from her debut self-titled album, as "I Don't Wanna Cry" reached the top spot. It followed "Vision of Love," "Love Takes Time" and "Someday" to the summit. 

May 26, 1984

Give it up for Deniece Williams! And, "Let's Hear It for the Boy," too, as her smash reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

May 27, 1995

Hootie & the Blowfish's breakthrough album Cracked Rear View, featuring the monster hits "Hold My Hand," "Let Her Cry," "Only Wanna Be With You" and "Time," spent its first of eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.


Video of the Week


Jason Mraz - Have It All [Official Video]     

Artist Quote


"We need real songs more than ever. We need honesty. We either need songs that help us get anger out, or songs that help us forget a little bit."

- Bebe Rexha


With Sir Cliff Richards.


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