September 2017

"Our music business is a tough one, always has been and always will be, especially if you
want a “hit record”. But, if the music is “great”, there is an audience for it. The challenge
is to be determined, creative and start the process of connecting, building an audience. 
It is a fact that most successful artists did not happen overnight. They believed in themselves,
worked hard, often with little reward, honed their craft and were ready when all the pieces
came together, like when a jigsaw puzzle is completed.

Have faith in yourself and don’t give up."  

- Don

For $50,000 Gene Simmons Will Come To Your House with 10 CDs

Gene Simmons Performing with Kiss

Gene Simmons Performing with Kiss

KISS member Gene Simmons has announced that he’ll release a box set of previously unreleased solo material this year known as The Vault on 10 CDs in a big vault-like box. The catch? The set will only be available to those who spend an exorbitant amount of money for one of three different “experiences.” 

For $2,000, you can get the Vault Experience, which will let you meet up with Simmons at one of 21 events around the world where you can pick up your box set and get a 5-minute-long meet-and-greet with Simmons. 

For $25,000, you can get the Producer Experience, which will let you meet up with Simmons at one of 11 studios around the world where you can spend an hour with him listening to tracks from The Vault and, of course, get a box set of your very own. 

And **drum roll** for $50,000, Simmons will hand-deliver The Vault to your very home, where you and up to 25 friends can spend two hours with him. There are, of course, some caveats. From the FAQ page: 

Will Gene be in full makeup and costume? 

No. No, he will not. 

Will Gene supply food and drink? 

No. Gene will be bringing the Vault. You as the host will be bringing the party. You are in charge of supplying food and drinks. 

Will he be playing any music? 

Maybe. If you have an acoustic guitar around, Gene may strum a few tunes for you and your guests. 

Will Gene Simmons clean my house? 

No. The Demon does not do housework including windows. 

If any of that possibly sounds appealing to you, you can nd out more information here or watch this handy explanation video below. 

READ MORE: Stereogum

"How’s this for chutzpah? He doesn’t say that the 'winners' have to find their way one of the 21 events around the world or to one of the 11 studio events around the world."  - Don


Guess Which Music Company has a $10 Billion Valuation Before Its IPO?


According a new report published by Bloomberg, there’s a music company that is actively seeking funding at a $10 billion valuation ahead of their IPO.  A source close to the company said says this behemoth is willing to sell 3% of its shares to strategic partners, including record labels.

So who is this company?  That would China’s own Tencent Music Entertainment Group. After merging last year with China Music Corp., Tencent Holdings spun out its music division group.  Last year, it held around 62.45% of the company.  Oh, Tencent also owns WeChat (small detail).  Beyond that, Tencent Music Entertainment Group operates music streaming and karaoke apps.

The company seeks to maintain its dominant position in the Chinese streaming market.  Next year, analysts forecast that the market will reach 4.37 billion yuan ($664 million) in subscription revenue.  Accordingly, forging deals with record labels would help Tencent Music secure vital streaming rights in the country.

All of which sounds just like Spotify.  But, in a totally different sphere of influence.


"This is a market that will become a major player in the world music business. Still early days but with technology and entities like Tencent Music the world music business landscape will change dramatically." - Don


Michael's Scream Will Be Heard.


With approval from the The Estate of Michael Jackson, just-announced album Michael Jackson SCREAM will be released on CD and digital on 9/29 via Epic/Legacy, with specialty vinyl on 10/27.

The set—a 13-track collection of some of the icon's most danceable tracks, including "Ghosts," "Torture," "Thriller," and "Dirty Diana"—also features “Blood on the Dance Floor X Dangerous,” an energetic five-song mashup (of “Blood on the Dance Floor,” “Dangerous,” “This Place Hotel,” “Leave Me Alone,” and “Is It Scary”) recently created by renowned remixer The White Panda.

That song, which premiered as a Shazam exclusive this morning, could be discovered when fans Shazamed any MJ tune between 7-9am ET. It's now widely available to stream and as an instant-grat track with the album pre-order.

The glow-in-the-dark vinyl edition will street on 10/27. The cover art (and the poster that comes with) feature the first-ever AR (augmented reality) experience created for a Michael Jackson project.


"I spent a magical time at Epic Records and was involved in the release of Michael’s “Bad” album. I was one of the first people to hear the “test pressing” of the album. Wow! Talk about crazy times! His music lives on and deservedly so." - Don


Video of the Week:

Sam Smith - "Too Good At Goodbyes"
Click Here to View

#1 in the UK already and breaking BIG time in the US. A true artist!

Quote of the Week:

"To not be modest about it, you'll find that with only a couple of exceptions, most of the musicians that I've worked with have done their best work by far with me."   - David Bowie


September 2017

"Hello again. Strange weather time. Extreme rain in Texas and Louisiana and extreme heat
here in California. And Taylor Swift is back. 

Our music business is a tough one, always has been and always will be, especially if you
want a “hit record”. But, if the music is “great”, there is an audience for it. The challenge
is to be determined, creative and start the process of connecting, building an audience. 
It is a fact that most successful artists did not happen overnight. They believed in themselves,
worked hard, often with little reward, honed their craft and were ready when all the pieces
came together, like when a jigsaw puzzle is completed.

Have faith in yourself and don’t give up."  

- Don

M. Shadow of the band Avenged Sevenfold

M. Shadow of the band Avenged Sevenfold

A Coming Trial between Avenged Sevenfold and Warner Bros. Records may dissaude or embolden hot artists looking to escape their contracts

What's a record label actually good for? That is a question implied in a lawsuit between Warner Bros. Records and Avenged Sevenfold, a heavy metal band from Huntington Beach, California, that is scheduled to go to trial this year and has the potential to upend the music industry.

The dispute dates back to 2015, when the act notified its label that it was terminating the contract it signed in 2004, citing the "seven-year rule," which bars personal service contracts lasting longer than seven years. The law has its roots in a pro-labor statute put on the books after the Civil War to prevent long-term contracts from becoming the means for involuntary servitude. The modern version of the rule was famously tested in entertainment in 1944, when Olivia de Havilland used the law to break her contract with Warner Bros after the studio repeatedly suspended her for turning down roles. An appeals court decision helped bring an end to Hollywood's old studio system.

But the seven-year rule has not decimated the record business because the major labels successfully lobbied in the 1980s for an important change after Olivia Newton-John won a "seven-year" battle with MCA Records. Music contracts are generally denominated in deliverables (in Avenged Sevenfold's case, they agreed to record five albums and a couple of live ones for Warners), not length of term. The recording industry successfully convinced California lawmakers that labels invest so much up front in their artists, they should be able to recover the "lost profits" of uncompleted albums from acts who don't fulfill their contractual commitments.

READ MORE at the Hollywood Reporter

Merlin has Paid out $1 Billion to Indie Labels


Merlin, the global digital music rights agency for 20,000 indie labels and distributors from 53 countries, has announced its billionth dollar in distributions, since launching in May of 2008. With all of its payments coming from music streaming, this milestone points to a promising future for independent music companies.

Since signing its first commercial partnership in September 2008 as launch partner to Spotify, Merlin has now licensed more than 20 digital music services - including Deezer, Google Play, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, YouTube Red, Pandora, Vevo and KKBOX.

Now $1 billion in payments later, Merlin is often referred to as the “virtual fourth major.” In April of this year, Merlin announced a renewed multi-year global licence with Spotify.

Merlin's membership represents 12% of the digital recorded music market, including Beggars Group, Secretly Group, Domino, Sub Pop, Epitaph, Anti Records, Entertainment One, Redeye Worldwide, Kobalt Music Recordings, [PIAS], Merge, Warp, INgrooves, Mad Decent, Naxos and Curb Records.



Apple Aims to Reduce its Label Distribution


Apple (AAPL) has reportedly been trying to lower the share ofApple Music revenues (QQQ) that it pays out to record labels—the suppliers of the content it uses for its music streaming service.

According to Bloomberg, the prior agreements that Apple had with record labels were set to expire at the end of June 2017, and now Apple aims to adjust the revenue sharing structure in its new contract negotiations with labels.

Under the old agreement, Apple surrendered 58% of Apple Music revenues to labels. Apple charges $10 per month for an Apple Music subscription, while a family plan costs $15 per month. Remember, the music streaming business is a big opportunity for Apple to reduce its reliance on smartphone sales as it faces escalating competition from Samsung (SSNLF), Microsoft (MSFT), and Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google.

READ MORE:  Market Realist


Video of the Week

DUA LIPA  - “New Rules”
Click Here to View

( Major new artist in the UK and Europe, starting to make a noise in the US.)

Quote of the Week:

I always wish I'd had more mentors, better mentors, wiser mentors, people who were proper professional working musicians to guide me as I was coming up. 
- Keith Urban

Newsletter - August 2017

"Vinyl records are projected to sell 40 million units in 2017, with sales nearing the $1 billion benchmark for the first time this millennium. This impressive milestone has been untouched since the peak of the industry in the 1980s. While explosive by today’s standards, according to, in its heyday (‘81), total vinyl album sales surpassed 1 billion units in just that year alone." - Don


This Colorado Startup is Taking an Analog Approach to Disrupting the Record Industry


The rise of streaming services has undoubtedly shifted the way music is discovered, shared and experienced.

Shifting from analog to digital, today's generation of avid listeners have seemingly transitioned away from compiling physical collections, becoming accustomed to downloading albums, creating playlists and storing their entire music library on mobile devices. Yet, despite new mediums emerging, what connects fans from every era is an appreciation for developing a deeply personal relationship with the artists and songs they love.

While headlines are dominated by the ongoing battle between digital giants like Spotify and Apple Music, one Colorado startup is fueling a thriving sub-culture of record collectors actively bridging the generational gap between die-hard music fans.

Founded in 2013, Vinyl Me, Please (VMP) is a membership-based record club that distributes original, re-issued and custom vinyl recordings to fans around the world. Since starting with just 12 paid subscribers, the company has quickly evolved into a growing network of over 20,000 members globally. Each month, every member receives a hand-selected vinyl delivered directly to their door, pressed on colored or patterned vinyl, and sent along with a custom art print and cocktail recipe.

VMP also operates an online store that gives visitors access to a curated catalog of exclusive pressings and box sets. Their digital shopfurther showcases recordings from independent and emerging artists across genres, making their site a trusted destination for purely discovering new music without the assistance of algorithms or pre-determined preferences. In addition to running an online store, theirdigital magazine drives over 500,000 monthly unique visitors, featuring original video content, editorial stories and artist interviews.

Focusing on expanding their community and connecting members through physical experiences, the group hosts a nationwide series of concerts and events, collaborating with brands like Mastercard and Tumblr to execute experiential activations all throughout the year.

Read more:

"Scooter Braun has an established relationship with CBS where he serves as an executive producer on procedural Scorpion,  which is entering its fourth season at the network. He is what one would call a “super” manager, key clients include Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande. Kanya West and Usher. I wouldn’t bet against him." - Don


Scooter Braun

Scooter Braun

CBS Eyes Scooter Braun Singing Competition Show

Should the project move forward, each of the Big Four broadcast networks would have a singing competition show.

CBS may go head to head with American Idol, The Voice and The Four.

The network is developing a singing competition series with manager and producer Scooter Braun, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. CBS declined comment.

The potential series is in the early stages; it's unclear if the project is based on an original idea or an existing format, though sources say the latter is more likely. Also unclear is if Braun would have an on-screen role or remain behind the scenes as an executive producer.

Should CBS move ahead with the Braun entry, each of the Big Four broadcasters would be home to a singing competition show: ABC is bringing back American Idol for midseason, NBC has veteran The Voice and Fox recently picked up The Fourthe latter of which is based on an Israeli format. 

That CBS would eye an expansion into the singing competition genre comes months after the network was offered American Idol but declined to engage in conversations to add the pricey series to its lineup. "The price is so expensive, you need a 35 share to break even. … The economics made no sense for us," CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves said in May.

The project expands Braun's relationship with CBS where he serves as an executive producer on procedural Scorpionwhich is entering its fourth season at the network. Braun, a manager who launched the careers of Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, among others, is also reportedly exploring a seat at the judge's table on The Four, though Fox declined comment about his potential involvement. A deal for either The Four or the CBS show have not been set.

A CBS deal would put increased pressure on ABC's American Idol reboot — which features Katy Perry and her $25 million payday joining host Ryan Seacrest — as well as Fox's The Four and NBC's aging veteran The Voice as the arms race for talent seems poised to intensify.

Source: Hollywood Reporter


"Technology screams ahead. I’m no techie but this is definitely another step in making it easier for the consumer to get what they want, when they want it and play or view music on their schedule." - Don



YouTube Music Gains Ability to Download Songs, Albums, and Playlists


You've likely experienced spotty data in the past, but now YouTube Music users don't necessarily have to worry too much about that.

While Google has said that YouTube Music and Google Play Music will soon merge,  that doesn’t mean Google isn’t working on improving YouTube Music in the meantime. In fact, the company just launched a major upgrade to YouTube Music, now allowing users to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening.

Now, this isn’t the first time users have been able to download music on YouTube Music, but it is a serious improvement for ease of use and convenience. Previously, you could download music through the offline mixtape feature, which was automatically created based on your listening history — that meant you had little control over the specific songs that were downloaded.

Saving music to listen to offline is pretty easy to do. Simply tap on the menu icon next to a song, album, or playlist, then hit “Save Offline.” You’ll get a notification asking if you want to save the audio or video, and if you want to save the video you can choose between SD or HD. On iOS things are even easier — simply swipe the song, album, or playlist left, then tap the offline button. Then, to access your offline music, tap on your profile photo and hit the “Offline” button.

It’s a nice feature — but one that should have been included before. It also makes the service even more similar to Google Play Music. Google confirmed that the two would be merging in a report from The Verge, which followed a report from February that noted that the two teams behind the services had been combined. We don’t yet know exactly when the two will combine — but moves like this suggest that Google is working to make the experience the same across both services before the merge takes place.

It does make sense to combine the services. Subscribing to one automatically gets you a subscription to the other, and combining them will simply make things that much easier for users. It’s also not certain yet how the merger will be handled — it’s possible YouTube Music could simply be absorbed into Google Play Music,  or vice versa. Or, it is also possible that a totally new service will be created to house the features of both.

Read More:

Video of the Week

P!nk "What About Us”
Click Here to View


Quote of the Week:

 It's an endless proving of myself, that I really am a musician, that I have something to offer in the room. That woman can be musicians, women can be rock stars, women can be more than an objectified idea of a pop star. 
- Lady Gaga

Newsletter - August 2017

   ASCAP and BMI Team Up to Launch

Musical Works Database

ASCAP and BMI, the two largest performing rights organizations in the U.S., are working together on a single database of musical works in an effort to bolster transparency in the tangled-up world of licensing, it was announced on Wednesday. The joint database, expected to launch in late 2018 on ASCAP's and BMI's web sites, will feature aggregated data from both organizations with the goal of making it easier to find out whether another PRO has a share of a musical work.

Work on the database started a year ago, with a team of copyright and tech experts scrutinizing data from each org for errors regarding registrations, share splits, ownership disputes and complications related to international works. The joint database will have much of the same information already available on the PROs' existing sites -- ASCAP's Ace Repertory and BMI's Repertoire Search -- including song and composition titles, performing artist info, aggregated shares broken down by societies, unique identifiers like the International Standard Work Codes and IP names and numbers.

Both PROs see an aggregated database as a necessary step toward bringing more clarity around ownership data -- as well as a worthy excuse to set aside their usual competitive nature.

"ASCAP and BMI are proactively and voluntarily moving the entire industry a step forward to more accurate, reliable and user-friendly data," said ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews in a statement accompanying the announcement. "We believe in a free market with more industry cooperation and alignment on data issues. Together, ASCAP and BMI have the most expertise in building and managing complex copyright ownership databases. With our combined experience, we are best positioned to make faster headway in creating a robust, cost effective market solution to meet the needs of the licensing marketplace."

BMI president and CEO Mike O'Neill called the proposed database an "important solution," adding, "We have always advocated for data transparency and supported the need for a user-friendly and comprehensive solution that would benefit music users and music creators alike. While BMI and ASCAP remain fierce competitors in all other regards, we recognize that our combined expertise allows us to create the best solution for our members and the marketplace. We’re excited by our momentum and the promise of what this database can become in the future."

Phase one of the searchable, constantly-updated database will rollout in the fourth quarter of 2018 and include the majority of ASCAP and BMI registered songs. Future phases will improve upon the interactivity of the site and may include the addition of other databases -- a possible nod to the nation's other leading PRO, SESAC.

Until the joint database is completed, ASCAP's and BMI's respective sites will continue to operate as usual.

News of the database has already caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), an outspoken advocate for songwriters and publishers, called it a "substantive step forward in helping modernize the music industry. ASCAP and BMI are working together to better serve songwriters, publishers, licensees, and the entire music community through a free-market solution that leverages industry expertise and efficiencies."

Read more:


Louis Tomlinson's 'Back to You' Gives all Five 1D Members No. 1s on Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart

Louis Tomlinson blasts in at No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks chart (dated Aug. 5) with “Back to You,” featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals, after the song’s July 21 release. The rollout also included the tune’s social music video, which has raced to more than 13.8 million global plays on YouTube in its first week. 

With the song’s coronation, Tomlinson becomes the fifth and final member of One Direction to top the chart as a soloist. Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Harry Styles each reached No. 1 once, with “This Town,” “Strip That Down” and “Sign of the Times,” respectively, while Zayn has clocked ve leading titles: “Pillowtalk” (two weeks at No. 1), “It’s You” (two weeks), “Like I Would” (two weeks), “Befour” (one week) and as a featured act on Snakehips’ “Cruel” (one week). The new single and video helped fuel Tomlinson’s Twitter mentions to 608,000 for the week ending July 23, according to Next Big Sound, a 21 percent surge over the previous frame. On the Social 50 chart (where those Twitter mentions are factored into his ranking), he moves 11-8.  

Source: Billboard



Sia Leaves Sony Deal to Sign Worldwide Agreement with Warner's Atlantic

Sia has signed a worldwide deal with Warner Music’s Atlantic Records which brings to an end her relationship with Sony.

The star owns her own label, Monkey Puzzle, and has licensed recent albums including 1000 Forms Of Fear (2014) and last year’s This Is Acting (pictured) through Sony worldwide outside Australia.

In Sia’s home territory of Oz, these records have been distributed via Inertia.

Now, starting with an upcoming Christmas album co-created with fellow songwriter Greg Kurstin, Sia’s future albums will be released globally via Monkey Puzzle/Atlantic.

If you wanted a clue as to why Sia has decided to plump for Atlantic, you might find one in the fact that her management team at Crush Management entered into a partnership with Warner last year for their own label, FutureCrush Music.

“Sia is a once-in-a-generation artist. Her extraordinary gifts as a singer and songwriter, her revolutionary approach to the art of performing, her groundbreaking videos – everything she does comes from a deep wellspring of inspiration and imagination,” stated Atlantic Records Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman and Atlantic Records Chairman/COO Julie Greenwald in a joint statement.

“Sia is that rare artist who has formed her own singular, boundless musical universe. We are so happy to welcome her into the Atlantic family and to be joining Sia on her amazing musical journey.”

Sia’s massive single “Cheap Thrills” was a multi-format global radio hit last year, and ended 2016 as Spotify’s fifth most-streamed track worldwide.

This Is Acting went platinum in multiple territories including the US, the UK and France.

In addition to her success as an artist, Sia has written global smashes for/with the likes of Beyoncé, Kanye West, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and many more.

Read More:  MusicBusinessWorldwide


Video of the Week:

    Pentatonix “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Click Here to View

Quote of the Week:

We're Musicians.  We make music for a living.  It's that simple.  Nothing else matters.
Eddie Van Halen