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Sony Reportedly Considering a Sale of Its Music Publishing Division

Sony Corp. has been considering a sale of its music publishing operation, according to a Bloomberg report on the latest leak of hacked Sony e-mails.

The details of the Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s potential sale were being handled by Sony Entertainment CEO Michal Lynton, Sony Corp. of America president Nicole Seligman and Sony Corp. of America CFO Steve Kober, according to Bloomberg, which cited an email from Kober dated Nov. 21.

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In an Oct. 3 e-mail, Bloomberg reports, Sony CFO Kenichro Yoshida raised concerns about the music publishing business, “which has a rather complex capital and governance structure and is impacted by the market shift to streaming.”

Sony/ATV is a 50/50 joint-venture between Sony Corp. and the Michael Jackson estate. In addition, those two partners also own a combined 39.8 percent — 29.8 percentage points by Sony and almost 10 percentage points by the Jackson estate — of EMI Music Publishing, thanks to a consortium put together by then-Sony Corp. of America CFO Rob Wiesenthal. That consortium, which also consists of Mubadala Development, Jynwel Capital Ltd., the Blackstone Group’s GSO Partners and David Geffen, paid $2.2 billion in June 2012 for EMI’s publishing catalog.

Sony/ATV and EMI’s publishing assets include such crown jewels as the former’s Beatles catalog and the latter’s Motown catalog. Sony/ATV sees revenues of about $510 million on its own and another $115 for administrating EMI’s catalogue, which has revenues of about $725 million itself.

Further details of the sale plan — including possible suitors — are unknown, the Bloomberg report noted. So it couldn’t be determined if Sony was looking to sell all of its publishing assets, or its portion of the EMI Music Publishing catalog. It’s also unclear if the subject of Sony selling its portion of EMI has been broached with the rest of the consortium.

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In any event, if all the publishing assets were put up for sale, knowledgeable industry sources tell Billboard its unlikely that European Union regulators would let Universal Music Group make such an acquisition. Likewise, the Warner Music Group would also face regulatory difficulties if it tried an outright acquisition of the combined publishing assets. The only reason the EU let Sony/ATV buy EMI originally is because it was as part of a consortium and it made it sell off about $100 million in publishing assets at the time.

More likely suitors for all of the publishing would include either private equity firms, or a major film studio like Disney, or Bertelsmann-owned BMG Rights Management, a growing power once again in the music business.

But for the exception that the EMI retains its own financial accounting department, the Sony/ATV and EMI staffs have been combined into one team that promotes both catalogs. As such, it seems unlikely that a private equity firm could acquire the EMI catalog without also purchasing Sony/ATV and its staff. If the sellers want to obtain an optimum price, it would need a plethora of potential suitors, so it likely would have to sell all the publishing assets. Billboard estimates a sale of both catalogs would bring in about $3 billion-$3.5 billion.

A Sony/ATV spokesman declined comment on the report. John Branco, who co-manages the Jackson estate, didn’t respond to a request to comment.

Via Billboard.

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SFX Entertainment to re-launch Beatport, add Streaming Service in 2015

SFX Entertainment, the massive company behind festivals like Tomorrowland, Mysteryland, Sensation, Life In Color, and Beatport, has big plans for one of its acquisitions in 2015. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company has plans to relaunch Beatport with a new streaming service. Instead of only selling songs, the new site will reportedly feature a free, ad-supported streaming service and included the ability to listen to Beatport’s catalog of music on-demand.

Not completely moving away from the ability for users to purchase music, the new Beatport will keep its online store in tact. Destined to be an updated version of the current Beatport Pro, one of the company’s main source of revenue will only be slightly affected. The main hurdle now seems to be the ability to attain licenses to stream the content, although dealing with the music industry’s big three may be able to be avoided. Now joining the race between companies like Spotify, Pandora, Youtube’s new Music Key, and Apple’s Beats Music streaming service, SFX Entertainment’s latest power move looks to drastically change one of electronic music’s longest running entities.

Via: DancingAstronaut

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YouTube launches paid music streaming service

For the time being, the service is only available in the U.S., United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Finland. Interested users can apply for an invitation on the service’s homepage.

YouTube’s long-awaited foray into the music streaming industry has finally made its debut. Dubbed Music Key, YouTube’s paid streaming service lets its users stream music without ads, in addition to listening without an internet connection. Two price options are currently being offered: a $7.99 per month option is available to beta invitees, while a more expensive option that will cost an extra two dollars will be available when the service is finally offered publicly. The more expensive option will also get subscribers a membership to Google Play Music, currently one of the streaming industry’s most lauded services.

 

Via : Dancing Astronaut

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Sony Music CFO publicly questions the value of free streaming services

Sony Music Entertainment, which currently has Calvin Harris, Kygo, Madeon, and Daft Punk on its roster of electronic music talent, has reevaluated its stance of free streaming services. In light of Taylor Swift pulling her music from Spotify, the company’s Chief Financial Officer had a lot to say about the industry powerhouse’s stance.

“What it all really comes down to is how much value are the music company and the artist getting from the different consumption methods. The key question is, are the free, ad-supported services taking away from how quickly and to what extent we can grow those paid services? That’s something we’re paying attention to as content owners who license our content to the different platforms,” Sony Music’s CFO Kevin Kelleher commented at an investor briefing. With Youtube gearing up for a full frontal assault on Spotify’s streaming dominance with its impending service, Sony Music Entertainment has already reached a deal with the video streaming titan to have content on its new Music Key.

Via : Dancing Astronaut
Source : Wall Street Journal

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Mixcloud’s new paid tiers

The London-based music streaming site known as Mixcloud, who acts as a hub for long-form EDM content such as podcasts and mixes from our favorite artists, has always been free to use as long as you can put up with the occasional advertisements that interrupt your listening. But with Mixcloud’s new paid tiers, which come at a small but manageable cost, you can avoid these adverts.

The first tier, known as the premium tier, will cost the user $6.99 a month or $69.99 for a full year. This will allow you to listen to your music free of advertisements. The PRO tier is the second level available for subscription, and will run you $15 for a month or $135 for the full year. While this is a bit more spendy compared to the first paid tier, it will open up a marketing toolbox similar to Soundcloud’s top-tiered feature which will allow users to see analytical data of who is listening to their music, as well as from where.

Mixcloud’s co-founder Nico Perez recently explained to Billboard that the new tiers will be good for both rights owners and creators. The funding from the tiers will go towards paying music royalty companies who in turn help artists get compensation for their work. Perez states that, “. . .in the USA, the per-track royalty rate that we pay to SoundExchange roughly doubles, and so that extra money should flow to the artists,”

With these new features, it would appear that the people over at Mixcloud have been having a busy year thus far. Mixcloud has seen the addition of a handful of other cool features, one of which includes a ‘repost’ feature similar to that seen on Soundcloud. The company’s CTO, Mat Clayton, expressed his excitement about these new features by saying “We’re excited to launch this feature; it’s had a lot of demand from our community, particularly the content creators on the platform. . . It will open up a number of new ways to share and discover content on Mixcloud.”

Via Billboard

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SoundCloud introduces ads, heads towards paid subscription service

After a year of highs and lows for digital music streaming service, SoundCloud has announced plans to introduce advertising to its services alongside a creator partner program. The word came from founder and CEO Alex Ljung, who took to the platform’s blog to announce that the service would be taking on a select amount of high end brands as advertising partners, claiming that its ‘On SoundCloud’ initiative will ‘lay the foundations for creators to make money from their work on the platform.’

Pointing towards a speculated future in which SoundCloud is to become a paid subscription service, the platform will start by giving artists and label’s a shot at collecting royalties from their uploaded music for the first time. By invitation only, select users will be gradually invited to become premiere partners, giving them US facing advertisement scope from such partners as Red Bull, Jaguar and other high-end brands. No immediate timelines for its roll-out have been set, but the tone of Ljung’s post makes the move sound imminent, though ultimately affecting the North American market first.

2014 was the year SoundCloud finally had to answer to its unprecedented success. With major labels seeking equity in return for the use of copyrighted material on the platform, their move to advertisements will garner two significant considerations for users new and old alike: user experience and ease of monetization. Many have argued that this is a ‘better late than never’ move from the company, but users already hit by their rolling glitches and heavy handed takedowns are sure to approach sceptically. In the wake of Twitter dropping their interest in purchasing the platform, this could be a make or break move for SoundCloud in the final stretch of 2014.

Via DancingAstronaut

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Spotify teams up with BandPage

If you’ve ever been daunted by a festival merch line or passed on a DJ tee because you’d have to carry it around all night, a solution is coming from an unlikely place. Streaming service Spotify will now host an artist’s merchandise along with their music as a result of their new partnership with BandPage, and a t-shirt isn’t all that’s on offer. In the official announcement of the partnership, Spotify’s Mark Williamson explained that the service would be offering up “experiences” alongside more traditional merch, and encouraged artists to get creative with things like exclusive online shows, soundcheck access, or random adventures. While this opportunity extends across the music spectrum, Porter Robinson was one of the first to hop on board, offering a VIP Meet and Greet at dates on his Worlds Tour alongside a mask from the “Lionhearted” music video.

Though new to Spotify, BandPage has already partnered with Vevo, XBOX Music, Rhapsody and others, and provides a direct revenue opportunity for artists that have long complained about Spotify’s low royalty rates. Now essentially gaining 40 million potential customers all able to instantly gratify their craving for more than music, artists have found a little more to love about the streaming service.

 

Via Billboard

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