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In The Know: SoStereo's Weekly Music News Summary April 27, 2018

SoStereo's weekly music and advertising round-up with news from Facebook, Spotify, the US Congress and more.
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Facebook Signs Licensing Deals With PIAS, Merlin, INGrooves & Beggars Group:

Facebook continues its foray into the music world with licensing deals with some of the bigger players in the independent music world. The biggest name here is Merlin, which represents over 20,000 independent record labels and 12% of the global market share. Facebook recently signed deals with the majors, which covers Facebook, Instagram and Oculus, but not WhatsApp. Facebook is apparently committed to building a royalty tracking mechanism that will launch in the future and now will reportedly pay blind advances so artists can finally get paid for the music that is uploaded onto their various platforms.

Read more here.

Music Modernization Act Unanimously Passes United States House of Representatives:

In a very rare act of bipartisanship, the Music Modernization Act has unanimously passed by the United States House of Representatives. The vote took place on Wednesday with 415 voting for and 16 not voting. It still needs to be passed by the US Senate then signed by the president, but with so much support in the house, it seems as though this is more than likely to become the law of the land.

The law would do a few things that have been hailed by many in the business. It would close the pre-1972 loophole when it comes to digital radio play that has been exploited for year. It would also create an agency and blanket mechanical license to assign rights and collect royalties for songwriters and publishers, to hopefully ensure they are properly paid. As we have seen with the numerous lawsuits at Spotify, this has been a pretty big issue.

Read more here.

Spotify Will Raise Subscription Prices In Norway:

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Spotify has announced it will raise prices of subscriptions for new consumers in Norway next month by 10%. The price jump will extend to existing users in July. This will apply to the standard subscription, student plans and family plans according to Bloomberg. This is likely to try and meet demands of its investors as it looks to become profitable and could be a test for larger markets around the world to see if they can raise prices and retain customers.

Distrokid Adds Synchronized Global Release:

One of the world’s larger independent distributors, Distrokid, has announced a new offering, Synchonized Global Release. This will allow artists and record labels to release a record at exactly the same time across the world regardless of time zone. So instead of it being available at midnight in the UK and then fans on the west coast of the United States have to wait another eight hours, the song will be available in all markets at the same time.

Learn more here.

Spotify Announces Major Upgrades To Free App:

At an event in New York this week, Spotify announced some upgrades to its free app, which they hope will entice new users onto the ad-supported part of the service and then become paying subscribers. They are giving freemium members more benefits on the platform. Users will now have access to personalized playlists like Discover Weekly and daily mixes, while also getting access to major editorial playlists like RapCaviar with no skips. They previously could only play these on shuffle. There will be a greater emphasis on getting more data on the user to make recommendations more personalized according to Spotify. They are getting rid of the radio tab and replacing it with Premium, to show the user what they might have if they paid for the service.

Read more here.

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