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Bolstering Massive EDM Strategy, T-Mobile Debuts Above & Beyond Video Series

James Grant, CEO of Involved Management, has been approached many times over the years by various brands wanting to get involved with his biggest client, arena-filling dance trio Above and Beyond. But it wasn't until a January 2014 tweet from John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, that he gave a brand partnership serious consideration.

"A lot of brand conversations we have are, 'You're too late, we're planning out for the year ahead or two years ahead,' whereas T-Mobile was the opposite," says Grant. Indeed, in the month leading up to Above & Beyond's 36-city U.S. arena tour last fall, Legere and T-Mobile's vice president of media, sponsorships and events Mike Belcher were able to put together a sponsorship package to support those dates, including free tickets to sell-out shows, backstage access and meet-and-greets.

Why You Should Be Using YouTube Cards On All Your Videos

YouTube's recent rollout of their new Cards feature was initially met with some skepticism (as most new features are). But now that we've had a little over a month to play with them and measure their impact, Cards are proving to be a game changer for engaging with fans and cross-promoting your content. A few fundamental changes make all the difference and the new features are already showing a climbing engagement and click-through rate.


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Record Store Day Sets Twelve-Year Sales High for Indies, 'Certainly One for the Books'

Record Store Day 2015 was once again a triumph, according to merchants who participated in the event and data supplied by Nielsen Music.

For the week ended April 19 -- Record Store Day was held on April 18 -- the independent sector counted for 532,000 album scans, or 21.5 percent of total physical album sales, and 11.9 percent of overall sales. In both instances, it represented the highest weekly sales percentages total for the indie sector since 2003, according to Nielsen Entertainment senior vp Dave Bakula.

END 0F AN ERA: Universal Music Group Announces Dismantling of Distribution Co, Exec Shuffles

The Universal Music Group has updated its U.S. structure, dropping the Universal Music Group Distribution name and folding that business into separate commercial enterprise functions within the company. The move follows theretirement of longtime leader Jim Urie last fall. At press time, Billboard had no word of layoffs resulting from the move.

The Universal Music Group Distribution name will be retired, but Candace Berry(previously evp and general manager of UMGD) will remain as executive vp of sales, overseeing account management, account analysis, sales administration and label relations.

The suspense! The slaughter! What we learned from the download chart

There was no party. Champagne went unpopped. Sombre talking heads were not wheeled out for a special on BBC Four. Yet last week was a significant anniversary in the UK charts – where legal downloads, then a bewildering new "format", were incorporated into the full UK singles chart. There was an uncomfortable period of conditional cohabitation, where downloads could qualify for inclusion only if they had a concurrent physical release. This was soon scrapped, with Gnarls Barkley's Crazy becoming the first song to get to No 1 in the UK on downloads alone in April 2006.

A decade on, the game is not quite up for downloads, but the wheels are certainly falling off – the charabanc is heading for the ditch. As we have not come to bury the download chart; instead we shall remember what it has taught us.

Facebook strips 200,000 pages of fake ‘likes’ in latest authenticity drive

Facebook says its "new recognition technologies" allowed it to triple the number of detected and blocked fake 'likes' over the last six months, and drive many 'bad actors' selling 'likes' out of business.

Those blocked 'likes' were dealt with "before they ever reached a page," Facebook site security engineer H. Kerem Cevahir specified in a blog post on Friday.

The social network has, according to him, already removed bogus 'likes' from 200,000 pages since March. Page administrators were notified of the fact and advised on how to "gather authentic fans."

We're All At The Mercy Of The Facebook Newsfeed

First, if yours happens to be a little on the sparse side (did all your friends leave for Snapchat?), Facebook will now show you more posts from the contacts you do have rather than let you reach the "end" of your feed.

Second, Facebook will now favor updates "posted directly by the friends you care about" in your newsfeed. If there are certain people you interact with more often, you'll see more posts by them. If you spend a lot of time clicking and commenting on links from the New York Times, you'll see more material from that page, too.

Third and last, you won't see as many posts and comments from your friends on pages you're not connected with. Uncle Ed might love Coca-Cola's Facebook presence, but unless you've also liked the Coca-Cola page, you won't see Uncle Ed's love-in with the sugary soda drink quite as much as you did before.

Victorious Launches Its First Apps For Online Stars And Their “Superfans”

Victorious is launching mobile apps today built for Internet video stars Ryan Higa and The Young Turks.

I assume this is good news if you're a fan of Higa or The Young Turks, but even if you're not, it's the first public launch of apps from Victorious, making it the first real glimpse of what the company can do. Basically, Victorious works with stars from video platforms like YouTube and Vine, building an app for them where they can connect directly with their "superfans", offer exclusive content, and make money with advertising and e-commerce.

For example, the company says Higa (who has 14.2 million subscribers on YouTube) will release previously unseen footage, debut new shows, host live chats, and allow fans to share their own content

A Rapid Rise for Shawn Mendes, in Tune With Social Media

Shawn Mendes has a retort for those who knock Vine — the popular mobile app for six-second videos — as a creative medium.

"People could say, 'Well, it doesn't take much talent to put a six-second video up,' " said Mr. Mendes, 16, whose torrent of Vine videos began in 2013 and includes hundreds of micro-covers of songs by Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Sam Smith and others.

"I would argue that it does, because you only have six seconds to impress somebody," he said. "And if you can do that in six seconds, then you've done a good job."

7digital scores £1.8m in contracts

Digital music platform 7digital has expanded into new territories with two existing contacts, and won four new customers since announcing its preliminary results on March 24.

Together, the contracts have a total value of £1.8 million, including both set up fees and monthly recurring revenues.

New clients include the previously reported TeamRock, as well as venue-focused music management platform CrowdTunes, which provides curated music selections that patrons can engage with and control through a jukebox application on their smartphones, Canada-based music messaging service Rithm, and social music platform urRadio.

Nialler9's How Music Works: Do the major labels still matter?

The eras of major labels with large offices on expensive streets raking in money from multiple music formats at a high-price mark-up and offering huge unrealistic advances to wide-eyed bands they could never pay off, are, thankfully, largely gone. As Mick Jagger said a few years ago, there was only a 25-year period from 1970 to 1997 where musicians actually made real money from recordings. Maybe things are just normalising.

There are now three majors in operation in Ireland: Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music. Until EMI was subsumed as part of global merger with Universal Music, its offices were on Ailesbury Road in Dublin 4 among the diplomats and embassies.

Ne-Yo: "Songwriters Shouldn't Have to Subsidize the Billion-Dollar Streaming Industry"

The music streaming business has got a lot of attention in the past few weeks with the introduction of new players such as Tidal — a company that puts artists in control of the valuation of their music, and not at the mercy of the streaming giants.

Streaming companies such as Spotify and Pandora have quickly come to the defense of their revenue models, releasing figures from what they have paid in royalties and claiming that without streaming platforms, consumers will return to piracy — leaving the entire royalty system at risk of collapse.

As a songwriter, I find this to be an offensive and inaccurate argument. The antiquated consent decrees — which govern how the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and BMI license music, and subsequently has confined songwriter royalties to less than a market rate and enabled streaming companies to enjoy billion-dollar revenues at our expense — has the state of American songwriting on the verge of its own collapse. >>>

CMA To Highlight International Music Three Days Before Festival

This year's CMA Music Festival will again highlight country music's international reach with the CMA World GlobaLive!, a free showcase of international talent in downtown Nashville's Walk of Fame Park, Monday, June 8 (6:00-11:15 p.m. CT) just three days before the "Ultimate Country Music Fan Experience."

The open-to-the-public event will offer international food and beverage vendors with performances by country artists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the U.K. (full list below). Previously known as the Global Artist Party after beginning in 2004, the concert has grown to a capacity crowd of fans and press from around the world.

Project Music startups unveil ideas to industry leaders

Project Music, the first-of-its-kind music tech accelerator program, introduced its first class of entrepreneurs on Thursday to an auditorium full of potential investors and music industry heavyweights in Nashville.

Shepherded through the Entrepreneur Center's accelerator program, the eight music-focused technology startups unveiled their concepts and pitched their products in a slickly produced event at the CMA Theater inside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The startups covered a wide range of ideas -- from an app that dramatically improves the audio quality of music played through a smartphone, to a program that turns a night of karaoke into a digital, social media experience.

Recording Industry's Latest Plan To Mess Up The Internet: Do Away With Safe Harbors

For the most part, the recording industry has been rather quiet of late concerning copyright reform. With labels pulling funding from the RIAA and its international sister operations like the IFPI, the focus on copyright reform has been left mainly up to Hollywood and the MPAA. The recording industry has been much more focused on smaller issues like performance rights and other licensing issues. But, apparently, the recording industry hasn't yet truly given up on the idea of completely undermining key parts of the internet to get its wishes. According to the IFPI, its "top" goal for copyright reform is attacking the so-called "safe harbors" found in copyright law, like the DMCA's Section 512.

If you're unfamiliar with it, copyright's safe harbors are designed to make sure that the internet thrives, by avoiding frivolous litigation that would stifle free expression and innovation. Honestly, the safe harbors are a pretty simple concept: put the liability for infringement on the parties that actually infringe the content, rather than the internet services that they use. Think of it this way: you don't blame Ford for providing the getaway car in a bank robbery, and you don't blame AT&T for providing the phone service used to make a bomb threat. As such, it makes no sense to blame a hosting company because a blogger posted an infringing image.

Canada Extends Copyright Terms, Finally Giving Musicians Who Released Works More Than 50 Years Ago A Reason To Create

For reasons no more sound than it possibly felt a bit inadequate when comparing copyright term length with its next-door-neighbor, Canada has increased the copyright term for sound recordings and performances from 50 years to 70 years. Supposedly, this will spur on further creative efforts in the future, seeing as the previous copyright term length brought about a creative drought spanning nearly two decades -- one that commenced shortly after the end of World War II.

This move will allow Canada to keep apace of the United States' contributions to the public domain by ratcheting that number closer to the desired "zero." This should also trigger a massive explosion in creation, seeing as many recording artists will now be able to monetarily support their record labels far into their golden years (theirs -- not the record labels'). This will also serve to keep the recordings out of the hands of deadbeats… like libraries… or archivists.

Indie festivals contributed a billion to UK economy between 2010 and 2014, says AIF

Independent music festivals in the UK contributed about £1 billion to the British economy during the five festival seasons that took place between 2010 and 2014, according to stats from the Association Of Independent Festivals which now represents 50 of the UK's indie fests.The trade group also reckons that 635,000 music fans attended its members' events just last year, generating £296 million between them. And a portion of that figure comes from "audience spend along the supply chain including local businesses", with £80 million odd benefiting other suppliers and companies based near festival sites during the five years AIF researched.

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