Business

Spotify Hit With $1.6 Billion Copyright Lawsuit Over Tom Petty, Neil Young Songs

Wixen Music Publishing files a new lawsuit that also covers music from Rage Against the Machine, The Doors, Steely Dan, and many others. As the new year begins, the music industry could be set for an epochal moment. Hopes are running high for the first significant reform of music licensing rules in decades. The coming year may also see Spotify go public. But before any of this happens, the Stockholm, Sweden-based streaming giant must now contend with a massive new copyright lawsuit from Wixen Music Publishing, which administers the song compositions by Tom Petty, Zach De La Rocha and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, David Cassidy, Neil Young, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Stevie Nick...

Vevo Revenue Up 30 Percent in 2017 As it Eyes Profitability: Report

Vevo’s revenue jumped 30 percent to $650 million in 2017, up from $500 million the year prior, according to a report in the Financial Times. The bump means that the video streaming company broke even in the past year, with an eye towards turning a profit in 2018. According to the report, Vevo racked up 25 billion views per month on its videos this past year, or about 300 billion views total, and attributed its increased revenue to an influx of advertising dollars from YouTube spurred by the controversy surrounding ads being placed against videos with graphic content, which erupted last spring. Major brands such as AT&T, Verizon, PepsiCo and Walmart either pulled or threatened to pull their advertising from the service at the time, prompting YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to issue an ...

Ron Perry Officially Named Chairman/CEO of Columbia Records

As widely expected, Columbia Records today officially named Ron Perry as its new chairman/CEO. Perry takes over a role that was most recently held by Rob Stringer, who has been doing double duty in the position since being promoted to CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in April. The move had been rumored for months while Perry had been serving as president of SONGS Music Publishing, a role he has held since 2004. When SONGS sold to Kobalt Capital’s fund for an estimated $140 million in December, the path cleared for him to exit the company and make the move to Columbia. His first day in charge is today (Jan. 2) and he will report to Stringer. And at 38, Perry will be the youngest executive in charge of a major label, a designation that will last until Aaron Bay-Schuck takes over as co-c...

Asian markets mostly higher as 2018 trading opens

Asian stock markets were mostly higher Tuesday as 2018 trading began and investors looked ahead to whether the record-setting U.S. equity run will last. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 1 percent to 3,339.63 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.4 percent to 30,350.50. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,471.06 while Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.1 percent to 6,058.90. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Jakarta and Singapore rose. WALL STREET: U.S. stocks slid on the final trading day of 2017 but turned in their strongest annual performance since 2013. Technology companies, banks and health care stocks accounted for much of the decline. Energy stocks fell, even as the price of U.S. crude oil surged to its highest level ...

Biggest financial breakthroughs for 2018

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Maroon 5 Manager Jordan Feldstein Remembered as a ‘Leader in Every Sense of the Word’

At a funeral this week, Career Artist Management general manager Adam Harrison called Feldstein “the smartest guy in the room — at all times.” Jordan Feldstein, Maroon 5’s longtime manager, died from a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 40. As CEO and founder of Career Artist Management (CAM), Feldstein also also helped guide the careers Miguel, Robin Thicke, Elle King, Big Boi and other artists. At Feldstein’s funeral this week, Career Artist Management general manager Adam Harrison remembered Feldstein as the “the smartest guy in the room — at all times.”  “He was two steps ahead of all of us,” he said. “Jordan could always see the big picture, even when others couldn’t.” Below, read Harrison’s speech...

Goldman Sachs expects $5 billion hit from tax overhaul in 4Q

Goldman Sachs expects to take a $5 billion hit to profits for the fourth quarter and year because of the tax overhaul signed into law last week. The New York bank said Friday that two thirds of the $5 billion are due to changes in repatriation taxes, when funds are returned from overseas. The remainder includes the “effects of the implementation of the territorial tax system and the remeasurement of U.S. deferred tax assets at lower enacted corporate tax rates.” U.S. companies had found ways to legally park money overseas to avoid the higher U.S. corporate tax. It has been expected that changes in the law would prompt some of those companies to return money to the U.S., potentially $2.5 trillion or more. Economists believe the overall effect on the economy will be muted because...

Apple Apologizes for Secretly Slowing Older iPhones

“We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” Apple apologized for secretly slowing down older iPhones, a move it said was necessary to avoid unexpected shutdowns related to battery fatigue. Many customers had interpreted the move as a way to for Apple to juice demand for newer iPhone models, their suspicions fueled by the fact that the company didn’t initially disclose the slowdowns or its reasons for them. Apple also said it will cut the price of a battery replacement by $50 to $29 through next year. New batteries had previously cost $79 for those who didn’t purchase the Apple Care maintenance plan. “We apologize,” the company said on its website . “We have never — and wou...

Smart Speaker Sales More Than Tripled in 2017

Nearly 25 million were sold in the year, with about 11 million moved in the holiday quarter alone. Internet-connected lights, locks and laundry machines are close to becoming everyday household items, thanks in part to voice-activated speakers such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Market research groups are seeing increased sales of lights that turn off when you say “good night,” smart locks that let in your friends before you get home and similar smart-home gadgets. While the devices are still relatively expensive — you can get six regular light bulbs for the price of a single smart one — demand is likely to pick up further as prices fall. “This holiday, it’s starting to turn the corner into the mass market,” said Steve Koenig, senior director of market research at the Consumer Technolog...

Bandcamp Releases 2017 Year-End Numbers, Including Mind-Boggling Cassette Tape Stats

‘Tis the season to look back at all that has happened in the past year, as New Year’s Day hurtles closer and closer (it’s Monday!). Today, Bandcamp got in on the fun, via a blog post by engineer Ben Walker that detailed a few notable, and surprising, trends the company saw in 2017. Most notably, the company announced that 500 bands set up a Bandcamp page each day in 2017, or approximately 182,500 new bands in the calendar year — and each page in that tally, the blog post notes, is an active one with music uploaded to it, rather than a placeholder or dormant one. And the post also noted that the new Bandcamp app, which was introduced Oct. 31 and provides users with real-time statistics and merchandising capabilities, has already seen 36,000 artists and labels begin u...

Canadian Producer and Record Label Owner André Di Cesare Dies at 70

André Di Cesare, a Canadian music producer and owner of Montreal indie label Star Records, whose biggest success was Roch Voisine’s diamond-selling Hélène, died Christmas Eve, his sister, Johanne Di Cesare, confirmed to The Canadian Press. He was 70. “André lived for music,” she told the national news agency. “During the past year, he was sick, but he worked despite it. He looked after his artists.” Regarded as one of Quebec’s most important music industry figures, he formed Les Disques Star (Star Records) in 1982, a label initially designed to produce albums by André Gagnon, but that went on to become home to Martine St-Clair, Richard Huet, Nicole Martin, Martine Chevrier, Édith Butler, Patrick Norman, Renée Martel, Voisine and others.   From 1987, Di Cesare also s...

Apple Hit With Several Lawsuits For Slowing Down Older iPhones

iPhone owners from several states sued Apple Inc. for not disclosing sooner that it issued software updates deliberately slowing older-model phones so aging batteries lasted longer, saying Apple’s silence led them to wrongly conclude that their only option was to buy newer, pricier iPhones. The allegations were in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Chicago federal court on behalf of five iPhone owners from Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina, all of whom say they never would have bought new iPhones had Apple told them that simply replacing the batteries would have sped up their old ones. The suit alleges Apple violated consumer fraud laws. A similar lawsuit was filed Thursday in Los Angeles. Both suits came a day after Apple confirmed what high-tech sleuths outside the company already obse...