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Music Industry is set for big changes - WR #196
Weekly Roundups
January 12, 2024

Music Industry is set for big changes - WR #196

This week, Soundcloud announced that it will be sold before the end of 2024, news arrives from Apple and AI is still the focus of attention in Music industry. Let's take a closer look at what's going on...

#1. SoundCloud to go on sale 

SoundCloud is reportedly up for sale, with a potential valuation in excess of $1 billion. Shareholders Raine Group and Temasek Holdings have begun discussions with investment banks with a view to a possible auction later this year. The streaming platform, which achieved its first year of profitable EBITDA in 2023, forecasts annual sales of 288 million euros ($310 million) and positive EBITDA of 2 million euros. 

SoundCloud has a total of over 40 million artists who have released 320 million tracks to date, and is due to begin its sales process in a few months' time.

#2. Why would Apple Music’s royalties be higher for Dolby Atmos tracks?

Apple Music is reportedly about to offer royalty incentives to artists and labels that release tracks with Dolby Atmos mixes. It seems like Apple Music will pay higher royalties for songs with Atmos mixes, even if users don't listen to the Atmos version.

This aligns with Apple's broader strategy to promote its upcoming Apple Vision Pro headphones, due for release in February. The inclusion of spatial audio, particularly in spatial videos, surely enhances users' immersive experience. However, Apple doesn't make it easy for mixers and sound engineers who work in home studios; Dolby Atmos mixes require a specific gear and usually the presence of a sound engineer.

#3. Training AI and the issue of protection

Andreessen Horowitz, a major investor in music tech, warns that the music industry's push for stricter copyright controls on AI could risk U.S. dominance in artificial intelligence. Training AI algorithms on copyrighted music is, according to him, fair use and essential for AI development.

In contrast to the stance of many in the music industry, he argues that limiting AI training could hinder innovation and competition, ultimately causing the US to lose its global AI dominance to China. The submission suggests that enforcing copyright for AI training or limiting fair use protections could pose a national security risk by impeding US technological advancements in areas like cybersecurity and intelligence operations, where AI plays a crucial role. The firm asserts that AI has the potential to enhance productivity, spur economic growth, and improve material prosperity globally.

#4. TikTok continues its expansion with Vevo

Vevo will now present "Trending on TikTok" in the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil, marking TikTok's expansion beyond its platform. The show will premiere on Vevo's FAST (free, ad-supported streaming television) channels, consecutively during prime time throughout the week. "Trending on TikTok" joins Vevo's line-up of original programs, such as Pop Video Weekly and Hip-Hop Video Weekly, which recap trending music videos.

#5. Another legislation to protect creators from AI’s risks in the works

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is set to announce a new legislation to protect the state's music industry from the misuse of AI. The legislation, to be unveiled on January 10, will expand existing protections covering image and likeness rights to include specific audio safeguards for songwriters, performers and music industry professionals against AI misuse.

This initiative follows the introduction of the "NO FAKES Act" at federal level, which aims to prevent unauthorized AI-generated replicas of people in audiovisual or sound recordings without consent. The proposed legislation holds individuals and hosting platforms liable for damage caused by unauthorized AI replicas.

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