Universal said to be in contract negotiations, wants Spotify to weaken free service
Universal Music Group (UMG) wants Spotify to add more limits to its free streaming service, according to reports. The record label is apparently having issues with the freemium music offering and its apparent lack of revenue, and hopes that restricting the number of listens for songs will push Spotify users to the more lucrative paid subscription service.
Universal Music Group puts uncompressed albums on Blu-ray
Universal Music Group (UMG) is attempting to improve sales of albums on physical media by using Blu-ray. The High Fidelity Pure Audio format uses the high capacity of Blu-ray discs in order to provide uncompressed music tracks to listeners, with the first discs using the method going on sale later this month in the United Kingdom.
Undetailed offering expected during Google I/O as yet unpriced
According to "sources familiar with the company," Google is planning to debut a new subscription music service sometime during the Google I/O conference. Reports have surfaced that Google has signed licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, the three largest record labels in the world in preperations to launch the music offering.
YouTube filter makes false positives
YouTube's anti-piracy screening has both come under fire and gotten some relief on Friday. The system is now known from an anecdote at Vice to generate false positives if enough of a song is improperly attributed to the wrong group. When Universal-backed group Yelawolf took a sample from an After the Smoke track and had its adaptation leaked, the Universal takedown claim not only brought down the Yelawolf leak but the original track the sample came from.
Megaupload may skip Universal for individuals
Megaupload's lawsuit opposing a takedown of a promo video may have taken an unusual turn. The company was claimed by a Hollywood Reporter source with access to the case to have dropped Universal, which orchestrated the takedown, from the suit. Only a number of unnamed people who had participated in the takedown remained.
Megaupload forced closed
Megaupload's troubles were magnified Thursday after word emerged that it has been shut down by Federal prosecutors in Alexandria. The site is currently inaccessible. Reports have also emerged that company staff have charged with violating piracy laws, allegedly contributing to $500 million of lost revenue.
Hosting services protected from liability
A federal appellate court today upheld a lower district court ruling that the safe harbors created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) did protect video hosting site Veoh from copyright liability. The case originated in 2007 when the Universal Music Group sued Veoh for allegedly allowing the site's users to upload protected Universal music videos. Ironically, Veoh filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010, in part due to the financial burden of defending itself against the charges.
Supreme Court upholds Eminem case by abstention
The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to rule on a Universal Music Group appeal of Eminem's digital royalty win. Its gesture upheld a Uinth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said Eminem's contract with FBT Productions entitled him to a 50 percent cut of any digital sales, including iTunes and Amazon MP3. Universal had argued that it could give him the same 12 percent as with CD sales.
Rhapsody cuts price to stay relevant
Rhapsody today slashed the price of a subscription from $15 per month to $10. The immediate cut still provides the same features, which includes unlimited music downloads as well as streaming and in some cases local caching. Permanent MP3 downloads are still an option and usually cost $10 per album with songs ranging between 79 cents and $1.29.
Streaming service shares subscription fees
Spotify has reportedly developed a revenue model that Universal Music Group International considers to be "sustainable," the music label's senior VP Rob Wells told Telegraph. Spotify currently pays royalties per stream in the UK and Spain. In Sweden, Norway, Finland and France, the company shares revenues from money generated by subscriptions and advertising instead of the per-stream system.
Student guilty of sharing
A Boston University student has been found guilty of violating copyright laws after he admitted to illegally sharing music could face as much as $4.5 million in fines. In court, Joel Tenenbaum admitted he downloaded and then shared 30 tracks from artists like Nirvana, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins and more, says a Friday report. The statement leaves the court primarily to decide whether or not the infringement was purposeful or unintentional and assign Tenenbaum's penalty. The sum could range from $750 to $30,000 per infringement, or shared song, but a ruling by the jury could bump that number to $150,000 per song.
Universal music video site
Universal Music Group is planning on creating its own online music video hosting website that would include other content as well, as per a recent rumbling. The site would be similar in execution to NBC’s Hulu video streaming site, and also include artist focused content and editorial, such as interviews and behind-the-scenes looks, and content from other labels and partners would also be welcome, the article says, quoting unnamed sources.