Monday, April 22, 2019

CD Baby and Audible Magic Team Up to Ensure Quality Partnership with Artists and Music Services

Artist service provider CD Baby is partnering with Audible Magic – the music industry’s go-to expert in digital content identification, licensing, and monetization – to increase content protection for artists and labels. As part of the partnership, CD Baby will use Audible Magic’s RightsRx service to identify content rights conflicts prior to delivery to a Digital Service Provider (DSP), ensuring that CD Baby remains a trusted distribution partner of digital platforms worldwide.
As streaming continues to grow exponentially, both companies are at the center of one of the music business’s greatest opportunities and biggest challenges: How do distributors and artist service companies concurrently manage growing data volumes, comply with DSP requirements, and still provide the best service to musicians, all in a cost-effective manner?

“Audible Magic is an essential element that enables us to play our role in the music business,” said CD Baby VP of Marketing Kevin Breuner. “Their powerful identification technology allows us to serve our artists – and the platforms and services they rely on – quickly and fairly.”

When a user requests to upload files, RightsRx allows CD Baby to check Audible Magic’s comprehensive registry of over 30 million media assets. RightsRxthen indicates if the file is a duplicate of another audio track in the system, or if it is a potentially suspicious file. CD Baby can proactively decline to upload the file in question, rather than reactively taking it down at a later time due to a potentially costly rights conflict. In the vast majority of cases, however, files will upload seamlessly and be ready for distribution.

“CD Baby plays a vital role in the independent music community. We look forward to supporting their ongoing efforts to provide the highest quality of service to their artists and maintain strong relationships with the DSPs,” said Vance Ikezoye, President and CEO at Audible Magic.
RightsRx is part of a bigger strategy at CD Baby to be the best partner possible to diverse music services and an even more diverse community of artists. This demands constant learning, extensive tech savvy, and real creativity.
“We’re doing everything in our power to provide digital partners with data and assets that boost our artists. We want to create the best experience via these partnerships,” said MJ Woodis, CD Baby’s Director of Digital Operations who leads a 19-person team that addresses this challenge. “We work closely with DSPs, and it’s often more of a conversation, not just rules laid down. The heart of the matter is not to restrict as we get them music and data, and to enable search and other discovery methods to help our artists. It’s a growing process.”

About CD Baby
CD Baby is one of the largest distributors of independent music on the planet, home to 650,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks that are made available to 100+ digital services and platforms around the globe. Artists on the platform are empowered to monetize their rights while maintaining control of their own careers and have collectively earned over $600 million since the company’s founding. CD Baby’s Publishing Administration service allows over 160,000 songwriters to collect all of their publishing royalties and currently administers over 1 million songs.
About Audible Magic
For more than 20 years, Audible Magic has continuously created innovative, industry-leading solutions that protect digital media and accelerate its monetization. An Emmy-winning pioneer in proprietary content recognition solutions, its core identification platform performs billions of nearly instantaneous content match transactions every month. Audible Magic has become the trusted intermediary between the majority of rightsholders (music labels, distributors, publishers and collectives) and digital service providers (such as Facebook, SoundCloud, TikTok/, Dailymotion, Twitch, and Twitter), navigating the complexities of content identification, ownership determination, and rights administration.

Revolving Around the Music Maker: URSA Reimagines Streaming Music for a New Artist-Centric Era

What would a streaming service look like, if hard-nosed but optimistic professional musicians built it? It would look like URSA, a platform that weds artist-focused engagement, commerce, and context with an intuitive, high-quality listener experience.

URSA is the only streaming service that features rich artist-controlled profiles, including music, photos, videos, tour dates, bios and more, all in one place. Fans can explore content related to the song they’re currently listening to, including additional artwork and liner notes. URSA's also the first streaming service to bring music professionals to the forefront with linked credits, offering an exciting new approach to music discovery. Using URSA, producers, mixers, engineers, songwriters, instrumentalists, and other music makers can create a profile, build their discographies and get the acknowledgement they deserve.

This is by design. “We aren’t just delivering music,” says Chris Jones, long-time singer songwriter and URSA founder. “We’re solving problems for artists, which creates a deeper experience for fans.”

Current streaming platforms were designed to ease listeners away from P2P file sharing, and thus focused almost exclusively on listeners’ ease. They packed the world’s music into one place, at one price, with just the basics. Other aspects crucial to artists--meaningful contact with fans, lyrics, liner notes, and other assets, revenue from sources beyond recorded music--were afterthoughts, add-ons, or absent altogether.

This was glaringly apparent to Jones and URSA co-founder, producer, songwriter, and drummer Chad Royce. Both had cut their teeth in the New York rock scene and gone on to professional careers playing in touring bands, signing deals with major labels, and working as sidemen and hit makers.
“If I produced a track or had a writing credit, there was no record of that contribution, even if the song was reasonably successful. It was almost impossible to trace,” Royce reflects, who has worked as a producer with the likes of Me'shell Ndegecello. “Recently some streaming services have added limited credits like songwriter and producer, but on URSA artists can add as many different credits as they’d like. We’ve also made these credits link to actual profiles so when a user taps on one of these profiles they can view their whole discography, which is an exciting and powerful way to discover new music. For instance, if you like the production on a track, chances are you’ll like other music that producer has worked on.”

“Over the years, when I was touring or at home trying to promote shows and engage fans, everything was so dispersed and focused on one aspect of my music. It was time consuming and incredibly frustrating,” Jones notes. “You want to present a complete picture of who you are to your fans. The task of endless link sharing dilutes the impact of your content and creates needless work for fans. Ultimately, it felt like a huge missed opportunity.”

Jones decided a better way was possible. He began poring over ideas for a platform that would unite music streaming and the many ways fans and artists interact, in a user-friendly, artist-centered experience. He met up with Royce over a drink one evening, and they both saw the potential. They decided they had to build it, since no one else had.

One of URSA’s key features, in addition to its wealth of assets and its in-app commerce, is its social aspect. Social music may be an Everest of sorts for music tech, a mountainside often attempted but littered with past hopefuls and contenders. However, URSA takes the artist view of feature design, putting the focus squarely on engagement with the music and its contextual assets, not just on sharing tracks and playlists.

That means the interactions on URSA aim to be more authentic, not algorithm driven and not buried in the feed or populated with marketing speak. “Most of the social music services have been fan oriented, about sharing with your friends in various ways,” Royce explains. “No one has done something completely artist-centric. On URSA, artists are the center. The artist has to be on there and participating to make the social features impactful and successful.”

“The social features all revolve around the artist profile, which includes songwriters and producers,” says Jones. “These profiles are hubs for features, places the fan can explore from. We’ve reimagined it creating a space where features many users already know and like can all coexist harmoniously. We wouldn’t label ourselves solely as a social platform, but we made it a focus, because interaction and direct engagement is crucial for artists and fans. In fact, we see it being an essential part of the evolution of streaming.”

This approach mirrors the platform’s overarching vision for empowering artists first, and letting that empowerment lead organically to substantial engagement with a community of music lovers. This is a lean-in, not a lean-back space, where artists’ ideas can rule and define how their music is presented and savored.

“We’re bringing everything into one space where artists can add context to their music, speak directly to their fans, publish a broader array of content than ever before, while giving fans a more personal and complete listening and engagement experience,” Jones says. “Musicians have an entrepreneurial spirit, whether they know it or not. They are making something from nothing. There’s a boldness there, and this demands a platform that’s equally bold.

Global music community prevails in winning the rights to the .MUSIC domain extension

DotMusic Limited ( announces that their global music community application for the .MUSIC registry prevailed. ICANN will award DotMusic the rights to the .MUSIC top-level domain name extension and move to contracting soon.
Other applicants for .MUSIC included global companies, Google and Amazon, leading domain registries, Donuts, Radix and MMX, and other interested groups.
.MUSIC will be the first domain extension launched with music-tailored policies to protect creators’ rights and ensure that legitimate music artists, industry professionals and companies can claim their name without fear of cybersquatting or piracy.
“This is a new digital era for the global music community,” said DotMusic founder and CEO Constantine Roussos. “For the first time in Internet history, music community members will be able to register their own exclusive, verified, and trusted .MUSIC domain name.”
“IFPI congratulates DotMusic on the success of its application to manage the .MUSIC domain.  As the online marketplace around the world continues to evolve, so too do the challenges the music community faces in preventing music from being made available illegally and ensuring fans have access to licensed services. We welcome DotMusic’s commitments to safeguard .MUSIC domains against unlawful uses and we look forward to working closely with the DotMusic team in implementing those commitments,” said Frances Moore, Chief Executive of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), representing the recording industry worldwide.
“As the world’s largest global network for creators, with member societies in over 120 countries, CISAC welcomes the .MUSIC domain and the opportunities it can create to develop a stronger and more responsible environment for licensed music,” said Gadi Oron, Director General of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC).
“A vetted .MUSIC domain is fully in line with our Federation's goal to protect and further the economic, social and artistic interests of musicians globally," said Benoît Machuel, the General Secretary of the International Federation of Musicians.
“IFACCA congratulates DotMusic on the success of its campaign to launch a trusted community-based domain for artists, and we particularly welcome its international community approach to tackle this complex issue. IFACCA’s vision is a world in which arts and culture thrive and are recognised by governments and peoples for their contribution to society; this initiative promises to help realise this vision, by supporting artists to thrive – not least by protecting their welfare and intellectual property rights -  and providing a trusted space for global audiences to engage with and support artists,” said Magdalena Moreno Mujica, Executive Director, International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA).
“We congratulate the DotMusic team on their successful application. Since the beginning, our hope was that this process would yield a .MUSIC domain where proper and effective safeguards would protect the rights of music creators globally and allow them control over their work. We look forward to working with DotMusic on implementing this vision to ensure that the internet ecosystem is a safe, vibrant, and innovative place where legitimate music creation, access, and distribution can thrive,” said Brad Buckles, Chief Content Protection Officer, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“The NMPA applauds DotMusic for establishing a critical domain that is tailored for the music creator community. This was a hard-fought and competitive process and we look forward to the great potential of the .MUSIC domain for songwriters and music publishers alike who will greatly benefit from its piracy and copyright protections,” said David Israelite, President and CEO, National Music Publisher Association (NMPA).
“As an organization of performers, songwriters, and studio professionals, the Recording Academy is pleased to see the community-focus for the new .MUSIC domain. We look forward to working with the team at DotMusic to ensure creators and intellectual property are respected on all .MUSIC sites,” said Daryl P. Friedman, Chief Industry, Government and Relations Officer, The Recording Academy / GRAMMYs.
“Our mission at IMPALA is to grow the independent music sector in Europe. In our digital action plan, our aims included effectively tackling infringing websites and giving music consumers the best digital infrastructure in the world based on trust and security,” said Helen Smith, Executive Chair, Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA). “It is good news that an application abiding by community commitments prevailed and we look forward to working with the DotMusic team to achieve our mutual objectives and create a safe and innovative ecosystem for global music consumption.”
“WIN welcomes the announcement that DotMusic has succeeded in its application to manage the .MUSIC top-level-domain. We look forward to working together to ensure this opportunity will benefit the music community by further developing the licensed online music market, and creating another line of defense against piracy,” said Charlie Phillips, COO, Worldwide Independent Network (WIN).
“A2IM's mission to promote growth, awareness and equality of opportunity for independent music through advocacy, education and community, is aligned with .MUSIC's principles. We welcome the launch of the .MUSIC domain that addresses the concerns and needs of the music community,” said Dr. Richard James Burgess, President and CEO, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM).
“Congratulations to DotMusic for being chosen as the winning applicant for the .MUSIC Internet domain registry.   It is very important to have a domain where music can be commerced with built-in safeguards, such as protections against piracy, infringement and cybersquatting,” said Bart Herbison, Executive Director, NSAI.  "Our industry has waited a long time for this to materialize and we look forward to working together to build an unparalleled global music domain.”
“We welcome the establishment of the first domain dedicated to the vast ecosystem of music makers and look forward to this next-level of community development in the digital space,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO.
“IMPF is really pleased for all the team at DotMusic for having prevailed.  We are delighted that the .MUSIC domain name extension will afford all of us - music publishers, composers, songwriters and our associations - the opportunity to ensure that we can claim and protect our names against cybersquatters. It has been a long journey but it is great to see the international music community validated,” said Pierre Mossiat, President, Independent Music Publishers International Forum (IMPF).
The .MUSIC registry team will work closely with the global music community and the .MUSIC Governance Board to prepare for the safe, responsible and prudent launch of .MUSIC. The expected launch for .MUSIC is 2020.

funk therapy: Cimafunk takes on America with a new Afro-Cuban groove

“Cimafunk” is the artistic name adopted by Erik Alejandro Rodriguez and a statement of his musical philosophy. “Cima” pays homage to the Cimarrones. “Runaway slaves fled to remote areas of the island in order to form their own free communities with a new culture, neither African nor colonial.” Cimafunk explains. “That Afro-Cuban identity has been essential to my music for a long time.” The name signifies an openness to sounds from all over that tradition, wherever music has the same zest for cultural mixing, joyful survival, and self-determination. From that perspective, American funk is another strand of African diaspora music, one that Cimafunk loves for its power to get people dancing.
Cimafunk’s love affair with American sounds started early, when a lone Lionel Richie cassette provided the soundtrack to childhood rides in his uncle’s car. After eating, digesting, and recombining American music ranging from Marvin Gaye to Prince for years, Cimafunk is finally visiting the U.S. for the first time on this tour. Is he feeling the pressure? Not really, he grins, “I just want to see how people respond. I’m going to enjoy it, and make sure everyone goes home in a good mood.”
“Me Voy” (I’m leaving), Cimafunk’s breakout single, fuses Afro-Cuban carnival rhythms with funky slap bass and a flavor of Nigerian Afropop. Cimafunk’s voice sizzles as he sings what happens after the party’s over with sly innuendo: “I’m going home, but if you want, I can go to yours.” An award-winning music video follows Cimafunk as he dances on the streets of Havana with school kids, hipsters, and old folks, accessorizing his signature flat-top with mirror shades and a cheeky smile that’s as infectious as his funky groove.
The rise of Cimafunk’s star has been meteoric, but he’s earned it with a musical apprenticeship that crosses Cuba and its music scene. After youthful flirtations with trova and reggaeton criollo and a couple of years of medical school in his hometown of Pinar del Rio, Cimafunk made his way to Havana. He scraped by painting and buffing cars until he got a break singing backup for fellow Pinareño Raúl Paz. Singing and songwriting with Interactivo, the acclaimed Cuban musical fusion collective, completed Cimafunk’s education and readied him to go solo.
Friends from Interactivo, including Roberto Carcassés and Brenda Navarrete, lent their talents to some of his album’s tracks, but Terapia is all Cimafunk: his personal love-letter to the sounds of Cuba and America.
Everyone who heard Terapia knew it was something new and exciting, but Cimafunk credits his band for the energy that powers his live shows. The stage at a Cimafunk concert is crowded—a drumset and a set of congas, keyboards, backup singers who also play trombone—but Cimafunk never considered touring with a smaller lineup. “We are like a family, and we need to share the energy,” he says. “The whole process is like therapy. When you feel the connection between the musicians, something starts to wake up.”
Follow the link below to stream/download tracks and view tour dates. And please let me know if I can get you any press materials to aid your coverage or arrange an interview with Cimafunk!
Cimafunk - Funk Therapy: Cimafunk Takes on America With a New Afro-Cuban Groove
Cimafunk is an ambassador for the young Cuban movement that’s pushing traditional music in unexpected directions. His unique contribution to that scene draws from 1970s funk and African beats to create playful.
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