This post was published by the content creator and not GhanaWeb, its affiliates, or employees.
Reporter Post of Wednesday, 6 September 2023
Source: Shizzy Banks
Ex Wai, a gifted musician from Ghana, delivers this amazing rendition of “TOKENDO.”
This amazing song, titled TOKENDO, will be released by the talented and dedicated Ghanaian musician Ex Wai. This beautiful song will be newly released on the 14th of August. You can listen to the song when released by following Ex Wai on all social media and musical platforms and downloading this lovely music.
Amazing Ghanaian singer and composer Ex Wai is on the rise. He is the mastermind behind the exquisite symphony known as TOKENDO, which will be accessible to the general public right here on Ghanaweb.com.
The gifted singer and songwriter is steadily ascending the ranks of the music industry. Ghanaian music, who is dedicated and talented, created TOKENDO.
News that Concord plans to buy Round Hill Music Royalty Fund for $1.15 per share sent Round Hill shares soaring 64.4% on Friday (Sept. 8), from $0.6875 to $1.13 per share. They finished the week up 62.6%, leading all music stocks by a wide margin.
The deal, which must be approved by at least 75% of Round Hill’s shareholders at the company’s Oct. 18 general meeting, values the rights in the fund at nearly $469 million. On March 6, an independent valuation from Citron Cooperman put Round Hill’s economic net asset value at $519.6 million, according to the company’s 2022 annual report. That puts Concord’s bid at a 9.7% discount to economic NAV — a vast improvement from the 46% discount the stock had been trading at before the deal was announced.
Round Hill competitor Hipgnosis Songs Fund was also a beneficiary of Concord’s announcement. Shares of Hipgnosis rose 15.7% to 0.923 pounds ($1.15) on Friday, bringing the stock’s one-week gain to 16.8%. Hipgnosis shares have been trading at a steep discount to the company’s net asset value — a measure of the company’s catalog, less liabilities — and hadn’t closed above 0.923 pounds since Sept. 27, 2022. The fact that Concord found a buyer at a price close to its NAV could have signaled to Hipgnosis investors that its shares should be trading closer to its NAV. Some Hipgnosis investors may have also believed that, like the Concord deal, Hipgnosis could also find a suitor that would bid close to the NAV.
Round Hill and Hipgnosis were — by far — the biggest gainers of the week. Overall, the 21-stock Billboard Global Music Index dropped 0.8% to 1,348.41. Year-to-date, the index has gained 15.5%.
No other music stocks had a double-digit gain, and just six others finished the week in positive territory. Twelve stocks lost ground this week and one stock, music streamer Anghami, was unchanged. French music streamer Deezer gained 6.8% and was probably helped by its announcement of a partnership with Universal Music Group to adopt a new system for calculating streaming royalties. Universal Music Group shares improved 3.8% to 23.52 euros ($25.20).
Stocks were down around the world this week. In the United States, the S&P 500 fell 1.3% and the Nasdaq composite dropped 1.9%. South Korea’s KOSPI composite index lost 0.6%. In the United Kingdom, the FTSE 100 was a bright spot with a slight 0.2% gain.
With the help of Round Hill and Hipgnosis, the eight stocks in the record labels and publishing category on the Billboard Global Music Index had an average gain of 10.3%. The other categories saw losses; four live music stocks had a 0.9% average decline, six streaming stocks dropped an average of 3.9% and three radio stocks had a 4.7% average decline.
LiveOne shares fell 10.4% on Friday following the company’s spin-off of its PodcastOne segment on the Nasdaq exchange. That brought its shares’ one-week loss to 21.8%. LiveOne distributed about 19% of PodcastOne shares to LiveOne shareholders of record as of Sept. 5, but the podcast company’s trading debut got off to a rocky start on Friday. Trading under the ticker PODC, shares of PodcastOne owner and operater Courtside Group fell 45.1% to $4.39 from a starting price of $8 per share.
Downtown Music Holdings-owned Songtrust faced serious and extended suspensions from major rights societies PRS for Music, SACEM, and the collective ICE over a rash of fraudulent and problematic accounts, multiple sources have relayed to Digital Music News.
The suspensions, which robbed member songwriters and rightsholders of substantial royalties, or at least substantially delayed their delivery, appeared to have started in 2021 and were only resolved after substantial client purges and revamped processes were implemented.
Songtrust is a global music publishing administrator that counts more than 350,000 clients and oversees roughly three million songs. The company claims its global reach spans ‘215 countries’ and ‘65 global sources’ with US-based PROs ASCAP, BMI, and European organizations SACEM and PRS for Music listed most prominently in its marketing pitches.
Beyond PRS for Music, SACEM, and ICE, at least two other publishing rights organizations were also considering a freeze on Songtrust clientele, according to a Downtown executive who agreed to speak with DMN. The additional rights organizations paused the pending blocks after being satisfied by various account purges and structural changes, the source also relayed.
In all cases, the suspensions appeared to be prompted by serious causes of fraud or problematic song metadata, with Songtrust’s vetting process viewed as structurally inadequate.
It appears that Songtrust isn’t currently facing active freezes. But sources noted that Songtrust clients were not properly alerted to the freezes, even though the blocks would substantially compromise the ability of creators to collect global publishing royalties.
When asked about these developments, former Songtrust President Molly Neumann, currently CMO of parent Downtown Music Holdings, refused to discuss the matter directly with Digital Music News, though she did offer limited statements through New York-based PR agency Kite Hill Public Relations.
Via the intermediary, Neumann noted that “Songtrust is active with all of our partners,” but declined to answer whether suspensions had existed in recent months and years. When asked specifically about the PRS, SACEM, and ICE suspensions, Neumann’s PR representative only stated: “We stand by our original statement and have no further comment.”
The collecting societies themselves were also reluctant to confirm the suspensions. But they didn’t deny them.
In one conversation with ICE, head of marketing Gary Smith noted that Songtrust was currently an active partner, but resolutely refused to answer any questions about previous suspensions. “I’m sorry, but on this occasion, we can’t comment,” Smith told DMN after repeated questions on the Songtrust suspension. Smith did offer to “come back with something” by the following Monday, though no follow-up statement arrived.
Elsewhere, SACEM declined multiple inquiries and PRS for Music refused to discuss Songtrust details. “We do not comment on individual member accounts, but we can confirm that we are in regular dialogue with Songtrust,” PRS offered in a statement.
“We work closely with a wide range of industry partners, including Songtrust, to ensure the integrity of our copyright data and we continue to develop robust policies and tools to protect against fraudulent claims.”
In the case of PRS, email correspondence shared with Digital Music News revealed at least two suspensions — or ‘distribution holds’ — within the past two years.
One freeze was lifted in September of 2021, according to the emails, though another was initiated in August of 2022. In both cases, serious issues involving erroneous or fraudulent ISRC and PA (short for ‘Performing Arts’) information tied to songs were cited.
In one urgent email, whose date was not disclosed, Songtrust was warned of a ‘severe risk’ posted by serious fraudulent submissions and a review by PRS’ legal counsel. An immediate freeze was implemented while the legal review was initiated.
Improper identifiers threatened to pollute royalty-processing efforts with other songs because of overlapping ISRC codes and other improper identifiers, email threads further revealed. After the freeze was lifted on the Songtrust-represented catalog, it was reinstated after just 11 months due to the emergence of tens of thousands of new violations.
PRS for Music executives also expressed concerns with sloppy, conflicting, or fraudulent ‘Recording Data Identifier Quality,’ ‘Catalogue Management,’ and ‘CWR Quality’ submission components.
The public stonewalling — by PRS for Music and other organizations — raises serious questions about why these rights societies are covering up for Songtrust, especially given their charters to prioritize songwriters and creators.
“ICE exists to ensure songwriters get paid,” the company prominently declares on its homepage. “Accurately, transparently, and at the right value.”
PRS for Music offers a similar mantra: “Music wouldn’t exist without the work of songwriters, composers and publishers,” the company proclaims on its homepage. “We’re here to represent them and ensure that they are rewarded for their creations.”
Meanwhile, the rash of suspensions appear to be forcing serious changes at Songtrust.
Just last month, Songtrust members were sent a lengthy email from Downtown Music Publishing president Emily Stephenson detailing a serious overhaul in submission processes. The correspondence was shared in full with DMN.
“We have restructured our rights management, technology and support teams with the aim to improve and evolve our client services and support levels,” the letter starts.
“You might have noticed slower registration timelines,” the letter continues (bold by Songtrust/Downtown). “Because of the necessity to ensure the integrity of the data we are sending to our income sources, each song we receive goes through a very extensive vetting process, which is a combination of manual and automated workflows.”
The company also confirmed new partnerships with Plaid, a company focused on ‘KYC’ compliance (short of ‘Know Your Customer’ verification processes), and Trolley, a payment processing platform. “We have implemented these additional process improvements to ensure that all metadata is correct and that your personal information is safe and secure.”
Songtrust also implemented a ‘prequalification questionnaire’ for all new registrations, while also pointing to a ‘new leadership and organizational structure” implemented at the onset of 2023, which includes an alignment of “back office operations with other publishing groups within Downtown Music Holdings.”
The revelations come at an inopportune time for the beleaguered Downtown Music.
Over the past few months, federal prosecutors have handed down lengthy prison terms to a pair of scammers at MediaMuv, a fraudulent YouTube rights management organization that generated millions in royalty scams while operating under Downtown division AdRev.
The MediaMuv duo, Jose Teran and Webster Batista Fernandez, are both behind bars, though former AdRev CEO Noah Becker avoided charges and has since departed the company. Per Downtown, Becker has been cooperating with federal authorities in their lengthy investigation, though he now operates in a completely different industry. In total, MediaMuv scammed an estimated $23 million in royalties by improperly claiming thousands of revenue-generating copyrights, with AdRev offering the cover of legitimacy that disguised the wrongdoing for years.
Downtown Music Holdings, founded by current executive chairman Justin Kalifowitz in 2007, also owns prominent music distributors CD Baby (acquired in 2019) and FUGA (acquired in 2020).
Drake continues to make pop news in the entertainment industry. The “Heart on My Sleeve” TikTok hit sparked controversy earlier this year. A content creator, Ghostwriter, used artificial intelligence to create a fictional collaboration between The Weeknd and Drake. The viral song Drake was quickly taken down from streaming sites due to legal and ethical … Read more
Drake continues to make pop news in the entertainment industry. The “Heart on My Sleeve” TikTok hit sparked controversy earlier this year. A content creator, Ghostwriter, used artificial intelligence to create a fictional collaboration between The Weeknd and Drake.
The viral song Drake was quickly taken down from streaming sites due to legal and ethical concerns. The song has this week raised some interest with what looks like a possible Grammy.
The Grammy boss’ statements
The New York Times reported that the artist is eligible for a Grammy despite the song being an AI mimic of Drake and The Weekend without their consent. The Recording Academy CEO, Harvey Mason,asserted the organization behind the Grammy’s position, that songs created partly by AI, but not entirely, would be eligible for the music industry’s top honour.
Mason stated that they would not be awarding AI-generated material. However, creative works that AI touched would be entered into the categories. He added that discrediting any material with an AI touch would be unfair.
Mason caused a frenzy when he confirmed to the New York Times that the Tiktok hit would be eligible for a Grammy consideration since the artist wrote the lyrics thus of human origin. However, the CEO took to his Instagram Live last night to clarify the sentiments. He sought to clear the miscommunication. He said the Drake and The Weekend Mimic was not eligible for a Grammy.
Mason clarified that despite the lyrics being written by a human, the artists’ vocals still needed to be consented to. This raised a legal concern since the respective artists’ record labels had not cleared them for wide distribution. As it stands, the song is not available commercially and thus not eligible for a Grammy award.
He added that things were moving quickly and likely to continue evolving.” The academy will continue supporting and protecting human artists and creators”.
The Grammy boss also added that not knowing what Artificial Intelligence will mean or do in the future raises some concerns for him. However, he quickly said that AI will most likely become an integral part of the music industry and society.
Fans quickly noted that the reasons were not due to the AI generation but only the legal and commercial unavailability of the song, thus its ineligibility. Earlier this year, the Academy clarified its position on AI, stating that only human artists and creators are eligible for the Grammys’ consideration, nomination or awarding.
More of Ghostwriter
The Heart on Sleeve hit song was released in April through Social Media, where the Artist appeared on his social media in a white sheet and sunglasses embodying a ghost. The artist also attended a meeting organised by the academy dressed as a ghost using a voice-altering device.
Ghostwriter is at it again with a new AI-generated song, “Whiplash”, another fictional collaboration between 21 Savage and Travis Scott. This time, the artist left the two hip-hop artists whose voices were mimicked a note seeking their consent for the song’s wide circulation in exchange for the generated royalties.
He also wrote in the post that it is clear that people wanted the song, and the future of music was already here. He added that artists now can put their voices to work without lifting a finger. Even after the legal and ethical concerns surrounding his AI-generated music, Ghostwriter’s persistence confirms the idea of some music recording industry leaders that AI is here to stay, and we can only adapt to it; the metaphorical technology toothpaste is already out of the tube.
The Drake AI song attracted discussions around the future of AI in the music industry. The hit’s seeming consideration for a Grammy shows that the industry is acknowledging the potential impact of the technology. This affirms that AI is here to stay, and the best we can do is embrace it to keep abreast with the industry’s developments.
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TikTok Music has the essence of the video platform
The first point that draws attention to this platform is its interface, since it is a replica of the short video platform, but with the cover of an album in a central plane and the ability to change songs vertically and not horizontal, as we are usually used to.
The Home interface is based on three For You windows, based on your tastes and artists related to the music you like. The second option is Familiar, inspired by the songs of the artists you have already given a like and finally there is New, in which you can discover a selection of songs.
In all cases, the menu is practically the same. On one side is the characteristic TikTok menu, which has a heart, a comments section and a button to share music, and from the likes you give, an algorithm is created that takes into account the user’s musical tastes. .
This can be good, since the system gets to know the person, but it can also be problematic if you take into account that when it comes to music, something nice is discovering new artists and with these algorithms you usually enter a spiral of content that It pleases you, but it doesn’t give you new things.
Something relevant is that the songs have a section where you can see the lyrics of the songs. This element is important considering reports that this feature could be exclusive to premium Spotify users.
TikTok exploration and recommendations
Its second menu is Explore, in which the user can directly search for the music that interests them and from that information the platform also creates some lists based on the user’s tastes.
For example, it recommends songs based on recent selections, but it also makes artist mixes, which are exclusive to the specific user and usually include about 50 songs.
On the other hand, it recommends lists based on moods, such as Happy Pop, Synthwave or Relax, but it also takes into account the trends of the music industry from TikTok Music Top 50, which includes the most famous songs in the world. video platform, in addition to others inspired by trends, such as TikTok Viral México or Retos TiKTok, among others.
All this commitment to the platform demonstrates the approach that Rob Ruiz, TikTok’s music operations leader, shared with Expansión in September of last year, regarding music being a central component of TikTok content, but also an accompaniment to contribute to the communication of ideas.
Podcasts, the element that makes Spotify different
One of the most important elements of Spotify is its strong commitment to podcasts, which does establish an important difference with TikTok Music, since this type of content has become one of the main ways to diversify the commitment to streaming audio and It makes TikTok Music feel like a newbie service.
However, through TikTok Music you can play, download and share music from the catalog of the three largest labels in the world: Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music.
The catalog is quite extensive even though the platform is in a beta, which means that it has not been completely launched to the public, but rather to a limited group so that they can test it and provide feedback before its official launch. It is only available to a small number of users in Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore and Mexico.
TikTok Music will have three plans: individual, student and family. In all plans you can have three months free, listen to music without ads, skip songs and unlimited downloads. The cost of the individual will be 115 pesos per month.
The student plan offers the same, but with the difference that only students can access it and the cost will be 59 pesos per month. As for the family plan, in addition to these features, you can include up to six accounts and block explicit content for a cost of 179 pesos per month.
It’s been revealed that Heart On My Sleeve, the track that sent shockwaves through the music industry earlier this year thanks to its use of AI vocals that closely resembled those of Drake and The Weeknd, has been submitted for two Grammy Awards: Best Rap Song and Song Of The Year.
Speaking earlier this year, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr confirmed that songs with AI elements could be considered for Grammys providing the music was written and performed “mostly by a human”, and he’s now reiterated that stance to The New York Times.
“As far as the creative side, [Heart On My Sleeve is] absolutely eligible because it was written by a human,” he notes. However, the track – which was created by an anonymous artist known as Ghostwriter – might fall at another hurdle.
Grammy rules state that, in order to be eligible, a song must have “general distribution” – be available to buy or stream on approved platforms – and Heart On My Sleeve was quickly pulled from streaming services, possibly at the behest of Universal Music Group, Drake and The Weeknd’s record company.
Ghostwriter returned earlier this week with a snippet of another song, Whiplash, which features AI-generated vocals designed to sound like Travis Scott and 21 Savage. What’s more, the mysterious producer has made the two artists he’s emulating an intriguing offer.
“The future of music is here. Artists now have the ability to let their voice work for them without lifting a finger,” reads a statement. “If you’re down to put it out, I will clearly label it as AI, and I’ll direct royalties to you. Respect either way.”
I used AI to make a Travis Scott song feat. 21 Savage… the future of music is here. Who wants next? pic.twitter.com/jFKLTzyzeTSeptember 5, 2023
Scott and 21 Savage are yet to respond to the proposal, but it has echoes of Grimes’ offer to split royalties equally with producers who create songs using her voice.
The New York Times also reports that, since the release of Heart On My Sleeve, the Ghostwriter team has been engaging with record labels, tech leaders, music platforms and artists in order to discuss how AI can be used as a force for musical good.
Noah Assad’s Rimas Publishing has entered a strategic partnership with music metadata firm Muso.AI.
Headquartered in Los Angeles and Amsterdam, Muso.AI will leverage this partnership to expand into the Latin music market.
Muso.AI says it has ingested over 1.4 million post-distribution credit modifications from rightsholders, artists and collaborators to date.
The company notes that its verified credits are used by partners like SoundExchange and Napster.
The focus of the collaboration with Rimas Publishing will be around Muso.AI’s 24-hour analytics, which the latter company says departs from the conventional track-and-album approach, and instead centers on companies, catalogs, and individual profiles.
Among Muso.AI’s features is its emphasis on person-centered credits, analytics, and achievements, which Rimas says will allow its own clients to monitor daily activity conveniently.
The Muso.AI platform claims to offers a process for clients to report missing credits and potential derivative works, allowing Rimas Publishing’s workflow to track unclaimed author copyrights.
The deal will also see Muso.AI offering Rimas Publishing “comprehensive roll-up views” across all its platforms, with the application localized and available in Spanish.
“At Rimas Publishing, we are committed to remaining at the forefront of industry technological advancements, continuously seeking to provide our clients with the highest caliber of services. This strategic alliance represents a pivotal step in our growth journey, ensuring our position as one of the leading publishers in the industry,” Emilio Morales, Rimas Publishing’s Managing Director, said.
“The inclusion of Rimas Publishing in the Muso.AI Family exhilarates us, as their engagement and insights will fuel the ongoing enhancement of our business platform to cater to their specific needs.”
Aaron Kaufman, Muso.AI
Aaron Kaufman, Muso.AI’s President & co-founder, added: “Our collaboration is a driving force propelling our entry into the Latin market, seamlessly aligning with our business suite debut and reaffirming the Muso.AI’s value. The inclusion of Rimas Publishing in the Muso.AI Family exhilarates us, as their engagement and insights will fuel the ongoing enhancement of our business platform to cater to their specific needs.”
Rimas Publishing, headquartered in Miami, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, negotiates its clients’ licensing agreements for various mediums including film, television, and advertisements worldwide.
Its clients include authors and producers such as Bad Bunny, Eladio Carrión, Corina Smith, Mora, Súbelo NEO, Caleb Calloway, YENSANJUAN, Lennex, and Lizzy Parra.
Rimas Publishing has earned multiple industry awards, including back-to-back Latin Billboard Publisher of the Year honors, recognition from Grammyand Latin Grammy awards, and over 40 accolades from ASCAP and BMI, it said.
The company operates through three distinct entities: RSM Publishing LLC (ASCAP), Risamar Publishing LLC (BMI), and Megasongs Publishing LLC (SESAC).
Back in April, Billboard reported that Sony Music Corp. was in advanced discussions to assist in the majority stake buyout of Rimas Publishing affiliate and Bad Bunny’s music label and management company, Rimas Entertainment. Noah Assad, Bad Bunny’s manager and Rimas CEO, was reportedly planning to buy out his partner, Rafael Ricardo Jiménez Dan, a former Venezuelan government official holding a 60% majority stake in the company.
Prior to that, Bad Bunny launched a new sports management agency, called Rimas Sports, in partnership with Assad. The agency launched with a roster consisting of Major League Baseball (MLB) players.
Bad Bunny was the most-streamed artist globally on both Apple Music and Spotify in 2022.