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Spotify takes on radio with its own daily morning show

Spotify’s streaming music service is starting to resemble terrestrial radio with today’s launch of the company’s first daily morning show, “The Get Up.” Like other morning shows designed for commuters, the new program will be led by hosts and will combine news, pop culture, entertainment and music. But in Spotify’s case, the music is personalized to the listener,

The show is not a live program, however. Unlike radio morning shows where content is broadcast live and often also involves interactions with listeners — like call-ins or contests — Spotify’s show is pre-recorded and made available as a playlist.

That means you can listen at any time after its 7 AM ET release on weekday mornings.

You can also opt to skip portions of the programming — like the music or some of the chatter — if you prefer. (Spotify, to be clear, refers to the show as a podcast, but the format actually splits the hosts’ talk radio-like content from the individual music tracks. In other words, it’s more like a mixed-media playlist than a traditional podcast.)

Another key thing that makes Spotify’s programming different from a radio show is that the music is personalized to the listener. Of course, that’s not always ideal. If you prefer to listen to new music during your commute, but have had been busy streaming oldies on Spotify’s service, your morning show will reflect those trends. There’s currently no way to program the show more directly by genre, either.

The show itself is hosted by three people: journalist Speedy Morman, previously of Complex; YouTuber Kat Lazo, known for her series “The Kat Call;” and Spotify’s own Xavier ‘X’ Jernigan, Head of Cultural Partnerships and In-House Talent.

The new playlist will be made available on weekday mornings in the Made for You and Driving hubs on Spotify for both free and premium subscribers in the U.S. You can also access the show directly from

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BTS’s Loyal Army of Fans Is the Secret Weapon Behind a $4 Billion I.P.O.

It’s 10:30 on a Monday night, and Ashley Hackworth is putting the final touches on a personal project to make the world’s biggest boy band a little bit bigger.

Ms. Hackworth, who teaches English in South Korea, is on a Zoom call with five other fans of the Korean pop group BTS, planning a virtual meet-up for followers. An online game for the event still needs work. Someone has to reach out to local radio stations about media coverage. And who can contact potential sponsors?

Their fan group will not be paid a dime for promoting the band. But without their efforts, and those of a vast network of other hyper-dedicated fans, the Korean company that manages BTS, Big Hit Entertainment, would not now be a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

On Thursday, shares in the company will begin trading in South Korea, capping off the country’s most hotly anticipated initial public offering since 2017. Institutional and retail investors across the world scrambled to get a piece of Big Hit before the listing, with hundreds of pre-orders for every share. Big Hit, which reported a profit of $86 million last year, is valued at around $4 billion, after raising more than $800 million by offering investors about 20 percent of the company.

Naturally, there are some concerns about an enterprise whose main product is a boy band — a creation not known for a long shelf life. For now, though, many investors see the listing as a golden opportunity, amid a global recession, to own a slice of a musical phenomenon that was the world’s most lucrative touring act last year and, by one estimate, adds more than $3.5 billion annually to South Korea’s economy.

Credit…Jean Chung for The New York Times

But what these investors are really paying for is not necessarily Big Hit or even BTS. It’s a huge and highly connected ecosystem of fans like Ms. Hackworth with a deep, even life-changing, attachment to the group and its message of inclusivity and self-love.

BTS supporters, who call themselves the Army, don’t just attend concerts or buy the band’s seemingly endless stream of merchandise (although they do plenty of that). They have organized themselves into groups that perform a host of services on the band’s behalf, from translating a fire hose of BTS content into English and other languages (applications required, experience preferred) to paying for advertising and running highly coordinated social media campaigns.

Big Hit’s biannual corporate meetings receive millions of views online from hard-core fans, who scrutinize business strategy. And like any good company, the Army is obsessed with metrics: One Twitter account, @btsanalytics, which pumps out bone-dry data on album sales, YouTube views and music streaming numbers, has more than 2.5 million followers. Fans use the numbers to set, and follow through on, ambitious goals for BTS song and album releases — an approach intended to help the band climb the global charts.

Fans also look out for other fans. Lawyers educate followers about legal issues. Teachers offer tutoring. And as Big Hit’s I.P.O. approached, those with investment backgrounds started online chat groups to counsel less financially savvy fans on the ins and outs of investing in the company.


Credit…Jean Chung for The New York Times

“We’re Army Incorporated,” Ms. Hackworth, 30, said during a recent interview from her apartment, where the group’s posters and seven branded baseball caps, one for each member, decorated the walls. The fan group functions like any company, she joked, although “no one is in charge of us, really, and we don’t have a C.E.O. unless you consider that BTS.”

The Army, whose name stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth, is often depicted as a group of screaming teenage girls. The reality is different: While its demographics are hard to pin down — many members seem to be women in their 20s and 30s — the band’s fan base is broadly diverse, cutting across lines of gender, age, religion and nationality.

Compared with fan groups that have come before them, BTS’s followers are “so much savvier and strategic and smarter than what we’ve seen, especially in taking advantage of and utilizing platforms like social media to really achieve their goals,” said Nicole Santero, a Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who has conducted extensive research on the Army.

BTS — whose name is an abbreviation of the Korean words Bangtan Sonyeondan, or Bulletproof Boy Scouts — has won a large following with its boyish good looks, slick dance moves and catchy music, spanning genres from rap to disco.

But what fans really respond to is the band members’ carefully cultivated and inspirational story of fighting their way to the top of the music business while staying true to themselves, Ms. Santero said. Their emotional openness and focus on mental health make fans “feel that BTS represents something that has impacted them and changed their lives, so supporting them is sort of their way of giving back to the group,” she said.

That devotion has allowed Big Hit to make BTS, which declined a request for an interview, into something more than just a band or even a brand. It is also a kind of lifestyle product, incorporating a dizzying array of content and merchandise, from variety shows to web comics, from video games to Korean-language courses. Its language textbooks are taught at Middlebury College and the École Normale Supérieure, one of France’s most prestigious graduate schools.


Credit…Jeong Eun Song

One of Big Hit’s early innovations was to provide fans with hours of video showing the group’s members going about their daily lives — eating, working out and even just relaxing — creating an unusual level of intimacy with their followers.

Big Hit’s approach, which it describes as offering “music and artist for healing,” has set it apart in an industry notorious for coldly rational business calculations and paternalistic treatment of artists. Most of Big Hit’s Korean competitors build musical groups from the top down, recruiting thousands of trainees annually and spending years drilling them in singing, dancing and public comportment.

But Big Hit bet that fans would prefer human vulnerability to superficial polish. While the company is fiercely protective of BTS’s image, it describes itself as the group’s partner, and it has given the band members a degree of freedom uncommon in the world of corporate K-pop.

The Army has embraced the image projected by the company and its founder, Bang Si-hyuk, a longtime music producer who in 2010 discovered BTS’s leader, RM, then a 16-year-old underground rapper, and built the group around him. Fans view Mr. Bang as a doting father figure who raised the men from obscurity and supports their interests, whether that means making albums with references to Carl Jung or starting an initiative to promote contemporary art.

In the lead-up to the I.P.O., Mr. Bang demonstrated his commitment to treating the BTS members as equals by giving them more than 478,000 of his own shares in the company. Army members applauded the move, although some questioned whether Mr. Bang — who holds 43 percent of the company and is set to be worth nearly $1.4 billion — should have given the men more.

He would do well to keep the group and its fans happy. BTS accounted for almost 88 percent of the company’s sales in the first half of 2020, down from more than 97 percent during the same period the previous year.

That dependence on BTS is investors’ biggest concern. The normal worries that a company might have about any pop group — like the possibility of its breaking up or leaving the label — are exacerbated in South Korea by the country’s mandatory 18-month military service for men. Barring a change in the law or a deferment, BTS’s oldest member will have to report for duty as early as the end of next year, with the other members close behind.


Credit…Jean Chung for The New York Times

Big Hit has tried to reduce those risks by diversifying. It now has five acts in addition to BTS. More important, it has positioned itself as a “content creator” in the vein of Disney, with BTS essentially playing the role of Mickey Mouse — a priceless intellectual property that can be spun off in almost limitless directions.

That means projects like the BTS Universe, a fantasy world populated by fictional versions of the band. The concept is similar to Disney’s approach to the Star Wars or Marvel Comics franchises, drawing fans into a constantly expanding cosmos of new content and merchandise that can eventually accommodate Big Hit’s other musical acts.

The company has also built its own social media platform, WeVerse, a commitment to digital content that is already paying off. Big Hit has increased its revenue sharply in 2020 even as the coronavirus forced BTS to cancel its sold-out world tour. Over the weekend, the group held a two-day online concert through WeVerse for which it sold nearly a million tickets, costing at least $43 each.

The concert rode the band’s success on the music charts. In early September, thanks to a push by the Army, BTS’s first English-language single, “Dynamite,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 — a first for a Korean pop group. On Monday, another of its songs, a remix of “Savage Love,” also debuted at No. 1, further raising the high expectations for Big Hit’s share listing.

Laksmi Astari, 22, an Indonesian student majoring in fashion design at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, is planning to pool money with her sister and a cousin to invest in Big Hit — her first time buying stock.


Credit…Jean Chung for The New York Times

She is not overly concerned about potentially losing the money. She sees shares in the company as a kind of merchandise that might one day pay for itself.

“I get to invest in idols that I like, and it allows me to stay connected to BTS,” she said.

For Big Hit, a lot is riding on whether it can persuade fans like Ms. Astari to channel their enthusiasm toward the company’s other acts.

It might be a hard sell. Ms. Hackworth and the other members of her BTS fan group said that while they were enthusiastic about the prospects for Big Hit’s share offering, they were doubtful that lightning could strike twice.

“There’s no replication,” Ms. Hackworth said. “There’s just one BTS and one Army.”

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We Tested Instagram Reels, the TikTok Clone. What a Dud.

Millions of people have used the social media app TikTok to make and share short, fun, entertaining videos. I, Brian Chen, am not one of them.

Count me as one of those never-TikTokers. As an older millennial, I have exclusively used Facebook’s Instagram to post photos of my dog. I have never made a 15-second dance video.

But that all changed last week. That was when Facebook released a TikTok copycat called Reels, which is part of Instagram. Its introduction suddenly made making short videos a lot more interesting.

Facebook’s timing was brilliant. That’s because TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance, has been under major pressure from President Trump. He has identified TikTok as a national security threat and threatened to ban the app from the United States, prompting numerous panicked TikTokers to look for alternatives.

So here was an opportunity to test Reels and compare it with TikTok. I invited Taylor Lorenz, our internet culture writer and resident TikTok expert, to share her thoughts about how Facebook’s clone worked versus the real thing. With her experience and my novice knowledge, we could assess how both the never-TikTokers and the TikTok die-hards might feel about Reels.

The verdict? For her, it was: Not good. For me, it was: Confused.

Let’s start with what was copied. Both TikTok, a stand-alone app, and Reels, a feature inside Instagram, are free to use. With Reels, Instagram mimicked TikTok’s signature ability to create short video montages, which are overlaid with copyrighted music and embellished with effects like emojis and sped-up motion.

The similarities pretty much ended there — and not in a positive way for Instagram.

On Instagram, the videos are published to a feed known as the Explore tab, a mishmash of photos, sponsored posts and long-form videos. On TikTok, videos are surfaced through For You, a feed algorithmically tailored to show clips that suit your interests. Reels also lacks TikTok’s editing features, like song recommendations and automatic clip trimming, that use artificial intelligence to speed up the process of video creation.

Taylor and I each tested Reels for five days and then talked about what we had found. We didn’t hold back.

TAYLOR I can definitively say Reels is the worst feature I’ve ever used.

BRIAN Please elaborate. As a never-TikToker, I feel that it’s probably the worst Instagram feature I’ve used, too, but your feelings seem stronger than mine.

TAYLOR It’s horrible. Not only does Reels fail in every way as a TikTok clone, but it’s confusing, frustrating and impossible to navigate. It’s like Instagram took all the current functionality on Stories (a tool to publish montages of photos and videos with added filters, text and music clips), and jammed them into a separate, new complicated interface for no reason.

To me, it’s really unclear whom this feature is for.

BRIAN Let’s walk through how to use Reels.

To open the feature, you tap the Explore button (the magnifying glass) and open someone else’s reel before hitting the camera button to start creating your own reel.

So I have to watch someone else’s video before creating my own? This is a waste of time, battery life and cell data.

TAYLOR You can also create a reel by swiping right in Instagram to enter the camera and then selecting Reels, a button next to Story. Which is confusing.

BRIAN It’s totally undiscoverable without reading instructions. But OK, you find the button to create a reel. Then you can start recording videos or add videos you’ve already recorded. Then you can overlay music and some effects like emojis and color filters. Then you write a caption and publish.

How does this compare with TikTok?

TAYLOR TikTok is better in a million ways. The main one being that TikTok removes all of the friction that normally comes with trying to make a good video.

On TikTok, you can just grab a ton of videos (like, hit select on 17 different videos of all different lengths), and dump them all into the app and hit a button. TikTok will automatically select highlights from your videos and edit them in a way to match the beat of whatever sound you choose. This makes it so easy to create a really engaging, smooth video in under 10 seconds from a ton of footage.

Here’s an example of Reels versus TikTok of the same thing. You can see which is better!

Here’s the reel:


And here’s the TikTok video:


Oh, wait, did Reels save without sound?

BRIAN Yeah. Instagram said that there were restrictions and that they were working with third-party rights holders to expand its features. So when you save a video to your device after posting it, the music is automatically stripped away.

What you describe about TikTok just makes Reels sound so lacking. In Reels, you have to manually select where a music track starts to ensure it’s in sync with a clip. You’re saying TikTok automatically figures that out for you?

TAYLOR In TikTok, you have a feature called “sound sync,” which everyone uses. You upload a bunch of clips, and it will reorder and trim them to match whatever sound you choose. It also suggests the best songs for each video.

BRIAN Wow, really? That’s insane.

For music on Reels, I would hit the Audio button and just type in a word that came to mind to search for relevant songs. With this video of my corgi eating bread, I typed the word “hungry” to choose “Hungry Eyes.” Then I had to trim the clips and manually synchronize a portion of the song. That took me about 10 minutes.

Take a look:

Now take a look at an example of a failed reel that I never posted. I was trying to make a montage of dog butts being scratched. After adding the music, I was able to go back and trim the second clip to be in rhythm with the music, but couldn’t go backward to trim the first clip of scratching the Doberman’s butt.


Why am I able to edit the second clip but not the first clip? Instagram said it was still early days and that they were working on the ability to edit earlier clips. (Early days, my butt! They’ve been working on Reels for over a year.)

TAYLOR TikTok makes it very easy to create really entertaining short videos and makes it easy for that content to go viral. Reels makes it hard to create entertaining short videos — and even if you post them, the best you can hope for is to get a little distribution on a very crowded Explore page.

A big part of why TikToks go viral is that they can be easily downloaded and shared across platforms (with credit baked in because they’re watermarked with the handle).

Also, Reels is missing the ability to “duet” content, as you can on TikTok. Duets allow users to create side-by-side reaction videos. This is a core way users communicate and riff off each other. It’s basically the TikTok version of a quote tweet.

Finally, Reels has no “friends only” option. On TikTok, I’m able to post a video only mutual friends can see. I just want an easy way to post to my friends only.

BRIAN Right. Currently the simplest way to do that on Reels is to set your profile to friends-only so that all your posts are viewable only to friends. Otherwise, if you share a reel privately with a friend through a direct message, it acts like a Story and disappears after 24 hours. Which is confusing.

How long would you say you spent on making a TikTok versus a reel?

TAYLOR With TikTok, I can post a fun video of my day in under 15 seconds. Reels took me about five minutes.

Some people do spend an enormous amount of time editing their TikToks and making these really complicated and amazing videos. But for me, just a casual user who uses TikTok to capture fun highlights from my day-to-day life, that’s the time frame.

BRIAN As an Instagram user, I see no benefit to using Reels as opposed to Stories for posting videos. It’s extremely confusing for even us to use, which means it’s going to be much more confusing for casual tech users.

I’ll add that my followers didn’t seem impressed with Reels. The reel of my corgi, Max, eating bread got about 250 likes, down from the 300 to 400 likes that he usually gets from regular Instagram photos.

Maybe I’ll post more Reels one day if Instagram catches up with TikTok. But until then, I think you’ve persuaded me to start a TikTok.

TAYLOR I can’t see myself creating a Reel again. I might use it as a repository to re-upload my TikToks. But over all it just doesn’t have any of the video-editing ability that I’ve come to expect.

It’s also hard to find and discover other Reels. Part of why it’s so easy to be creative on TikTok is that you’re presented daily with a series of trends, memes or challenges. It makes it easy to see what other people are doing and hop on it or riff off it. I just don’t see what Reels is good for.

BRIAN That’s some reel talk.

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Facebook will launch officially licensed music videos in the US starting this weekend

Facebook today confirmed it will begin rolling out official music videos across its platform in the U.S., as TechCrunch first reported, as well as introduce a new Music destination within Facebook Watch. The changes, which will go into effect starting this weekend, will allow Facebook users to discover, watch and share music videos from a wide range of artists, including, for example, Anitta, Blake Shelton, Bob Marley, Diplo, Elton John, Jonas Brothers, Josh Groban, Keith Urban, Maren Morris, Marvin Gaye, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and others.

Though Facebook had already been working with partners in India and Thailand on a similar music experience before today, the U.S. launch is enabled by Facebook’s expanded partnerships with top labels, including Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Merlin, BMG, Kobalt and other independents.

Facebook tells TechCrunch its deals include the full catalog across all major partners and a host of independents.

TechCrunch earlier this month reported Facebook’s plans for music videos would arrive August 1st. We also noted that supported artists were being informed they would soon need to toggle on a new permission that would allow Facebook to automatically add their music videos to their Page, where they could be discovered by fans on the Page’s Videos tab. Once enabled, the artists will be able to edit or remove their video posts at any time.

However, if this setting was not enabled, Facebook will instead automatically generate a separate official music Page on the artist’s behalf, titled “[Artist Name] Official Music,” to enable discovery. That Page would be created and controlled by Facebook and accessible through Facebook Watch, though artists can later choose to opt-in to include their official videos on their own Page.

Image Credits: screenshot via TechCrunch

Image Credits: TechCrunch

With the launch, Facebook users will be able to follow their favorite artists, then receive the latest music video releases from those artists in their News Feed, as they go live. The “follow” option will be available not only on the artist’s Facebook Page, as before, but also directly from the music videos themselves.

By clicking through on the shared posts, fans will be directed to the artist’s Facebook Page, where they can browse the Videos tab to watch more officially licensed music.

The music video posts, like any on Facebook, can be shared, reacted to and commented on. They can also be shared across News Feed, where friends can discover the posts, as well as shared to Groups and in Messenger.

Image Credits: Facebook

The dedicated Music section on Facebook Watch, meanwhile, will allow users to explore music by genre, artist name or mood, or across themed playlists like “Hip Hop MVPs,” “Trailblazers of Pop,” “Epic Dance Videos” or more timely playlists like “Popular This Week” and “New This Week.”

The videos will also be monetized by advertising, like elsewhere on Facebook Watch. However, unlike some video ads, they won’t interrupt the music in the middle of playing. Instead, Facebook tells TechCrunch the ads will either appear pre-roll, during the video as an image ad below the video player or post-roll. These plans may change in the weeks ahead as it iterates on the experience, Facebook notes.

Image Credits: Facebook

The company will apply its personalization technology to the music video experience, too, we understand. As users watch, engage and share, the Music destination in Facebook Watch will become more attuned to your personal likes and interests.

More social experiences are planned for the future, including user-generated playlists.

“Official music videos on Facebook are about more than just watching a video. They’re about social experiences, from discovering new artists with friends to connecting more deeply with artists and people you love,” said Facebook VP of Entertainment, Vijaye Raji. “There’s something in our music video catalog for everyone, and we’re excited for people to discover and rediscover their favorites,” he added.

Facebook says this weekend’s launch of the new Music experience is just the start, and it plans to roll out more music across the platform over time.

Image Credits: Facebook

Facebook’s launch of music videos is seen as a significant challenge to YouTube, which accounted for 46% of the world’s music streaming outside of China as of 2017, according to a report from IFPI. YouTube, around that time, also claimed more than 1 billion music fans came to its site to connect with music from over 2 billion artists.

More recently, YouTube reported it had paid out more than $3 billion to the music industry in 2019. The music labels, however, have shown interest in an alternative to YouTube, which they feel doesn’t pay enough. The financial terms of Facebook’s deal with the labels were not disclosed.

Though Facebook had deals with music labels before now, those were more limited. Artists from major labels, for example, weren’t able to share full music videos due to licensing rights — they could only post a short preview. The change to include full videos could significantly impact how much time users spend on Facebook in the months ahead.

The launch follows a month-long Facebook advertiser boycott over issues around hate speech on the platform, which some brands have chosen to continue with, reports say. But the music video launch was not timed to encourage an advertiser return. According to documents previously reviewed by TechCrunch, the date of August 1, 2020 had been the planned launch date for some time.

The videos are now one of several ways artists can connect with fans on Facebook, as the company had already rolled out tools that allowed artists to promote new releases with custom AR effects and Music Stickers, host live-streamed Q&As on Facebook Live and raise money for important causes through the donate button in Live and Stories.

“Artist/Fan connection on Facebook is deeper and more authentic because of tools like Stories, Live and custom AR effects. Official music videos are re-born in that setting — they become part of the way people express identity and mood and bring a new dimension to the artist storytelling that happens on our apps every day,” said Tamara Hrivnak, VP of Music Business Development and Partnerships at Facebook.

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Entrepreneurial Musician Andrea Callanan on Overcoming Obstacles and Finding Your Voice

In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Andrea Callanan, founder and CEO of Inspire Me, which specializes in corporate engagement and workplace happiness. It was condensed by The Oracles.Who are you? Andrea Callanan: I’m a high-achieving female, …

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While all tech sectors will be negatively impacted by coronavirus, IT services will be hit hardest, says GlobalData

The coronavirus (COVID-19) will by far have the most impact on the technology industry in 2020. It will put incredible strain on the world’s economy, which will be effectively halted for three months or more. It is effectively a stress test on companies’ ability to cope with extreme shocks. COVID-19 …

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Pex buys Dubset to build YouTube ContentID for TikTok & more

Social networks are in for a rude copyright awakening. A new European Union law called Article 17 essentially eradicates safe harbor and requires that they’ve made their “best effort” to get licenses from rights holders for all content on their platform. If a user uploads a video with a popular song in the background, tech platforms can’t just take it down if requested. They’ll be liable if they didn’t already try to get permission.

That’s good news for musicians and film producers who are more likely to get paid. But it could hurt influencers and creators whose clips and remixes might be blocked or have their revenue diverted. It will certainly be a huge headache for content sharing sites.

That’s where Pex comes in. The profitable royalty attribution startup founded in 2014 scans social networks and other user generated content sites for rightsholders’ content. Pex then lets them negotiate licensing with the platforms, request a take down, demand attribution, and/or track the consumption statistics. It’s collected a database of over 20 billion audio and video tracks found on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter and more. It’s like an independent YouTube ContentID.

Today that business gets a big boost as Pex is acquiring Dubset, which has spent 10 years tackling the problem of getting remixes and multi-song DJ sets legalized for streaming on services like Spotify to some success. The $11.3 million-funded Dubset does fingerprinting of 45 million tracks from over 50,000 rights holders down to the second so the artists behind the source material get paid.

Pex has come a long way from when CEO Rasty Turek tried build a Shazam for video. “It took me years to figure out how to do it technically, but there was no market for it” he tells me. Turns out that the technology was perfect for spotting illegal usage of copyrighted songs.

Now Pex will gain Dubset’s connections to tons record labels and other rightsholders in what two sources close to the deal says is an acquisition priced between $25 million and $50 million. “There are very few companies in the music business that have successfully licensed as much catalog as Dubset, and the music rights database they’ve built is massive and rare” Pex CEO Rasty Turek tells TechCrunch exclusively before the deal’s formal announcement tomorrow.

Together, they’ll be pushing Pex’s new Attribution Engine that establishes a three-sided marketplace for content. Instead of just working with rightsholders, the fresh tech can plug directly into big platforms and instantly identify copyrighted audio and visual files as short as one second. It can even suss out cover versions of songs via melody matching, as well as compressed, cropped, and modified variations. Creators can also use it to ensure the source material they’re remixing or turning into memes is given proper attribution or a cut of revenue.

The Attribution Engine earns money by facilitating the licenses and payments between platforms, rightsholders, and creators. It’s free to register content with the service as well as for platforms to perform

The Attribution Engine is free for rightsholders to register their content and free for platforms to run identification scans on what’s uploaded to them. using our asset lookup service. The hope is that by creating a simpler path to cooperation and revenue sharing, more rightsholders will make their content accessible for use on social networks or in remixes. It could also grant platforms protection from Article 17 liability since they’ll be able to say that Pex made it best effort to get content usage approval from rights holders.

“Basically every platform in the world that operates in the EU will have to identify all copyrighted content on their platform as it comes in or go back and identify all of it” says Dubset chief strategy office Bob Barbiere. “Dubset was really built to serve at the DJ or content creator level . . . doing it purely for the purposes of mix and remix content. Pex does it in a much bigger way for the platforms.”

For up-and-coming platforms like TikTok competitors Dubsmash or Triller, Pex’s business model is a gift. They don’t have to pay for the ID service until they’re ready to cut licensing deals with rightsholders when Pex adds a fee on top. Trying to build this stuff from scratch could be slow and hugely expensive, given YouTube’s still perfecting its ContentID system eight years in.

Pex will have to manage the careful balance of staying ahead of regulation but not so far that it’s building technology people won’t need for a long time. European Union states have until June 21st 2021 to implement Article 17 with local laws. “We don’t want others to out-innovate us, but we also don’t want to out-innovate ourselves out of existence by being too early and then waiting for the market to catch up to us” Rasty explains.

Image via HelpCloud

The internet needs this kind of infrastructure because we’re still at the beginning of the age of the remix. TikTok has proven how recontextualizing a song or vocal track with new visuals can create chains of jokes and content that go massively viral. The app productizes the Harlem Shake phenomenon, whereby people promote their own takes on a piece of content, drawing attention to the original and all the other versions. But these webs of remixes could be severed if platforms and rightsholders can’t forge licensing agreements.

“I hope that thanks to Pex, 20 years from now people will not have to think about copyright” Turek concludes. “Any content they produce and distribute on the open internet will be automatically attributed to them and generate revenue if they so choose.” That could allow more people to turn their passion for creation into their profession, whether they’re building an app, writing a song, or remixing a song into a meme for an app.

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Shutterstock’s Artist Series with Composer Michelle Carter

Explore the creative process and learn how to create a signature style in stock music with Shutterstock music composer Michelle Carter.

When composer Michelle Carter moved to Los Angeles from a small Canadian town, she had no idea what would be in store for her. The move came at a spontaneous moment in Michelle’s life, and with no real plan—she simply took the opportunity.

After years of working in the music industry as a singer and songwriter, Michelle sought a change that allowed her more flexibility and freedom to explore her work as a composer. And that’s how Michelle Carter got started at Shutterstock Music, where she composes music for customers around the globe.

Shutterstock's Artist Series with Composer Michelle Carter — Exploring the Creative Process
Artist Series with Michelle Carter.

Click here to discover how to become a Shutterstock Music contributor.

We caught up with Michelle at her home in Studio City to speak about her creative process, and what brought her to this part of her life. This is Michelle’s Story.

Artist Series with Shutterstock Music Composer Michelle Carter

Her relationship with music wasn’t the only thing that was a massive change in Michelle Carter’s life. A little human came into her life, who inspired her sound and melodies. In Michelle’s Artist Series, we get a glimpse into that relationship and how Michelle’s balanced a creative career and this new chapter of her life.

Michelle Carter as a Composer on Shutterstock Music

As a Shutterstock Music composer, Michelle creates unique sounds using a variety of instruments in her studio in LA. The artist self-describes her sound as “ethereal sci-fi,” a description we absolutely love. On Shutterstock Music, Michelle’s sound fits into a New Age category with ambient and cinematic sounds that are a perfect fit for film scores and video productions. She also recently created a set of mythical lullabies, approved by the little human in her life.

Join our select roster of composers and earn money doing what you love.

Source: The Shutterstock Blog

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Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent

Go behind-the-scenes with musician and PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton as he shares with WePresent what drives him to create.

PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton is a force to be reckoned with in the Los Angeles music scene. A session bassist, singer-songwriter, and PremiumBeat composer, Alan is a true genius of sound with a knack for musical storytelling.

We wanted to know more about what drives Alan to create, so we partnered with WePresent, WeTransfer’s creative storytelling platform. Featuring unexpected stories about creative minds, we accompanied WePresent to Alan’s Los Angeles-based studio for a behind-the-scenes look. To view the full story on WePresent, click here.

Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent — Sandy Phan and Alan Hampton
Sandy Phan provides the behind-the-scenes style. Image by Chelsea Lauren / Shutterstock.

Behind-the-Scenes at Alan’s Los Angeles-Based Studio

We joined WePresent at Alan’s Los Angeles-based music studio to see the action unfold as Alan told his story. With bright colored lights and creative styling, WePresent worked with the talented Dylan Jong on photography, with styling by Sandy Phan, whose stunning imagery can be found in the main article here. Our own Shutterstock Editorial photographer Chelsea Lauren joined this creative duo to capture the behind-the-scenes making of this story come to life. The behind-the-scenes images can be seen throughout this blog post.

This is a small preview of the article, which can be found in full on WePresent. Click here to view the full article. Or, click here to listen to Alan’s portfolio of stunning work on PremiumBeat.

Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent — Alan Hampton on Being a PremiumBeat Composter
Alan Hampton recording in his safe place. Image by Chelsea Lauren / Shutterstock.

PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton on Writing Music

When asked about his musical process by WePresent, the talented composer said, “Writing music has always been my safe place. When I was learning jazz and didn’t know the language yet, I could go home and write music. That was my way of processing the fundamentals of jazz. I could do it on my own terms and incorporate it into my own language. So, I’ve always written songs.”

Chasing Musical Dreams Doesn’t Have to be About Fame

Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent — Looking Beyond Fame
Recording his own album allowed Alan a platform to voice his own opinions.

When you picture someone saying they’re a musician in Los Angeles, you may picture them chasing the Hollywood dream of fame and fortune, among the rich and famous. That doesn’t have to be the case. Alan Hampton is a brilliant enigma of the music industry and isn’t in it solely to pursue fame and fortune.

On creating a solo record, Alan stated to WePresent that he wasn’t interested in creating a record as a career move, at all. “It was just something I had to do. I had been writing all these songs — and I had all these opinions when I would go and work on someone else’s record. And I thought, ‘Man, I need to make a record and put my opinions there.’”

Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent — Hampton Playing Upright Bass
Hampton playing the upright bass. Image by Chelsea Lauren / Shutterstock.
Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent — Composer Alan Hampton
Behind-the-Scenes Images by Chelsea Lauren / Shutterstock.

On Being a PremiumBeat Composer and Contributor

When discussing his contributions as a PremiumBeat composer and contributor, Alan says it’s less about the money he earns than it is about the flexibility it provides. “It has empowered me to be more selective on what sideman gigs I do,” he explains to WePresent. In the past, “in some situations, I would have to take a tour that I would rather not take. I’m able to create that balance for myself.”

Behind-the-Scenes with PremiumBeat Composer Alan Hampton for WePresent — Alan Hampton Recording
Hampton’s advice is to study the music to see what fits.

As for advice for future PremiumBeat composers, Alan advised composers to “Pick a reference track and really study it. Try to match the drums and the other sounds. Listen to how the melodic parts fit together —compositionally and sonically.” For more of Alan’s sound advice, access the full article here.

WePresent + Shutterstock

WePresent and Shutterstock have partnered to support creatives by highlighting the dynamic offering from PremiumBeat, a Shutterstock service dedicated to sourcing and licensing music for media. The flexibility of PremiumBeat enables musicians from all around the world to stay creative, while also earning a living from their craft.

Featured Image by Chelsea Lauren.

Want more on working with Shutterstock? Check these out.

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Source: The Shutterstock Blog