ArtsWatch: Twitter Music: A Big Deal?

Social network provides platform for musicians to promote each other
April 22, 2013 -- 7:28 am PDT
By Philip Merrill / GRAMMY.com

In recent news ...

Twitter Music Aggregates The Tracks That Artists Tweet
On April 18 Twitter launched its Twitter Music website and iPhone app, collating musicians that other musicians follow and tracks they tweet. The default audio licensing plays samples from Apple's iTunes while subscribers to Rdio or Spotify can hear whatever full tracks are available by connecting through their account. Alternative options for listening and navigating include artists and tracks that are "emerging" and a custom roundup based on music being tweeted by people and artists a subscriber follows. The service's blog announcement said, "half of all [Twitter] users follow at least one musician." Billboard.biz described Twitter Music as a work in progress that leverages Twitter's existing user base. While it is designed to be fun and easy for consumers, this new arrival imposes fresh promotional chores on musicians wanting to draw attention to their own work, since their choice of what other musicians and tracks to promote is what will attract attention and drive the entire service. In that sense, Twitter Music is meant to be an improvisational work in progress composed by musicians.

One House Bill To Preserve The Internet And Another For Cybersecurity Protection
Two bills moving forward in the U.S. House of Representatives have potentially significant but unknown consequences for the future of freedom on the Internet. The House Commerce Committee unanimously approved H.R. 1580, to affirm the policy of the United States regarding Internet governance, on April 17. Its main language now reads, "It is the policy of the United States to preserve and advance the successful multistakeholder model that governs the Internet." Previously controversial draft text that the Internet should be "free from government control" was dropped in order to satisfy critics' concern that it could interfere with appropriate regulations. H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act, passed the House on April 18, and is intended to expedite information-sharing between the private sector and federal intelligence agencies about online threats. The White House has expressed its dissatisfaction with the current language of the bill and threatened a veto, so CISPA's present status is now similar to last year's version that expired at the close of the previous Congress. Internet freedom and consumer privacy activists are mobilizing to pressure the Senate to alter CISPA so that its security focus does not ride roughshod over Internet users' expectations of confidentiality and privacy online.

TV Broadcasters Want Rehearing In Their Case Against Aereo
On April 15 broadcasters petitioned the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for a rehearing "en banc" of this month's earlier three-judge decision in favor of Internet TV retransmission service Aereo. The petition argued, "Unless reversed, [this] decision will wreak commercial havoc by allowing new and existing distributors to design around [a copyright] license requirement and profit from the delivery of copyrighted programming while paying nothing for it."

European Court Clears Collecting Societies Of Collusion
The General Court of the European Union gave European collecting societies represented by CISAC a victory on April 12 by finding that Europe's territorial licensing system of reciprocal representation was not a concerted practice to restrict competition. Although this involves a partial annulment of a European Commission decision meant to promote pan-European licensing of digital works, the element addressed seems restricted to a charge of anticompetitive wrongdoing. Model contracts for European collecting societies were adjusted years back to suit European Commission requirements regarding membership conditions and exclusivity. CISAC Director General Olivier Hinnewinkel said the court's ruling "allows us to continue our work in championing sustainable licensing solutions."

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ GRAMMY.com and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

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