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Music industry responds to DotMusic triumph

DotMusic recently announced that it had prevailed in obtaining the rights to the .music top-level domain (TLD) name extension, which it will launch with music-tailored policies to create an exclusive, protected online space for the music industry.

Founder and chief executive of DotMusic, Constantine Roussos, had competition from tech giants Google and Amazon, as well as leading domain registries to win the .music rights. Roussos first submitted an application for the TLD in 2012.

In order to ward off cyber squatters – those who register trademarked domain names to either sell them on or profit from the traffic to the site – the TLD will become available in stages, first to verified trademark holders and then to members of the Music Community Members Organisation (MCMO).

Members of the public will then have access to the domain name, after undergoing a verification process.

“This is a new digital era for the global music community,” says 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.”

Below are a selection of music industry responses to the plans for the .music domain.

 


Frances Moore, CEO, IFPI
“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.”

“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”

Gadi Oron, director general, Cisac
“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.”

David Israelite, president and CEO, NMPA
“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.”

“This was a hard-fought and competitive process and we look forward to the great potential of the .music domain”

Daryl P. Friedman, chief industry, government and relations officer, The Recording Academy / Grammys
“As an organisation 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.”

Helen Smith, executive chair, Impala
“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.

“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.”

“It is good news that an application abiding by community commitments prevailed”

Pierre Mossiat, President, IMPF
“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.”

Benoît Machuel, general secretary, Fim

“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.”

“It has been a long journey but it is great to see the international music community validated”

Magdalena Moreno Mujica, executive director, Ifacca

“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.”

“This initiative promises to help realise [our] vision, by […] providing a trusted space for global audiences to engage with and

Brad Buckles, chief content protection officer, Riaa
“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.”

“Our hope was that this process would yield a .music domain where proper and effective safeguards would protect the rights of music creators”

Charlie Phillips, COO, WIN
“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 defence against piracy.”

Dr. Richard James Burgess, president and CEO, A2IM
“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.”

 


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Minding our own business: why mental health needs more attention

Traditionally an industry that attracts passionate and creative individuals who are willing to go the extra mile, the highly competitive live music business appears to be rife with fatigue, anxiety, stress, and drink – and drug-related problems.

A recent survey of more than 500 promoters, event organisers and venue owners, by ticket agency Skiddle indicates the extent of the welfare challenge facing the music industry. Some 82% of respondents said they had suffered with stress, 67% said they had anxiety, and 40% said they had struggled with depression.

Skiddle found 65% of promoters admitted to frequently feeling an “intense and unmanageable level of pressure.”

Someone who knows first hand what it feels like to suffer mental health issues as a result of intense pressure at work is production manager Andy Franks. After being sacked from a tour as a result of excessive drinking, Franks says he didn’t know where to turn to for help.

After meeting artist manager Matt Thomas, and collectively realising that drink – and drug-related mental health problems were widespread in the recorded and live music sectors, the duo founded the charity Music Support.

Franks says the aim of Music Support’s tagline – ‘You Are Not Alone’ – is to emphasise that the charity is there to ensure there is always someone on hand to help.

As well as offering a 24-hour helpline manned by volunteers with experience in the music industry, Music Support provides Safe Tents backstage at UK festivals, and services including crisis support and trauma therapy.

“We get feedback from people who we have helped and it is awe inspiring, we know we have saved people’s lives”

“We get feedback from people who we have helped and it is awe inspiring, we know we have saved people’s lives,” says Franks. As well as crew, promoters and venue staff, artists are also affected by the enormous pressures involved in delivering live music. One of the patrons of Music Support is Robbie Williams, while acts including Depeche Mode and Coldplay are among those to have helped fund the charity.

Despite the high-level backing, Franks says the future of Music Support is far from secure unless further funding can be found.

“These problems are in everyone’s business and we are providing a valuable service, but the only way we can sustain that is with regular funding. We are in desperate need of sustained funding,” says Franks.

Under Pressure
Lina Ugrinovska is another live music industry executive who, having struggled with issues including stress, became determined to help others overcome their problems.

Ugrinovska handles international booking at Password Production in Macedonia. Earlier this year she launched the ‘Mental Health Care in the Music Industry’ initiative with the aim of raising the profile of mental health issues, and helping people to tackle their problems via mentoring sessions and panel discussions.

She says, “I feel a responsibility to open the box and show that people should feel comfortable talking about their issues, instead of treating them as a sign of weakness.

“The idea behind the initiative is to raise awareness and help develop a healthier industry, through sharing stories, diagnosing, prevention and problem solving. It is something that everyone involved in this industry should take responsibility for.”

“I feel a responsibility to open the box and show that people should feel comfortable talking about their issues, instead of treating them as a sign of weakness”

An organisation that clearly has its employees’ best interests at heart is UK performance rights organisation PRS for Music. It used World Mental Health Day to announce the launch of an initiative that will see 16 of its staff trained as ‘mental health first-aiders.’

The initiative, in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England, is the next step in a series of wellbeing programmes carried out by the organisation in recent years.

Steve Powell, PRS for Music chief financial officer, says, “We have undertaken wellbeing programmes covering issues including nutrition, physical, financial, digital detox, and mental health. This latest initiative enables people to have conversations more regularly and outside of a structured programme.

“The area of stress and mental resilience is something that more and more people are having to cope with. This initiative is designed to enable people to talk about mental health and break down the stigma surrounding it in an informal and confidential way.”

Another organisation providing a 24-hours-a-day, seven- days-a-week help line for people suffering with mental health issues is Britain’s Help Musicians. Its Music Minds Matter service was launched in December in response to the findings of its Can Music Make You Sick? study released the previous year.

Nearly three quarters of survey respondents stated they had experienced anxiety and depression, while more than half said there wasn’t sufficient support available. Aside from the helpline, Music Support provides a network of international counsellors to help those in need while out on tour.

Formerly known as the Musicians Benevolent Fund, which was set up in 1921, Help Musicians not only helps people with mental health issues, but other problems including isolation and financial turmoil.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 80, or subscribe to the magazine here

UK Music chief Jo Dipple to stand down

The chief of music industry trade body UK Music, Jo Dipple, will stand down in June 2017 after eight years at the organisation.

Dipple first joined in October 2008 as director of government relations, becoming acting CEO in November 2011, then CEO in January 2012.  Her role centred on representing the most pressing issues affecting the British music industry to national and local government.

“Jo has led the organisation to robust health. She has built an outstanding team full of talent and ambition and has made UK Music into a highly visible presence.”

Andy Heath MBE, chairman of UK Music, said: “Jo has led the organisation to robust health.  Under her leadership, UK Music successfully challenged BIS in the courts over new copyright legislation, helped introduce a Live Music Act, amended DCLG planning law, launched an anti-piracy education campaign, published Measuring Music and Wish You Were Here and prevented Government from cutting BBC music services.

“Her work in launching the UK Music Skills Academy led to a sea-change in training strategy for the sector. Seventy new apprenticeship jobs were created and there exists now a structured approach to improving entry-level access, ensuring open recruitment and driving diversity policies. Jo has built an outstanding team full of talent and ambition and has made UK Music into a highly visible presence. I have really enjoyed working with her over the course of more than eight years.”

Dipple said: “UK Music will attract the very highest candidate to take this role.  It is a unique body with an exceptional membership. I am privileged to have worked with successful industry bosses and supremely talented musicians and creators. Music is part emotion and part business and the UK gets both right over and over again. The founders of UK Music were determined to secure the very best regulatory landscape for this outstanding industry. Its members will continue to bring a practical and business-like approach to opportunities and challenges ahead.”

 


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Industry veteran Rosa Martinez joins Vibe

Ticketing industry veteran Rosa Martinez has been appointed marketing director of Vibe Tickets.

Martinez (pictured), who previously worked with the face-value ticket resale app on a freelance basis, joins Vibe today. Her past experience includes spells as online partnerships manager at Ticketmaster UK, head of marketing at Eventim UK, marketing director at Ticketea in Spain and, most recently, European marketing director at AXS.

“I’ve been following Vibe from the very start, and I am very excited to come on board at this important moment to build sustained user growth and to effectively communicate the huge value this app adds to every entertainment fan out there,” she comments.

“The big established ticketing companies are not well positioned to solve their own challenges and provide the next generation of live fans with better access to face-value tickets”

UK-based vibe, which offers a marketplace for the buying and selling of unwanted concert and event tickets at face value or less, is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, making available 10% of its equity in exchange for an investment of £600,000. At the time of writing, it has raised £343,110 from 207 investors.

Outlining her choice to move to Vibe Tickets, Martinez – who has until now worked in the primary market – writes in a LinkedIn blog that traditional ticketers “do truly care about fans buying tickets at face value, and all of them invest significant resources to stop touts and robot bots…

“However it is my opinion that the big established ticketing companies are not well positioned to solve [their] own challenges and provide the next generation of live fans with better access to face-value tickets and innovative functionality.”

 


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Music Support aims to help music biz insiders

A new organisation that will provide specialist care for music industry executives, artists, crew and technicians is already helping a number of individuals after being quietly launched in April.

Music Support is the brainchild of production manager Andy Franks, artist manager Matt Thomas, musicians Mark Richardson and Rachel Lander (both recovering addicts) and addiction counsellor Johan Sorensen, who, having experienced dark times themselves, set about creating a network that they believe can vastly improve the mental health support for available for music business employees and freelancers, from apprentices to company bosses.

“There are obviously some great organisations out there – the likes of Samaritans, for example, do a fantastic job – but working in the music industry can involve some very unique circumstances, so we wanted to create something where people who know the various challenges of the business can help others work through their problems,” explains Franks.

Music Support has launched with a 24/7 phone line where individuals who are struggling with any kind of issue can speak to an operator, who will find the relevant expert counsellor to call that individual back. The organisation promotes other services such as Samaritans, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SANE, but it aims to help callers deal with alcoholism, addiction, emotional health, mental health, stress and other issues.

“Working in venues where there are thousands of people enjoying themselves can sometimes be the loneliest place, and we have people at the end of the phone who understand that”

“Usually people are called back within a matter of hours,” says Franks. “We’ve been talking about the need for a service like this for a long time, but at long last we have it. If you’re lying in a bunk on a bus travelling through eastern Europe on a tour feeling depressed, it can feel like hell – I should know, I’ve been there. But Music Support gives you the chance to speak to someone who knows what you are going through, so we’re hoping that word can spread quickly about the new service.”

Despite a very low key launch, Music Support has already helped a number of people since it launched in mid-April, but Franks and the other founders are determined that word about the service should spread throughout the industry as quickly and widely as possible.

“It can be a harsh environment, working away from loved ones for months on end, and it’s understandable that some people turn to drink or drugs,” adds Franks. “Working in venues where there are thousands of people enjoying themselves can sometimes be the loneliest place, and we have people at the end of the phone who understand that.”

Donations for the non-profit organisation can be made via the website – www.musicsupport.org – while anyone wanting to speak to a sympathetic voice can call +44 203 432 0449.