TuneCore Plan To Give Musicians ‘YouTube Money’

The biggest music stars in the world, despite being on red-alert for any pirated copies of their songs that could lose them a little income, do have a structure in place for getting money out of their content with ad-supported music videos on YouTube from companies such as VEVO.

Tunecore-logoThe system works in a similar way beneath VEVO’s level as well, but obviously with less money changing hands on account of lower viewcounts from lower-profile artists. A company looking to change the structure a little, though, and perhaps give a percentage more to all, is established music distribution company TuneCore, who have announced their plans to help their musician clients better capitalise on ‘YouTube Money’.

Generally more experienced in the fields of iTunes, Amazon, and the ‘digital retail’ market as a whole, the company have this week launched a new programme that aims to get artists money out of any ‘unlicensed music use’ on Google’s video-sharing platform. The service will enable users to choose songs that they track on YouTube, with TuneCore then monitoring the site for uses of such music (via YouTube’s copyright-policing smart scans) to find videos that are not licenced to use it, then claiming a portion of any money generated by that video to go to the artist’s TuneCore account.

TuneCore’s CEO Scott Ackerman said of the initiative in an official statement: “As YouTube’s importance as a point of distribution increases, we want to ensure artists are receiving the full benefits. With YouTube Money, we’re confident TuneCore can help artists by collecting the YouTube revenue artists have earned while artists can focus on what’s most important-making music and getting their music out to the world.”

Considered by artists in a recent TuneCore survey to be the third ‘most important platform’ for their music distribution (following iTunes and Spotify), will YouTube Money do for music what YouTube have been doing for video creators and start to see singers ‘own’ the unlicenced editions of their work?

The Simpsons Experiment With Different Format On Simpsons World App

Since FXX acquired the rights to show syndicated episodes of The Simpsons last year, it seems as though they have been taking the animated comedy show from Fox extremely seriously with regards to giving it airtime and support, with the marathon of all episodes to date in the summer perhaps expected at some point in their tenure.

the_simpsons_world_app_fxA couple of months on, though, they have gone one better, with the launch today of The Simpsons World app by FX Networks. The app (only available to TV subscribers) will provide every single episode from the show’s past (currently 556) in one place (with new episodes uploaded a day after original Fox airing), already a big ask for America’s longest-running scripted show, but is added to with a number of news, behind-the-scenes, bonus content, sharing, recommended playlists, and interactive features.

The service is described by FX as an “…immersive, interactive digital and online experience … for both casual and super fans.”

Available both through website and the FXNOW app (on applicable smartphones, tablet computers, and streaming products), the service is to offer alongside the episodes a variety of clips and trivia to accompany the viewing, with features including news/social media hub Everything Simpsons, Did You Know, and The Simpsons Heartbeat (a ranking of all episodes by viewcount), alongside smart search functions for both full episode scripts and to search episodes and clips by character or guest star.

It was also claimed that they are not finished with creating new features, as a number are set to be rolled out over the next few months. For the completionist of content side, perhaps semi-related content such as all promos, inserts, cross-overs, movies, commercials, images, and Tracey Ullman shorts should also be targeted for inclusion.

The Simpsons‘ executive producer Al Jean said of the new offering: “Hello Simpsons World, goodbye free time! Seriously.”

On a technical level, FX Networks’ chief operating officer Chuck Saftler said of the new service: “We recognize that The Simpsons was found linearly on television for the last 25-plus years in syndication, where any episode could be served up in a given night. If you just flipped on the TV, anywhere across the country, you’d find an episode, and that was a great, easy experience. But we wanted to look at the new paradigms that we’re seeing in this SVOD space, this non-linear space, where people can create playlists and create the [experience] they want. We’ll make it easy for you. We’ll curate for you; you can curate for you; you can curate for us. It can be lean-forward; it can be lean-back.”

FX Networks’ ‘head of marketing & on-air promotions’ Stephanie Gibbons summarised: “The Simpsons is one of the greatest shows ever made and our goal was to create a site that pays homage to this classic iconic brand while delivering a rich, personal experience. Fans will be able to seamlessly move in and out of the deepest digital archive of any TV series online ever – wherever they are and however they want – and dive deeper into this colorful world through many additional features built into this site.”

Following their structure of episode implementation, you will be able to watch this most recent headline-making footage from the show, with a closing scene of the “Treehouse of Horror XXV” episode showcasing the characters in various styles that will appeal to fans who also enjoy other animated comedies and cartoons.

For those with a checklist, featured there was The Simpsons in Tracey Ullman form, claymation, anime, Adventure Time, South Park, Archer, The Simpsons in ‘Sylvian Chomet couch gag’ style, The Simpsons in Lego form, The Simpsons in the fantasy animal form of a previous Treehouse of Horror installment, and the movie franchise Despicable Me.

Ryan Murphy Brings Scream Queens To Fox

One of the most disturbing realities in the current show business market is that the same person created Glee and American Horror Story, and adding one to his portfolio, Ryan Murphy has had his newest horror anthology series, Scream Queens, commissioned by Glee broadcasters Fox.

ryan_murphyWhilst his previous show on the network was a musical comedy-drama around high-school students singing in a ‘glee club’, Murphy, alongside Glee co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, will take a sinister turn when they moved on to this project, with the 15-part series set to focus on a college that becomes the site of a series of murders.

It is claimed that production on the series, which is to consist of hour-long episodes, will begin in early 2015, presumably for a release later that year.

Speaking of the first season order, Murphy stated of his newest anthology: “I knew I wanted to work with Brad and Ian again on something comedic, and we are having a blast writing Scream Queens. We hope to create a whole new genre – comedy-horror – and the idea is for every season to revolve around two female leads. We’ve already begun a nationwide search for those women, as well as ten other supporting roles, and we’re very grateful to Dana and Gary for their enthusiastic support.”

This time taking his scary stories to Fox‘s main network rather than cable channel FX (where American Horror Story was recently renewed for a fifth season (alongside a commissioning for spin-off American Crime Story), following the successful network record-breaking 10 million viewers for the fourth season American Horror Story: Freak Show premiere episode), will Scream Queens be a show that a ‘from the creators of Glee‘ tag helps or hinders?

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Apple Announce Above-Expectation Profits

In an unusual contrast to Netflix and Google, who have both been running along with little major issues to discuss, the most recent financial quarter has had Apple announcing that they have performed better than their own expectations in the technology market, in spite of problems that were far more publicised and joke-worthy.

apple-logo-fontPutting a figure on the headline is Apple’s profit of $8.5b for the Q3 2014 period, surpassing their own expectations for the stretch. Naturally, it is the high-profile release of the iPhone 6 and iOS8 operating systems that have contributed the most to this 13% earnings rise from the same point last year, surpassing analyst expectations in spite of the bad publicity they were receiving from poor consumer takeup of the software, and reports that the hardware was not only ‘flexible’ against its will, but also able to pull hairs out of someone making a phone call. Also potentially explosive, but that one was beyond Apple’s control.

CEO Tim Cook said of the positives to take away from the month for his company, which can probably be clearly seen in their bank accounts: “Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”

The posting date of Monday 20 October was one which saw Apple record an official ‘overall revenue’ of $42.1b, and beating the estimations of analysts at $40b. Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri said of this display: “Our strong business performance drove EPS growth of 20% and a record $13.3 billion in cash flow from operations in the September quarter. We continued to execute aggressively against our capital return programme, spending over $20 billion in the quarter and bringing cumulative returns to $94 billion.”

With Apple’s Apple Pay mobile payment system now claimed to be fully repaired and ready to go, and the Apple Watch smartwatch product also edging closer to a late market entry, will Apple be able to use their own previous financial performances as momentum going forward with these products, or will some of the less positive headlines generated over the last quarter catch up with them in the last of the year?

BBC To Archive Every Radio and TV Listing They Have Ever Made

The latest in a long line of BBC projects undertaken, the public broadcaster, with the history, funds, and freedom to do a little more than their commercial competitors (rightly or wrongly), have launched the ‘Genome Project‘, which aims to archive every single TV and radio broadcast that has ever been made in the UK under the BBC banner.

bbc_radio_times_#1Whilst that is a huge ask considering the BBC’s legacy (with even their best known shows being sacrificed or going missing before an improvement in archiving a few decades ago), the venture aims to go from 1923 onwards with support of the online community in the ‘curation and chronicling’ of every BBC broadcast… ever.

Currently on the official website, while without much content-wise, have put up ‘digital editions’ of each issue of the Radio Times magazine that has been published between 1923-2009, meaning that aside from late schedule changes, users can see what was on and when at various points in modern history.

Aiming to have a Wikipedia-style operation in which suggestions and changes can be made by its readers, the BBC have opened up the project to users with ‘Genome’ keeping moderation on the contributions, whilst official audio/video clips are to be added in relevant places over time by the broadcaster and by public users, as they aim to find what was previously lost where possible.

An official blog post on the matter stated:

“Genome – the BBC project to digitise the Radio Times magazines between 1923 and 2009 is now live. On the site you can find BBC broadcast information – ‘listings’ – extracted from those editions. You can also search individual programme titles, contributors and synopsis information.

Our aim on this project is to curate a comprehensive history of every radio and TV programme ever broadcast by the corporation, and make that available to the public. Our first step has been this digitisation of the BBC radio and TV programme schedules from the Radio Times magazine; the next phase of the project is to incorporate what was actually broadcast, as well as the regional and national variations. It’s one of the most important steps we’re taking to begin unlocking the BBC’s archive, as Genome is the closest we currently have to a comprehensive broadcast history of the BBC.

We’re really pleased to get the site live, not least because so many of you have been asking “when”, “how soon” and telling us “how useful it would be”. The challenges in making available the 4.42 million programme records so far have been significant – you can read about some of the recent ones on the Internet blog.

We need your help too though. We’re looking to you to help us to clean up the data. The scanning process – known as ‘Optical Character Recognition’ – has produced plenty of errors: punctuation in the wrong places, spaces where there shouldn’t be any or no spaces where there should, as well as fundamental misunderstandings about who did what.

We’ve made it possible for you to submit an edit to us, as you use the site. We’ll validate your suggested changes and publish the ones which are approved.

We’ve also included a ‘Tell Us More’ form, at the bottom of each programme listing, so we can tap into the collective memory, insight and knowledge of our users, making use of the wealth of experience out there about our programmes, something we’d like to capture.

We also know that the schedule changed considerably on occasion, because of events in the real world and we need that information too.

Additionally, during the process of building Genome, we’ve identified a few ‘chunks’ of data that are missing from the database, but due to the way in which OCR works, didn’t get picked up in the original scans. So, we will be adding this in.

The Radio Times has been published with regional variations since 1926. The magazines we scanned and the data sets which have been included in Genome are not exhaustive, rather they represent the ones which we could access and which covered the greatest areas and variations. In the future, we will look into the implications of attempting provide a more complete set of regional data.

We won’t be able to reflect what you send us straight away, but as we build on BBC’s Genome, it will come in to its own.

Now that we have published the planned broadcast schedule, our next step is to match the records in our archive catalogue (the programmes that we have a copy of in our physical archives) with the Genome programme listings. This helps us identify what proportion of the broadcasts exist in a potentially ‘playable’ form, and highlights the gaps in our archive.

It is highly likely that somewhere out there, in lofts, sheds and basements across the world, many of these ‘missing’ programmes will have been recorded and kept by generations of TV and radio fans. So we’re hoping to use Genome as a way of bringing copies of those lost programmes back in to the BBC archives too.

But, even if we don’t have an actual copy of the programme, we’ll also look to publish related items in our archives, such as scripts, photographs and associated paper-work. We’re looking in to the logistics of making some of these items available via Genome. Clearly, this will in some cases be a long and painstaking task. The BBC’s various archives contain millions of items spread over 23 archive centres across the UK, most of them in analogue form. It’s a big job, one we’re looking forward to reporting back on in the future.

What happens after 2009 when the Genome data “stops”? Well the information held at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes starts in 2007 (the birth of the iPlayer) and as the Genome data is improved and corrected (by you!), we expect to start ‘backfilling’ the bbc.co.uk/programme pages with the Genome data.”

A unique venture that will be unmatched around the world at least in sheer scale, will the BBC’s comprehensive content wiki be seen as another passing fancy by its critics, or will the Genome Project be able to put every piece of the broadcaster’s history (presumably with a 5-year buffer for new items) together  in an intriguing and well-presented manner?

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Fox Sitcom Mulaney Cuts First-Season Order

The Fox sitcom Mulaney, a new staple of their Sunday night schedules, has been seen by many viewers and critics as a poor choice to have been made by both the network and its star after just two episodes, and it appears as though they may only have eleven more chances to change people’s minds, after the network reacted to ratings and reception by changing their episode order once more.

mulaney_castThe sitcom-incorporating-standup format, which some claim is inspired by Seinfeld, features former Saturday Night Live writer and stand-up John Mulaney as “John”, an up-and-coming stand-up comedian looking for his big break, which he gets by becoming a writer for the game show of legendary comedian “Lou Cannon” (Martin Short).

Also included in the regular cast are Mulaney’s roommates in New York City, “Jane” (Nasim Pedrad), “Motif” (Seaton Smith), friend “Andre” (Zack Pearlman) and neighbour “Oscar” (Elliot Gould). Executive production comes from Andy Ackerman and Lorne Michaels.

The show was originally one that Fox ordered a pilot episode on (after being passed over by original network NBC), and once happy with the idea, went for a 6-episode first season to be broadcast. However, they soon extended that by requesting an extra 10 to be filmed, but after 13 episodes in the season had been filmed (the most recent filming claimed to have just finished shooting), Fox announced their intention to stop production there, forgoing the final 3 episodes of the season at this point for a 13-part run.

And in the TV industry, that is obviously not a good sign, as networks aim to not put what they’ve already made to complete waste, and then have no more and pretend the process never happened. Of course, that all changes if Mulaney manages to perform in what looks like an early final stretch, but at present it seems as though the public perception is that the star of the show should stick to what got him this far in the first place.

Launching with a 2.3m audience on 5 October, and followed up the weekend after with 2.19m for episode 2, Mulaney‘s ratings are not in a sharp decline on that evidence (and reportedly actually enjoyed a slight increase on audience share) and the most recent not yet available, but the warning signs could well be foreseen, with not too many people enjoying the ‘sitcom’ elements at present, and the stand-up parts, quality-wise believed to be the saving grace of the format, is timing-wise believed to be shoehorned in with less plot relevance than would be deemed acceptable.

So the first question that should naturally be asked is “they let American Dad go for this?”, presumably followed by any number of others relating to Fox’s judgement on the matter. Or more specifically, how they can carry on with a promotional campaign that isn’t doing its new show any favors:

This coming after all their summer hype, which included a Gotham-style online-exclusive behind-the-scenes-documentary:

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