There has been a lot of hue and cry from writers and reporters wondering if the major labels would try to sue this summer’s most exciting news music app Turntable.fm. But today ASCAP announced that, not only were they proud to license their catalog to Turntable.fm, but it reminded them of the good old days, when people got together in actual spaces hang out and listen to records played. Or as ASCAP put it in their blog post – “A New Turntable?! No, not that Kind of Turntable!”
This post from PaidContent, Turntable.fm Has Lots of Buzz, But Will the Labels Crush It?, was repeated and retweeted ad-naseum around the web. “This story usually ends the same way. Promising startup launches new service that is great for listeners and consumers, but doesn’t properly license the music it makes money off. Record labels slap startup with enormous lawsuit and either get the service shut down or force unprofitable terms on the company that eventually drives it into bankruptcy.”
While that might have once been true, the music industry has reached an inflection point on streaming music. The entrance of Spotify to the U.S. is one sign of this. The fact that Turntable was able to nab an endorsement from ASCAP is another. We hear Sony Music has been courting Turntable.fm very hard. Record executives have seen the writing on the wall. Music is social, it’s digital and it’s always on, no matter what device you’re using.
The ASCAP license provides blanket coverage for songs streamed on web or mobile, although interestingly Betabeat has learned that Turntable.fm obtained the non-interactive license. This seems strange, given that the site allows DJs to choose what tracks they are playing. However, since the majority of listeners have no control of what song comes next, Turntable.fm may be hoping it can succeed with just the cheaper, non-interactive license.
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