Episode 7 (ft. Ben Gross + Laura Kinniburgh): How lyrics are a leading indicator of innovation in music licensing
Water & Music · 56 minutes ·

Episode 7 (ft. Ben Gross + Laura Kinniburgh): How lyrics are a leading indicator of innovation in music licensing

WYL & Wun Two - "Kübla"
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Ben Gross — Chief Strategy Officer, Genius
Laura Kinniburgh — Head of Music Licensing, Genius


[2:34] Interview begins

[2:52] Overview of Genius' relations with publishers, songwriters and other players in the music industry

[5:45] Overview of Laura's background in music licensing and current role at Genius

[6:53] Types of licenses involved in Genius' online video series

[7:23] Relationship between Genius' industry relationships and the site's user-generated content

[10:06] How Genius approaches sharing advertising revenue with rights holders—including emerging artists without publishing representation or support

[12:21] Overview of Genius' partnerships and integrations with Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube

  • Spotify's Behind the Lyrics integration launched in January 2016.
  • Apple Music launched its own in-service Genius integration in October 2018.
  • YouTube and Genius briefly tested a Song Stories feature in 2018.

[15:05] Genius' role as an advocate for publishers in their deals with streaming companies

[17:02] Impact of lyric integrations on lean-forward engagement and differentiation on streaming services

[21:16] Role of lyrics in voice search

[24:40] Laura's role in educating up-and-coming and unsigned artists about how publishing and performance royalties work

[25:21] How Genius' "Verified" videos provide a source of publishing income for artists

[26:18] Whether Laura's job in music licensing has gotten easier or harder over time as technology has advanced

[27:36] New and unconventional forms of music and lyrics licensing

  • Genius had to sign an "industrial license" for displaying lyrics from The Notorious B.I.G. at its Lyrics to Life event, hosted in partnership with Dropbox .

[31:00] Why music scares brands from a licensing perspective, and how companies like Genius are trying to help

[33:08] How users can experience lyrics as the first point of music discovery

[35:34] How you don't have to be interviewed in a "Verified" video to get paid by the series

[36:45] How Genius recently reconfigured its approach to music licensing—in part because of Laura's background on The Tonight Show

[38:03] What tools and resources Laura uses to help streamline her licensing process

[39:45] The massive metadata problem for artists and how, if at all, Genius can help out

  • Genius often gets requests from publishers for lyrics data, instead of the other way around! 

[44:23] Overrated/Underrated segment begins

[44:35] The ongoing wave of vague copyright infringement lawsuits from songwriters, in the wake of the "Blurred Lines" case

  • Earlier this month, Chilean singer Jaime Ciero dropped his 2017 lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and performers Demi Lovato and Idina Menzel that claimed "Let It Go" infringed on Ciero's own composition.
  • In June 2018, Bebe Rexha belatedly gave Shelly Peiken a songwriting credit on the former's song "I'm A Mess," because of a suspected interpolation.

[48:05] Mariah Carey is an underrated songwriter

  • Genius honored Carey at their flagship "Levels" event in November 2018, and Carey did get nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame that same month.

[51:10] Fenty, Rihanna's new luxury house with LVMH

Thanks for listening! :)

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