Category Archives: Tematica In the News

FORBES: Music Publishers Continue To Seek Handouts Despite DOJ Sanctions

FORBES: Music Publishers Continue To Seek Handouts Despite DOJ Sanctions

The accessibility of music driven by the digital revolution has enabled music to pervade consumers lives more than ever. With services from Pandora iHeartMedia Sirius XM Radio SIRI -0.37%Apple AAPL +0.24% and Spotify, people enjoy music in places and ways never imagined just a few short years ago. For artists, the revolution has brought new platforms to reach hundreds of millions of consumers in unprecedented ways. Scope and scale to use consulting industry lexicon.

Yet these advances seem to be under perpetual threat from big corporate interests seeking to hang on to the days when they and their allies in government held all the cards in a rigged deck.  Recently, I highlighted one such threat posed by the efforts of music publishing corporations and Performance Rights Organizations (PRO) to break free of decades old settlements with the Department of Justice known as “Consent Decrees.”

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FORBES: The Perils Of Legislating By Movie Scene

“The Big Short” won all kinds of accolades for its vivid depiction of the 2008 financial crisis, which managed to turn complicated financial instruments into a riveting morality tale.

The movie, a Hollywood adaptation of a Michael Lewis book by the same name, apparently counts Members of Congress among its fans, judging from a recent congressional hearing in which lawmakers cited specific scenes in angrily demanding answers from hearing witness. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA), in particular, thundered with what he surely thought was righteous anger about the glaring conflicts of interest exposed by the film concerning the ratings agencies, essentially three companies given special authority by regulators to determine how safe a broad variety of loans and debt instruments are for investment purposes. These rating agencies are Moody’s; Standard & Poor’s, a division of McGraw Hill Financial (MHFI) and Fitch Ratings .

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Forbes: Will Government Listen to the Market and Lower Streaming Music Royalty Rates?

I have written extensively about the efforts of the recording industry to squeeze blood from the streaming music industry stone by attempting to get allies in Congress and the White House to increase the royalty rate paid by streaming companies like Pandora , Apple ([stock_quote symbol=”AAPL”]), ([stock_quote symbol=”AMZN”]), Spotify, Google ([stock_quote symbol=”GOOGL”]) Play Music, and other companies. The battle royale over the future of music streaming has taken a strange and potentially dangerous turn over the past month.

By the end of the year, the Copyright Royalties Board (CRB) at the Library of Congress will determine the new royalty rate streamers will have to pay record labels and artists. The CRB has been charged under statute to “establish rates and terms that most clearly represent the rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and a willing seller.” An attempt by a federal agency to set rates that accurately mimic what a competitive marketplace would yield is no easy task, however the CRB has before it approximately 30 privately negotiated royalty agreements between streamers (willing buyers) and record labels (willing sellers). These voluntary, in-market deals provide a roadmap to what the price of music should be.

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Forbes: Ackman’s Assault On Herbalife Risks More Hedge Fund Regulation

There has been a push by many politicians of both parties in Washington to beat up on Wall Street generally and hedge funds in particular. One need to look no further than Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who claims hedge fund managers are not paying enough taxes. In a tirade that received accolades from liberals Warren Buffet and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Trump claimed that the hedge fund operators “are getting away with murder” by alleging “ they’re paying nothing.”

This is nothing new as hedge funds have been a popular target for populist rhetoric. President Obama was quoted in a Bloomberg story titled “Obama Says Hedge Fund Managers Are ‘Society’s Lottery Winners” as saying “if we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to make that modest investment, then really this conversation is for show.” President Obama wants to increase taxes on hedge fund managers and investors to pay for more federal education funding.

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Forbes: An Unchecked IRS Raises The Stakes for Business

As hard as it may be to believe, Microsoft MSFT -4.88% remains in a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) over an audit from ten years ago. The extensive audit by the IRS stems over how tax is calculated for income made by Microsoft overseas. Granted Microsoft is large international company with revenues of nearly $94 billion last year and more than $60 billion in cash on its balance sheet at the end of June. Normally, tax law allows three years for an audit to be conducted. In this case, however, the IRS requested the company to waive the time period resulting in an almost decade long audit. Read More  >>

Forbes: Patent Reform Should Not Bail Out Big Drug Companies

There is little debate that patent law is a complicated subject, yet the idea of protecting intellectual and private property is a centerpiece of American free market capitalism. Congress is once again contemplating changes to patent law to help consumers by cracking down on costly and abusive patent lawsuits. Seeing an opportunity, lobbyists for big drug companies are trying to attach a proposal that would do the opposite – harm consumers, American competitiveness and is a special interest provision that is tantamount to cronyism. Read More >> How Long Until Investors Urge Alphabet to Spin Off Google?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — It’s only a matter of time before Alphabet investors separate the wheat from the chaff. Let me explain.

Last night the company now formerly known as Google(GOOG – Get Report)(GOOGL – Get Report) and now known as Alphabet announced a new operating structure that in some ways looks to shine the light of transparency on the Internet search giant and its various businesses. Read Full Article >>

RealMoney: Here’s Why Shopify’s IPO Was a Winner and Etsy’s Just Fizzled

What a difference an IPO’s business can make!

Some can be fantastic performers, while every now and again we get one that flops out of the gate. Nothing captures that better than the recent IPO of online goods seller Etsy  ([stock_quote symbol=”ETSY”]), which has seen the company’s shares fall more than 40% since the offering, and Shopify  ([stock_quote symbol=”SHOP”]), a software that helps retailers sell goods online, that saw its shares vault higher on the first day of trading after pricing the offering at $17 per share.

At first blush you might say “oh, they both sell products online,” but that would be a mistake. While Etsy is more or less a portal that enables “people to connect, make, sell and buy products,” Shopify is the enabling software that has allowed small and medium size companies to get their business up and running on the web or mobile platforms.

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