CMU Digest

CMU Digest 02.02.18: CRB, Pandora, safe harbour, YouTube, agent of change

By | Published on Friday 2 February 2018

US Congress

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

The music industry welcomed the US Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the mechanical royalty rate. The exploitation of the so called mechanical rights in songs is covered by a compulsory licence in the US with the rate set by the CRB. The music industry has long criticised it for setting royalties below a true market rate. But this time the board put the top line royalty up from 10.5% to 15.1%. [READ MORE]

Pandora announced it was downsizing its workforce by 5%. The decision follows a change in senior management at the struggling American streaming firm last year, which in turn followed Sirius XM taking a significant stake in the company. Pandora said that the rejig would also see it put more focus on ad tech and audience development, suggesting the top guard at the company are now prioritising the company’s core ad-funded free streaming service over the subscription products it ramped up last year. [READ MORE]

A consortium of trade organisations representing the music and copyright industries urged the Prime Minister of Bulgaria to champion safe harbour reform in Europe. Bulgaria recently took over the presidency of the European Union, so will be leading the EU Council as the final draft of the new copyright directive is debated. The consortium said that reforming the copyright safe harbour was a good first step to addressing “a major problem which is holding back our sector and jeopardising future sustainability”. [READ MORE]

America’s Content Creators Coalition called on the judiciary committees of Congress to investigate non-disparagement clauses that YouTube reportedly puts in its artist contracts. C3 said such clauses interfered in the US Copyright Office’s review of the safe harbour that YouTube exploits and many in the music industry want restricted. YouTube played down its use of such clauses, saying that only a very small number of the deals it has with artists contain “general language around conduct”. [READ MORE]

The live community in Scotland urged ministers there to put agent of change into planning law. The UK government recently confirmed it would put agent of change – which puts the onus on property developers to sound proof new residential buildings built next to existing music venues – into the National Planning Policy Framework. But that does not apply in Scotland. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Tencent launched a joint venture label with Sony Music [INFO]
• BMI and ASCAP announced a deal with RAB over Music Modernization Act [INFO]
• Alcopop Records and Vinyl Junkie allied on new imprint Read The Air Records [INFO]
• Sony/ATV signed Luke Laird [INFO]
• Decca signed Clark [INFO]

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