CMU Digest

CMU Digest 06.08.18: MMA, Vivendi, Deezer, Cox Communications, EMI

By | Published on Monday 6 August 2018

US Congress

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

A compromise was reached in the US to save the Music Modernization Act. Two songwriter groups had feared that last minute lobbying by Blackstone, which owns collecting society SESAC and royalty administrator the Harry Fox Agency, could scupper the copyright law reforming legislation. But this week it was announced that a version of the MMA had been negotiated that could be backed by SESAC and HFA on one side and Nashville Songwriters Association International and Songwriters Of North America on the other. The music industry is now calling on US Senate to pass the act as soon as is possible. [READ MORE]

French conglom Vivendi announced plans to sell up to 50% of Universal Music. However, it said it wouldn’t offload shares in the music major via an Initial Public Offering, as had been previously suggested. Vivendi said it had looked into the IPO route and that it would be too complex. Instead it will seek “strategic partners” which might be interested in buying a slice of the Universal Music business. [READ MORE]

Deezer announced it had raised 160 million euros in new finance. That includes money from new investors Kingdom Holding and Rotana Group, both companies headed up by Al-Waleed bin Talal, a member of the Saudi royal family. Under the new alliance Deezer will also distribute content owned by the Rotana media company in some territories. [READ MORE]

The major labels sued American internet service provider Cox Communications. Sony, Warner and Universal are following BMG’s lead in saying that the ISP should be held liable for its customers’ copyright infringement, because they paid only lip service to their own policies for dealing with repeat infringers. BMG’s win in court against Cox was actually overturned on appeal, but on a technicality. The appeals court judgement basically endorsed the the music industry’s arguments. [READ MORE]

Sony Corp confirmed a deal to buy the Michael Jackson estate out of EMI Music Publishing. It follows a deal to buy the other co-owners out of the EMI publishing business earlier this year. As a result, Sony Corp will become the sole owner of the EMI songs catalogue. The deals are subject to regulator approval and indie label trade group IMPALA said “it is difficult to see how this could be approved” in Europe. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Warner Music bought media firm Uproxx [INFO]
• Collecting society SOCAN bought SODRAC [INFO]
• Concord acquired Fania [INFO]
• BMG Production Music acquired Deep East Music and Tele Music [INFO]
• Instrumental allied with the Official Charts Company [INFO]
• Kobalt signed David Guetta [INFO]

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