CMU Digest

CMU Digest 15.09.17: Spotify, IOW Festival, Chance The Rapper, We Shall Overcome, Tencent, Sharebeast

By | Published on Friday 15 September 2017


The key stories from the last seven days in the music business…

Three court submissions added to Spotify’s mechanical royalty woes in the US. A new lawsuit was filed again accusing the streaming service of not paying all the mechanical royalties due for the songs it has streamed. A group of songwriters formally opposed Spotify’s proposed settlement of an earlier class action on the same issue. And lawyer Richard Busch hit back at Spotify’s recent argument that mechanical royalties aren’t even due on a stream. Previously the streaming firm argued that bad data made it impossible to ensure all mechanical royalties are paid in the US, rather than disputing whether such payments are actually due. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition And Markets Authority concluded that Live Nation’s acquisition of the Isle Of Wight Festival did not raise competition concerns. Its investigation considered the impact of Live Nation’s latest festival purchase on both consumer choice and the B2B market for booking bands to play. The Association Of Independent Festivals had hoped the CMA might widen its inquiry to review Live Nation’s general dominance in the UK festivals sector. [READ MORE]

Chance The Rapper was sued over a sample on his 2012 mixtape ’10 Day’. Abdul Wali Muhammad, formerly known as Eric P Saunders, says the track ‘Windows’ samples without permission a 1980 recording he composed called ‘Bridge Through Time’. His lawsuit says that he only found out about the uncleared sample earlier this year and the the rapper’s representatives have failed to respond to his correspondence on the matter. [READ MORE]

An American court ruled that the first verse of protest song ‘We Shall Overcome’ is public domain in the US. It follows the filing of a lawsuit on the song’s copyright status last year. Although the work was registered with the US Copyright Office in the early 1960s, an earlier version had previously been published in the 1940s, and that incarnation is definitely out of copyright. The court ruled that, despite some nominal changes, verse one of the 1960s version was the same as the 1940s version. The song’s publisher had claimed the nominal changes made the 1960s version a derivative work protected by a separate copyright. [READ MORE]

Two of China’s biggest internet firms announced a music deal. The Chinese market is unusual in that companies like Tencent both operate streaming services and control the distribution rights of music catalogues. Under the new deal between Tencent and Alibaba, the two net firms will get access to each other’s catalogues. The former reps global labels like Sony and Universal in China, while Alibaba controls a catalogue of Chinese and Japanese recordings. [READ MORE]

The one-time operator of defunct piracy website Sharebeast pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement. It followed action by the US Department Of Justice in 2015 which resulted in the piracy set-up going offline. The Recording Industry Association Of America, which welcomed the copyright crime charges and guilty plea, says that Sharebeast was “the most popular network of infringing music sites operated out of the United States”. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• BMG acquired AXS Music [INFO]
• Reservoir acquired a number of soul catalogues [INFO]
• Epic Rights allied with Amazon’s merch platform [INFO]
• UG Strategies bought US music PR firm Magnum [INFO]
• CTS Eventim took a majority stake in Italian promoter Vertigo [INFO]

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