CMU Digest

CMU Digest 16.01.17: Team Rock, Creative Content UK, Pandora, The Carpenters, Tidal, BMG

By | Published on Monday 16 January 2017


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

Future Publishing bought back the Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines from the now defunct Team Rock. Future sold the rock media start-up the two titles back in 2013 for £10.2 million, but Team Rock failed to build a viable multimedia business around the brands, going into administration just before Christmas. Future re-acquired the two publications for £800,000. It’s not clear how many of the 73 people who lost their jobs when TeamRock collapsed will be taken on by Future. [READ MORE]

It emerged that the major UK internet service providers will finally start sending out warning letters to suspected file-sharers later this month. ISPs were originally obliged to send such letters at the request of rights owners in the 2010 Digital Economy Act, though no such letter-sending ever happened. The letters now due to go out, which will be educational in nature, are the result of the Creative Content UK campaign launched by the net firms, content industries and government back in 2014. [READ MORE]

Pandora announced it was axing 7% of its 2000+ workforce this quarter in a bid to cut costs. The move comes as the US streaming service prepares to go head-to-head with Spotify and Apple Music by launching a paid-for fully on-demand music service in addition to its personalised radio package. Speculation continues that publicly listed Pandora needs to be taken back into private ownership to succeed, and the cost cutting might make it a more attractive buy. [READ MORE]

Richard Carpenter, formerly of The Carpenters, sued Universal Music in a wide-ranging royalties dispute. He alleges that an audit of the major showed various errors that meant he and the estate of his late sister received a “minuscule fraction” of the digital royalties they are owed. Part of the dispute is the classic sales v licence debate, ie should downloads be classified as a sale or a licence, classic record contracts usually paying a much bigger artist royalty on the latter. [READ MORE]

Tidal responded to the legal action launched last year by Prince’s music companies. The late musician’s estate says that there is no paperwork to back up the streaming firm’s claim to have exclusive rights to stream Prince’s catalogue, they having only found a letter covering his penultimate album. But this week Tidal repeated its position that it had both written and oral agreements with the late pop star to stream his music. The Prince estate seems keen to get the musician’s music back onto all the streaming platforms ahead of a tribute set at this year’s Grammys. [READ MORE]

The US record and movie industries backed BMG in its ongoing legal battle with US internet firm Cox. The latter is trying to overturn a 2015 court ruling that said its shoddy methods for dealing with repeat infringers among its customer base meant it no longer had safe harbour protection, and was therefore liable for those customer’s copyright infringement. The tech sector has criticised the ruling and backed Cox, but this week the RIAA and MPAA said the courts got it right in siding with BMG. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Global Music Rights confirmed it would rep Prince’s performing rights [INFO]
• Universal’s Bravado announced a merch deal with the Prince estate [INFO]
• Ole bought Red Vinyl Music [INFO]
• SACEM allied with IBM on a big data venture [INFO]
• Kobalt announced a deal with Emeli Sandé’s publishing venture [INFO]
• US agencies allied with Paradigm announced they’d now all use that name [INFO]
• Sony TV announced a deal to air more series of ‘Asia’s Got Talent’ [INFO]
• St Vincent designed a signature series of guitars for Ernie Ball [INFO]
• Downtown Music Publishing announced a JV with The Invisible Men [INFO]
• Sony Music Masterworks signed The Accidentals [INFO]

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