CMU Digest

CMU Digest 20.03.17: SXSW, touts, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, Paul McCartney

By | Published on Monday 20 March 2017


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

Visa issues were the big talking point around this year’s South By Southwest festival. A number of international musicians were denied entry into the US on their way to the event because they had a visitor rather than performer visa. SXSW insisted that a visitor visa should be fine providing an artist is only performing at official showcases at the festival. Other gigs, even if unpaid, may require a performer visa. Increased scrutiny at the US border in the wake of President Trump’s immigration crackdown combined with long-term ambiguities around whether or not unpaid promo gigs are allowed on a visitor visa likely resulted in more artists being denied entry this year. [READ MORE]

The UK government said that it accepted all the recommendations made in last year’s Waterson Review of the secondary ticketing market. That means it will support a bespoke ban of tout bots in the Digital Economy Bill, will provide funding to National Trading Standards to enforce ticket resale rules in the Consumer Rights Act, and put pressure on the secondary ticketing sites to identify industrial-level resellers. Meanwhile Parliament’s culture select committee will put the spotlight back on secondary ticketing this week. [READ MORE]

Sources said that Spotify will allow labels to window key releases off its freemium service as part of its new deals with the major record companies. The streaming service has been negotiating new licensing deals with the majors for some time. It needs the deals in place before its IPO. Negotiations have been slow-going to date, but sources reckon deals could now be reached within weeks, with the option to keep big new releases off Spotify’s free platform one of the concessions made by the streaming service in order to secure slightly lower royalty rates. [READ MORE]

Deezer announced a strategic alliance with French entertainment retailer Fnac. The latter will wind down its own digital music offering and promote Deezer to its customers instead, while Deezer will promote Fnac’s ticketing service to its users in France. The two will also work on promotional events together. Fnac says it may also take equity in the Deezer company down the line. [READ MORE]

Pandora put its long promised premium on-demand service live. It means that the US-based digital music firm – like main rival iHeartRadio – is now offering a free ad-funded personalised radio service, an ad-free personalised radio set-up for $4.99 a month and a fully on-demand streaming platform for $9.99 a month. The latter will make use of existing listening data to help premium users make their own personalised playlists. [READ MORE]

Sony/ATV responded to Paul McCartney’s lawsuit which seeks confirmation from the publisher that it won’t oppose his exercising of the US reversion right in order to reclaim his share of the Lennon/McCartney song repertoire. The Sony company said the case should be dismissed because there isn’t currently an actual dispute between it and McCartney. The one-time Beatle suspects Sony/ATV might put barriers in the way of his bid to reclaim the US rights in his songs depending on the outcome of the major’s legal battle with Duran Duran in London, which is also focused on whether UK publishing contracts can interfere with the reversion right provided by US law. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Spotify announced a partnership with outdoorwear company The North Face [INFO]
• City Slang signed EMA [INFO]
• JPU Records signed Aldious [INFO]
• Play It Again Sam signed Public Service Broadcasting [INFO]

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