CMU Digest

CMU Digest 23.05.16: Facebook, BPI, Kesha, MegaUpload, Pandora, vKontakte

By | Published on Monday 23 May 2016


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

Facebook was talking to the record labels about getting licences for the music contained in user-generated content uploaded to the social network, according to the New York Post. As video becomes ever more central to the Facebook proposition, the social media firm needs to think about licences to cover the music some users include in their videos, YouTube-style. Though these initial talks seemingly centre on licensing small catalogues of music for use in a new tool called Slideshow. Warner is already involved in the pilot. [READ MORE]

UK record industry trade group the BPI launched its Music Market Review, tracking the British recorded music sector in 2015. It confirmed lots of what we already knew – downloads were down loads, CDs were declining but less rapidly, streaming was booming. It also revealed that UK artists achieved a 17.1% share of the global albums market last year. Free video platforms – aka YouTube – saw consumption rise by 88%, but the revenues they generated for labels grew by just 0.4%. Value gap and all that. [READ MORE]

There was more bad press for Dr Luke and his companies after it emerged that his Sony Music label Kemosabe had withdrawn permission for Kesha – who is still contracted to the imprint – to perform at this weekend’s Billboard Music Awards. The label made that decision after rumours Kesha would use her performance to highlight her ongoing legal battle with Luke. It then changed its mind again and OKed the singer’s set after getting assurances those rumours were, in fact, false. [READ MORE]

The servers formally used by controversial file-transfer platform MegaUpload were back in the spotlight. Said servers have been sitting in warehouses ever since the US government shut MegaUpload down in 2012. In a new legal filing it was revealed that one server hosting firm sitting on old MegaUpload machines has said those hard drives are now starting to fail and data is being lost. MegaUpload’s lawyers want the US government to start paying for both the storage and the upkeep of those servers. [READ MORE]

One of Pandora’s major shareholders – hedge fund Corvex Management – publicly criticised the personalised radio firm in a letter to its Chairman that was also published. Key criticisms were of the recent surprise return of Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren to the CEO role, and the fact the digital music set-up isn’t more proactively considering a sale of the loss-making company, which would give its shareholders a speedy pay day. [READ MORE]

Universal continued its legal battle with vKontakte. While Sony Music and Warner Music have now done deals with the often controversial Russian social network and are participating in its new subscription music app, Universal Music filed another appeal in its ongoing legal action against the social media firm. At one point all three majors were suing vKontakte, arguing that the company should be held liable for the rampant copyright infringement that occurs over its networks. [READ MORE]

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