CMU Digest

CMU Digest 25.02.19: SoundCloud, Michael Jackson, Local Radio Freedom Act, Termination Rights, Copyright Directive

By | Published on Monday 25 February 2019


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

SoundCloud announced it was adding distribution services to its Pro set-up. It means that Pro subscribers who upload music to the digital platform can now opt to have SoundCloud also push their tracks into other streaming services like Spotify and Apple. Music distributor FUGA will actually do the delivery. It’s a further enhancement of SoundCloud’s creator-centric Pro product which was at the heart of its original business model. [READ MORE]

The Michael Jackson estate went legal over HBO’s new documentary that puts the spotlight on child abuse allegations against the late king of pop. The estate had already been scathing about the new film and the two men who make allegations in it. After HBO refused to voluntarily cancel the programme, estate reps filed a breach of contract complaint, citing a 1992 contract relating to a Michael Jackson concert the broadcaster screened, which included a clause banning the media firm from disparaging the musician in its future output. [READ MORE]

A Local Radio Freedom Act was proposed in US Congress. It’s a bizarre piece of legislation that would basically keep American copyright law exactly as it currently is, with no general performing rights for sound recordings, meaning AM/FM radio stations are not obliged to pay royalties to artists and labels. It’s not the first time such proposals have been made and really it’s a lobbying manoeuvre by the US radio industry to identify supporters and therefore provide a list of the Congress people who oppose the record industry’s ongoing efforts to force broadcasters to pay such royalties on recordings. [READ MORE]

A group representing artists in the US spoke out in support of the acts suing Sony Music and Universal Music over the termination right. The majors are being sued over their insistence that the termination right in US copyright law, which allows creators to reclaim rights they assigned away 35 years ago, doesn’t apply to record contracts. The Artist Rights Alliance said that it was “beyond dispute” that recording artists could in fact employ the termination right and that it therefore “strongly supported” those artist who had decided to go legal on this issue. [READ MORE]

Groups representing indie labels and publishers, as well as songwriters and their collecting societies, called on the EU Council and European Parliament to vote through the European Copyright Directive. The final draft of the copyright reforms was circulated last week. It includes the much discussed safe harbour reforms in article thirteen plus new rights for artists and songwriters. The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry was more reserved when commenting on the final draft, though did point to some positives in article thirteen. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Live Nation bought Norway’s Tons Of Rock festival [INFO]
• Live Nation bought Finland’s Blockfest [INFO]
• Warner allied with the R Baron Group on a new label [INFO]

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