CMU Digest

CMU Digest 25.07.16: Kickass Torrents, Pandora, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Apple, vKontakte, Google

By | Published on Sunday 24 July 2016

Kickass Torrents

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

The alleged boss of leading file-sharing site Kickass Torrents – Artem Vaulin – was arrested in Poland and now faces extradition to the US where he is accused of criminal level copyright infringement. The American investigation focused on the piracy plaform’s servers within the US jurisdiction, and with last week’s action the feds seem to have taken the core Kickass operation offline, though some mirrors of the site remain accessible. [READ MORE]

It emerged that the board of Pandora had knocked back a takeover bid from Liberty Media, seemingly because they felt the potential buyer’s offer of $15 a share, although higher than the current share price, wasn’t high enough. A Liberty acquisition of Pandora could result in the streaming service allying with other companies in which the media firm has a significant stake, most likely Sirius XM but possibly also Live Nation. The revelations came as Pandora published somewhat disappointing quarterly financials. [READ MORE]

Management at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire confirmed that the West London venue is back in business having closed late last year after issues were identified with the building’s roof. GM Bill Marshall said repairs had taken months instead of the originally hoped weeks because “[the] repairs had to be accurate and faithful to our original Frank Matcham design, as well as being safe, sound and secure”. [READ MORE]

It was revealed that Apple had made a sneaky proposal to the US Copyright Royalty Board to simplify the song royalties paid by streaming services to a fixed 9.1 cents per hundred streams, which would equate to the publishing royalties earned on a download. It was sneaky because Apple proposed the rate be the same for freemium and premium streams, which would prove problematic for the tech giant’s rival Spotify with its free level. [READ MORE]

vKontakte confirmed it had finally reached a deal with Universal Music which brings to an end its long-running legal battle with the record industry. Universal is the final major to settle its copyright infringement action against the Russian social network and concurrently sign up to work with vKontakte and its parent company Group on licensed streaming services in Russia. [READ MORE]

The French high court declined to give the country’s record industry trade group an injunction that would force Google and Bing to block searches involving artist names alongside the word ‘torrent’ and/or websites with ‘torrent’ in their name. The court decided it was too generic a term for a blanket ban, not least because the word ‘torrent’ exists in both French and English beyond its file-sharing definition. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• SOCAN bought Audiam [INFO]
• Downtown Records allied with Universal for distribution [INFO]
• Richard Branson invested in Sofar Sounds [INFO]
• Capitol signed Liam Payne [INFO]
• Season Of Mist signed Esben And The Witch [INFO]

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