CMU Digest

CMU Digest 26.09.16: BMI, Russian collective licensing, MusicBiz stats, iHeart, Fabric, Festival No.6

By | Published on Monday 26 September 2016

US Department Of Justice

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

The music industry welcomed the news that a US judge had sided with BMI on the 100% licensing debate. Much sooner than expected, a court overturned the recent ruling by the US Department Of Justice that said that BMI must operate a 100% licensing system. The judge hearing the case said that the DoJ’s interpretation of the consent decree that regulates the collecting society was wrong on this point. Unsurprisingly, the MIC Coalition, representing the tech, broadcast and hospitality sectors, criticised the judgement and urged the DoJ to appeal. [READ MORE]

It emerged that all three major music companies had signed a letter criticising the Russian government’s proposal it take over collective licensing there. Russian ministers are again considering taking over the collection and distribution of performing right royalties and private copy levies, mainly in response to controversies at the country’s song rights society RAO, where management are accused of fraud and members disagree on a way forward. But various Russian industry figures, including chiefs at the Russian units of Sony, Universal and Warner, say government taking over collective licensing would be a bad move and breach global intellectual property treaties. [READ MORE]

New research from US music retail trade group the Music Business Association reckons that more Americans listen to individual tracks via playlists than via albums, suggesting both the further growth of subscription streaming in the US and the importance of playlists on those platforms. Of those signed up to streaming, 42% were not paying, adding that they didn’t see the need because the free services provided everything they required. [READ MORE]

US radio firm iHeartMedia announced its plans to launch two new subscription streaming services, building on its current ad-funded free personalised radio service iHeartRadio. Although iHeart was light on specifics, it sounds like there will be parallels with what its main competitor Pandora is offering – a $5 a month enhanced radio experience, and a $10 a month option more in line with Spotify and Apple Music. Though iHeart is also promising integration with its vast network of conventional radio stations. The firm also confirmed direct deals with the majors and several indie label distributors, having mainly licensed iHeartRadio to date via SoundExchange. [READ MORE]

The police and council in Islington denied having a vendetta against Fabric. It has been claimed that officers and officials sought to have the London club’s licence revoked after it successfully overturned previous changes to its licence in the courts. But Islington Police chief Nick Davies said that he was new to the job and his actions were entirely motivated by the two recent drug-related deaths at the venue. But many in the music community continue to criticise the council’s decision on Fabric’s licence, while a fund-raising campaign to help fund the venue’s appeal has now topped £225,000. [READ MORE]

The founder of Festival No 6 apologised to ticketholders who were left stranded when the Welsh festival’s car park flooded earlier this month. He said that “despite the rumours and unfounded accusations flying around, we had no way of knowing this would happen and had no warning to that effect until the flood was literally in progress. Why would we knowingly risk people’s property and our reputation? It simply makes no sense”. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• The Orchard announced a partnership with China’s Taihe Music Group [INFO]
• Sky bought Una Tickets [INFO]
• Management firm Outerloop allied with Cooking Vinyl on its label [INFO]
• SpinMedia sold music blogs Idolator, Buzznet and PureVolume [INFO]
•  Syco confirmed it would distribute James Arthur’s new album in the UK [INFO]
• Maverick management signed Shania Twain and Andrew Bocelli [INFO]
• Collecting society ASCAP re-signed Max Martin [INFO]
• Fire Records signed Jane Weaver [INFO]

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