CMU Digest

CMU Digest 27.03.17: Viagogo, Spinrilla, SoundCloud, safe harbours, iHeart, PPL/PRS

By | Published on Monday 27 March 2017


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

Viagogo declined to attend a culture select committee session on secondary ticketing in Parliament. It’s very rare for companies with a UK office to refuse to take questions from MPs in this way. In its absence there was much criticism of the ticket resale company: from MPs over its no-show; from Ed Sheeran’s manager over it allowing tickets to be touted for the singer’s charity concert in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust; and from Claire Turnham, who has set up the Victims Of Viagogo group on Facebook after a particularly bad experience using the platform. [READ MORE]

Mixtape sharing app Spinrilla filed its response to a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against it by the US majors. The digital firm said that it had in the past enjoyed a good relationship with the record companies so didn’t understand the lawsuit. It said labels often asked it to promote their recordings via the app, while adding that if the record industry was now set on pursuing litigation, it reckons it is protected by the copyright safe harbours. [READ MORE]

SoundCloud confirmed it had raised $70 million in debt finance. Although that should put on hold speculation that the digital firm is about to run out of money, some reckoned that it borrowing such significant funds – rather than raising more equity finance – wasn’t a great sign either. For its part, SoundCloud continues to talk in optimistic terms, though its future now relies on its lacklustre subscription service gaining momentum. [READ MORE]

The Australian government took controversial proposals to expand safe harbours in the country out of its Copyright Amendment Bill. The local music and media industries had criticised the move, which would bring Australia’s narrower copyright safe harbours more in line with those in the US and Europe. Rights owners pointed out that safe harbours in America and the EU had proven controversial, and said the Australian government needed to do a more thorough review of the issues before changing the law. [READ MORE]

iHeart successfully defeated another pre-1972 copyright case, this one in Georgia. Unlike other lawsuits against online radio services over whether or not they need to pay royalties on golden oldies, this one didn’t ask if there was a general performing right for sound recordings under Georgian copyright law, but whether or not a personalised radio service constituted a transfer of a recording and therefore required a licence. The state’s Supreme Court decided not, on the basis the iHeartRadio service was quite like conventional radio. State laws are relevant because pre-1972 sound recordings are not protected by federal law in the US. [READ MORE]

UK collecting societies PPL and PRS For Music confirmed they are working on a joint database initiative, seeking to identify what songs are contained in what recordings, so that licensees can see who controls a track and the song it contains, plus writers and performers involved in the work, all in one place. Australian collecting society APRA/AMCO confirmed it was now also getting involved in the project which could ultimately overcome some of the industry’s music rights data problems. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Live Nation took a majority stake in the Isle Of Wight Festival [INFO]
• Global added two more festivals to its portfolio [INFO]
• Sentric confirmed £3 million of financing from BGF [INFO]
• Management firm Deckstar merged with the James Grant Group [INFO]
• Stefflon Don announced a deal with Universal over her label V-IV London [INFO]

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