Business News Week In Five

The music business week in five – 16 Dec 2011

By | Published on Friday 16 December 2011

Chris Cooke

So, here we go, the final Week In Five of 2011, because this time next week we’ll have eaten far too many mince pies to be writing a CMU Daily. Talking of food, somehow today I’ve got to fit a Music Publishers Association Christmas lunch in around four publication deadlines, which should make for an interesting few hours. Do you think Team MPA will mind if I’m editing a podcast while eating all their food? Hmm, oh well, better get on with this then…

01: MegaUpload sued Universal. The file-sharing platform said the major had misused US copyright law to force a promotional video Team Mega had made off YouTube, because it was pissed off various artists signed to its labels could be seen bigging up the file transfer service at the same time the big music majors were accusing the Mega company of fuelling piracy. Universal said it was acting for artists featured in the video without their permission, but MegaUpload said it had signed agreements from all participating talent. The major then said it couldn’t be sued over the takedown notice it had issued over the video, because it had issued the notice according to a contractual agreement with YouTube, and not using the statutory system set out in the DMCA. CMU reports | Wired report

02: Madonna signed to Universal. The label will release the first album coming out via the singer’s partnership with Live Nation. The live music conglom has a multi-layered partnership with Madonna from a multi-million dollar 2007 deal, but Live Nation’s initial plans to have a division to handle things like record releases have long been dropped, so it’s been assumed for a while that the company would look to work in partnership with an existing record company on such things. It’s another big name signing for Universal, Madonna having previously worked with Warner on record releases. CMU report | BBC report

03: iTunes Match went live in the UK. The scan-and-match bit of Apple’s digital locker service, which distinguishes it from its Google and Amazon-owned rivals, had only been previously available in the US. There was some confusion as to whether the arrival of the functionality in the UK and elsewhere yesterday was a mistake, but seemingly not. It means that for 22 quid a year, users can access their MP3 collections via Apple’s servers from any net-connected device without actually having to upload any content. Elsewhere in digital news, iTunes launched in Latin America, Spotify revamped its personalised radio service, and Omnifone launched something new called CMU report | ZDnet report

04: The government announced a review of copyright laws. The wide-ranging review will look into the practicalities of putting recommendations made by the Hargreaves Review of intellectual property law into action. Much of it will focus on expanding fair use principles under UK copyright law. It will also consider introducing a private copy right in the UK. The record labels are OK with that, but want some sort of levy attached to digital music devices as in some other European countries where a private copy right already exists. Hargreaves proposed a private copy right with no such levy. CMU reportFT report

05: Warner complained about Sony dominance on the ‘X-Factor’ final shows. Four of the guest artists on the final two ‘X’ programmes were Sony-signed. Sony Music, of course, is co-producer of ‘X’ via its Syco division. Warner complained to OfCom, saying that ITV had failed to ensure Sony didn’t abuse its position as producer of the UK’s biggest music show. But Sony says that overall this series Universal has had more artists feature on ‘X’, that both EMI and Warner had three artists each, and of four Sony acts on the final shows, three were former ‘X’ contestants, making their appearances editorially justified. CMU reportGuardian report

And that is your lot. But do look out for the final CMU Weekly podcast of the year going online this weekend.

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU