May 17, 2024 4 min read

Setlist Podcast: Music publishers go to war with Spotify

The dispute over Spotify's audiobook bundle goes legal, media companies hit out at BBC's podcast adverts plan

Setlist Podcast: Music publishers go to war with Spotify

On this week's show we discuss the battle between music publishers and Spotify over its plans to reclassify its subscriptions as bundles of music, audiobooks and podcasts, and commercial media companies hit out at the BBC’s plan to sell advertising on its podcasts.

Sections times

01: Spotify (00:03:48)
02: News in brief (00:15:20)
03: BBC (00:17:48)
(Timings may be slightly different due to adverts)

This week's main stories

Spotify’s audiobooks bundle dispute goes legal
The audiobooks bundling dispute between the US music industry and Spotify has gone legal. This is about how the streaming service is classifying its main premium subscription product - which now includes audiobooks - as a bundle, which lets it reduce royalty payments to publishers and songwriters
Spotify says publishers’ allegations a “meaningless stunt”
The music publishers in the US have sent a letter to Spotify accusing the streaming service of having gaps in its licences in relation to lyrics, videos and podcasts. But Spotify says it’s just a “misleading press stunt” as part of the building beef over audiobooks
US music publishers face “critical battle” over Spotify royalties
US music publishers are ready to “fight again” as they attempt to halt efforts by Spotify to reclassify its subscription package. The streaming service wants to say that its main subscription product is a ‘bundle’ of music, podcasts and audiobooks. This would allow it to pay less to songwriters
Rivals hit out at BBC’s podcast adverts plan
The BBC wants to sell advertising alongside its podcasts when they are accessed on platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. That plan is subject to regulatory review, and 20 media companies have now written to the government to explain why it’s a terrible idea

News in brief

TICKET Act passed by US House Of Representatives
The TICKET Act - which mandates all-in pricing and bans speculating selling in the US ticketing market - has been passed by the House Of Representatives. It’s “an important step towards restoring trust in the ticketing ecosystem” says Fix The Tix Coalition
Universal CEO Lucian Grainge dropped from Diddy lawuit
Universal Music and its CEO Lucian Grainge have been dropped as defendants in a sexual harassment and assault lawsuit brought against Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. Producer Rodney ‘Lil Rod’ Jones and his lawyer say that they now accept there was “no legal basis” for the claims made against the label
TikTok creators sue US government over app ban
Eight TikTok creators who make a range of content on the platform have sued the US government over the recently passed law to ban the video-sharing app. They argue that TikTok offers an “irreplaceable means to express themselves” and banning it will breach their First Amendment rights to free speech
Utopia Music makes lay-offs in Sweden and other countries
More popcorn than Unicorn: the Utopian misadventure is effectively over. Utopia Music AG is now Proper Group AG with the company saying it is entering a “new era”
ATC takes majority stake in Raw Power
ATC Management has announced a majority investment in Raw Power Management, which looks after artists including Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, The Mars Volta and more. CEO Craig Jennings says the deal is a “massive opportunity to take our artists to a whole new level”

Also mentioned

Sony warns AI companies off its music
More than 700 AI companies have been sent a letter by Sony Music which demands that they respect the major music company’s rights and seek permission before using any of its recordings or songs to train their AI models. It’s basically a wide-ranging ‘reservation’ of rights
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