CMU Digest

CMU Digest 01.03.21: Spotify, COVID-19, economics of streaming, BPI, Triller

By | Published on Sunday 28 February 2021


The key stories from the last week in the music business…

Spotify announced it was launching in 85 new markets during a big event full of stats and announcements. It also revealed that there were now eight million creators on its platform with about 60,000 new tracks being uploaded daily. Among the announcements were plans to launch a new subscription tier offering higher quality audio, and – for creators – more marketing tools for artists and labels, and new monetisation options for podcasters. The streaming firm also talked about its slightly controversial Discovery Mode pilot where artists and labels can influence the Spotify algorithm in return for accepting a lower royalty rate. It insisted that labels involved in the pilot have seen a significant uplift in listening and royalties. [READ MORE]

The music industry cautiously welcomed a road map for lifting COVID restrictions in England presented by UK Prime Minister ‘Boris’ Johnson. Although subject to change, that schedule aims to allow venues to re-open in mid-May with some social distancing still in force, but for social distancing rules to then be heavily relaxed in late June. Clubs that have been completely closed since last March would also be able to re-open on 21 Jun. Various festival organisers said they were now confident their post-July events could go ahead as normal. Other venues and promoters welcomed the new schedule, though noted there was still some uncertainty and that further financial support would be needed. [READ MORE]

Reps for Spotify, Apple and Amazon faced the questions of MPs in Parliament’s ongoing inquiry into the economics of streaming. All three agreed that their deals with the music industry were licensing deals, although tried not to get too involved in the ongoing attempts by MPs to define a stream in technical and legal terms. For the music industry itself, how a stream is defined can impact on how monies are shared out between artists, labels, songwriters and publishers. The services sought to defend why they get to keep 30% of their revenues, talked about the challenges in increasing subscription prices, and said that competing with safe harbour dwelling platforms like YouTube was a challenge. [READ MORE]

Record industry trade group BPI secured web-blocks against a number of stream-ripping sites, including and It means UK internet service providers will be obliged to block their customers from accessing several services that allow people to grab permanent downloads from temporary streams. A cyber-locker site called Nitroflare, which encourages people to store and share unlicensed content, will also be blocked. BPI said that these injunctions were landmark rulings, because they confirmed that stream-ripping sites and certain kinds of cyber-lockers were liable for copyright infringement under UK law. [READ MORE]

A US court dismissed Wixen’s lawsuit against Triller, though mainly because of legal technicalities. The music publisher accuses Triller of hosting videos that contain its songs without licence, and of prioritising mega-bucks deals with social influencers over sorting out licensing deals with the music industry. Seeking dismissal of the lawsuit, Triller argued that there were questions over Wixen’s status as owner or exclusive licensee of the allegedly infringed songs, and therefore whether the publisher even had the right to sue. It also argued that publication dates had not been provided for the allegedly infringed songs, meaning it wasn’t clear if the works were protected by the 1909 or 1976 US Copyright Act, which would affect Wixen’s rights and remedies. The court agreed that the lack of publication dates was a problem. Wixen could now resubmit its litigation with the dates. [READ MORE]

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | | | | | | |