CMU Digest

CMU Digest 02.11.20: Spotify, CISAC, Twitch, UMAW, TikTok

By | Published on Monday 2 November 2020


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

Spotify boss Daniel Ek discussed his company’s strategy for increasing subscription prices in an update to investors. Having previously resisted calls from the music industry to start putting up its subscription fees – beyond a pilot in its most mature markets in Scandinavia – Spotify confirmed this week that it has now increased the price of its family plan in seven countries. Meanwhile Ek talked about Spotify boosting its “listener value per hour” and that justifying future price increases. Although he added that the firm was aware of the economic pressures caused by COVID and that it would be bearing that in mind before putting any other prices up. [READ MORE]

Global collecting society grouping CISAC revealed that song right societies around the world saw their royalty collections grow 8.4% in 2019, but warned that COVID could cause a 35% drop in 2020. Although the record industry has been more immune to the impact of COVID as a result of continued growth in the streaming market, songwriters and music publishers rely more on those music right revenue streams that have been hit by the pandemic, such as royalties generated by the live and public performance of music, and monies paid by broadcasters. CISAC said that despite the revenue growth its members saw last year, 2020 collections would be down between 20 and 35%, returning things to 2015 levels. [READ MORE]

An assortment of US music industry trade organisations wrote to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to express continued concern about the amount of unlicensed music on his company’s live streaming platform Twitch. They said that while they welcomed Twitch launching a library of pre-cleared recordings for use by its creators, mainly licensed from DIY distributors, they weren’t convinced Amazon had properly licensed the song rights in those recordings. Meanwhile, beyond that library, lots of uncleared music continues to appear on Twitch and, the industry groups said, the Amazon service isn’t doing enough to remove that unlicensed content. [READ MORE]

A coalition of artists in the US launched a new campaign calling for changes in the way the streaming business works. Echoing some of the calls made by the #brokenrecord and #fixstreaming campaigns in the UK – though focusing mainly on frustrations with Spotify – the recently launched Union Of Musicians And Allied Workers called on the market leading streaming firm to make its music industry deals pubic; to adopt a user-centric system for royalty distribution; to tackle payola on playlists; to end its appeal against the Copyright Royalty Board ruling on song royalty rates in the US; and to pay a basic royalty of one cent per stream. [READ MORE]

TikTok hit back against Triller in an ongoing patent dispute between the two video-sharing apps. However Triller, which went legal first, said its rival was trying to “skirt the law” by filing a new lawsuit, rather than properly responding to its litigation. Triller says that TikTok is infringing its patent covering “systems and methods for creating music videos synchronised with an audio track”. Responding to the new lawsuit, Triller boss Mike Lu told reporters that TikTok’s alleged infringement of his company’s patent was another example of a Chinese conglomerate growing its business by stealing the intellectual property of an American start-up. [READ MORE]

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