CMU Digest

CMU Digest 04.10.21: CAA, Sony Music, Eddy Grant, Roblox, Twitch

By | Published on Sunday 3 October 2021


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

Talent agency CAA announced it was buying rival agency ICM Partners. The deal will boost CAA’s market share across the entire talent representation industry – including in music – though ICM’s growing presence in the sports sector will likely have been particularly attractive to CAA’s management. The deal comes as the majority owner of CAA – private equity firm TPG Capital – explores the possibility of an IPO for the agency business. There has been lots of consolidation in the talent agency industry over the years, of course, although the COVID effect has also resulted in a number of new smaller players entering the market, as agents were laid off during the pandemic and took their rosters with them. [READ MORE]

Sony Music announced a new programme called Artist Assistance, providing artists signed to the major access to confidential sessions with a licensed therapist. The major says that artists can use those sessions “to address stress, anxiety, depression, grief, family and relationship matters and more”. The new scheme is part of Sony’s wider Artists Forward programme which is seeking to position the company as the most artist-friendly major. The commitment to pay royalties through to unrecouped artists on pre-2000 record contacts is also part of that programme. [READ MORE]

A US court declined to dismiss Eddy Grant’s copyright lawsuit against Donald Trump. Grant is suing over Trump’s uncleared use of his track ‘Electric Avenue’ in a campaign video during last year’s presidential election. The Trump campaign is claiming that its use of the track in the video was fair use, because it was transformative and comedic, and therefore no licence was required. The judge said that it was “rarely appropriate” to rule on fair use claims at the motion to dismiss stage – given the complexities around the concept – but nevertheless explained why the fair use defence was particularly weak in this case, given the track wasn’t modified in anyway nor directly linked to the satirical message of the video. [READ MORE]

The US National Music Publishers Association announced a settlement with gaming platform Roblox. The trade body first announced that a group of its members were suing Roblox for “no less than $200 million” back in June, in relation to all the unlicensed music that appears on the gaming service. However, a settlement has now been reached ending the litigation via an agreement which will also see “Roblox work closely with the global music publishing industry to help them unlock new ways for music to be more meaningfully integrated into the global Roblox community”. [READ MORE]

Warner Music announced a new partnership with Twitch. The Amazon-owned livestreaming platform’s first deal with a major music company, the partnership will see the creation of Twitch channels for various artists signed to the major and the development of new music-centric channels by Warner-owned media company IMGN. The deal, a statement declared, “marks Twitch’s first partnership with a major record company, bringing users new ways to interact with music-related content on the service, and granting artists a more direct connection with fans”. [READ MORE]

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