CMU Digest

CMU Digest 04.11.19: Taylor Swift, MMF, 360 Reality Audio, Piracy, Apple

By | Published on Monday 4 November 2019

Taylor Swift

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

An appeals court in the US revived the copyright dispute over Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’. Swift and her team are accused of ripping off the famous ‘players and haters’ lyric in that hit record from an earlier track: 2001’s ‘Playas Gon Play’. A lower court dismissed the case saying that the short lyric about players and haters in the 2001 sing was too “banal” to be protected by copyright. But the appeals court concurred with the writers of the earlier song who argued that a jury, rather than a judge, should have answered the question as to whether their lyric was substantial enough to enjoy copyright protection. The case will now return to the District Court. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Music Managers Forum published a new report on the evolving role of the artist manager. It reviews how managers now play a bigger role and take bigger risks, especially when working with new artists, in no small part because of how the artist/label relationship has changed. This means managers need a wider range of skills, especially in areas like digital marketing and data management. The report then argues that, with this expanded role, the traditional 20% commission-model management deal is no longer fit for purpose, although it said further discussions were needed to identify workable and equitable alternatives. [READ MORE]

Both Deezer and Tidal added music in Sony’s new high-quality surround-sound format 360 Reality Audio to their respective catalogues. Sony is hoping that its strong partnerships with the labels, live sector and streaming services will help give its new enhanced audio product a competitive edge. It is also super mobile friendly, reducing the effort required on the part of the consumer, which it’s hoped will result in more mainstream interest, given that in the past high quality audio has generally been a niche product. Deezer actually launched a new standalone app for the higher quality audio experience. [READ MORE]

A new report from the EU’s Intellectual Property Office said that online piracy among young internet users was down. This was particularly true when it comes to accessing music. Of the 15-24 year olds surveyed across the EU, about a third still accessed at least some of their online content from unlicensed sources, but that’s 5% less than the last time the EUIPO did a study of this kind in 2016. Of those intentionally accessing content from unlicensed services, only 39% were getting music this way, down 17% from the 2016 survey. The rise of free and affordable catalogue-rich streaming services is the main reason why piracy is in decline. [READ MORE]

Apple announced it was bundling its new video-on-demand service TV+ with Apple Music for students in the US. It means that students who already get Apple Music at half price will now also get the TV+ service at no extra cost. It’s known Apple is interested in offering music and TV bundles as it extends its range of subscription products, though some in the music industry worry that that will mean a lower per-subscriber income for them. There is a high chance that Apple is taking a hit on TV+ with its student bundle, which it says will only be available for a short time. [READ MORE]

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