CMU Digest

CMU Digest 05.01.18: Wixen, Spotify, 2017 stats, IMPEL, France Télévisions

By | Published on Friday 5 January 2018


The key stories from the last two weeks in the music business…

Spotify was sued for $1.6 billion by independent music publisher Wixen over unpaid mechanical royalties. It’s the latest chapter in the long-running dispute over mechanical royalties and streaming in the US, where there is no collecting society for mechanical rights. New legislation was proposed to address this problem – by setting up a collecting society – just before Christmas. Wixen, which has been critical of Spotify’s past efforts to settle this matter, welcomes elements of that new legislation, but said it was because of those proposals that it was forced to launch its own litigation against Spotify at this time, to protect its interests as the search for a solution continues. [READ MORE]

Spotify announced it now has more than 70 million paying subscribers, following reports it had filed confidential paperwork to begin the process of listing its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. The streaming service announced its new subscriber landmark via a causal tweet last night. It previously announced it had 60 million premium subscribers back in July last year. Reports suggest that, having filed documents with the US Securities And Exchange Commission, Spotify could become a publicly traded company this quarter.

The streaming boom helped to ensure both consumption of and revenues from recorded music continued to rise in the UK in 2017. Record industry trade body BPI reported that the number of audio streams was up 51.5% year-on-year. Meanwhile the Entertainment Retailers Association revealed that the retail value of music streaming last year was £577.1 million, up 41.9% on 2016. That meant that, while CD and download sales continued to decline, the retail value of recorded music overall was up 9.6% to just over £1.2 billion. [READ MORE]

The Music Publishers Association confirmed it had begun spinning off digital rights agency IMPEL. To date IMPEL, which represents the digital rights of a number of independent music publishers, has operated as part of the UK’s mechanical rights collecting society MCPS, which is owned by MPA. But IMPEL will now become a standalone entity. Separating MCPS and IMPEL will, says MPA, “ensure that both companies can operate in a way that allows their separate strategies to become fully realised”. [READ MORE]

French state-owned broadcaster France Télévisions confirmed it had put on hold production of a TV movie set during the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, including the shooting at an Eagles Of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan venue where 89 people died. The partner of one of those killed at the Bataclan had set up a petition criticising the film, which tells a fictional story of two characters who meet during the terrorist incident. France Télévisions said the project was now on hold while producers talked to groups representing victims of the attacks. [READ MORE]

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