CMU Digest

CMU Digest 05.06.17: Ariana Grande, The Orchard, Spotify, safe harbours, BMI

By | Published on Monday 5 June 2017

The key stories from the last seven days in the music business…

Ariana Grande was joined by an all-star line up at the One Love Manchester concert which raised money for those directly affected by the bomb attack on the Manchester Arena last month. Numerous artists and music businesses collaborated with Grande and her team to pull together the major show, streamed and broadcast across the world, in an incredibly short space of time. All four of the big secondary ticketing sites in the UK vowed to stop anyone seeking to profit by selling on tickets to the benefit concert, including the free tickets that were given to everyone who had attended the Ariana Grande concert where the bomb attack occurred on 22 May. [READ MORE]

Sony Music announced it was merging its two UK label services companies Red Essential and The Orchard. Red Essential was only created last year when the major acquired the Essential distribution and marketing business off Cooking Vinyl. The Orchard has been wholly owned by Sony since 2015, but has generally operated more autonomously from its parent company than the Red label services division. Moving forward The Orchard in the UK will be led by Red Essential co-MDs Ian Dutt and Mike Chadwick. [READ MORE]

Spotify settled the big class action lawsuit in relation to mechanical royalties in the US. Musicians David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick both filed class actions against Spotify for failing to pay all the mechanical royalties that were due to songwriters and publishers in the US – the two cases were subsequently merged. There is no industry-wide collecting society via which to license the mechanical rights in songs in the US. Although there is a compulsory licence covering mechanicals Stateside, few streaming services have fulfilled the formalities of that licence. Spotify has committed to set aside $43 million to settle the case, and will work to set up a system for ensuring future mechanical royalties are paid. [READ MORE]

The debate around safe harbours became increasingly vocal in Brussels. A conference of songwriters called on EU lawmakers to revise safe harbour rules to stop “free-riding platforms” from “siphoning value from creative and cultural works for their own profit”. But a consortium of groups representing tech firms and libraries said European politicians should leave safe harbour rules as they are, while Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda accused Pascal Arimont of the European People’s Party of “resorting to dirty tactics” to help copyright owners make the proposed safe harbour reforms even tighter. [READ MORE]

An assortment of tech companies and broadcasters submitted an amicus brief as part of the 100% licensing debate in the US. It said that the US Department Of Justice was right to say American collecting societies BMI and ASCAP should be forced to provide so called 100% licences for their respective repertoires, rather than operating a ‘fractional licensing’ system, as they do now. The DoJ is appealing a court ruling that said the government agency interpreted the consent decree that regulates BMI wrong on this issue. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• eOneMusic allied with German distributor SPV [INFO]
• Sony/ATV announced a tie up with Lyric Financial [INFO]
• Reservoir took a stake in Big Life’s publishing catalogue [INFO]
• Napster announced a partnership with Rakuten Music in Japan [INFO]
• UTA signed Clay Walker [INFO]
• Sony’s Columbia Records signed Arcade Fire [INFO]

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