Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 05.06.22: PRS Foundation, digital burnout, Spinrilla, IFPI, Spotify For Artists

By | Published on Sunday 5 June 2022

PRS Foundation

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

The UK’s Featured Artists Coalition launched a petition calling on PRS to reconsider its decision to reduce the funding it provides to the PRS Foundation. The collecting society confirmed the funding cut at its AGM last month, explaining that the £2.5 million it currently provides to the charity comes from interest it earns from investments and royalties passing through its bank account, and that that income stream has declined. As a result, its donation to the PRS Foundation will slip to £1 million in 2024. But artists and managers have criticised the move, saying the kind of funding schemes run by the PRS Foundation which support the creative projects and career development of artists and songwriters are more important than ever, and that PRS should divert some monies from the so called black box – especially the digital black box, ie streaming royalties not allocated to specific songs – to continue its current level of support for the charity. [READ MORE]

The MMF published a report on digital burnout based on roundtable discussions involving its members. It looked at how artists are now under significant pressure to create a constant stream of content for social media and to interact with fans on those platforms. Some artists find it easier and more enjoyable to create that kind of content, but still don’t necessarily have time to meet the industry’s demands. For other artists, creating such content is a real challenge. And for everybody, the idea that artists should be ‘always on’ creators responding to social media can have a detrimental impact on those artists’ mental health. The report suggested ways that record labels could better support artists in this domain, mainly by taking a more bespoke approach to content marketing with each artist. Plus there were proposals for how digital services and the wider music industry can help, especially independent artists who don’t enjoy label support. [READ MORE]

Potential juror questions proposed by mixtape platform Spinrilla and the major labels in their ongoing copyright dispute were revealed. The labels sued Spinrilla in the US for hosting music on its platform without licence, with a judge previously ruling that the mixtape service does not qualify for protection from liability under the copyright safe harbour because it didn’t operate a decent system for dealing with repeat infringers. A jury will now consider what damages Spinrilla should pay. The labels want to ask potential jurors if they have created a mixtape or used Spinrilla, and what their views are about artists and labels getting paid whenever their music is used. Spinrilla’s questions mainly allude to various arguments likely to be presented in court – asking jurors how they feel about responding to such arguments – which the labels have said is “entirely improper” and a “transparent attempt to pre-educate the jury on defendants’ theory of the case”. [READ MORE]

The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the government of the United Arab Emirates. The Middle East and North Africa is currently the fastest growing region in terms of recorded music revenues, mainly thanks to the streaming boom. But the record companies are keen to ensure that copyright laws and licensing systems in key countries in the region also allow for wider industry growth. This agreement seeks to ensure that is the case in UAE, with the creation of a record industry collecting society to collect royalties from the broadcast and public performance of recorded music a current priority for the IFPI and its members. [READ MORE]

Spotify For Artists launched a new website aggregating its educational content that provides tips and advice for music-makers on pursuing a music career. Called In Focus, the new site basically collates mainly existing articles, podcasts, videos and tools from Spotify around the themes of making music, promoting music, connecting with fans, generating revenue, and understanding the music business. Spotify itself described the new site as “like an artist manager in your pocket that arms you with the tools and guidance you need to nail each of your career goals”. [READ MORE]

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