CMU Digest

CMU Digest 05.10.20: Music Venue Trust, Polaris, TikTok, Twitch, Kelly Clarkson

By | Published on Monday 5 October 2020

Music Venue Trust

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

The Music Venue Trust said that the UK’s entire grassroots venue network was now on red alert, the survival of its English venues entirely dependent on the Art’s Council’s Culture Recovery Fund. That follows the recent announcement that the UK government’s general COVID support schemes are now aimed at companies back to at least 33% of usual capacity and which are able to cover more than half of their employees’ usual wages, criteria very few live businesses can meet. It remains to be see how much of the £1.57 billion of sector specific funding for the cultural and heritage industries goes to music firms – including grassroots venues – with the announcement of ACE’s initial decisions, due this week, postponed by seven days. [READ MORE]

The stand off between YouTube and Danish collecting society Koda ended with the news that licensing hub Polaris had agreed a deal with the Google site. That deal covers the repertoires of Koda and the Norwegian and Finnish societies, Tono and Teosto. Koda’s previous deal with YouTube expired earlier this year before the new Polaris deal had been finalised. Koda wanted to roll on its old deal in the meantime, but YouTube wanted a cheaper temporary arrangement which the society said would see payments slump 70%. Unable to agree a stop-gap deal, videos containing Koda-controlled songs started to be blocked on YouTube, but those blocks will now end. [READ MORE]

It emerged that a US judge temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s TikTok ban in the US because of concerns the executive order that instigated it was not legal. The President used the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to justify the ban, but a judge agreed with TikTok that the powers granted to the US government by that act have exclusions for “personal communications” and “information materials”. Therefore he was willing to pause the ban while TikTok pursues its wider legal case against Trump’s government and also tries to convince the President that its new deal with Oracle means he should call off the ban himself. [READ MORE]

Amazon’s Twitch announced the launch of a new library of pre-cleared sound recordings for use on its platform. It means gamers and other creators livestreaming on Twitch can now use those tracks in their streams without the risk of running into any copyright issues. The library includes tracks from an assortment of indie labels and distributors that have entered into partnerships with the Amazon service. It’s not clear how the accompanying song rights have been cleared, though Twitch does have deals with some song right collecting societies. [READ MORE]

Kelly Clarkson was sued by her management company over unpaid commissions. It seems Clarkson is seeking to end her alliance with the Nashville-based Starstruck Management Group, possibly prompted by the end of her marriage to her day-to-day manager Brandon Blackstock, son of Starstruck founder Narvel Blackstock. But Starstruck is seeking to enforce an oral agreement from 2007, arguing that because it is still willing and able to provide management services she is obliged to pay them their 15% commission on recent and future projects. [READ MORE]

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