Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 06.03.22: Ukraine response, Bandcamp, ERA, Astroworld, Dua Lipa

By | Published on Sunday 6 March 2022

Ukraine flag

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

The music industry responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Numerous artists cancelled shows in Russia while music companies began to review their connections with the Russian market. Live music firms Live Nation and Oak View both announced that they would cease doing business in Russia and/or with Russian companies. Meanwhile Spotify said it was shutting its Moscow office and removing podcasts made by Russian-government-owned media outfits like RT and Sputnik, though it will continue to make its service available in Russia, partly to allow people there to access international coverage of the war in Ukraine. Organisers of Eurovision also announced that Russia would be barred from this year’s Contest. [READ MORE]

Fortnite owner Epic Games bought direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp. It was an interesting acquisition given the current evolution of direct-to-fan, with more artists now selling digital content and experiences to their core fanbases as well as physical products. Some reckon those digital direct-to-fan products will shift into the metaverse next, and Epic has big ambitions in the metaverse space. However, in the short term, Bandcamp was more keen to reassure artists and fans who use the platform that it’s business as usual, despite what has often been seen as a less corporate and more artist-friendly digital company now being owned by the much more corporate looking Epic. But its new owner’s investment and infrastructure, Bandcamp added, will allow it to expand its reach and services. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Entertainment Retailer’s Association published its annual Yearbook full of stats related to home entertainment sales – including music, video and games – in 2021. Some of those stats we already knew – for example, that the wider home entertainment market in the UK grew to over £9.7 billion last year, with music up to £1.67 billion, an 8.7% increase, which ERA revealed in January. The new Yearbook also confirmed that 80% of music revenues came from streaming, with 9% from CD sales, 8% from vinyl and 3% from downloads. With the streaming boom still powering growth in the recorded music market, ERA boss Kim Bayley noted the debate over whether everyone in the music community is equally benefiting from that growth, saying that the industry should pursue “bold” solutions to the issues raised in the ongoing economics of streaming debate that was prompted by the #brokenrecord and #fixstreaming campaigns. [READ MORE]

A court hearing considered the hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed in relation to last year’s Astroworld tragedy, where ten people died and many more were injured during Travis Scott’s headline set at the Houston festival he founded. 387 lawsuits have been consolidated to make it easier to manage all the litigation. The latest hearing considered a leadership structure among all the lawyers working on the cases, and also discussed the recent gagging order issued by the judge overseeing the proceedings, which limits what those attorneys can say in public about the cases they are working on. The judge also asked that the hundreds of lawsuits be organised into four categories, grouping together those filed in relation to deaths, bodily injuries, brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder. [READ MORE]

Dua Lipa was sued twice over allegations her 2020 hit ‘Levitating’ rips off earlier songs. Florida-based band Artikal Sound System sued first, alleging in an unusually short lawsuit that Lipa’s song infringes the copyright in their 2017 track ‘Live Your Life’. Then songwriters L Russell Brown and Sandy Linze filed a separate more detailed lawsuit claiming that – in fact – ‘Levitating’ lifts from two songs that they wrote: 1979’s ‘Wiggle And Giggle All Night’ and 1980’s ‘Don Diablo’. The latter lawsuit noted that the elements Lipa allegedly borrowed from their songs constitute the “signature melody” of ‘Levitating’, which is what went viral on TikTok. [READ MORE]

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