CMU Digest

CMU Digest 06.07.20: COVID-19, Eight Mile Style, YouTube, TikTok, Mixmag

By | Published on Monday 6 July 2020

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

Over 1500 artists signed an open letter to the UK government demanding action to save the live music sector as the COVID-19 shutdown continues to affect the business. With no clarity on when live performances will be able to return, the open letter said that urgent financial support packages were required to stop venues, promoters and other live music companies from going bust. Having previously been very vague about how it might support the music and wider creative sector as the COVID-19 shutdown extends, the government last night announced a £1.57 billion support package for the arts at large, including music venues. While it’s still unclear quite how that will work, it’s a significant investment, mainly grants, that could address many of the concerns expressed in last week’s letter. [READ MORE]

Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style pulled the Harry Fox Agency into its legal battle with Spotify. The streaming service uses HFA to manage the payment of mechanical royalties to songwriters and publishers in the US. Eight Mile says that while it and its partner Kobalt accepted royalty cheques from Spotify, the streaming firm and HFA conspired to send out untimely, backdated and ineffective paperwork to trick Kobalt into thinking the compulsory licence that covers mechanical rights in the US had been activated, and that therefore it should accept payments at the statutory rate. It also claims that other bad conduct on Spotify and HFA’s part meant it was unpaid or underpaid for the streaming of Eminem’s songs. [READ MORE]

Grammy winner Maria Schneider filed a class action lawsuit against YouTube accusing the video site of copyright infringement. The case centres on the fact only bigger rights-owners and distributors have access to YouTube’s rights management platform Content ID. This, Schneider says, puts grassroots and independent creators and rights-owners at a massive disadvantage when seeking to manage the use of their music by uploaders on the YouTube platform. In fact, the lawsuit then alleges, where Content ID is not available to music-makers, the Google site is not fulfilling its obligations under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and should therefore be held liable for the unlicensed music in its users’ videos. [READ MORE]

TikTok insisted it complies with all national rules around privacy and data protection after the popular app was banned in India. It was among 59 China-linked apps banned by the Indian government in the wake of increased tensions between the two countries related to a long-running border dispute. India said the way those apps handle user data was a “national security concern”. TikTok – which has previously said that its global operations are detached from Chinese parent company Bytedance – stated “we comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law”, adding that it hoped to overcome what it called a temporary ban. [READ MORE]

The publisher of Mixmag and Kerrang! confirmed both titles would remain online-only for at least the rest of the year. The print versions of the music magazines were paused at the start of the COVID-19 shutdown. Publisher Wasted Talent said that the ongoing slump in advertising spend and logistical challenges with distributing a print magazine in the midst of the uncertainties created by COVID-19 meant the print editions would remain paused for the time being. Although both magazines’ online operations continue as normal, the decision to keep the print titles on hold meant a number of journalists had to be made redundant. [READ MORE]

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