CMU Digest

CMU Digest 07.09.20: Amazon, Freeplay, TikTok, Taylor Swift, Gaana

By | Published on Monday 7 September 2020


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

Amazon announced it was integrating its music service and its livestreaming platform Twitch. It means artists who are active on Twitch can connect their accounts to Amazon Music, pushing their livestreaming activity to fans already streaming their recordings catalogue. Amazon Music subscribers can also opt to get notifications about livestreams from their favourite artists and the Amazon Music app now has a ‘Live’ page where users can browse livestreams currently underway. [READ MORE]

The Ford motor company accused music library Freeplay of false advertising because not all of the music available on its website can be used for free. Freeplay has sued Ford for using its music in promotional videos without the required licence. Responding to that lawsuit, Ford said Freeplay had a deliberately confusing brand name and website, so to trick people into thinking its music could be used for free in all scenarios, so it could then threaten to sue whenever someone mistakenly used a track in a scenario not covered by the free-use licence. This was particularly true prior to 2018, when most of Ford’s allegedly infringing promo videos were made. [READ MORE]

TikTok owner Bytedance said it was reviewing the impact of new rules in China regarding the export and sale of certain internet technologies. The new regulations will likely mean that any sale of the TikTok business in the US or elsewhere will now require the approval of the Chinese government. Such a sale could be imminent as part of Bytedance’s attempts to placate the American government, which plans to ban the use of TikTok within the US because of concerns that Chinese authorities currently have access to the app’s global audience and user data. [READ MORE]

Taylor Swift failed to get the ongoing ‘Shake It Off’ song-theft lawsuit dismissed. Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accuse Swift of ripping off their 2001 song ‘Playas Gon Play’ on her 2014 hit, because both songs have a lyric about players playing and haters hating. The case was originally dismissed by a district court, but then reinstated on appeal. Swift’s latest argument was that Hall and Butler’s lyric and the concept of players playing / haters hating were inseparable, meaning the lyric couldn’t be protected by copyright because, if it were, use of the concept would be restricted too. But the judge said that argument hadn’t be sufficiently proven to allow dismissal. [READ MORE]

Tencent increased its stake in Indian streaming service Gaana. Both Tencent and Indian media conglom Times Group provided new finance for the music platform. Times Group is still the majority shareholder, but Chinese web giant Tencent put in more cash this time round, therefore increasing its shareholding. Tencent also has a stake in Spotify as well as operating various streaming services in China and the Joox service in a number of other mainly Asian markets. It also has shares in Universal Music and Warner Music, and partnerships with other global music firms within China. [READ MORE]

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