Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 08.05.22: US mechanical rates, Coldplay, Live Nation, TuneIn, Kanye West

By | Published on Sunday 8 May 2022

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

The US National Music Publishers Association announced a new deal with the major labels regarding the proposed mechanical royalty rate on discs and downloads Stateside. The rate paid to music publishers and songwriters on discs and downloads in the US is set by the Copyright Royalty Board, which reviews what the rates should be every few years. It’s usually labels that pay this royalty, and the majors originally reached a deal with the NMPA so that they and the trade body would propose that the CRB keep the current rate of 9.1 cents per copy in place. However, many songwriter groups objected, pointing out that that rate was set way back in 2006, and had decreased in value considerably since then due to inflation. Based on those objections the CRB rejected the original proposal. The new deal sees the majors and NMPA propose an initial rate increase to twelve cents per copy, and then subsequent annual increases in line with inflation. [READ MORE]

Coldplay launched their ‘Music Of The Spheres’ World Tour app, which is part of the band’s efforts to make their touring activity more environmentally sustainable. The app will allow the band to measure and offset the carbon emissions of fans as they travel to each venue. It also provides information for fans on how to travel in ways that are better for the planet and offers merch discounts for those who follow that advice. Officially launching the app, the band themselves said: “For the past few years, we’ve been figuring out how to put sustainability at the heart of our tour. The app is a big part of that. You can use the app to figure out the cleanest and greenest ways to get to and from the concert”. [READ MORE]

Live Nation was upbeat as it published its financials for the first quarter of 2022. Some ongoing COVID restrictions around the world at the start of the year meant audience figures for the first quarter of 2022 were down on the first quarter of 2019. But the live giant said that all indications suggest that this year will nevertheless see the live industry recover from the pandemic that caused such turmoil in the sector in 2020 and 2021. That is in no small part based on the performance of its ticketing business – it said: “Ticketmaster’s strong first quarter performance drove the company’s overall profitability, and shows how well our concert and sponsorship businesses are positioned to deliver record results this year”. The firm’s CEO Michael Rapino added: “Looking ahead to the summer and the rest of the year, we remain optimistic that we are just getting going as all leading indicators reinforce record activity levels and financial results”. [READ MORE]

Radio station aggregator TuneIn started removing some British radio stations from its platform within the UK in order to comply with its music licensing obligations. It follows a 2019 legal battle with Sony Music and Warner Music which confirmed that, where radio stations are not properly licensed for UK broadcasts, TuneIn itself could be liable for any unlicensed music accessed via its app by UK users. That ruling previously resulted in TuneIn blocking many foreign stations on its UK app which – although probably licensed for listening in their home countries – do not have music licences in place from UK collecting societies PRS and PPL. The latest measures affect UK-based stations which are not properly licensed to play music. At least one speech-only station was impacted by the move, although it wasn’t clear if that was an error. [READ MORE]

Kanye West was sued by the Texas-based pastor who is heard delivering a sermon in ‘Donda’ track ‘Come To Life’. In a new lawsuit, bishop David Paul Moten claimed that the recording of his sermon was sampled without permission and West is therefore liable for copyright infringement. It’s the second time the rapper has been sued for sampling a religious spoken word extract without getting permission, him previously settling a lawsuit in relation to an uncleared sample of a child reciting a prayer in ‘Life Of Pablo’ track ‘Ultralight Beam’. Moten’s lawsuit claimed that the unlicensed use of his sermon had generated a “considerable influx of ill-gotten financial gains and other benefits” for West and his record label. [READ MORE]

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