CMU Digest

CMU Digest 08.07.19: Spotify, Taylor Swift, Viagogo, Ed Sheeran, Charter Communications

By | Published on Monday 8 July 2019


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

Spotify announced it was calling off plans to allow artists to directly upload music onto its platform. The streaming firm had been piloting a direct-upload tool for DIY artists since last September, at one point saying it would also get directly-uploaded tracks onto rival services via its partnership with Distrokid. However, the company now says that its pilot has convinced it that “the most impactful way we can improve the experience of delivering music to Spotify” is by working with the music industry’s distributors. [READ MORE]

The sale of Big Machine to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings and Taylor Swift’s response to it was a big talking point across the music industry. Swift said that she was distraught that all her master recordings to date, owned by her former label, would now be in the control of a man who she accused of bullying. A war of words then ensued between Swift and Big Machine over the talks that took place regarding a possible second deal between the two, before she decided to sign with Universal last year. The main dispute was over the way that potential second deal would or would not have seen Swift reclaim her masters. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority announced it was going back to court in its dispute with Viagogo. The regulator said that the secondary ticketing site still hadn’t complied with an injunction it secured last year ordering the firm to fall in line with British consumer rights law. Six months after the deadline for compliance, the CMA now plans to launch contempt of court proceedings. Meanwhile, in Italy an appeals court overturned a ruling by a similar regulator there resulting in a one million euro fine being returned to Viagogo. [READ MORE]

The legal battle between Ed Sheeran and the estate of ‘Let’s Get It On’ co-writer Ed Townsend was put on hold pending the outcome of the appeal in the ‘Stairway To Heaven’ plagiarism case. The judge in Ed v Ed said that while he wouldn’t be bound by the ruling of the en banc hearing set to consider the ‘Stairway’ litigation, he still wanted to wait for that judgement to be made. Because the two cases centre on similar copyright technicalities, so the ruling in that one could still influence the arguments in this one. [READ MORE]

The Recording Industry Association Of America said that US ISP Charter Communications made millions of dollars by turning a blind eye to the music piracy occurring on its networks. The net firm is accused of both vicarious and secondary infringement for failing to deal with repeat infringers among its customer base. Charter is trying to have the vicarious infringement claim dismissed, and the record industry presented its arguments as to why that shouldn’t happen in court last week. [READ MORE]

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