CMU Digest

CMU Digest 08.11.21: Brexit, the reciprocity approach, Jay-Z, Live Nation, HYBE

By | Published on Sunday 7 November 2021


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

The All Party Parliamentary Group On Music called on the UK government to urgently tackle the issues British musicians are facing touring Europe post-Brexit. To date, there has been little progress to reduce the new bureaucracy musicians face in some European countries as a result of the post-Brexit UK/EU trade deal having no EU-wide provisions for visa-free touring. The APPG called for practical support for affected musicians, intensified talks with those EU member states where permits and/or carnets are now required, and moves to exempt touring from all red tape at an EU level. MPs have also begun an inquiry to investigate the tangible impact of the post-Brexit bureaucracy on the music community. [READ MORE]

The culture committee in the European Parliament called on the European Commission to urgently launch its investigation into the ruling in the PPI v RAAP case. This relates to when royalties are collected by the record industry’s collecting societies whenever recorded music is broadcast or played in public. Normally if the labels and performers linked to a recording are in another country, those royalties are passed to a collecting society in that country. However, not always. Societies might not pass monies over to other countries where local copyright law has limitations, meaning no broadcast or public performance royalties are actually due there, such as the US. But in a legal battle involving Irish societies PPI and RAAP, the EU courts ruled that that system, called the “reciprocity approach”, isn’t allowed. Some in the music community have criticised that ruling and want the EC to amend European law to clarify that the reciprocity approach is, in fact, OK. The EC has said it will consider all that, but is yet to get started, hence the committee of MEPs stressing the urgency to deal with this issue. [READ MORE]

Jay-Z was in court in the US in an ongoing dispute with perfume company Parlux. The rapper and the fragrance firm collaborated on a perfume product called Gold Jay-Z in 2013. Parlux says that Jay-Z failed to promote the launch of the perfume, causing millions of dollars in losses, hence why it sued the star. But in a tense back and forth with legal reps for the perfume company in court, Jay-Z argued that the problem was the marketing strategy employed by Parlux, which was “crappy” and “lazy”. This resulted in creative differences, with the rapper being asked to take part in promotional activity that he considered to be entirely inappropriate for a high-end perfume brand. We now await to see whose side the jury takes. [READ MORE]

Live Nation confirmed that its post-COVID revival got underway in the third quarter of this year. With shows and festivals getting back to normal in the UK and US in particular, the live giant achieved “company-wide operating income and adjusted operating income of $137 million and $306 million respectively”. Although there is still someway to go for the wider live sector to return to pre-COVID levels – which CEO Michael Rapino acknowledged in a note to investors – some parts of Live Nation’s business are already performing well compared to 2019, with sponsorship deals and ticket sales for 2022 doing particularly well. Rapino added: “As we get close to turning the page on 2021, I remain more convinced than ever on the power and potential of live entertainment, and the strength of our position”. [READ MORE]

K-pop powerhouse HYBE made a number of announcements about its plans for the next year, most of them involving taking their artists into non-music domains. There will be online animations featuring BTS, TXT and Enhyphen; a new video game starring members of BTS; and some NFT ventures. HYBE also announced that it will merge its direct-to-fan platform Weverse with V Live, the live-streaming set up of Korean tech firm Naver. Beyond South Korea, HYBE’s US division is still planning to launch a new girl group in partnership with Universal Music’s Geffen Records, while HYBE Japan is putting together a new boyband. [READ MORE]

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