CMU Digest

CMU Digest 09.01.17: AEG Live, retail revenues, SoundCloud, BMG, BMI, Russian societies

By | Published on Monday 9 January 2017

AEG Live

The key stories from the last seven days in the music business…

The owner of live firm AEG, Phillip Anschutz, called claims he financially supports political organisations opposed to LGBT rights “garbage”. Donations made by billionaire businessman Anschutz and his Foundation were back under the spotlight following the latest line-up announcement from AEG-owned Coachella, the accusation being that the AEG owner had given money to groups like the Family Research Council whose campaigns against LGBT rights and equal marriage run contrary to that festival’s ethos. [READ MORE]

The value of music retail in the UK went up 4.6% in 2016, topping £1.1 billion. The key trend of recent years continued, as expected, ie CDs and downloads were in decline, vinyl sales were up and streaming continued to boom. The 65% year-on-year increase in subscription revenue fuelled most of the overall growth, according to figures released last week by the Entertainment Retailer’s Association. [READ MORE]

SoundCloud’s financial filing with Companies House for 2015 was made public, showing losses increased 31% to $52 million that year. Co-founder Alexander Ljung also admitted in the document that there was “material uncertainty” around the firm’s financial position as it shifted its business into subscription streaming, a development on which the company’s long-term success now depended. But a spokesman played down the doom and gloom message, insisting SoundCloud had shown “solid growth” in 2016. [READ MORE]

BMG filed new papers in its ongoing legal dispute with Cox Communications. The US ISP is appealing the court ruling that said it was liable for its customers’ copyright infringement because it operated a deliberately shoddy takedown system in a bid to pay lip service to copyright law while not having to cut off repeat infringer customers. BMG denied Cox’s claims that there were frequent problems with the takedown notices it filed against the ISP. [READ MORE]

US collecting society BMI went to the federal rate court in a dispute with the American radio industry. BMI is still negotiating a royalty rate for 2017-2022 with the Radio Music License Committee. The RMLC proposed an interim rate of 1.4% of revenue – down from the previous 1.7% – just before Christmas. BMI hit out at that reduction, which the RMLC justified by saying the society’s market share had fallen. The society said the figure was based on “incomplete and incorrect information”. [READ MORE]

All three of the Russian music industry’s collecting societies were accused on involvement in a scam with a collapsed bank called Mostransbank. Song rights society RAO, recording rights society VOIS and private copy levy collector RSP all denied funnelling cash into makeshift companies via fake loan agreements. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• A number of labels and digital platforms announced an alliance to promote more high res audio in the streaming domain [INFO]
• Private equity firm Blackstone annouced it was buying the privately-owned US collecting society SESAC [INFO]
• Universal Music Japan signed a deal with management firm Office Augusta [INFO]

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