CMU Digest

CMU Digest 09.09.19: Alibaba, Viagogo, RIAA, Soundgarden, Fyre Festival

By | Published on Monday 9 September 2019

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

Chinese web firm Alibaba announced it was pumping money into the music service of its competitor NetEase, despite it operating its own music app. Alibaba and the private equity fund of its founder Jack Ma will together invest $700 million into NetEase Cloud Music. Alibaba follows the lead of another Chinese web giant, Baidu, in investing in the NetEase music platform. The rival web firms are seemingly collaborating in the Chinese digital music sector in a bid to take on market-leader Tencent Music. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority announced it was dropping its legal action against Viagogo. The regulator said that the controversial secondary ticketing website had finally complied with its demands and brought its UK website in line with British consumer rights law. Anti-touting campaigners said that while the Viagogo site was much more consumer friendly now than it had been before the CMA launched its legal action, they felt the resale site was yet to meet all its legal obligations. [READ MORE]

The Recording Industry Association Of America reported that the US record industry saw retail revenues rise by 18% in the first half of 2019. The streaming boom continues to be the main driver of the growth, with over 60 million Americans now paying to stream in one way or another. Streaming at large accounts for 80% of US recorded music revenues, with 9% from downloads, 9% from physical and 2% from sync. [READ MORE]

Public squabbling over the 2008 fire at Universal Music’s Hollywood archive continued. Various artists have gone legal after claims in the New York Times that the major covered up the extent of the damage caused by the fire and the mega-bucks damages it received from its landlord and insurer. Universal says that most of the artists listed on the lawsuit didn’t lose any master tapes in the fire. Soundgarden did though, and this week their lawyers asked the court to force the music firm to hand over documents related to the blaze. Universal countered that the lawyers only want the papers in a bid to find new clients for their class action. [READ MORE]

It emerged that the trustee overseeing the Fyre Festival bankruptcy is trying to get back fees paid to artists ahead of the failed event. Booking agencies CAA, UTA, ICM and Nue – all of whom had clients due to play the infamous 2017 festival that never happened – were named on legal filings submitted late last month. Usually advances paid to artists by festival promoters are non-refundable if the event fails to go ahead. But trustee Greg Messer argues that the circumstances were different here given the Fyre company fraudulently raised its funds. At least one booking agency, Paradigm, is negotiating with the trustee. [READ MORE]

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