Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 11.06.23: Remuneration working group, Fix The Tix, DistroKid, Coldplay’s eco-friendly touring, Dua Lipa lawsuit

By | Published on Sunday 11 June 2023

UK Parliament

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

UK Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer reassured MPs on Parliament’s culture select committee that the recently announced remuneration working group would not become a mere ‘talking shop’. The government is convening a group of music industry representatives to discuss issues around how artists and songwriters are paid when their music is streamed. Such a working group had previously been recommended by the select committee. At a hearing this week, committee member Kevin Brennan MP expressed concerns that some in the music industry are pushing for the terms of reference of the new working group to be so wide that it will not be able to focus on the core issues. Frazer said that those terms of reference are still being finalised, but that her aim as Culture Secretary is “to deliver and not mess around” and, therefore, “if we are going to have a working group it is going to do something and be effective”. [READ MORE]

The US-based Fix The Tix campaign set out its full manifesto for the first time, very much focusing on secondary ticketing. It’s one of various campaigns in the US at the moment calling for better regulation of the ticketing business. The more detailed Fix The Tix manifesto says that all ticket sellers should declare the full cost of a ticket, including any commissions and fees, upfront, which would apply to both primary and secondary ticketing platforms. But most of the rest of the document calls on US Congress to better regulate the resale of tickets by touts or scalpers. Not least, its says American law-makers should “make it illegal for resellers, professional ticket brokers and ticket platforms to violate the artists’ and venues’ ticket terms and conditions, including restrictions that prohibit price gouging of fans through the resale of tickets above face value”. [READ MORE]

DistroKid was sued in relation to an allegedly malicious takedown notice that was issued against one of the DIY distributor’s clients. Damien ‘Frosty The Doeman’ Wilson claims that one of his tracks was removed from the streaming services after a former collaborator – who appeared on the track and who he had fallen out with – filed a takedown notice under US copyright law. However, he alleges, he owns the copyright in the track which means the ex-collaborator had no legal right to issue the takedown. In his lawsuit, Wilson criticises DistroKid for failing to tell him which specific streaming services had received the takedown notice, because that made it difficult for him to file counter-notices, which could have got his track put back online. By failing to properly support Wilson after his track had been taken down, the lawsuit reckons, DistroKid breached its fiduciary duty and an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. [READ MORE]

Coldplay provided an update on their environmentally sustainable touring efforts. The band previously said that they were introducing an assortment of measures with the aim of ensuring that their current Music Of The Spheres Tour produced 50% fewer carbon emissions compared to their last global outing. In an update on how effective those measures are proving to be, the band said that so far the current tour has “produced 47% less CO2e emissions than our last stadium tour”. They said that that was “a good start” but “clearly there’s still room for improvement”. Further improvements have already been made on the second year of the tour, they added, including running the entire show “from an electric battery system that allows us to use 100% renewable energy as efficiently as possible”. They also thanked fans for doing their bit, by travelling to shows by public transport where possible, using recycling bins and refillable water bottles, and “helping charge the show batteries on the power bikes and kinetic dance floors”. [READ MORE]

A US judge dismissed one of the song-theft lawsuits filed in relation to Dua Lipa’s 2020 hit ‘Levitating’. Florida-based band Artikal Sound System claimed that that song lifted elements of their 2017 track ‘Live Your Life’. However, the judge overseeing the case was not impressed by the theory the band presented in their lawsuit for how Lipa and her team had heard the earlier song before writing ‘Levitating’. That theory was based on the fact that a co-writer of another song on the album on which ‘Levitating’ appears is – like Artikal Sound System – from the Florida city of Delray Beach and was mentored by the brother-in-law of one the band’s members. But, said the judge, “these attenuated links, which bear little connection to either of the two musical compositions at issue here, also do not suggest a reasonable likelihood that defendants actually encountered plaintiffs’ song”. Although their initial lawsuit has been dismissed, the band can still submit an amended complaint dealing with the judge’s criticisms. [READ MORE]

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