CMU Digest

CMU Digest 11.10.21: FLVTO/2conv, COVID Passports, Boiler Room, Friendly Fires, Driift

By | Published on Sunday 10 October 2021

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

The major labels filed legal papers seeking nearly $83 million in damages from the Russian operator of stream-ripping sites FLVTO and 2conv. When the American record companies first sued Tofig Kurbanov, he fought back, initially arguing that the courts in the US didn’t have jurisdiction over his Russia-based websites. When that ultimately failed he continued to defend himself but – after being ordered by the judge to store and share user data from his sites – he bailed on the case entirely. That got the labels a default judgement in their favour. And now they are pursuing mega-bucks damages, which Kurbanov will probably never pay. They are also seeking to seize the domains currently used by FLVTO and 2conv. [READ MORE]

The UK night-time sector again criticised COVID Passport schemes in Scotland and Wales. Under the schemes, clubs and some other venues will have to check the vaccination status of customers. In Scotland, only those fully vaccinated can be admitted. In Wales, those not vaccinated can show a recent negative COVID test instead. The Scottish scheme has already gone into force, though an app launched to allow clubbers to prove their vaccination status failed on the first weekend. In Wales, the scheme was voted through by the country’s assembly last week, the Senedd, though it only got through by one vote, with one Senedd member who would have voted against it not able to get through to place his virtual vote due to technical problems. Reps for the night-time industry continue to call for both schemes to be abandoned. [READ MORE]

Having raised $122 million in new finance, ticketing firm Dice announced that it had bought dance music centric livestreaming platform Boiler Room. One of the few livestreaming services to gain traction before COVID caused a boom in livestream shows, Boiler Room will continue to operate autonomously, but will now tap into Dice’s ticketing and recommendations technology. Dice founder Phil Hutcheon said: “The combination of Boiler Room with the distribution and technology of Dice creates substantial opportunities in a sustainable, transparent and fair model”. [READ MORE]

Friendly Fires hit out after Boris Johnson walked on stage to their track ‘Blue Cassette’ at the Conservative Party Conference. It’s not uncommon for artists to take to social media – as Friendly Fires did – to complain when their music is used during a key moment at one of the UK political party conferences, usually the Conservative one. Most of the music used at these events is covered by the blanket public performance licence provided to the venues by UK collecting societies PPL and PRS. Although it turns out music played alongside a keynote speech is specifically not covered by that licence, meaning the Conservatives should not have used it without seeking specific permission from all the copyright owners with an interest in the track. Which they seemingly did not do. [READ MORE]

Deezer announced it was investing in livestreaming company Driift. It is Deezer’s second investment in this side of the business, it having bought into livestreaming platform Dreamstage earlier this year. Launched during the COVID shutdown, Driift has produced and promoted big livestreamed shows with numerous artists. Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueira said: “Livestreaming is a rapidly growing industry that is redefining how fans engage with their favourite music. Deezer has been a music industry innovator since the very beginning. Our investment in Driift is the next step in our expansion in this exciting and fast growing space”. [READ MORE]

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