Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 12.02.23: Hybe, ISM, #LetTheMusicMove, Economics Of Streaming, BBC Introducing

By | Published on Sunday 12 February 2023

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

South Korean entertainment firm and K-pop powerhouse Hybe continued its growth by announcing two acquisitions. First, its American division – headed up by artist manager Scooter Braun – bought hip hop label Quality Control Music. The label – which has released music by the likes of Migos, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty and City Girls – will now be part of Hybe America, alongside the Big Machine label group and Braun’s management company. Meanwhile, back in South Korea, Hybe agreed to buy a 14.8% stake in another K-pop company, SM Entertainment. It acquired shares in the rival K-pop firm from its founder, Lee Soo-man, who said that he looked forward to working with Hybe on further promoting and growing the K-pop genre globally. That said, SM Entertainment’s management team seemed less keen about the Hybe alliance, having announced their own partnership earlier in the week with Kakao, the South Korean internet company that also has an entertainment business and operates music streaming service Melon. [READ MORE]

700 music people signed a letter calling on the UK government to help tackle discrimination and harassment in the music industry. Organised by the Independent Society Of Musicians, the letter – addressed to Minister For Women And Equalities Kemi Badenoch – said that changes to the law could help address some of the issues raised in a report ISM published last year on what it’s like working in music, which “painted a picture of unsafe workplaces where perpetrators face no repercussions and there is a scandalous lack of action by contractors and employers”. There were five requests of the government in the letter, many of which would provide better protection from discrimination and harassment for freelance workers, who often don’t have the same protections or support as full-time employees. There’s a particularly high number of freelance workers in the music industry. The open letter was published as Parliament’s Women And Equalities Select Committee staged another hearing on misogyny in music. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition reignited their #LetTheMusicMove campaign to put the spotlight on proposed increases in US visa fees. The US Department Of Homeland Security recently proposed increasing the visa fees it charges artists looking to tour in the country by more than 250%. #LetTheMusicMove was originally launched to lobby the UK and European governments over the challenges Brexit created for British artists looking to tour the European Union. However, MMF and FAC said, the initiative is now being extended to issues around US touring because – “in the midst of the ongoing cost of living crisis and with the live sector still recovering from the impacts of COVID-19” – the proposed visa fee increases “would make performing in the world’s biggest music market unaffordable for many emerging and mid-level artists”. [READ MORE]

The UK government published two reports to inform the ongoing economics of streaming debate. Both were commissioned following the inquiry into streaming conducted by the UK Parliament’s culture select committee. The first report provided an overview of reversion rights and contract adjustment rights in copyright systems around the world. MPs on the select committee proposed adding both those rights to UK copyright law to address concerns around music-maker remuneration from streaming. The second looked at the impact of streaming service algorithms on what music people stream, suggesting that the services could be more transparent about how those things work. There was also a general update on the various government coordinated projects instigated in response to the streaming inquiry, with promises that another report – on performer equitable remuneration – would be published soon, and that industry codes on transparency and data should be agreed this spring. [READ MORE]

The BBC confirmed its plans for the local BBC Introducing radio shows. Those shows form the foundation of the BBC Introducing initiative, with the people who host them being closely connected to local music scenes around the UK, and therefore able to spot and champion new talent in their local communities. The BBC is cutting back its local radio output across the board so that local stations in the same region will share programmes for chunks of the day. That will mean fewer BBC Introducing shows, which – many in the music community fear – will impact on the wider scheme’s local connections, especially outside of the big cities. The BBC confirmed that the current 32 local Introducing shows will be reduced to 20, but said that each of those 20 shows would air twice a week instead of once. It also added that it would retain music expertise at all of its 39 local radio stations, and that there would be extra exposure of new music talent during daytime on local radio and within the BBC Sounds app. [READ MORE]

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