Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 12.06.22: Ditto Music, Greek visas, Spotify, Bang Energy, PRS Foundation

By | Published on Sunday 12 June 2022

Lil Yachty

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

Ditto Music asked a court in California to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Lil Yachty on jurisdiction grounds. The rapper’s lawsuit actually relates to Opulous, the music NFT company set up by Ditto co-founder Lee Parsons. Yachty says that Opulous used his name in its launch communications when he and his management team had only received a pitch from the start-up and hadn’t made any commitments to get involved. Sister company Ditto and founder Parsons then shared that launch communications on their social media, which is why they were named as defendants on the rapper’s litigation in addition to Opulous itself. The NFT company is yet to formally respond to the lawsuit, but Ditto and Parsons argue that – as a UK company and UK citizen respectively, with no formal links to California – the Californian courts do not have jurisdiction in this dispute. [READ MORE]

British performers playing gigs in Greece will no longer need a visa, removing one of the bits of post-Brexit bureaucracy artists and their crews have had to deal with since the UK left the EU. The UK and EU’s post-Brexit trade deal didn’t include any EU-wide provisions for visa free touring, meaning British artists now face lots of new paperwork as they tour Europe, having to navigate various different permit, carnet and cabotage rules. Visa and permit rules differ for each EU country. In many countries artists don’t actually need a specific permit if they are playing a small number of shows, but in some countries they do. Greece was one of the countries that did have visa requirements, but after lobbying from UK and Greek live industry reps that requirement has now been removed. [READ MORE]

Spotify delivered a number of presentations for investors. They were in part responding to concerns in the investment community about the challenges digital content services face as the COVID-caused spike in home entertainment consumption ends and more platforms compete for consumer attention. Some investors have also criticised Spotify for prioritising revenue and subscriber growth over profitability. Spotify boss Daniel Ek has previously tried to distinguish Spotify from the likes of Netflix, insisting audio services are not in as challenging a position as video services, a position backed up by analysts at US bank Raymond James this week. In his Spotify Investor Day presentation, Ek added that his company’s big push into podcasting – which has negatively impacted on profitability in the short term – has nevertheless greatly increased the firm’s long-term profit potential. And, he confirmed, the company will be pushing into other audio products too, in particular audio-books. [READ MORE]

Sony Music asked a US court to sanction energy drink brand Bang Energy in an ongoing copyright dispute. The major has sued Bang over its alleged use of unlicensed music in promotional videos it has posted to social media platforms. It’s part of a crackdown by the music industry on brands and influencers using music in videos without permission, they perhaps incorrectly assuming that they are covered by the music licences the social platforms themselves secure for user-generated content. Sony says that Bang failed to preserve 171 of the videos that the major reckons used its music without licence. As a result, as the wider litigation progresses, it wants the court to assume those videos contained Sony recordings and were seen as widely as Bang’s most popular social media posts. [READ MORE]

More than 50 music organisations called on UK collecting society PRS to reconsider its decision to cut funding to the PRS Foundation. PRS confirmed at its AGM last month that its annual grant to the Foundation will be cut from the current £2.5 million to £1 million in 2024, because the specific income stream the grant comes from – basically interest the society earns – has declined. But critics argue that wider PRS revenues continue to grow and that it should allocate some monies from the so called black box – royalties collected by the society that cannot be accurately allocated to specific songs – to maintain the current level of support for the Foundation. The Featured Artists Coalition previously launched a petition calling for a rethink of the funding cut and this week more than 50 music organisations from across the UK signed an open letter making a similar demand. [READ MORE]

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