CMU Digest

CMU Digest 13.05.19: PledgeMusic, Wynk, Rolling Stone, Universal Music, Michael Jackson

By | Published on Monday 13 May 2019


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

It was confirmed that PledgeMusic had failed to find a buyer and would now fall into administration. The fan-funding and pre-order platform had paused its operations earlier in the year as mounting financial problems resulted in artists not being paid monies they had raised via campaigns on the site. It was hoped a buyer could be found to rescue the company, but founder Benji Rogers – who left the business in 2017 – confirmed last week that talks with a possible bidder had ended without a deal being done. It now remains to be seen just how many artists will go unpaid as the company is wound up. [READ MORE]

A court in India ruled that a local streaming service couldn’t rely on a compulsory licence for music available on its system. Indian label Tips sued streaming firm Wynk after the latter claimed that it could stream the former’s music without a bespoke deal in place because of a compulsory licence available under Indian copyright law. That compulsory licence was originally intended for broadcasters but was extended to include online broadcast. A court confirming that said licence still does not cover on-demand streaming is interesting because Spotify is also relying on it in its ongoing spat with Warner Music. [READ MORE]

Rolling Stone magazine announced it would launch music charts for the US. Although the launch date of the new charts was subsequently put back, the consumer music mag will still go into competition with trade title Billboard in publishing regular lists of the most popular tracks and albums. The magazine will work with stats outfit Alpha Data – formerly known as Buzz Angle – on the new charts, Rolling Stone publisher PMC having invested in Alpha Data last year. [READ MORE]

Universal Music submitted a motion to dismiss the potentially explosive termination right lawsuit filed against it earlier this year. That lawsuit tests whether American artists can terminate 35 year old record contracts and reclaim sound recording copyrights they previously assigned to a label. There is a termination right in US copyright law which songwriters now routinely use to terminate old publishing contracts, but labels argue it doesn’t apply to record deals. Universal presented various arguments as to why the test case should be dismissed at the start. [READ MORE]

It emerged that the arrangements of the Michael Jackson estate could be exposed in an upcoming court case. The man who managed Michael Jackson prior to the musician’s death in 2009 reckons he is still owed fees and commissions from that time. Among other things, Tohme Tohme wants the fees of estate managers John Branca and John McClain to be revealed, in a bid to show that the fees he was charging Jackson prior to his death were not unreasonable. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Troy Carter’s Q&A allied with Sony/ATV [INFO]
• Berliner Philharmoniker signed a distribution deal with [PIAS] [INFO]
• Cooking Vinyl announced a bunch of deals [INFO]
• Metal Blade signed Cult Of Luna [INFO]

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