Business News Week In Five

CMU Digest – 13 Sep 2013

By | Published on Friday 13 September 2013

Clear Channel

The five biggest stories in the music business this week…

01: Warner Music and Clear Channel announced an alliance. Under the deal, Warner will start to receive royalties for its music being used on the US radio giant’s terrestrial radio stations (something that doesn’t currently happen Stateside). In return the mini-major will offer the media firm much more friendly terms for its iHeartRadio streaming platform. Warner artists will also benefit from a range of promotional ventures across Clear Channel’s networks. The new alliance mirrors deals done between Clear Channel and about ten indies, but is significant because of the size of Warner’s catalogue. CMU reportNew York Times report

02: Vivendi confirmed a split plan was under consideration. It’s been mooted for some time that the Universal Music owner would spin-off its flagging French telecoms business to focus on its content assets – Universal and the Canal+ TV company. And this week the conglom’s board confirmed it was now formally considering a plan for such a move. Meanwhile one of the company’s key shareholders, Vincent Bolloré, was appointed as Vice-Chairman. It’s rumoured he has his eyes on the also-available CEO role though, even if that doesn’t happen, it seems certain Bolloré will now play a significant role in shaping Vivendi’s immediate future. CMU reportFinancial Times report

03: Victor Willis said he had reclaimed his Village People copyrights. Willis first went legal over the copyrights in most of the Village People’s hits, on which he was a co-writer, in 2011. It now emerges that Willis has utilised the so called ‘termination right’ introduced into US copyright law in 1978 but only just coming into effect, that allows songwriters who assign their rights to a publisher to reclaim them after 35 years. Arguments by the company which controls the copyrights that Willis contributed to the songs on a ‘work for hire’ basis back in the 1970s have seemingly been rejected in the courts, though all this is subject to an appeal. But if Willis does win back his slice of the hits, he’ll be the first high profile songwriter to have exploited the termination right. CMU report | Billboard report

04: The MU got TUC support for a private copy levy. The Musicians Union is arguing that when the government introduces a private copy right into UK law, so that consumers can legally make private back up copies of recordings (eg by ripping tracks from CD to PC), there should be some sort of levy to compensate artists and songwriters, most likely applied to MP3 players and similar devices. Such a levy system exists elsewhere in Europe where the private copy right has existing for a long time. But current proposals to introduce the right over here do not include provisions for the levy. The Trade Union Congress backed the MU’s call for the levy at their conference this week. CMU report

05: Kim Dotcom confirmed the name of his direct-to-fan platform. The often controversial MegaUpload founder recently stepped back from his cloud-storage business Mega to concentrate on his legal challenges and other projects. The ‘other projects’ include the long discussed direct-to-fan platform originally called Megabox. But last weekend Dotcom confirmed the new venture will actually be called Baboom when it launches. Artists will be encouraged to set up profiles, give away content, and earn a cut of ad money. Dotcom also shared some screen grabs of the in-development new service with Torrentfreak. CMU reportTorrentfreak report

In the world of CMU this week, we got ready for the kick-off of the latest CMU Insights training course season next week, plus chatted to Chris Rosenau of Volcano Choir, listened to some music picked by Sky Larkin’s Katie Harkin, and caught up on happenings at this year’s Berlin Music Week. Approved were Odd Future affiliates The Internet, baroque popster Son Lux, returning singer Clare Maguire and reggae MC Mark Professor.

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