CMU Digest

CMU Digest 14.12.20: Ivors Academy, PRS, Ticketmaster, NTIA, Creative Passport

By | Published on Monday 14 December 2020

Ivors Academy

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

Songwriter group the Ivors Academy called for the major music companies to be regulated as the UK Parliament’s culture select committee held a second oral session as part of its inquiry into the economics of streaming. MPs again heard how artists feel they are not receiving a big enough slice of streaming monies, mainly because of their record label deals. But there was also more talk this time about songwriters, with song rights being assigned much less than recording rights from the off, and data issues meaning some song royalties get lost to the system. The Ivors Academy also called for new data standards that would force labels and distributors to provide song copyright information when uploading tracks. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition hit out at song rights collecting society PRS over its proposed royalty rates for livestreams. With the boom in live concert streaming during the COVID shutdown, the music industry is now figuring out how to commercialise such activity, including what royalties should be paid to songwriters and music publishers for any songs livestreamed. One problem is that the current rates for concerts (4% of ticket money) and streaming (10-15% of subscription revenue) are very different. PRS is proposing a livestream rate of 8-17% of ticket revenue, with the rate increasing as revenues increase. MMF and FAC argue that the rate should be closer to the 4% charged for real world concerts, and that PRS’s proposals are “unworkable” and were “determined without consultation” of the wider music community. [READ MORE]

A Ticketmaster customer in the US who sued over the Live Nation ticketing company’s refunds policy was told to take his dispute to arbitration. Derek Hansen accused Ticketmaster US of changing its terms regarding refunds on postponed shows after the COVID-19 shutdown began. Ticketmaster denied making any major changes to its refunds policies, but also argued that Hansen was obliged to take his grievances to arbitration rather than a court of law because of another clause in its terms and conditions. Hansen’s lawyers claimed that Ticketmaster didn’t do enough to ensure their client had notice of the arbitration obligation, but Ticketmaster successfully argued that Hansen had agreed to its terms and conditions on multiple occasions and was therefore bound by those terms. [READ MORE]

The Night Time Industries Association welcomed a decision by the UK government to extend a ‘forfeiture moratorium’ that stops landlords from evicting commercial tenants over unpaid rent. That measure was part of the Coronavirus Act 2020 introduced at the start of the pandemic to help businesses unable to open because of the COVID shutdown. It was due to expire at the end of the month, but will now run until the end of March, which is good news for the many venues, clubs, bars and other night-time businesses currently behind on rent because of COVID. However, NTIA said that while the extension was welcome, a more long term government intervention was now required to help night-time businesses lumbered with mounting rent debts as a result of the COVID shutdown. [READ MORE]

Imogen Heap’s Creative Passport venture went into public beta. Five years in the making, the new service allows artists to store all sorts of data about their work, their output and their individual artist businesses, and to then share that data with the world and specific music industry partners. It’s hoped that once a significant number of artists have signed up, digital platforms, collecting societies and other music industry businesses will want to integrate with the Creative Passport database. The venture’s launch partner is UK collecting society PPL. [READ MORE]

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