Business News Week In Five

CMU Digest – 14 Jun 2013

By | Published on Friday 14 June 2013

iTunes Radio

The five biggest stories in the music business this week…

01: Apple announced iTunes Radio. It’s been a long time coming, but Apple just about got enough deals in place to feel confident enough to announce at its annual developers’ conference this week that they will launch their streaming service, iTunes Radio, in the US in the autumn. As expected, it will be of the ‘interactive radio’ variety, funded by advertising and with download sell-through. The service will only be accessible via Apple devices, and will be available ad-free to iTunes Match users.

Both Sony Music and the Sony/ATV music publishing business signed up to provide content to the new streaming platform just days before the announcement, following the Warner Music labels and publishing business and the Universal Music record company. Deals will now be needed with the independents, though rumour has it a deal has been done with BMI, one of the American publishing sector collecting societies, to cover smaller BMI-affiliated publishers which aren’t doing direct deals with digital services. CMU report | Evolver FM report

02: Pandora stepped up its royalty war with the American music publishers. The US-based streaming service announced it had bought a small FM radio station in South Dakota. The acquisition was mainly a bid to join the Radio Music Licensing Committee, through which the traditional radio industry negotiates royalty rates with the American collecting societies. Pandora, which argues that the music industry always gives traditional broadcasters more favourable rates, even when they are running Pandora-competing online services, hopes to cut the royalties it pays to the music publishers by becoming part of the RMLC system.

The US publishers did not react well. One of the collecting societies, BMI, said it was ending ongoing royalty negotiations and would now go legal on the matter. Pandora is already involved in a legal battle with the other major society ASCAP. CMU report | Billboard report

03: HMV got ready to return to the high street in Ireland. Hilco, the company that brought HMV UK out of administration, confirmed it had also done deals with some of the landlords of former HMV stores in Ireland, enabling the entertainment retailer to reopen at three sites in the country. Unlike in the UK, the whole of the HMV Ireland chain shut down not long after the firm went into administration in January. The reopening Irish stores are in Dublin and Limerick, though more may follow. CMU report | Irish Independent report

04: Pirate Bay proxies were targeted in UK, as the site was blocked for first time in Ireland. Following Sky’s lead, other broadband providers in the UK started blocking access to more of the proxies that have enabled web-users to circumvent the blockade put up to stop people accessing the controversial file-sharing website, following legal action by record industry trade body the BPI. Meanwhile the operator of one proxy told Torrentfreak he had been visited by the police and the Federation Against Copyright Theft, who warned he’d be targeted with criminal action if he didn’t shut the proxy down. In Ireland the record industry secured web-blocking injunctions against the Bay for the first time, forcing an ongoing battle with the proxies there too. Targeted proxy operator report | Irish injunction report

05: Live Nation was charged over the fatal stage collapse at a Radiohead gig. The band’s drum tech Scott Johnson was killed when a scaffolding stage structure collapsed ahead of a planned concert in Canada last year. Investigators in Ontario said this week that they would charge Live Nation and its local subsidiary with four violations of the Canadian province’s Occupational Health And Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc and one specific engineer will also be charged. Live Nation said “we wholeheartedly disagree with the charges brought against us by the Ministry Of Labour”, insisting no one was to blame for the tragic accident. CMU reportBillboard report

In CMU this week, we chatted to Jan Younghusband, Commissioning Editor for BBC Music & Events, producer Jon Hopkins compiled us a great playlist, Eddy TM shared a ‘hurrah’ for the prevalence of great dance music currently in the mainstream, and there was a brand new CMU Podcast to download. Approved were Jonathan Rado, Kenzie May and the new Italians Do It Better compilation.

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