CMU Digest

CMU Digest 17.02.19: Universal, touts, online harms, Spotify, Soundcloud

By | Published on Monday 17 February 2020


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

Universal owner Vivendi announced that an initial public offering for its music company was back on the agenda. Vivendi first confirmed it would sell off a slice of the Universal Music Group in 2018. But back then it ruled out going the IPO route, saying it would instead pursue private deals with “strategic partners”. One of those private deals, with a consortium led by Tencent, was finalised late last year. After confirming to investors last week that further such deals are still being negotiated, the company said that “an IPO is currently planned for early 2023 at the latest”. [READ MORE]

Two British ticket touts were found guilty of fraud. Peter Hunter and David Smith, who operated as Ticket Wiz and BZZ, were prosecuted after an investigation by National Trading Standards. Although no one denied the two men ran a prolific ticket touting operation, the question was whether their tactics – including the use of technology to hoover up tickets from primary sites – were illegal. A jury in Leeds Crown Court concluded that they were. Anti-touting campaigners welcomed the ruling and hope it could have a wider impact on the ticket resale market in the UK. [READ MORE]

The music industry again called on the UK government to include copyright matters in its review of ‘online harms’. Ministers provided an update on their consultation about whether new laws are required increasing the liabilities of online platforms regarding things like cyberbullying, cyberstalking, disinformation, revenge porn and the distribution of extremist or violent content. The music industry wants copyright to be included on that list, especially now that the UK government has said it will not implement the European Copyright Directive. [READ MORE]

Spotify launched songwriter profiles. Currently in beta, ultimately it will mean that users can click on the name of any songwriter in the credits associated with a track and be taken to a page listing all that writer’s other work. All the digital services have been under pressure to get better at crediting songwriters, with various platforms making efforts in this domain. After Spotify started crediting writers, many in the songwriting community said that those credits should become interactive so that users could navigate the platform by writer. These profiles will do that. [READ MORE]

US media company Sirius made a $75 million investment into Soundcloud. The satellite broadcaster is already active in the online audio space, it owning Pandora, which has an existing advertising partnership with Soundcloud. Sirius said that its investment in the Soundcloud company was “another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms”. [READ MORE]

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