CMU Digest

CMU Digest 17.04.17: BPI stats, BMG, Dailymotion, Prince, blockchain, Guvera

By | Published on Monday 17 April 2017

The key stories from the last seven days in the music business…

The BPI confirmed that UK record industry trade revenues were up 5.1% in 2016. As in numerous other countries where the recorded music market grew last year, the boost was driven by premium streaming. Though physical product still performed pretty well in the UK too – slipping only slightly. Income from CDs dropped 9.1%, while vinyl was up 66.5%, now making up 5% of total revenues. BPI boss Geoff Taylor called on the UK government to ensure this return to growth cound be sustained, by ensuring that “huge online platforms” (ie YouTube) pay a fair rate for the music they exploit, and that Brexit doesn’t put British artists and labels at a disadvantage. [READ MORE]

BMG boss Hartwig Masuch said that while the record industry was back in growth, that didn’t mean a return to the 1990s hey day for the record companies. While streaming was becoming a cash cow, he said it was getting harder for labels to justify keeping the lion’s share of the money in the digital age, and that artists would start to demand and ultimately receive a bigger cut. Companies like BMG and Kobalt already offer a much more generous split of the money via their ‘services deals’. “I believe there will be some wake-up calls”, he told the Financial Times. “I am very cynical about the view that the good days have returned. Every renegotiation [with an artist] will cut down massively on the margin”. [READ MORE]

YouTube rival Dailymotion announced a big relaunch for June that will see it downplay the user-generated content element of its platform. Instead the firm will seek to be a home for professionally produced videos sharing ad income with the producers behind that content. Like YouTube, Dailymotion has been criticised by the entertainment industry for exploiting the copyright safe harbour, so that it isn’t liable when its users upload other people’s content without permission. Since becoming majority-owned by Universal Music parent company Vivendi in 2015, this has become a somewhat awkward position to be in. [READ MORE]

Former artist manager Troy Carter was named as the new entertainment industry advisor to the Prince estate. The appointment was confirmed by Comerica, the bank that took over as the permanent administrator of the late musician’s estate earlier this year. Carter’s day job is now heading up artist liaison at Spotify, which is interesting as rival streaming service Tidal is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with the estate over the deals Prince may or may not have done with the Jay-Z led company prior to his death. [READ MORE]

Three song right collecting societies – America’s ASCAP, France’s SACEM and the UK’s PRS For Music – announced “a groundbreaking partnership” which will “prototype a new shared system of managing authoritative music copyright information using blockchain technology”. The aim is to start building the much needed global database linking ISRC and ISWC codes, so to link recording and publishing rights, and to distribute that information using the blockchain. [READ MORE]

Flagging streaming firm Guvera reportedly put another of its Australian subsidiaries into administration. It’s Guvera Employment that is now in administration, a move that could lead to a further 25 jobs being lost at the streaming music company that last year withdrew from numerous markets after its attempt to float on the Australian Securities Exchange was blocked. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Mariah Carey announced a new imprint with Sony’s Epic Records [INFO]
• Tramlines Festival agreed to a £1.2 million takeover bid [INFO]
• Cabbage signed to Blue Raincoat Songs [INFO]
• Fionn Regan signed to Blue Raincoat Songs [INFO]
• Frankie Cosmos signed to Sub Pop [INFO]

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