Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 17.04.22: Deezer, Astroworld, The Leadmill, Backstreet, Justin Bieber

By | Published on Sunday 17 April 2022

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

Deezer was reportedly in talks with a French-owned special purpose acquisition company about a potential merger. If it went through, that would see the streaming firm become a publicly listed company on the French stock exchange. Special purpose acquisition companies – or SPACs – are businesses with no active operations that raise money on the investment markets with a view to buying up existing privately owned companies. The SPAC in talks with Deezer – called I2PO – listed on the Paris stock exchange last year with the intent of buying up entertainment and leisure companies. Deezer previously abandoned an attempt to list on the French stock exchange back in 2015, but by going the SPAC route there would be less risk involved. Although Deezer is currently very much a small player in the subscription streaming market, I2PO may well reckon that the company still has lots of potential as the digital music market increasingly diversifies. [READ MORE]

Live Nation raised concerns regarding a new documentary about last year’s Astroworld tragedy. The live giant promoted the Travis Scott founded Houston-based festival during which – at its 2021 edition last November – ten people died and hundreds more were injured in a deadly crowd-surge. Both Live Nation and Scott are battling hundreds of lawsuits in relation to the incident. In a letter to the judge overseeing those lawsuits, Live Nation said that the documentary ‘Concert Crush’ – which is being screened at cinemas in Texas this month – could make it difficult to recruit an impartial jury if and when the litigation gets to trial. They also noted that a lawyer working on some of the Astroworld lawsuits is a co-producer of the documentary, and that the film also features interviews with both plaintiffs and other attorneys working on cases in relation to the festival. [READ MORE]

The management team at Sheffield venue The Leadmill launched a petition on the UK Parliament website, as the dispute continues with their landlord. Their building is owned by live music company The Electric Group, which wants to start directly running the venue from next year, which in turn means evicting the current management team. That team is fighting back and so far winning the PR war, although it remains to be seen whether that alone is enough to avoid eviction, possibly not. With that in mind, the new petition relates to a potential legal challenge. It calls for the suspension of some specific elements of the UK Landlord And Tenant Act, pending a government review of certain rules regarding the rights of landlords over their tenants. The hope is that such a suspension and a subsequent re-write of those rules might help the current Leadmill team stay in their building. [READ MORE]

London-based merchandise company Backstreet announced the launch of a new Berlin hub to help its clients tackle some of the challenges caused by Brexit. Although there has been a lot of talk about Brexit forcing British artists and their crews to navigate new rules around permits and carnets as they tour Europe, there are also additional new challenges related to selling merch to European fans, including when on tour. Backstreet says that its new base in Germany “has been created to alleviate the significant trade issues created by Brexit and will provide artists touring in Europe with local production giving a faster turnaround, no VAT restrictions, no customs challenges, lower shipping rates, faster delivery times, lower carbon emissions and chart registration in multiple EU countries”. [READ MORE]

A vocal producer who has worked on many Justin Bieber tracks sued the star’s manager Scooter Braun in a dispute over royalties. Chris ‘Tek’ O’Ryan – whose role on Bieber’s tracks was to “polish and finesse” the vocals – claims that he agreed new terms with Braun’s team in 2018 which would see him get a ‘point’ on future tracks he worked on as well as an upfront fee. That would mean he’d receive one percent of any revenues generated by each new track. But, he says, after he’d worked on Bieber’s 2021 album ‘Justice’, he was told he’d only receive royalties on certain Bieber tracks at the management team’s discretion. O’Ryan reckons he has been “cast aside by the artist he spent more than a decade helping to build up”, but a rep for Braun says the lawsuit is “inaccurate, misleading and deceitful”. [READ MORE]

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