CMU Digest

CMU Digest 17.05.21: Believe, Apple, Lady A, BRITs, mental health guides

By | Published on Sunday 16 May 2021


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

Believe confirmed it had begun its journey towards a long-expected IPO in its home country of France. The music distributor and artist services company announced that the French securities regulator AMF has approved a registration document that “constitutes the first step of a contemplated IPO on the regulated market of Euronext Paris”. Believe – which also owns the DIY distributor TuneCore – is seeking to raise around 500 million euros through the planned listing on the French stock exchange, monies that will be used to finance a growth strategy. The firm added that completion of the IPO was now “subject to the approval of the prospectus relating to the offering by the AMF, as well as favourable market conditions”. [READ MORE]

A legal claim over Apple’s App Store rules was filed with the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal. Spotify and Fortnite maker Epic Games are among the app-making companies to have complained about those rules, in particular the fact that you can only take transactions through an iOS app by using Apple’s own commission-charging payments platform. The rules also stop you sign-posting alternative payment options elsewhere on the internet. Both Spotify and Epic claim the rules are anti-competitive, with the former filing a complaint with the competition regulator in the EU, and the latter currently fighting Apple over its App Store policies in the Californian courts. The case before the UK Tribunal seeks to represent iPhone owners rather than app makers, arguing they suffer unnecessarily high app charges because of Apple’s allegedly anti-competitive conduct. [READ MORE]

A court in Tennessee declined to force the Lady A v Lady A trademark battle to Washington state. A singer who has long performed as Lady A is fighting the band Lady Antebellum over their decision to rebrand under that name. They announced they were rebranding as Lady A – a nickname already used by their fans – last year, because of the associations between the word ‘antebellum’ and the slave trade. After the two sides failed to reach a settlement, the band went legal first, filing a lawsuit in Tennessee arguing that they already owned the relevant Lady A trademark. Lady A the singer then went legal in her home state of Washington arguing that, having used the name for so long, she has common law rights to the brand. She also wanted the band’s case to be moved to Washington, even though she went legal second, because she has fewer resources and fighting the legal action closer to home would be more cost effective. However, the judge overseeing the Tennessee litigation ruled that the singer had failed to present a compelling case for such a transfer. [READ MORE]

The BRIT Awards took place in an actual venue with an actual audience. The record industry’s annual awards event was staged as part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, which is investigating safe ways to get higher capacity events back up and running as COVID regulations are relaxed. As a result attendees at the event – including 2500 key workers who were given free tickets – were able to sit in and move around the O2 complex with no social-distancing and minimal other COVID rules. As for the actual awards, Dua Lipa was the double winner of the night, winning the Best Female and Best Album awards. [READ MORE]

Two new sets of mental health guides for the UK music community were published to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. The charity Mind actually published four different guides – one for organisations, one for employees, one for freelancers and one for managers – with a particular focus on the dance music community. The charity worked with the likes of Ninja Tune, Paradigm, Percolate and POLY on its guides. Meanwhile the Music Managers Forum launched a new edition of its ‘Guide To Mental Health’ aimed at artist managers, unveiling the updated and expanded version of its guide – produced with Music Support and Help Musicians – during a session of the Great Escape Conference. [MIND GUIDES] [MMF GUIDE]

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