CMU Digest

CMU Digest 18.01.21: Brexit, Cox Communications, Nicki Minaj, DEAG, Capitol Studios

By | Published on Monday 18 January 2021


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

The music industry called on UK and EU officials to return to the negotiating table to ensure visa-free travel for UK musicians in the EU, and vice-versa. No such provision was included in the post-Brexit UK/EU trade deal, meaning touring musicians from the UK are now subject to different rules and requirements in each EU country, some of which require travel permits and/or equipment carnets to be secured. Both the UK and the EU have claimed that they made proposals to ensure that didn’t happen, but that the other side turned them down. Music industry reps and supportive MPs have said the UK and EU should stop playing the blame game and instead do everything they can to ensure visa-free touring is possible by the time COVID restrictions end. [READ MORE]

A US court declined to cut the billion dollars in damages that American internet service provider Cox Communications must pay the major record companies. In 2019, the labels successfully argued that Cox operated a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers among its user-base and therefore should not benefit from the copyright safe harbour, meaning it could be held liable for the copyright infringement of its users. The jury then awarded the labels $99,830.29 for each of the 10,017 infringed songs and recordings listed in the majors’ lawsuit. Cox argued that where songs and recordings overlapped they should only be counted once for damages, cutting the total due by $243 million. The judge basically agreed, but said the maths relating to the overlaps should have been presented to the jury in 2019. Cox will now take the whole case to the appeals court. [READ MORE]

Nicki Minaj resolved her ongoing copyright dispute with Tracy Chapman with a payment of $450,000. Minaj was sued over an unreleased track that featured an uncleared sample of a Chapman song. Although unreleased, the track did get played on a New York radio station, and it was alleged that Minaj had sent the record to the DJ who played it. The case was heading to a jury trial, but Minaj offered Chapman a ‘rule 68 offer of judgement’, which basically results in a judgement being made in favour of Chapman, who will also receive $450,000 in damages. Chapman accepted. Minaj’s lawyers said they made the offer because pursuing the case to a jury trial would have been more expensive. [READ MORE]

German tour promoter and ticketing agency DEAG announced it would de-list from the Frankfurt stock exchange after 23 years as a publicly listed company. As it goes back into private ownership, the firm’s biggest shareholder, Apeiron Investment Group, is also offering to buyout any other shareholders via a Malta-based subsidiary called Musai Capital. DEAG says that that arrangement allows any shareholders unhappy with the current uncertainty in the live sector to cash in now, while Apeiron – which is in it for the longhaul – will increase its stake, allowing it to profit once the live industry finally swings back into action post-COVID. [READ MORE]

Universal Music confirmed it was closing the mastering facilities at its Capitol Studios complex in LA. The major said there had been an overall decline in requests for mastering services, and it had decided to focus more on those recording services where demand remained high. Space currently used for mastering at the studios will be repurposed into additional recording suites. The change in focus will result in some redundancies at the Universal division, including Capitol Studios’ VP Paula Salvatore. [READ MORE]

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | | |