CMU Digest

CMU Digest 19.07.21: Economics Of Streaming, COVID, Chance The Rapper, The Sex Pistols, Brexit

By | Published on Sunday 18 July 2021

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

The UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee called for a “complete reset” of music streaming. A report based on the committee’s inquiry into the economics of the digital music market said that artists and songwriters were not benefiting from the streaming boom because of the way record contracts are structured and interpreted, the way digital income is split between song rights and recording rights, and the dominance the majors across the music rights business. MPs called for performer ER to be applied to streams, for the Competition & Markets Authority to investigate the dominance of the majors, and for artists to get a contract adjustment and copyright reversion right. The UK government now has two months to respond to the recommendations. [READ MORE]

The music industry welcomed confirmation from the UK government that all venues can re-open and full capacity shows can return in England as of 19 Jul, when ministers remove most remaining COVID regulations. This despite the number of COVID cases in the UK currently surging. Venues will not be obliged to check a customer’s COVID status before granting then admission, although Prime Minister ‘Boris’ Johnson urged clubs in particular to do so. But in a survey, the vast majority of club owners said that they would not. With the risk that COVID restrictions could as yet return – or that the new surge in coronavirus cases could result in last minute cancellations of events anyway – the live sector again called on the government to provide state-backed cancellation insurance. [READ MORE]

A lawsuit being pursued against Chance The Rapper by his former manager was streamlined somewhat in court. Pat Corcoran has accused his former client of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Illinois Sales Representative Act – and, among other things, has been seeking to enforce a sunset clause on the back of his oral management agreement with the rapper. However, the court hearing the case dismissed all but his claim for unpaid commissions. In return, the rapper has accused Corcoran of breaching his fiduciary duty while managing the musician, and the judge declined to dismiss those claims at this stage. [READ MORE]

Former members of the Sex Pistols were in London’s High Court in a dispute over a sync deal and a 1988 band agreement. John Lydon is currently blocking the use of the band’s music in the upcoming TV series ‘Pistol’, which is based on the memoir of his former bandmate Steve Jones. But Jones and Paul Cook argue that under the 1988 band agreement sync licences can be issued if a majority of the band members agree, and Lydon is the only hold-out on this deal. Lydon’s lawyer said that this dispute was part of an attempt by Jones and Cook’s manager Anita Camarata – who is also an exec producer on ‘Pistol’ – to seize control of the Sex Pistols’ legacy. [READ MORE]

The Musicians Union and Incorporated Society Of Musicians urged the UK government to ensure that British artists can continue to use splitter vans when touring Europe. This is another potential issue created for British musicians by Brexit and the new UK/EU trade deal. In a submission to the UK’s Department For Transport, the two organisations explained how the use of vans that carry both band members and their equipment will not be permitted post-Brexit because “transport of goods and the transport of people falls between two posts”. They asked the DfT to urgently “put in place a legal framework allowing vehicles to carry both passengers and goods for commercial use within the EU”. [READ MORE]

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