CMU Digest

CMU Digest 19.10.20: DCMS select committee inquiry, and, BBC Sounds, RDx, Spotify

By | Published on Monday 19 October 2020

Houses Of Parliament

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

The UK parliament’s culture select committee announced an inquiry into the economics of streaming. It follows calls for such an inquiry by the Musicians’ Union and Ivors Academy, and the online #brokenrecord campaign. The committee will consider the complex licensing models that the streaming music business is built on and whether they have been unfairly structured to benefit the platforms, record labels and superstar artists. Although select committees have no power over government policy, inquiries like this can be influential, and all stakeholders in the streaming economy are expected to make submissions. [READ MORE]

The Russian owner of two stream-ripping websites – and – formally requested for the US Supreme Court to hear his ongoing copyright case. Tofig Kurbanov is fighting a lawsuit from the US record companies over his two stream-ripping services. At first instance he successfully argued that the US courts did not have jurisdiction over his Russia-based operations. However, an appeals court then overturned that ruling. Kurbanov now wants the Supreme Court to consider whether foreign websites simply being available in the US puts those sites under the jurisdiction of the American courts. [READ MORE]

UK media regulator OfCom confirmed it was investigating the operations of the BBC Sounds app. It follows recent complaints from the commercial radio sector over the addition of a new dance music channel within that app. Although OfCom said that new dance music service was actually allowed – as it simply repurposes existing Radio 1 content – it added that now was nevertheless a good time to review how the wider app was evolving, to check it is still performing the public service remit BBC services are meant to fulfil, and isn’t starting to unfairly compete with commercial media. [READ MORE]

Global record industry trade groups IFPI and WIN announced that their joint data exchange project RDx is now live. It aims to connect databases run by the record industry’s collecting societies, making it easier for labels to log new recordings as they are released and making it less likely conflicting information goes into different databases. The exchange is being run by UK society PPL and – at launch – other participating societies include: GRAMEX in Finland, Re:Sound in Canada and SENA in The Netherlands. All three majors, the Beggars Group and the state51 Music Group have already started pushing their catalogue data into the new system. [READ MORE]

Spotify announced a new tool to enable podcasters to put licensed music into their programmes. It involves podcasters inserting spoken word links between tracks in the Spotify catalogue. When the tracks play, royalties are paid as normal. Such an approach for making radio style programmes on the Spotify platform has been done before, though the new system is much slicker. It gives Spotify a USP for those podcasters who want to include music, as licensing tracks for podcast programmes is really difficult. Although podcasts made in this way will only play on Spotify. [READ MORE]

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