CMU Digest

CMU Digest 20.01.19: Spotify, Recording Academy, Guvera, Ariana Grande, HMV

By | Published on Monday 20 January 2020


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

Warner/Chappell announced it had agreed a deal with Spotify in India ending a year-long stand-off. When the streaming firm failed to secure a deal with Warner for its launch in the Indian market last February, the big challenge was how Spotify would work out which recordings uploaded by other labels contained songs published by the Warner/Chappell publishing company. It ultimately decided that it didn’t need to, arguing a compulsory licence under Indian copyright law meant it was covered without a bespoke deal being agreed. Warner did not concur and went to court. That dispute has been rumbling on ever since, but was ended with last week’s licensing deal being signed. A deal with the Warner labels is still pending. [READ MORE]

Just over a week before the Grammys, the US Recording Academy – which organises the awards – announced its newish CEO had been put on “administrative leave” following allegations of misconduct. Some sources said that Deborah Dugan had failed to gel with the music industry organisation’s staff after joining in the top job last August, but others countered that she was being pushed out for trying to shake up the Academy, despite being hired to do just that. Although officially on leave she is not expected to return, with a nasty legal battle seemingly ahead. [READ MORE]

The former boss of failed streaming service Guvera was banned from managing corporations for two years by the Australian Securities And Investments Commission. The regulator said that, on Darren Herft’s watch, Guvera companies failed to meet their statutory obligations, while he “improperly used the Guvera Group structure for his gain and the gain of others in circumstances where there were significant conflicts of interest in the operation of the companies within the group”. Guvera collapsed in 2017 a year after its failed attempt at an IPO. [READ MORE]

Ariana Grande was on the receiving end of the latest song-theft lawsuit. Musician Josh Stone says that her hit ‘7 Rings’ rips off his song ‘You Need It, I Got It’. In a new lawsuit he claims to have shared his song back in 2017 with producer Tommy Brown, who was also a co-writer on Grande’s record. Stone claims he met Brown via a meeting at Universal Music Publishing. Brown then co-wrote ‘7 Rings’ which, Stone alleges, “from a scientific, musicological perspective” has numerous elements that are “either identical or substantially similar to ‘I Got It’”. Grande is yet to respond. [READ MORE]

HMV announced that five stores that had faced closure have been saved thanks to new deals over rent. A year on from saving the retailer, current owner Sunrise Records will close a number of HMV shops this month. That includes units in Birmingham and Leeds where it opened new stores last year. However, others are closing because high rents and business rates have made them unviable. But shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Reading, Sheffield and Grimsby that had been scheduled to close will now stay open after their respective landlords did a deal on rent payments. [READ MORE]

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