CMU Digest

CMU Digest 20.07.20: COVID-19, Migos, Digital Dollar, Spotify, Billboard charts

By | Published on Monday 20 July 2020

Empty seats

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

Shows continued to be cancelled and venues started to close because of COVID-19 despite lockdown restrictions starting to be lifted. In England, outdoor concerts are already allowed again and indoor shows are now set to return on 1 Aug, albeit with social distancing rules in place. But Live Nation cancelled a series of outdoor drive-in shows, saying that the risk of new localised lockdowns being instigated at any point makes planning such events impossible. And four grassroots music venues announced they were closing – the Deaf Institute and Gorilla in Manchester, and The Welly and The Polar Bear in Hull – with the relaxation of lockdown and sector-specific financial support simply coming too late. [READ MORE]

Migos sued their longtime lawyer Damien Granderson in a forthright lawsuit accusing him of cheating the rap trio out of millions of dollars. Among an assortment of complaints, the group accused Granderson of a major conflict of interest because he reps both them and their label Quality Control Music. Granderson and QCM had exploited that conflict to get Migos to sign unfavourable deals, the lawsuit said. The lawyer is yet to respond, but the boss of QCM, Pierre ‘Pee’ Thomas, rejected the allegations of bad conduct in a since deleted Instagram post. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Music Managers Forum published the Third Edition of the ‘Dissecting The Digital Dollar’ book, based on five years of research undertaken by the MMF and CMU Insights. The ‘Digital Dollar’ project educates managers about the complex streaming music business model so that they can better advise the artists and songwriters they represent, and properly scrutinise the labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies they work with. It also identifies issues with the model that need to be addressed. MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said that, while “we have seen much progress” in addressing those issues, “there are certain orthodoxies in this market that must continue to be challenged”. [READ MORE]

Spotify finally launched in Russia after various false starts going live in the country. Russia is currently the seventeenth biggest recorded music market in the world, but it saw 58.3% growth in 2019 making it a priority market for the global record industry. Spotify actually went live in thirteen new markets, all Eastern European countries and/or former Soviet states. It means the streaming service is now available in a total of 92 markets. [READ MORE]

Billboard announced yet another change to the rules for its music charts. It’s the latest effort to stop artists using bundling or limited edition CD single releases to get to number one. Lots of US artists now bundle downloads with merchandise and tickets around release, or encourage fans to buy multiple copies of limited edition CD releases, because sales (digital or physical) generally have a bigger impact on chart stats than streams. People argue these promotions stop the chart from being an accurate representation of a record’s popularity. Under new rules, bundles will only be counted if the download element is an optional priced add-on. Limited edition CDs will only be counted when they ship, not when they are bought, making them a less useful tactic for boosting first week chart position. [READ MORE]

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