CMU Digest

CMU Digest 21.09.20: TikTok, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, BBC Sounds, TuneIn

By | Published on Monday 21 September 2020


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

TikTok announced a partnership with Oracle in the US that it hopes will stop President Donald Trump from banning the app. The deal means China-based Bytedance will still be the majority owner of TikTok in the US, but Oracle will have a stake in the app’s global business and will oversee all data management within America. Although US officials initially said app stores in the country would still be banned from distributing TikTok as of this weekend pending a review of the proposed deal, that ban was then postponed and Trump said he had given the Oracle tie-up his “blessing”. [READ MORE]

Kanye West sparked a conversation around record deals by posting his various agreements with Universal Music to Twitter. The rapper sued both his label Universal and publisher Sony/ATV last year in a dispute over his current deals. He hit out at both companies on social media last week, saying he wouldn’t release any new music until he as cut free of his current contracts. Most subsequent tweets focused on Universal and its owner Vivendi, with West’s primary beef being over the ownership of the recording rights in his Universal-released albums. However some lawyers pointed out that, having read the contracts he posted, West’s deals with Universal are actually quite favourable compared to industry standards. [READ MORE]

Nicki Minaj won one element of her copyright dispute with Tracy Chapman, with a court confirming that artists experimenting with uncleared samples in the studio qualifies as fair use and does not therefore constitute copyright infringement. Chapman has sued Minaj over an uncleared sample in an unreleased track. However, Chapman really sued because that track was played on a New York radio station, and that part of the lawsuit – which centres on whether it can be proven Minaj herself sent the offending track to the radio DJ who played it – will proceed to a jury hearing. [READ MORE]

MPs called for UK media regulator OfCom to investigate the BBC Sounds app. The call followed the announcement that Radio 1 will launch a 24/7 dance music service within the app aggregating relevant specialist shows and archive mixes. Commercial radio repping RadioCentre said that competed head-on with commercial radio services. And the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Commercial Radio – Andy Carter MP – said that he was concerned the BBC Sounds app was not being properly scrutinised by regulators allowing the broadcaster to spend money on new services that don’t meet any public service obligations. [READ MORE]

Radio station aggregator TuneIn started blocking international stations on its app in the UK in response to legal action pursued by Sony Music and Warner Music. A high court judgement in that legal battle said TuneIn could aggregate within the UK any British radio stations that have licences from record industry collecting society PPL without needing its own music licences. However, that wasn’t the case for non-UK radio stations, even if they were licensed to broadcast music in their home countries. TuneIn confirmed “we will be restricting international stations to prohibit their availability in the UK, with limited exceptions”. [READ MORE]

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