CMU Digest

CMU Digest 22.11.21: Spanish visas, Astroworld, music rights revenues, Tidal, Republic

By | Published on Monday 22 November 2021

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

Spain removed the visa requirements that British artists playing in the country have had to deal with since Brexit. Because the post-Brexit EU/UK trade agreement did not include any pan-European provisions for visa-free touring, UK musicians and crew must now deal with different visa, permit and carnet rules in each EU country. The visa requirements in Spain were particularly demanding. After much campaigning by the UK and Spanish music communities, those have been axed, though other new post-Brexit admin remains for those touring in Spain and elsewhere across Europe, so all that campaigning continues. [READ MORE]

The lawsuits continued to mount up in relation to the Astroworld tragedy. Ten people died and hundreds more were injured after a crowd surge occurred during Travis Scott’s headline set at the festival he founded, which took place on 5 Nov in Houston, Texas. Scott himself, the festival’s promoters Live Nation and Scoremore, and others, are now facing a stack of litigation. Among the lawsuits that were filed this week was one organised by lawyer Tony Buzbee on behalf of 125 victims seeking around $750 million in damages, while another led by attorney Thomas J Henry involves more than 282 victims and is pushing for around $2 billion in damages. [READ MORE]

Will Page published his annual study of the wider music rights industry which, he reckons, saw 2.7% growth in 2020 despite COVID. Page’s study seeks to assess the value of music rights at large, including monies generated by both recordings and songs, via both label/distributor/publisher led monetisation and collective licensing. He estimates that in 2020 music rights worldwide generated $32.5 billion. Performance revenues took a big hit because of COVID, of course, while streaming income continue to grow. That trend meant that the record industry accounted for nearly two thirds of music right revenues last year, it getting a much bigger cut of streaming money than songwriters and music publishers. [READ MORE]

Tidal announced a rejig of its subscription packages. The higher quality audio that was previously only available on its $20 package will now be available on its standard $10 package, with the company following Apple and Amazon’s lead in that domain. Those still on the $20 package will get access to super high quality audio, like Dolby Atmos. Plus of the monies put into the system by subscribers on the $20 tier, some will be used to pay bonuses to each subscriber’s favourite artists on top of any royalties due, while those royalties will be paid out on a user-centric basis. On top of all that, Tidal also announced a free version of its service in the US. [READ MORE]

Universal Music sued online investment platform Republic over its move into music. The Republic investment platform recently announced an alliance with music-centric fin-tech and NFTs platform Opulous, via which investors and fans can invest in new recordings by artists like Lil Pump, in return for perks and a share of future royalties. But Universal argues that by launching a music product, Republic is infringing the trademarks of one of its labels, Republic Records. The major says that it issued a cease and desist as soon as the investment firm announced its new music venture, but that – despite a little legal back and forth – the defendant continues to push its music investment products under the Republic name. [READ MORE]

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