CMU Digest

CMU Digest 23.08.21: Secondary ticketing, streaming black boxes, Audiam, Tencent, repeat infringers

By | Published on Sunday 22 August 2021

Competition And Markets Authority

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

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority proposed new laws to ramp up the regulation of secondary ticketing. It said that various rules introduced by the UK Parliament over the last decade regarding the resale of tickets online – and efforts by the CMA and National Trading Standards to enforce those rules – have addressed many of the previous issues with the secondary ticketing market. However, concerns remain and, it added, addressing those concerns requires new laws and a scheme for licensing resale platforms. For their part, secondary ticketing companies Viagogo and StubHub focused on the CMA’s statement that an out-right ban of ticket touting – which has been pursued in some other countries – wouldn’t be desirable. [READ MORE]

The Ivors Academy estimated that at least half a billion pounds of streaming royalties each year are affected by bad data, meaning that money often doesn’t reach the songwriters whose songs have been streamed. When record labels and music distributors provide tracks to streaming services they provide lots of data relating to the recording, but they don’t specifically identify the accompanying song or the owners of the song copyright. Which means each month music publishers and collecting societies get recordings data from the services and must identify what songs have been streamed and who owns those songs. Where songs aren’t successfully matched or rights-owners identified, royalties end up in a black box, often distributed across the industry based on market share. Ivors wants a new industry workflow to be developed that ensures the right songwriters are always paid. [READ MORE]

US collecting society SESAC announced it had bought mechanical rights agency Audiam from its Canadian counterpart SOCAN. But Audiam’s founder – who left the company last year – criticised the deal, alleging that SESAC was motivated to buy the business he created in order to protect the rival mechanical rights company it already owns, the Harry Fox Agency. Jeff Price said that Audiam had “revealed HFA’s incorrect payment amounts, underpayments and/or complete lack of payments to songwriters and music publishers globally”, and that by acquiring the company “HFA neutralises the sole entity that exposes its own actions”. [READ MORE]

Tencent Music Entertainment admitted that a recent ruling by the Chinese competition regulator will have an impact on its business. China’s State Administration Of Market Regulation recently ordered that the country’s biggest player in digital music end all the exclusivity deals it has enjoyed over the years with various domestic and international rights-holders. However, the company told investors that it was still optimistic about the future, with current priorities including the creation of more bespoke content, the staging of online and real world concerts, and the further evolution of its particularly lucrative social entertainment services. [READ MORE]

It emerged that a consortium of independent movie producers is now suing three US internet companies over their repeat infringer policies. They are basically following the lead of the major record companies in seeking to hold ISPs liable for the copyright infringement of their users, on the basis those companies do not qualify for safe harbour protection from such liability because of their shoddy systems for dealing with repeat infringers. The film firms are now suing WOW, RCN and Grande Communications. As well as seeking damages, they also call on the courts to force each ISP to introduce a three-strikes system for dealing with infringers among its customer base and to start blocking its users from accessing piracy websites. [READ MORE]

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