CMU Digest

CMU Digest 23.09.19: Live Nation, AXS, MLC, BMG, Harry Warren

By | Published on Monday 23 September 2019

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

Live Nation chief Michael Rapino denied his company had ever violated the consent decree it agreed with the US justice department around its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster. That consent decree, due to expire next July, has been back in the spotlight after various articles and discussions regarding allegations that Live Nation/Ticketmaster has acted in an anti-competitive way. Asked about it at a conference, Rapino said that many people misunderstood what the consent decree actually says. He insisted his company has always complied with those 2010 commitments, adding that there is plenty of competition in the US ticketing market. [READ MORE]

Live giant AEG bought its business partners out of the AXS ticketing business. AEG set up AXS after that Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger in 2010. It did so in partnership with a company called Outbox and later expanded by acquiring a firm called Veritix, hence why AXS had three co-owners. It’s thought that AEG will now seek to further grow the ticketing venture. It could face further competition from Ticketmaster next year once the aforementioned consent decree expires. [READ MORE]

The organisation setting up the new mechanical rights collecting society in the US set out a budget for its launch and first year operations. The so called MLC was instigated by last year’s Music Modernization Act and seeks to overcome issues with the way the mechanical rights in songs are licensed to streaming services in the US. Under the MMA, those streaming services will pay for the new society, hence why the MLC group needs to submit a budget to the Copyright Royalty Board for approval. It reckons it needs $37.25 million for launch and $29 million for year one costs. It remains to be seen how the streaming services respond. [READ MORE]

BMG announced a new international team specifically tasked with better representing UK acts in the US market. Dubbed a ‘strike force’, the new team will have bases in London, New York and LA. The music rights firm notes that UK acts are generally not performing as strongly on the streaming services in the US compared to traditional album sales. This, BMG argues, is because British artists need more focused on-the-ground support, which it says its new strike force will deliver. [READ MORE]

The company that controls the rights of late American songwriter Harry Warren launched its own lawsuit against Apple, over allegations that the iTunes Store contains lots of unlicensed recordings illegally uploaded by small independent labels. Some of those recordings are of songs written by Warren. The lawsuit, which also targets the allegedly infringing label Cleopatra and its distributor The Orchard, is similar to that previously filed by the estate of Harold Arlen. The Harry Warren company had already been added as a co-defendant on the Arlen litigation. [READ MORE]

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