CMU Digest

CMU Digest 23.11.20: UK Music, Apple, Triller, Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster

By | Published on Monday 23 November 2020

UK Music

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

UK Music revealed that the economic impact of the British music industry in 2019 was £5.8 billion, up 11% from 2018. That’s based on the cross-sector trade group’s annual review of the ‘gross value added’ to the UK economy by the various different strands of the wider music business in the UK. The sector’s contribution to British tourism was also up, to £4.7 billion, while its impact on UK exports was up to £2.9 billion. All of that, of course, was pre-COVID. UK Music said that the industry faced a “marathon effort” to get back to 2019 levels following the pandemic, and that these figures demonstrated why government should continue to support that effort. [READ MORE]

Spotify and Epic Games criticised Apple’s announcement that it was cutting its commission on in-app purchases for small businesses. The new scheme means that app makers who generate less than $1 million a year through their iOS apps will pay a 15% rather than 30% commission to Apple. Spotify and ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic accuse Apple of breaching competition law by banning app makers from offering alternative payment options within their iOS apps – or even signposting alternative payment options elsewhere on the internet – meaning it’s impossible to circumvent Apple’s commission. The two companies argued Apple’s discount for small businesses was a distraction tactic and an attempt to divide the app maker community. [READ MORE]

Music publisher Wixen sued video-sharing app Triller for copyright infringement. It said that songs it controls are being streamed on the Triller platform without licence. Triller does have deals with music companies, but is not fully licensed – especially on the songs side – something that has been increasingly criticised as the app has gained considerable momentum this year. Although getting all song rights licensed is notoriously difficult, in its lawsuit Wixen pointed out the mega-bucks deals Triller has been doing to headhunt social influencers from TikTok, and suggested it should instead be focusing on legitimising all the music on its platform. [READ MORE]

Taylor Swift confirmed that the master rights in her early albums had been sold again, this time to private equity outfit Shamrock Holdings. Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired those rights when it bought the Big Machine record label last year. He sold them to Shamrock for a reported $300 million. Swift has long been critical of Braun’s acquisition of Big Machine, and was equally critical of the way he sold on the rights in her albums to Shamrock. And, she said, while she’s pleased Braun no longer owns those rights, he is still set to share in any monies they generate, which means she won’t be forming any relationship with Shamrock and will instead continue with her plan to put out new versions of those records. [READ MORE]

Ticketmaster was fined £1.25 million by the UK’s Information Commissioner over a 2018 data hack. The Live Nation ticketing company confirmed there had been a major security breach on its website in June 2018, blaming it on third party software from tech company Inbenta Technologies. After investigating, the regulator said the hack occurred because Ticketmaster failed to put appropriate security measures in place, potentially exposing the credit card details of millions of customers. The hack resulted in 60,000 payment cards belonging to Barclays Bank customers being subject to “known fraud”, it added. Ticketmaster plans to appeal the fine. [READ MORE]

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