CMU Digest

CMU Digest 23.12.19: Cox Communications, Discovery Networks, Live Nation, Tencent, Viagogo

By | Published on Monday 23 December 2019

Cox Communications

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

The music industry won a billion dollars in damages in its legal battle with US internet firm Cox Communications. Like BMG before them, the major labels successfully argued that Cox should be held liable for its users’ copyright infringement because it had a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers among its customer base. That meant, the court agreed, that the net firm loses safe harbour protection from such liability. The record labels and music publishers welcomed the jury ruling in their favour, but Cox said it would appeal the judgement, dubbing the damages it was ordered to pay “unjust and excessive”. [READ MORE]

The songwriting community hit out at plans by US TV company the Discovery Network to change the way it pays composers and songwriters who write music for its programmes. Discovery wants to get rid of the so called performance royalties due every time a programme airs, instead just paying a one-off upfront free. Songwriters in the US could sign up to such an arrangement, though in Europe industry conventions mean only the collecting societies can negotiate on performance royalties. Various songwriter groups on both sides of the Atlantic said Discovery’s proposed changes to the system would risk making the businesses of those music-makers who focus on TV soundtracks unviable. [READ MORE]

Live Nation reached a deal with the US Department Of Justice over the consent decree it signed up to when buying Ticketmaster in 2010. The consent decree – designed to allay competition law concerns about a combined Live Nation/Ticketmaster – was due to expire next year, but will now stay in place for at least another five years. Some elements of the agreement will also be clarified. There were rumours the DoJ might take Live Nation to court over allegations of anti-competitive conduct, but this deal seems to have stopped that from happening. [READ MORE]

It emerged that Tencent could actually buy up to 30% of the Universal Music Group. Sources speaking to Reuters revealed that the investment firms originally signed up to back the Chinese web giant’s purchase of 10% of Universal ultimately bailed on the deal. But Tencent has now secured the support of Singapore’s state investor GIC and, as a result, could buy a bigger slice of the Universal business off its current owner Vivendi. All sides hope any deal will be agreed sooner rather than later. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority confirmed it was investigating Viagogo’s bid to buy rival secondary ticketing company StubHub. Critics of online ticket touting have expressed concerns that a combined Viagogo/StubHub will have a virtual monopoly over for-profit ticket resale. Viagogo insists it also competes with primary ticket agents and face-value resale sites. The CMA has invited interested parties to submit their viewpoints by 10 Jan. [READ MORE]

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | |