CMU Digest

CMU Digest 24.06.19: Vivendi, Wixen, stream manipulation, Eventbrite, Genius

By | Published on Monday 24 June 2019


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

Vivendi chief Yannick Bollore confirmed that the plan to sell up to half of Universal Music was still on, but added he was in no rush to do a deal. The French entertainment conglomerate confirmed it was looking for a strategic partner to become a shareholder in UMG last year. In a new interview Bollore said Vivendi wanted a partner that could inject cash and help it capitalise on an already “thriving” music business so that it “can accelerate this growth in the coming years”. Formal talks with possible partners will begin this year though an actual deal is unlikely until 2020. [READ MORE]

Music publisher Wixen sued Pandora for allegedly displaying lyrics without permission. Streaming services that want to display lyrics need a separate licence for such things, in addition to any licences they have for streaming someone singing those words. Many services rely on aggregators like LyricFind for that, but Wixen says its lyrics are not covered by any aggregator licence, and yet they still appear within the Pandora app. [READ MORE]

Various streaming services, record labels, music publishers and trade groups signed up to a code of conduct regarding “stream manipulation”. The music company signatories said they’d communicate to staff and suppliers that they have a zero tolerance attitude to people boosting the streams on any one track by setting up machines listening to that music 24/7. Both industry and the digital firms will also monitor for and crackdown on such activity. Although seeking to skew the stats through dubious means isn’t new in the music industry, in the streaming age such scams can actually divert royalties from real artists and writers to the scammers. [READ MORE]

A group of Eventbrite investors filed legal papers in relation to their litigation over the ticketing firm’s messaging around its IPO. It’s alleged Eventbrite failed to declare ahead of its flotation that integrating 2017 purchase Ticketfly with its main business was proving challenging. When it did admit that six months later, its share price fell. The Eventbrite Investor Group sought court approval for its legal reps to lead the case, and asked that any other litigation on this issue be merged with its own. [READ MORE]

Lyrics platform Genius accused Google of lifting lyrics from its website for the search engine’s information boxes. The web giant said that it licensed the lyrics in said info boxes from various music industry partners including LyricFind, and didn’t just scrape the net for lyrical content. But Genius said that it had placed certain combinations of straight and curly apostrophes in some of its lyrics and those same combinations appeared in lyrics on the Google site. The dispute throws up interesting questions because neither Genius, Google nor LyricFind actually own the copyright in the lyrics they are respectively aggregating and displaying. [READ MORE]

The big deals from the last seven days in the music business…
• Universal Music Latin Entertainment signed Ecko [INFO]
• Cooking Vinyl signed Rumer [INFO]
• BMG signed The Shires [INFO]

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