Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 24.07.22: Epidemic Sound, SoundCloud, EU performer ER, UK music exports, Brexit report

By | Published on Sunday 24 July 2022

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

Epidemic Sound sued Meta over allegations of copyright infringement. In its lawsuit, the production music firm raised a number of grievances in relation to the Facebook and Instagram platforms. It said that it had not been granted full access to Meta’s Rights Manager system to manage the use of its music in videos uploaded to the social media apps. But more than that, it said that unlicensed music from the Epidemic Sound catalogue has appeared in Meta’s own audio clips library, and that tools created by Meta like Original Audio and Reels Remix are encouraging and enabling users to make use of Epidemic Sound tracks uploaded to Facebook or Instagram without licence. The lawsuit asks for confirmation of Meta’s infringement, an injunction stopping said infringement, and lots of damages. [READ MORE]

Warner Music announced it was joining SoundCloud’s user-centric royalty distribution initiative. SoundCloud launched what it calls Fan-Powered Royalties last year, but only in relation to tracks directly uploaded to the platform by independent creators. It means that, when it comes to those creators’ content, SoundCloud allocates each individual subscriber’s subscription money to the specific tracks that subscriber has played, rather than doing revenue allocation on a service-wide basis where all the money and usage data is pooled. Some people argue that such a user-centric approach to royalty distribution is fairer and results in more niche artists earning more. To date the record labels and music distributors that also provide music to SoundCloud have not been part of the Fan-Powered Royalties scheme, but now Warner Music will be. [READ MORE]

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said that implementation of the 2019 European Copyright Directive can include the creation of a new ER right for performers. Some EU member states are still implementing the directive, which includes an article that says artists should receive “appropriate and proportionate remuneration” when their music is exploited. Both Germany and Belgium have chosen to comply with that article by introducing new statutory remuneration rights for performers, meaning artists will get some digital royalties directly via the collective licensing system oblivious of any deals with the labels that control their recordings. Some argue that proposals to include a new digital ER right in the directive itself were rejected, therefore such rights shouldn’t be introduced at a national level at this stage. But Breton said that countries could choose to ensure “appropriate and proportionate remuneration” via a new ER right if they so wished, providing the new right complied with other EU law. [READ MORE]

It was confirmed that UK recorded music exports grew by 13.7% in 2021 to £590.8 million. That’s the highest export revenues for British record labels and recording artists since record industry trade group BPI started measuring such things back in 2000. The growth in export revenues is very much driven by the global streaming boom and resulting revenue surge for recorded music worldwide. Despite that positive trend, the BPI said that UK music is now facing increased competition in the global market-place, and therefore the UK government should provide more support to the music industry to help ensure that those export revenues continue to grow in line with growth in the wider worldwide recorded music market. [READ MORE]

The All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music in the UK Parliament published a new report on the impact of Brexit on the music industry. It confirms that, with no pan-European provision for visa-free touring in the post-Brexit UK/EU trade deal, artists and their teams are now facing a number of challenges when playing shows in the EU. The report also summarises – and confirms cross-party support for – various measures that the music community has called for since Brexit, including that the UK government should work with the EU and individual European governments to remove all the post-Brexit paperwork artists are now having to deal with, plus ministers should provide more support for artists touring Europe, including an information portal and export office. [READ MORE]

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