CMU Digest

CMU Digest 24.08.20: COVID, Fortnite, StubHub, PRS, Apple Music

By | Published on Monday 24 August 2020


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

The music industry called on the UK government to extend its COVID support scheme for freelancers. While welcoming the news that indoor performances are now allowed again in England, industry reps pointed out that ongoing social distancing rules mean the live sector will not return to normal for some time yet. Meanwhile, the general COVID support schemes for employees and freelancers are now being phased out. Numerous companies and organisations from across the music and wider creative community urged the government to extend financial support for individuals in those sectors which are still basically in shutdown, saying a failure to do so “risks an exodus of talent and a sudden decline”. [READ MORE]

‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games ramped up its battle with Apple over the tech giant’s App Store policies. Having already sued Apple claiming those policies are anti-competitive, Epic went back to court in the US. This time it requested an injunction pausing the sanctions Apple has instigated after Epic deliberately broke the rules with its latest version of the ‘Fortnite’ iOS app, by adding payment options that circumvent Apple’s system. Without such an injunction, Epic said, the sanctions will damage its business while it fights its original lawsuit. Meanwhile, following the anti-Apple ad campaign Epic launched earlier this month, it encouraged Fortnite players to take part in an anti-Apple #FreeFortnite Cup. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority said that it was now satisfied that the StubHub website complied with consumer rights law. The CMA put StubHub on notice back in January saying that – despite it having previously voluntarily complied with the regulator’s consumer rights demands – the secondary ticketing platform was again breaking the law. However, StubHub has now dealt with the most recent list of issues raised by CMA officials. That list was published before the COVID shutdown and the resulting criticism of the resale sites regarding refunds for cancelled and postponed shows (albeit criticism more for Viagogo than StubHub). The regulator confirmed it was now also monitoring the COVID-related concerns. [READ MORE]

UK song rights collecting society PRS had its Annual General Meeting, with members voting through an overhaul of the organisation’s governance. Among other things, the society’s board will be streamlined and rebranded as a Members’ Council. There’ll also be a new Writer President and a “electoral college system for director appointments”. The society said that the changes were significant, and should result in “streamlined decision-making through refocused committee reporting structures to give greater time to focus on strategic issues”, and “better engagement for candidacy which will lead to improved diversity on the board”. [READ MORE]

Apple announced that it was rebranding the online radio station that sits alongside its streaming music platform as Apple Music 1. To date the radio station has employed the Beats brand, the result of Apple Music being in part built on the earlier Beats Music service that was set up by the headphones company prior to its acquisition by the tech giant. In addition to the rebrand, Apple also launched two new online stations, one focused on older music called Apple Music Hits, and another skewed towards country music called, well, Apple Music Country. [READ MORE]

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