CMU Digest

CMU Digest 25.11.19: Taylor Swift, AM-FM Act, Apple Music, Coldplay, UK Music

By | Published on Monday 25 November 2019

Taylor Swift

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

The dispute between Taylor Swift and Big Machine continued, although her hits medley at the American Music Awards went ahead. Swift had alleged that her former label was threatening to veto the performance unless she committed to not re-record her old albums as soon as her record contract allows. Scooter Braun, whose acquisition of Big Machine kicked off the label’s public beefing with Swift earlier this year, finally commented on the dispute. He said he was certain a settlement could be reached if both sides effectively communicated. But more than anything he urged Swift not to pursue the beef through social media arguing that doing so puts the staff at his companies, including Big Machine, at risk. [READ MORE]

New legislation was unveiled in US Congress that aims to force American AM and FM radio stations to pay royalties to artists and labels. Under current US copyright law terrestrial radio stations have to pay royalties to songwriters and publishers, but not artists and labels. The proposed new legislation – called the Ask Musicians For Music Act or the AM-FM Act – is in many ways a rework of the previous Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which failed to work its way through the law-making process due to tough opposition from the radio sector. The trade body for American broadcasters confirmed they’d fight these new proposals just as fiercly. [READ MORE]

Apple Music unveiled is B2B streaming product which allows companies to stream music via the tech giant’s music platform on commercial premises. Spotify is already active in the B2B streaming domain via its stake in Soundtrack Your Brand while, in the US, Pandora and Sirius both also offer commercial licences. Apple was expected to follow its competitors’ lead after it registered the trademark Apple Music For Business last year. The business-focused service is being delivered via a partnership with Playnetwork, which already provides music services to retail and corporate clients. [READ MORE]

Coldplay confirmed that they would not play any shows around the release of their latest album because of concerns about the environmental impact of touring. Chris Martin told the BBC: “We’re taking time to work out, how can not only our tour be sustainable, but how can it be actively beneficial [to the environment]”. Martin added that flying his band and crew around the globe is one of the most damaging aspects of a world tour. Few artists can afford to stop playing live even in the short term, but if acts like Coldplay can find ways to make touring more environmentally sustainable, then that would ultimately benefit everyone. [READ MORE]

UK Music published its latest round of stats estimating the value of the music industry to the British economy. The top line figure increased from £4.5 billion to £5.2 billion, partly because of rising revenues, but also because UK Music widened the definition of the music industry. Newly included in the stats were studios, music lawyers and accountants, and music retail, including instrument makers and sellers. The aim of the report is to demonstrate the value of the industry to the political community when lobbying for changes to the law that benefit the music community. [READ MORE]