Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 26.03.23: IFPI, CMM, TikTok, Hybe, BBC Singers

By | Published on Sunday 26 March 2023

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

The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry published its annual Global Music Report. According to the trade organisation’s number crunching, the recorded music sector saw its worldwide revenues grow 9% last year to $26.2 billion. That growth continues to be powered by premium streaming, revenues from which were up 10.3% to $12.7 billion. Premium streaming services now generate 48.3% of the sector’s total revenues, with ad-funded streaming platforms bringing in 18.7%, physical sales 17.5%, broadcast and public performance 9.4%, downloads 3.6% and sync 2.4%. China saw another surge in revenues in 2022 pushing it into the top five recorded music markets for the first time behind the US, Japan, UK and Germany. France is now in sixth place. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Council Of Music Makers set out its five key priorities as part of the ongoing economics of streaming debate. The CMM brings together organisations representing artists, musicians, songwriters, producers and managers. It said that while some progress has been made to address some of the issues with the current streaming business model – including via various projects instigated by the UK government following Parliament’s Economics Of Music Streaming inquiry – much more work still needs to be done. The key priorities include a minimum digital royalty rate for all featured artists, a better deal for session musicians, a right for music-makers to renegotiate outdated old contracts, more transparency on how digital royalties are calculated and paid, and better data management across the industry to address issues with songwriter payments. [READ MORE]

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by Congress members in the US. The grilling came as concerns continue to grow in political circles that the Chinese government has access to TikTok user-data via the app’s China-based owner Bytedance. An increasing number of governments have banned the use of TikTok by their employees on official devices and an outright ban covering everybody is being considered again in the US. TikTok continues to insist that the Chinese government has no such access, a point Chew stressed multiple times when facing the questions of the House Committee On Energy And Commerce. He also argued that existing and in-development data security and content moderation measures at TikTok should allay all the various concerns raised by politicians – earlier in the week the company had updated its Community Guidelines that set out how it deals with such things. However, committee members seemed far from reassured. [READ MORE]

K-pop powerhouse Hybe confirmed it will sell its shares in rival SM Entertainment to South Korean internet firm Kakao. The announcement brings to an end the short-lived battle for control of the SM business. That began as a dispute between the SM management team and the company’s founder Lee Soo-man. The former wanted to forge an alliance with Kakoa, in part by issuing new shares and selling them to the internet firm. Lee opposed that proposal, blocked the issuing of new shares through the courts and supported an alliance between SM and Hybe instead. He sold most of his own SM shares to Hybe, which then confirmed it was up for acquiring more SM stock until it had a 40% controlling stake. But Kakao then announced its own bid to buy existing SM shares until it had a 40% stake, offering a higher purchase price than Hybe. The latter then bailed on its SM ambitions, deciding last week to sell the SM shares it had acquired along the way to Kakoa as part of its share-buying plan. [READ MORE]

The BBC paused plans to close down its in-house choir the BBC Singers. Those plans are part of a revamp of the BBC’s classical music output, which will also see the number of salaried positions in the broadcaster’s English orchestras reduced. Although partly about saving money, the revamp also seeks to divert some budget to new initiatives and programmes within the classical genre. Nevertheless, the cutbacks have proven very controversial in the classical music community, with a plethora of professional and amateur musicians and composers speaking out against the proposals, and the likes of the Musicians’ Union and Independent Society Of Musicians launching campaigns to oppose them. The BBC said this week that it had recently received “approaches from a number of organisations offering alternative funding models for the BBC Singers”. With that in mind, “we have agreed with the Musicians’ Union that we will suspend the proposal to close the BBC Singers while we actively explore these options”. [READ MORE]

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