Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 27.11.22: Ticketmaster, Adidas, UK Music, Deutsche Grammophon, clubbing culture impact

By | Published on Sunday 27 November 2022

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

The US Senate announced a new hearing on the ticketing business following all the problems that occurred with the sale of tickets to Taylor Swift’s 2023 tour. Live Nation’s Ticketmaster apologised after its Verified Fans system struggled to cope with the demand for tickets to Swift’s US dates next year, resulting in various issues for her fanbase. The debacle put the spotlight back on the various criticisms that have been made about Ticketmaster over the years, including the fact it is part of the wider Live Nation group. The 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster remains controversial even now, of course. US Senator Amy Klobuchar – who has been critical of the ticketing business and Ticketmaster’s role in it before – announced that the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee On Competition Policy, Antitrust And Consumer Rights, which she chairs, will stage a hearing to “examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry”. [READ MORE]

Adidas announced it was launching an investigation into allegations made against Kanye West by former employees of its Yeezy joint venture with the rapper. The sportswear brand has already cancelled its partnership with West following all of his recent controversial statements and interviews. However, a number of former employees have now sent a letter to bosses at the company claiming that those who worked on the Yeezy JV had to deal with “years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades and bullying attacks” from West, and that Adidas management had always turned a blind eye to their superstar business partner’s bad behaviour. A Rolling Stone report said that bad behaviour included playing porn in staff meetings, exploding at female employees with offensive remarks, and using sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback. Adidas said in a statement: “We take these allegations very seriously and have taken the decision to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations”. [READ MORE]

UK Music published its latest report on diversity in the British music industry. According to the cross-sector trade group’s study, 52.9% of the industry’s current workforce identify as female, which is up from 49.6% in 2020. The number of women in mid-level and senior roles has also risen. However, “it is still the case that more young women are accessing the industry at an early stage but start to leave the industry in their mid-40s”, in part because of the specific challenges faced by parents and carers in the music industry, which tend to impact more on women than men. The study also showed that the number of people working in UK music who identify as black, Asian or another ethnic minority group is down slightly across the board – with a more significant decline at entry level. UK Music said this was possibly because employees from black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities were disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19. The trade body also published a new action plan to accelerate existing efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in the music business. [READ MORE]

Universal Music’s classical label Deutsche Grammophon launched its own online subscription service called Stage+. The new digital platform offers “exclusive live premieres; long-form concert and opera programmes; music videos; documentaries and behind-the-scenes interviews; new audio releases, as well as albums from the legendary Deutsche Grammophon and Decca catalogues”. Mainstream streaming services have never really provided a compelling experience for classical music fans, though Apple has been developing a bespoke app for the genre. That said, Universal insisted it wasn’t going into competition with the more mainstream platforms, stating that Stage+ has been designed to complement “the breadth of our repertoire presented on our partners’ services”. [READ MORE]

A new report outlined the positive impact of electronic music and the UK clubbing sector beyond its economic value. Commissioned by the Night Time Industries Association and the Association For Electronic Music, the new study reviewed two decades of academic research into dance music and nightlife culture. It said that, while night-time businesses make a significant contribution to the UK economy, the wider impact of the electronic music and clubbing community should also be considered, including: how it brings people together and facilitates ‘social bonding’; it’s role in individual well-being and ‘personal transformation’; and the influence it exerts on fashion and the arts at large. The NTIA and AFEM added: “The pandemic has shown that the government does not recognise the importance of the sector, and has limited knowledge of its value, particularly its value outside of simple economics, but electronic music and club culture in the UK also has community and cultural importance as this new report shows”. [READ MORE]

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