CMU Digest

CMU Digest 28.10.19: Lizzo, Pledge, PPL, Spotify, Musicians’ Union

By | Published on Monday 28 October 2019


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

Lizzo sued former collaborators in a dispute over the ownership of her 2017 track ‘Truth Hurts’. The lawsuit followed an Instagram post by producers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen in which they alleged that a key lyric in that record was originally in another Lizzo song that they were involved in producing. The Raisens reckon that they are co-owners of the earlier track and should therefore be cut into the copyright of ‘Truth Hurts’ too. Lizzo argues that they had no tangible involvement in either works and therefore have no claim to her copyrights. She adds that this had all been previously agreed with the Raisens, but that they changed their minds after renewed interest in the song took it to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. [READ MORE]

The official receiver confirmed that artists owed money by PledgeMusic when it collapsed earlier this year are unlikely to ever get paid. The confirmation came in an update on the liquidation of the Pledge company. The receiver’s report also confirmed that monies pledged to artists via the fun-funding platform were never held in any kind of trust in order to protect the funds, and therefore could legally be spent on keeping the wider Pledge business afloat. The company failed, board members have told the receiver, because the commission it charged on those pledged funds was insufficient to pay for all the services it offered participating artists. [READ MORE]

Global record industry trade groups IFPI and WIN announced that UK collecting society PPL will lead on a new music rights data initiative called RDx. That initiative will seek to make it easier for artists and record labels to put information about their sound recordings into all the various databases run by record industry collecting societies around the world, seeking to ensure that said databases are updated quicker and agree on who needs to be paid when tracks are broadcast or performed in public. It’s one of a number of projects in the music industry to try to overcome inefficiencies in official music rights data – inefficiencies which can result in delayed and missed payments. [READ MORE]

Spotify confirmed that it is now allowing labels to pay to ensure their new albums are recommended to relevant subscribers. The streaming firm has pushed full-screen album recommendations to its users for a while, but previously these recommendations were always editorially driven. Labels will now be able to pay to push their new releases up the priority list for being recommended. Premium users will also see the sponsored recommendations, although they will be able to turn them off if they wish. This new advertising service from Spotify is currently being piloted in the US. [READ MORE]

The Musicians Union called on the UK government to ensure that any new measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace benefit freelancers as well as full-time employees, with most musicians working on a freelance basis. The union said that it welcomed government proposals to create a new preventative duty that will require employers to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. But it said that those proposals are insufficient because they don’t currently extend protections to freelancers. The MU also published stats from a survey of members on this issue, in which 61% of respondents said that they felt they were at greater risk of experiencing sexual harassment because of their freelance status. [READ MORE]