Business News CMU Digest

CMU Digest 30.10.22: Kanye West, CISAC, Night & Day, Apple Music, Pollen

By | Published on Sunday 30 October 2022

Kanye West

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

Music companies and brands began to cut ties with and distance themselves from Kanye West in response to his increasingly controversial statements. Talent agency CAA seemingly ended its relationship with the rapper, while rivals UTA and WME both criticised West’s anti-semitic remarks. Universal Music and Sony Music Publishing both confirmed they are no longer actively working with West, their most recent deals having expired and not been renewed in the last year – although they do still rep music released and published under those previous deals. Of the brand partners bailing on the rapper, the most significant was Adidas. His long-term relationship with the sportswear brand was already falling part before the recent controversies, and it confirmed this week it had “taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately”. [READ MORE]

New CISAC data confirmed that song right collecting societies worldwide saw collections increase by 7.2% in 2021. It followed a COVID-caused dip of 10.7% in 2020. The royalties paid to songwriters and music publishers from live music was actually down again last year as COVID restrictions continued to impact on gigs and shows, although monies from the public performance of recorded music started to recover. However, it was the continued growth of the streaming market – which wasn’t affected by COVID – that was behind much of the growth, with the digital income processed by the collecting societies up 27.5%. However, despite the increases, total collections in 2021 were still 5.1% down compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. [READ MORE]

Manchester venue Night & Day confirmed it is still fighting a Noise Abatement Notice served against it by Manchester City Council last year. The notice was issued based on complaints from one person who moved into a flat next to the venue during the pandemic and who formally complained about the noise once Night & Day started operating again post lockdown. It transpires that when planning permission was given for the redevelopment of the residential property where the complainant lives, the Council said that the developer must investigate and mitigate future noise issues, even though at that point the so called ‘agent of change’ principle – which says that measures of that kind must be taken – was not a requirement under planning guidelines in England. However, the developer did not fulfil those obligations and the Council didn’t enforce them. The dispute is now heading to court. Night & Day says that if it loses the legal battle it will be forced to close, depriving Manchester of a key venue, and a venue that helped kick-start the evolution of the city’s Northern Quarter into a cultural hub. [READ MORE]

Apple Music announced it was increasing its baseline subscription price in the US and UK to 10.99, dollars and pounds respectively. The baseline price for music streaming in the US and UK has been 9.99 ever since the first services launched in the late 2000s, meaning – once inflation is taken into account – the price has been going down each year. There have been some price increases in some markets, especially around things like the family plan, but the new Apple increases are much bolder than what has gone before. Because streaming is a revenue share business, many in the music industry have been calling for wider price increases for some time, and therefore welcomed Apple’s announcement. Spotify boss Daniel Ek said his company is also reviewing the baseline price in key markets like the US. [READ MORE]

An administrators report confirmed that events and ticketing company Pollen collapsed owing £78.6 million. The main Pollen company fell into administration in August after months of speculation about its financial position, and despite it announcing $150 million in new investment earlier in the year. Administrators confirmed that COVID cancellations pushed the firm to the brink. Attempts to find a buyer were not successful, although one party did offer $2.5 million for some of Pollen’s assets, including a subsidiary company. That was initially rejected with further efforts to sell the firm or its assets taking place once the company was in administration. However, there was only interest from the same buyer, which ultimately dropped its offer to $250,000. The £78.6 million in debts are mainly owed to financial backers, employees and service providers. [READ MORE]

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