CMU Digest

CMU Digest 30.11.20: COVID, culture select committee, TikTok, Instagram, 0207 Def Jam

By | Published on Monday 30 November 2020


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

The live music and night-time sectors criticised the new COVID measures due to go into effect in England this week. Venues hit out at a new rule that says that, in those areas classified as tier two from Wednesday, alcoholic drinks can only be sold with meals – which means that, although socially distanced gigs can theoretically be staged in those regions, no alcohol can be sold, making it even harder to stage such shows in an economically viable way. Meanwhile reps for the wider night-time industries said the new rules “show a complete lack of consideration and understanding of our sector” and “will have a catastrophic impact on thousands of businesses and jobs across the sector by the end of the year”. [READ MORE]

The UK Parliament’s culture select committee held the first oral hearing as part of its inquiry into the economics of streaming. MPs heard from artists who said that the current streaming business model simply didn’t work for many music-makers. Most attention fell on how the 55% of streaming income paid to the record industry is shared out between labels and performers, with traditional record deals that pay a minority share to artists being heavily criticised. The committee was told that a simple solution to ensure that artists receive a bigger cut of the money would be to apply performer equitable remuneration – currently paid on broadcast and public performance revenues – to streams. [READ MORE]

TikTok announced that it had agreed a licensing deal with song rights organisation ICE. The deal brought to an end a legal dispute between the video-sharing app and the copyright hub owned by collecting societies STIM, GEMA and PRS. TikTok threatened to take that dispute to the UK copyright tribunal, a court that can intervene where licensees cannot agree terms with a collecting society. Because the so called ICE Cube licence only includes part of the PRS repertoire, it’s not even clear if the tribunal could have intervened, but now a deal has been done it won’t have to. [READ MORE]

Facebook hit back in its legal battle with the US TV channel Reelz, which has sued over the social media giant’s decision to call the music syncing feature in its Instagram app Reels. The TV company says Facebook’s use of the Reels brand for a video-based service will confuse consumers. In its response Facebook said no one would confuse its cool interactive music syncing feature with a cable TV channel that broadcasts tabloid-style celebrity and true crime TV programmes, adding that its own consumer survey had confirmed there was no confusion. [READ MORE]

Universal Music announced the launch of a new UK division using the Def Jam brand. New label 0207 Def Jam will be led by Alec and Alex Boateng, the latter already working at Universal, the former joining from Warner. It will sign its own roster of artists as well as representing music-makers signed to Def Jam elsewhere in the world within the UK market. Universal UK CEO David Joseph said that “bringing the Boateng brothers together at 0207 Def Jam is an important moment in British culture”. [READ MORE]

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