CMU Digest

CMU Digest 02.12.19: Tencent, Viagogo, TRNSMT, MLC, Jay-Z

By | Published on Monday 2 December 2019


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

Pan-European indie label trade group IMPALA confirmed it was planning to oppose Vivendi’s deal to sell 10% of Universal Music to Tencent. It said that allying the Chinese tech giant with the world’s biggest music rights company would “change the whole music ecosystem and smaller companies will be the first to lose out”. IMPALA pointed to Tencent’s dominance in the increasingly important Chinese market as well as its alliance with Spotify and interests in the digital music sector elsewhere in the world. [READ MORE]

Viagogo announced a $4 billion deal to buy secondary ticketing rival StubHub. The transaction will give Viagogo a significant stake in the US market where criticism of online ticket touting has not been as prolific as in Europe and Australia. In the UK, a combined Viagogo/StubHub will have a near monopoly when it comes to for-profit online touting. Critics urged regulators to investigate the deal, expressing concern that the site that voluntarily complied with the demands of UK regulator the Competition & Markets Authority will now be owned by the one that resisted until obliged to comply by the courts. [READ MORE]

The organiser of Glasgow’s TRNSMT festival was criticised about his comments regarding efforts to book more gender balanced festival line-ups. With only two female artists among the thirteen acts already confirmed for TRNSMT 2020, Geoff Ellis of Live Nation subsidiary DF Concerts said “it will be a while until there’s a 50/50 balance … because there’s far, far less female artists. We need to get more females picking up guitars, forming bands, playing in bands”. KT Tunstall and Nadine Shah were among those to call out Ellis over the remarks, pointing to major festivals like Glastonbury and Primavera that have already managed to ensure much more gender diversity across their respective line-ups. [READ MORE]

America’s all-new mechanical rights collecting society the MLC announced its initial appointments and partners. Initiated by last year’s Music Modernization Act, the MLC seeks to address the issues with how mechanical royalties are paid by streaming services to songwriters and publishers in the US. Though one appointment in particular proved controversial: the Harry Fox Agency. Activist artist David Lowery said that it was HFA’s poor performance in identifying songs and songwriters that resulted in the likes of Spotify failing to pay all the royalties due and getting sued. Therefore, he asked, why is the MLC now outsourcing that work to the company who failed first time round? [READ MORE]

Jay-Z sued an Australian company that makes hip-hop themed books and t-shirts for kids. The rapper claims that The Little Homie is exploiting his intellectual property without permission by selling books like ‘AB To Jay-Z’. His lawyers accuse the small Australian firm, that began via a Kickstarter campaign, of setting out to “injure the reputation and goodwill” of their client. The lawsuit in the Australian courts could test what IP laws actually say about people referencing artists and their key songs and lyrics in books not officially sanctioned by said acts. [READ MORE]

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | | | |