CMU Digest 11.11.19: Spinal Tap, TuneIn, CISAC, Children In Need, MCD

This Is Spinal Tap

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

Universal Music settled its legal dispute with the creators of ‘This Is Spinal Tap’. Harry Shearer et al originally sued Universal parent company Vivendi, which owns the cult movie via its StudioCanal division, but then added Universal as a separate defendant as it owns the soundtrack. The legal action accused the Vivendi companies of misreporting income to reduce royalty payments to the four creators, and also included a termination right element. Universal has now fully settled its side of the dispute, though the litigation against Vivendi and StudioCanal continues. [READ MORE]

The UK high court ruled that radio app TuneIn was infringing the copyrights of Sony Music and Warner Music. The court said that while TuneIn didn’t need a separate music licence when it delivered PPL-licensed UK radio stations to British users of its app, it did when it delivered international stations, even if said stations were licensed in their home country. Although TuneIn played down the significance of the ruling, it arguably sets new precedents regarding apps that aggregate third party streams, and the global distribution online of radio stations licensed only in their home countries. [READ MORE]

Global collecting society grouping CISAC confirmed that digital is fuelling growth in the songs business. However digital royalties are still only a fifth of the monies collected by song right collecting societies worldwide (though not all digital income actually passes through said societies – some goes direct to the publishers). Broadcast income dipped slightly last year, but is still the biggest society-administrated revenue stream overall. Europe still accounts for more than half of collections, though some emerging markets are becoming increasingly important, especially in Asia. [READ MORE]

The BBC criticised a decision by the UK’s Official Charts Company to classify its Children In Need album as a compilation. The collection of celebrity cover versions was originally included in stats for the main albums chart, which it would have topped by the end of the week. However the OCC then decided that, having seen the record, it didn’t qualify for the main chart. The Beeb said that it worried that its record being listed in the separate compilations chart wouldn’t deliver the same kind of promo, possibly resulting in lost sales. [READ MORE]

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority said it was provisionally approving Live Nation’s acquisition of MCD. The live giant is acquiring the Irish concert promoter via its JV with Gaiety, the current owner of MCD. The competition regulator had previously said that it worried the deal could negatively impact on competition in the Northern Irish live sector, mainly because Live Nation also owns Ticketmaster. But after future investigation the CMA decided it no longer had those concerns. A final decision will be made by January. [READ MORE]

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