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Let’s talk numbers! - WR #191
Weekly Roundups
December 8, 2023

Let’s talk numbers! - WR #191

A great deal of tech and their numbers surface this week, maintaining the end of the year at a high level of urgency. From data to human management, let’s see what this week had in store for us!

#1. A take on the EU’s soon to be passed AI Law

Robert Kyncl, CEO of Warner Music Group, has written an op-ed urging the EU to adopt an AI Act with transparency and record-keeping requirements. Kyncl emphasizes the need for more creativity and commerce through AI, all while respecting intellectual property rights.

If you haven’t followed too closely, the EU is working on the AI Act, the first real legal regulation on AI-generated content. And while the content is being finalized as we are writing this, there are already many reactions to it.

Kyncl pushes for artists and songwriters to have the choice to benefit from AI applications based on consent and compensation, encouraging the EU to set a global example for how successful AI companies should operate, fostering a stable licensing environment and avoiding costly litigation. The right regulatory framework can support innovation and the creative sector simultaneously, what a plan!

#2. Up to $157 Million in anticipated layoff-related expenses at Spotify

Spotify is expected to incur expenses of $140 million to €157 million for the recently announced layoffs, covering primarily severance-related payments and real estate asset impairment.

The layoffs, affecting approximately 17% of Spotify's workforce (about 1,500 employees), are part of the company's broader effort to enhance efficiency and profitability. The expenses will be effective mainly in the first and second quarters of 2024. The move comes amid Spotify's stock seeing a positive trajectory, closing at $199.32, up around 20% in the past month and 165% from early December 2022.

#3. HarbourView significantly increases its credit capacity

HarbourView Equity Partners, a company founded in 2021, has increased its senior secured credit facility by $100 million to $300 million, underwritten by Fifth Third Bank. HarbourView, led by former Tempo Music CEO Sherrese Clarke Soares, intends to use the additional financing to acquire music royalty assets and for general corporate purposes. The company, which has a catalog of over 26,000 songs, has been actively acquiring music rights from the likes of Kane Brown, Christine McVie, Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo, Blackbear, Wiz Khalifa, Nelly, Lady A, Brad Paisley, Luis Fonsi, Florida Georgia Line, Incubus and SoundHouse Acquisitions LLC.

#4. $6.9 million in seed funding for streaming platform Sona

Do you have your buzzwords bingo card? Web3 protocol Sona, founded by TOKiMONSTA, has launched its streaming platform in open beta. Sona uses decentralized finance (DeFi) building blocks to offer artists a new streaming experience with features such as rewards, auctions and more. The company has closed a $6.9 million funding round, led by Polychain Capital, Haun Ventures and Rogue Capital. The platform combines free music streaming with a marketplace where artists can auction off "digital twins" of songs, with the owner receiving 70% of the rewards based on total streams. Sona aims to empower artists by offering them a new source of revenue and fostering direct connections with fans.

#5. The exploitation and use of data at UMG

Naras Eechambadi, Chief Global Data & Analytics Officer (CDAO), spoke to MBW about consumer marketing efforts at Universal Music Group (UMG), as it plays a crucial role in leveraging data and analytics to enhance artistic and business opportunities for UMG's extensive artist roster. With his background in data analysis and his career, Eechambadi brings a wealth of experience to UMG.

At UMG, data is seen as an essential element in understanding the evolution of music tastes and improving the fan experience on artist sites and in stores. Eechambadi highlights two main types of behavioral data: data from UMG's partners, and behavioral data from individual websites and stores run by UMG for its artists, which offer a comprehensive view of fan engagement.

UMG uses the data to help artists build better relationships with their audiences, understand their markets and fans, and identify the potential value of emerging artists. Eechambadi emphasizes the strategic importance of data as an asset for UMG, contributing to operational efficiency and effectiveness in various areas of the business.

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