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Music industry adapting to digital environment - WR #47
Weekly Roundups
December 11, 2020

Music industry adapting to digital environment - WR #47

Hey all! We have seen many interesting deals happening this week, and this could be great signs to keep in mind for the next few months in the music industry… Musicians, artists, songwriters have to adapt to a new fully digital context, which means many new streams of revenues to find! Let’s dive in.

#1. TikTok news

It feels like it will never end. TikTok has now been exempted from a threat of a ban from the US by another judge. About the action, the judge added that the government “acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner by failing to consider obvious alternatives.”. So there’s that. And now, we wait.

By the way, I explained why I talk about TikTok all the time in this article this week! Anything to add on how music and Social Media have to start a dialog, soon? Or maybe you already started building operations yourself?

#2. A series of selling publishing catalogs

You might have seen many announcements on sold catalogs, and we’re talking about major artists’ catalogs! Hard to miss, there was Bob Dylan’s songwriting catalog, sold to Universal Music Publishing Group (for something around $300 million). A bit of a surprising move from the artist who always grudgingly marketed his tracks. For UMGP, this is a big deal, they even described it as “the most significant music publishing agreement this century and one of the most important of all time”.

But he wasn’t the only one. Stevie Nicks (from Fleetwood Mac) sold a majority stake in her publishing catalog to Primary Wave. The songwriter will have access to sync and licensing services of the company in digital strategies development. We can also mention David Crosby, who is looking to sell his publishing rights, who is being a bit more honest about the move: they can’t tour anymore, and need to find a new stream of revenue. There are even rumors on Dolly Parton selling her own songwriting catalog.

So why this series of catalog sales? Well, many uncertainties in how and when live shows will come back, added to the consistency royalties are promising right now led the music industry to follow closely on identification of the most valuable songs (thanks to data, we talked a bit about it here). A few medias went into details here and here.

#3. Settlements in licensing

Speaking of, a pretty long feud in the US just ended with a settlement. The PMR (Pro Music Rights), a music public performance rights organization, just accepted a settlement offer from 2 major public companies in the US. There are now talks to buy shares in PMR and manage a partnership in the future. The company has been in disputes with several other actors, and even declared suing the “whole music industry” to unveil an alleged cartel of music rights. You can find out a bit more details on these cases and a quick recap here.

#4. Nintendo going after copyrights

Seems like it’s not only record labels going after unlicensed music online. Nintendo has been going through YouTube channels to spot copyright infringement cases, blocking videos using their soundtracks one by one. The method might be a bit tedious, but the company is now taking charge of their music rights. However, Nintendo has not delivered these tracks in any legal way, so they might be missing out on some revenues… Could this is a cleanup to start fresh?

#5. Social Media & Music

Finally, let’s wrap up on our week’s topic. We’ve talked about using data to optimize the music business, user-generated content and all in all, the potential positive impact of the Social Media and Music industries coming together. The trend is worth noticing (and following), as of today, Social Media contributed up to $8,5 billion in revenue for the music industry. And considering the main partnerships being made by the gaming industry with our music industry, it could grow even larger. So let’s keep it in mind!

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