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The metamorphosis of the music industry happening every day - WR #164
Weekly Roundups
June 2, 2023

The metamorphosis of the music industry happening every day - WR #164

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the latest news in the music industry! In this edition, we will explore the latest hot news in the music industry, including a significant catalog acquisition, the ongoing battle between the Majors and TikTok and even the innovative Artist-Centric Model introduced by Tidal. Get ready for an exciting journey where music, technology, legal disputes, and industry advancements intertwine. Let's dive in and stay up-to-date with the latest news!

#1. Over $1 Billion for Queen's Catalog?

How much can a Major spend on a catalog? It almost seems that resources are not an issue when it comes to artists of global importance. So much so that Universal Music Group is reportedly in advanced discussions to acquire Queen’s catalog for over $1 billion.

Talks between Universal Music Group and Disney Music Group are said to be going well and are expected to be finalized within a month. However, both Universal Music and Disney Music have not yet commented on the reported sale. But there are all the preconditions for UMG to conclude the agreement, considering the significant investments it has already made, including offers for Dr. Dre’s catalog, Neil Diamond’s work and Sting’s catalog.

#2. Music Industry Heavyweights Criticism against TikTok

Recently we talked about how TikTok is increasingly infiltrating the music business. Far from being just a social platform for "dances" and viral challenges, the Chinese giant is acting partially as a full-fledged music label. Consequently, major players in the music industry, such as Rob Stringer, Chairman of Sony Music Group, Michael Nash, EVP and Chief Digital Officer of Universal Music Group, and Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO & Chairman of Universal Music Group, were quick to criticize TikTok. The three industry leaders expressed concerns because TikTok appears to not properly compensate music rights holders, thereby impacting the music business.

From the other side, Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music Business Development at ByteDance, holds an entirely different opinion. He argues that TikTok can create new revenue streams for music rights holders through synchronized licensing for ads and real-time e-commerce. Obermann also emphasizes TikTok's potential to promote songs and remains confident that the platform can thrive even if it is forced to remove certain catalogs.

Nevertheless, tensions persist between ByteDance and major music companies, suggesting that there may be something inequitable in the situation regarding music rights holders’ compensation.

#3. Tidal's Artist Home: Empowering Musicians

The critical issue of streaming fees has sparked extensive discussions and raised concerns about its impact. Amidst this climate of instability, The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) has issued a warning: without concerted efforts to ensure fairness for creators in the streaming landscape and beyond, we risk “losing the potential next Paul McCartney”.

In response to this challenge, Tidal, under the leadership of CEO Jesse Dorogusker, is determined to address the undervaluation and underpricing of music. Collaborating with Universal Music Group (UMG), Tidal is actively exploring artist-centric economic models that support musicians across genres and labels. Extensive research is being conducted to gain insights into fan behavior and strengthen artist connections, fostering more meaningful interactions. Tidal's vision is to transform into an artist platform that aligns with the needs and interests of musicians, creating a comprehensive and equitable system that benefits both artists and fans.

To actualize this vision, Tidal has launched Artist Home—a hub that empowers artists with greater control over their careers. Through Artist Home, artists can manage their Tidal profiles, customize content, and access valuable resources. Additionally, they have the flexibility to update their social media links and expand their accounts to include team members such as managers and publicists, enabling collaborative profile management. Tidal's overarching goal is to empower emerging artists worldwide and shape a future where streaming is just one avenue of support for musicians.

#4. MCPS Achieves Record-Breaking $232M Mechanical Distribution

The Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) reported a significant increase in member distributions, totaling £188.4 ($232M) in 2022. MCPS, representing 34,000 publishers, songwriters, and composers, collects mechanical royalties for various uses of music, including physical copies, streaming, synchronization, and radio play.

After a period of decline, MCPS has experienced four consecutive years of growth by implementing innovative strategies and streamlining business practices. This rise in revenue can be attributed to the popularity of streaming services, international distributions, and increased consumer demand for physical products, particularly vinyl. In addition, MCPS remains committed to maximizing returns for its members and plans to continue increasing distributions while celebrating its centenary in 2024.

#5. Cyanite Expands AI Solutions in Music Industry

The growing interest in the utilization of AI in music creation is evident, as companies continue to explore its potential in various aspects of music production and consumption. Among these, Cyanite, a music tech startup that has recently made an acquisition that will bolster its AI-powered solutions in the music industry. 

Cyanite has thus acquired Aptone, an AI-based sample management platform, with the aim of enhancing the accuracy of its music analysis and tagging capabilities. Although the financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, this strategic move reinforces Cyanite's commitment to creating a universal music intelligence that can comprehend, categorize, and offer recommendations for music on a global scale.

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