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The transformations of the main platforms of the music industry - WR #131
Weekly Roundups
September 16, 2022

The transformations of the main platforms of the music industry - WR #131

This week has shown how major the platforms of the music industry are for the business. Whether it’s historical ones or brand new ones, a lot can change with it as a starting point.

#1. Hipgnosis Songs Fund is struggling

Hipgnosis finances are making the headlines again, but not for the usual reasons. This time, the company burnt through its fund and can’t raise anymore, mainly because its value decreased.

Digital Music News went through the investigation the Financial times produced to give us a few takeaways. Mainly, trust has gone down on Mercuriadis’ activities, from the negotiations he may have lost or the numbers Hipgnosis Songs Fund has to realize before next March to make sure they’ll be able to distribute dividends.

Note that the situation relates to Hipgnosis Songs Fund, and not the Blackstone-powered Hipgnosis Song Management. Investments have been made on both fronts, but the first one is taking a hit today. Although, it seems like they are in the running to buy the Pink Floyd catalog, amongst other companies. 

#2. The impact of TikTok on the music market

CNBC is taking a look at a few use cases to define a little bit more precisely how TikTok is influencing the music market. Sure, artists can be discovered on TikTok and get to the industry, but currently involved artists with labels can also benefit from the bond. Today, it’s safe to say that TikTok is the first platform driving streams.

But, there are downsides to the shiny object; labels requiring artists to make the most of the platform and waiting for a break on TikTok for new releases, or TikTok sensations being signed by labels, opening a new world pretty much unknown to content creators. The articulation between the two worlds still has to be made, but it surely is not going anywhere and we can expect TikTok to be more and more involved in the field in the near future.

#3. Why are Warner and Universal being sued?

An infringement lawsuit has been filed against Warner Music Group and Universal Music News by an American company called Blue spike LLC. Very simply put: Blue Spike had a licensing contract with Warner and Universal for them to use Blue Spike technology and compress files for streaming.

But, more than using the technology, Blue Spike claims that the Majors have been using it to develop other processes. The patent Majors developed would then be emerging from the work by Blue Spark. This time, the infringement is directly linked to tech involved with music.

#4. Universal Music Group acquires mtheory’s label 

It had been a while since Universal Music Group acquired a company, this time they integrated artist services from the label division of mtheory. Long story short: UMG has now a full division dedicated to artist services, under Virgin Music Group, making Ingrooves a subsidiary as well. The goal here is simple: building a stronger position for UMG in the independent music field, thanks to the experience of JT Myers and Nat Pastor, founders of mtheory. 

#5. How can Web3 support the music industry’s legal aspects?

A question that has been raised very regularly since blockchain and more specifically NFTs came into the music industry: how are these new technologies going to fit within the music industry?

You’re in luck: Water & Music built a full study on splits, the possibilities on blockchain platforms and the main takeaways to keep in mind for the music industry. Brace yourselves, this one is pretty long to go through!

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