Today’s hearing in the UK’s streaming economics inquiry was the long-awaited appearance of Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music to field questions from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee. There were some strong signals about where the committee is heading in terms of its likely recommendations though, and some interesting signs of willingness on the part of the DSPs to engage with them.
Over the past few days Australians have gotten a flavour of what a global tech power will do to avoid regulation. Now we are getting an idea of what a world-class capitulation looks like after Facebook agreed to re-friend Australia after securing what appears to be technical changes to legislation it had been determined to skewer.
Alphabet’s Google is negotiating individual licensing deals with a divided Spanish news industry that could allow the U.S. tech giant’s news service to resume in the country, three sources close to the matter told Reuters. Google News, which links to third party content, closed in Spain in late 2014 in response to legislation which meant it had to pay a mandatory collective licensing fee to re-publish headlines or snippets of news.
Splice, the music creation platform helping creators make and collaborate on music easily from home, has closed a $55 million Series D funding round led by Goldman Sachs Growth, Splice announced in a blog post yesterday (Feb. 22). Other investors in the round include investment firm MUSIC (a joint venture between SONGS Music Publishing founder/former CEO Matt Pincus and Liontree), USV, True Ventures, DFJ Growth and Flybridge.
A coalition of Hollywood studios and entertainment guilds have dispatched a letter to newly installed President Joe Biden detailing in broad strokes what his administration can to do help the entertainment industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis. “The pandemic has put roughly 465,000 film and television jobs in the U.S. at risk,” read the letter, which was signed by the Motion Picture Association, the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, IFTA and the AFL-CIO (DPE).
Facebook said on Monday that it would restore the sharing and viewing of news links in Australia after gaining more time to negotiate over a proposed law that would require it to pay for news content that appears on its site. The agreement means users and publishers in Australia can once again share links to news articles, after Facebook had blocked the practice last week.
As part of its news announced at its live event today, Spotify announced a set of new creator tools and resources, including the expansion of Marquee, the launch of a tool called “Discovery Mode” into beta testing, the opening of the Canvas looping visual feature to all artists and its plans to expand its Spotify for Artists platform to be available in 25 additional languages.
During its live-streamed event today, Spotify officially confirmed its plans to launch paid podcast subscriptions on its platform. As a first step, the company will this spring begin beta testing a new feature in its Anchor podcast creation tool that will allow U.S. creators to publish paid podcast content aimed at their “most dedicated fans.”
In a letter from the CreativeFuture coalition, stakeholders from the film, television, music, photography and publishing industries said the coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant increase in digital piracy with many Americans spending more time at home during lockdowns.
The UK government is “obviously concerned” at the repercussions of Facebook’s shutdown of large numbers of news and public information resources in Australia, Downing Street has said, confirming that the culture secretary will meet the US company this week.