The Apple EU fine, stemming from an antitrust complaint submitted by Spotify, will reportedly be announced on March 5th. Besides the fine, the Commission will reportedly order Apple to axe the allegedly unlawful practices at hand, which it appears will be addressed by the Digital Markets Act (DMA) next month in any event. Tech mainstays including Apple have until the 7th to comply with that law, though the specifics associated with this compliance are eliciting pushback from Spotify.
ASCAP collections grew 14.1% to $1.737 billion in 2023 and payouts to songwriters and publishers increased 14.7% to $1.592 billion, the performance rights organization reported Wednesday (Feb. 28). Those figures represent a record year for ASCAP in both revenue buckets, as well as all-time highs for any U.S. performance rights organization ever, ASCAP claimed.
Streaming has leveled the playing field in many ways since it became the main platform for music around a decade ago, and the fact that independent artists — which Spotify defines as artists signed to a non-major labels or self-releasing — now account for half of that total, for the first time, is evidence. With some 236 million paying subscribers, Spotify remains by far the world’s largest paid music-streaming service, with the U.S. its biggest territory.
The windfall stems from the Copyright Royalty Board’s Phonorecord III determination in August 2023, which established higher royalty rates for music streamed between 2021 and 2022. This means streaming giants like Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube, and Pandora underpaid songwriters and publishers by $419.2 million, according to information from the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC), highlighting underpayments during the 2021-2022 period.
As the American Federation of Musicians and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resumed contract negotiations Wednesday, the AFM has released statistics that shed light on the changing nature of employment for industry musicians who play on many of the films and TV shows now being made.
Kobalt Music Group will issue one class A tranche, an A-2 piece rated A- from Kroll Bond Rating Agency, with an expected final maturity in April 2024. Musical publishing rights support all of the royalties with an estimated third-party valuation finding the catalog to be worth $410 million as of September 30, 2023. The valuation included an assumption of an 8.25% discount rate for songs at least 18 months old at and 11.75% for songs between three and 18 months old at valuation.
Catch Point Rights Partners, the private-equity backed music rights acquisition firm that has purchased the publishing of such artists/songwriters and/or producers as Brantley Gilbert, Yelawolf and All Time Low, is now offering a program through which it will buy performance rights income streams from songwriters while allowing them to retain ownership and control of all of their other publishing royalties.
The media giants teaming up on a new platform that will pool together sports streaming rights are facing an antitrust lawsuit from rival sports streamer Fubo, which alleges that it’s being forced to carry dozens of pricey, nonsports channels as a condition of licensing sports rights from the companies in a scheme to stifle competition.
One of the common assumptions around the boom in music-catalogue sales is that it’s all about big investment funds piling in. That’s certainly happened, but it’s not the whole story. In fact, what may be more interesting in the future are the partnerships formed between Big Investors and Big Music. Universal Music Group’s announcement yesterday that it is acquiring a minority stake in Chord Music Partners being a case in point.