Finance

IATSE, AMPTP Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contract

The tentative deal on a new Basic Agreement includes additional benefits plan funding and AI protections, according to a memo to IATSE members. The tentative Basic Agreement — which comes more than a month before the current contract was due to expire on July 31 — will calm fears of another industry shutdown so soon after last year’s double strikes.

Source: IATSE, AMPTP Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contract

Don’t Count Out TikTok

For a company facing a legal death sentence, TikTok sure isn’t acting like it plans to go down anytime soon. Either that, or its hedging its bets.

This week, the ByteDance-owned social media platform, along with eight named users, filed their expected formal lawsuit against the U.S. government challenging the law passed by Congress and signed by President Biden earlier this year requiring TikTok to be sold to a non-Chinese owned company by January 19, 2025 or face permanent banishment from the United States.

Microsoft Could Be the Big Winner From Apple’s OpenAI Deal

Microsoft, Google and other rivals raced ahead, and jittery with anticipation that the House that Jobs built would soon announce a category-redefining advance of the technology.

What they got at this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference was a clearly articulated but hardly revolutionary implementation of existing AI tools and use cases wrapped up into a very Apple-centric strategy, right down to the attempted rebranding of “artificial intelligence” as “Apple Intelligence.”

You can find the details on Apple Intelligence here. But the main goal of the strategy seems to be to turn AI into an iPhone feature rather than a standalone product or service. Its hallmark is to keep as much AI processing as is possible on the phone itself, which it does largely by limiting what you can do with Apple Intelligence.

TikTok is forming an investment team to acquire music content and companies

TikTok is forming an in-house Music Content Investment Team based in Los Angeles, New York, and San Jose, focusing on “partnership or acquisition opportunities in the music content space on a global level.” In other words, TikTok is moving into the competitive music M&A market. Tellingly, it’s looking to the world of investment banking and private equity to find the execs who will lead this charge.

Source: TikTok is forming an investment team to acquire music content and companies

Queen Catalog to Be Acquired by Sony Music for £1 Billion

Queen’s music catalog is among the most valuable of the rock era — with classics like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “39,” “Somebody to Love” and “You’re My Best Friend” as well as the perennial stadium-shakers “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions,” the songs are globally popular and enormously lucrative. One other player was said to be very close in the bidding, but stopped short at $900 million.

Source: Queen Catalog to Be Acquired by Sony Music for £1 Billion

AI: Is Microsoft and Nvidia’s dominance damaging?

Startups need large amounts of data, storage and chip capacity to be able to train their AI chatbots, which is where regulators believe the tech giants hold too much power. There is some evidence that smaller players are being forced into exclusive, opaque deals to run technology from Nvidia, Microsoft and their rivals, which can give the already dominant players an even bigger advantage.

Source: AI: Is Microsoft and Nvidia’s dominance damaging?

Democrat and Republican lawmakers unite to question Spotify bundle move 

In a letter addressed to Shira Perlmutter, the US Register of Copyrights, Congressmen Ted Lieu (D) and Adam Schiff (D), plus Senator Marsha Blackburn (R), raised questions about whether Spotify’s new practice is in line with the spirit of the Music Modernization Act (MMA) of 2018. The bipartisan group of lawmakers highlighted the long-standing challenges faced by songwriters in receiving fair compensation under the compulsory licensing system.

Source: Democrat and Republican lawmakers unite to question Spotify bundle move that ‘sharply reduces royalty payments for songwriters’

DOJ, FTC Divvy Up AI Antitrust Oversite

With the U.S. Congress seemingly too paralyzed to take meaningful action on artificial intelligence (or really anything else), federal regulators continue to try to step into the breach. Further to our previous post, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are close to reaching an agreement on dividing up antitrust scrutiny of the largest AI companies, according to a report in the New York Times and subsequently confirmed by CNN.

Though not yet final, according to the reports, the agreement would see the FTC continue its current probe of OpenAI and Microsoft (along with Amazon and Anthropic) while DOJ will take on Nvidia and continue its oversight of Google. Separately (or perhaps not), the FTC expanded its investigation of Microsoft, seeking information on its recent acquihire and $650 million licensing deal with startup Inflection AI and whether the deal was deliberately structured to skirt federal antitrust review.

How Low Will Spotify’s Royalty Payments Go?

Spotify’s ‘bundle-pocalyse’ is nigh, with nervous IP owners pouring through early royalty statements to assess the damage. One source noted that the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has already distributed preliminary reports for March, the month that marks the beginning of Spotify’s massive royalty cuts to music publishers, songwriters, and other compositional IP owners. Apparently, the data isn’t fully baked yet, though rights owners are getting a preview of the carnage.

Source: How Low Will Spotify’s Royalty Payments Go?

Mistral raises massive $640M to take on OpenAI, Anthropic in the global gen AI race

A year after entering the generative AI race with Europe’s largest-ever seed round of $113 million, Mistral AI is raising more cash — lots more, like, almost 6X that amount. The Paris-based startup today announced it has secured $640 million series B funding in a combination of debt and equity, taking its valuation to nearly $6 billion.

Source: Mistral raises massive $640M to take on OpenAI, Anthropic in the global gen AI race

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