A number of TikTok users in Australia no longer have the choice to use some major label-licensed music in their videos. In other words: TikTok has removed major record company music from its service for a subset of users in Oz. Why? Our sources suggest TikTok is aiming to use the results of the experiment in their next round of record company licensing negotiations.
On Tuesday (January 31), TIDAL and Universal Music Group announced plans to research how, by “harnessing fan engagement”, music services and platforms can “generate greater commercial value for every type of artist.” They add in their announcement that their research will extend to how different economic models “could accelerate subscriber growth, deepen retention, and better monetize fandom to the benefit of artists and the broader music community.”
Word Collections has filed a motion for sanctions against Pandora and its law firm over several allegedly false counterclaims. Spoken Giants filed a separate Rule 11 motion last week. Both are suing Pandora for allegedly failing to secure licenses for an array of compositions/literary works. May of 2022 saw Pandora levy an antitrust counteraction against Word Collections, and the presiding judge in October of the same year dismissed this countersuit with leave to amend.
Yuga Labs, parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club, said in a court filing it does not have “copyright registrations” for the NFT collection’s images. However, as legal experts have noted, Yuga did not sue Ripps on a copyright claim. A number of possible reasons have been suggested, from a lack of copyright registrations to Yuga wanting to avoid allowing Ripps to use a Fair Use/Freedom Of Speech defense.
Microsoft, along with its subsidiaries GitHub and OpenAI, has told a San Francisco federal court that a proposed lawsuit over the open-source code the companies use to train their AI systems is unsustainable. The companies say that the complaint, filed by anonymous copyright owners, needs to outline the allegations more precisely. Additionally, the companies state that GitHub’s Copilot system, which suggests lines of code for programmers, was within fair use of the source code it recommends.
A federal judge has rejected artists’ motion for class certification in a copyright-recapture lawsuit filed against Universal Music. The court explained in detail how “the need for individualized proof” – i.e. whether each of the contracts is or isn’t made for hire – “precludes certification of the proposed classes.” Similarly, a second work-for-hire test, centering on whether the music had been “specially commissioned,” likewise “requires a highly individualized inquiry,” according to the document.
One popular alternative to the ‘pro-rata’ streaming royalty model is the so-called ‘user-centric’ (UC) model. Here, the ≈70% royalty-bearing portion of an individual user’s subscription fee is paid out only to artists that specific individual has listened to; there is no central ‘pool’ of royalties. Universal Music Group, however, is on the record as having concerns about the UC model.
Warner has now provided an update on its legacy unrecouped advances program, revealing that the program saw around 4,500 artists and related producers benefit globally in its first year. The company says it expects this number to grow “as we connect with all eligible participants”. Additionally, WMG says that it has “also begun to reach out to [Warner Chappell Music] WCM songwriters who could benefit from this program.
PPL announced that in 2022, the company paid out the equivalent of more than $300m to 165,000 performers and recording rightsholders — a more than 7% increase from £228.7 in 2021. Additionally, this is a 12.2% increase from 147,000 performers and rightsholders in 2021, either as direct members of PPL or indirectly through other collective management organizations (CMOs). The money paid out was collected by PPL for the use of recorded music in the UK and internationally.
This month, UMG boss Sir Lucian Grainge went public with his belief that “the economic model for streaming needs to evolve”. Grainge wrote of his desire for “an updated model… an innovative, ‘artist-centric’ model that values all subscribers and rewards the music they love.” This is a wider discussion within the music industry, as shown by Ivors Academy chair and Broken Record campaigner Tom Gray’s comments at this month’s NY:LON Connect conference.