Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly round-up – where we make sure you caught the five biggest stories to hit our headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s round-up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.
The launch follows an initial beta roll-out in the three markets in July, which arrived two weeks after TikTok officially launched the service in Brazil and Indonesia. (UMG’s recorded music catalog is available on TikTok Music in Brazil and Indonesia).
As we noted on Thursday (October 19), the question many in the music business will be asking now is, why didn’t TikTok Music wait until it had all three majors on board before expanding the music service out of beta in Australia, Singapore and Mexico?
And could UMG’s hold-off from the service in these three territories have something to do with ongoing global negotiations to license UMG’s catalog to both TikTok and TikTok Music in future?
Also this week, MBW reported that BMI will pay songwriters and publishers a smaller portion of its revenues as a for-profit company – while upping its own margin from 10% to 15% of collections.
Meanwhile, we learned that Concord‘s $469 million acquisition of Round Hill’s UK fund was overwhelmingly approved by the latter company’s shareholders on Wednesday (October 18).
Plus, Universal is suing AI company Anthropic for copyright infringement, while Graham Nash has struck a music rights deal with Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group.
Here’s what happened this week…
As of Thursday (October 19), TikTok’s premium music streaming service, TikTok Music, is available to the public in Australia, Singapore and Mexico.
The launch follows an initial beta roll-out in the three markets in July, which arrived two weeks after TikTok officially launched the service in Brazil and Indonesia.
In Brazil and Indonesia, the TikTok Music service is licensed by, and therefore includes the recorded music catalogs of, all three major music companies: Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.
MBW has confirmed, however, that TikTok Music’s public launch in its latest three markets has taken place with the recorded music repertoire of just two major music companies: Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group.
This means that the recorded music catalog of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music rightsholder, is not currently available on TikTok’s new premium music streaming service in Australia, Singapore and Mexico…
2) BMI will pay songwriters and publishers a smaller portion of its revenues as a for-profit company – while upping its own margin from 10% to 15% of collections. Will its members tolerate this change?
BMI’s latest annual report is missing something.
In recent years, at around this juncture in the calendar, Music Business Worldwide has published data charts showing the size of BMI’s yearly revenue collections and distributions; subsequently, we’ve looked at how these figures match up to ASCAP‘s equivalent numbers.
For example: In 2022 (to the end of June last year), BMI’s annual collections hit USD $1.573 billion; ASCAP’s 2022 collections (to the end of December last year) weighed in at around $50m less – $1.522 billion.
Sadly, for 2023, such a comparison has been rendered impossible – because BMI’s 26-page latest annual report doesn’t include any headline revenue data. BMI has chosen to omit these figures following its announcement, a year ago this month, to switch to a for-profit business model.
There are, however, other very important numbers included in BMI’s new annual report – with one in particular bound to get the songwriter and publishing communities talking.
Ever since BMI announced its switch to a for-profit model, questions have been circling amongst its members (‘affiliates’) as to how this will affect their payouts from the org, the world’s largest PRO in revenue terms.
Now, Michael O’Neill, CEO of BMI, has answered at least some of these questions.
In the new report, O’Neill reveals that BMI is planning to increase the margin of annual collected revenue it retains (i.e. spends on operating costs or banks as profit) by around a third.
Says O’Neill: “As we look at the next three years of our business, our goal is to distribute 85% of licensing revenue to our songwriters, composers and publishers and retain approximately 15% to cover our expenses/overhead (which have historically run around 10%) and a modest profit margin…”
Next week, the shareholders of Hipgnosis Songs Fund are set to vote (a) Whether to keep the UK-listed company going in its current form (‘continuation vote’) and (b) Whether to accept a proposed $465 million sell-off of selected assets (with $440m-worth going to the Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital).
On Wednesday (October 18) it was the turn of shareholders of Round Hill’s UK-listed fund (Round Hill Music Royalty Fund) to vote on whether they approved the firm’s proposed USD $468.8 million sale to Concord.
No less than 99% of those who voted (around 69% of the fund’s total eligible shareholders) did so in favor of the deal..
Universal Music Group (UMG) has this year offered commercial friendship to a number of companies that are innovatively combining generative AI and music… with copyright-respecting intentions.
For example: In May, UMG struck a partnership with ‘functional AI music’ specialist Endel; in August, Universal revealed it was to co-develop AI tools with YouTube that offered “safe, responsible and profitable” opportunities to music rightsholders; and on Wednesday (October 18), UMG announced “an industry-first strategic relationship concentrated on artificial intelligence” with BandLab Technologies, parent to music creation platform BandLab.
Not every artificial intelligence innovator, however, has won UMG’s good graces.
Indeed, MBW has just gotten word that Universal Music Group is suing one powerful AI platform – which last month secured a multi-billion dollar investment from Amazon – for copyright infringement.
Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group has struck a music rights deal with legendary rock musician Graham Nash.
According to the company, the deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see it “acquire, develop, and expand his musical legacy to new generations of fans”.
Nash is known for his work as a member of the Hollies and the iconic ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash’ and ‘Crosby, Stills & Nash and Young’ with equally legendary musicians David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young…
Music Business Worldwide