We catch up on this week’s music publishing headlines, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals and Signings
Merck Mercuriadis’ Hipgnosis raises another $295m (MBW)
Hipgnosis Songs Fund, one of the most aggressive acquisitive parties in the modern music business, has just raised another £231m ($295m).
Hipgnosis swoops for Timbaland catalogue (Music Week)
The catalogue, which comprises 108 albums and songs, also contains tracks performed by some of the biggest global hip-hop and R&B artists such as Aaliyah, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Madonna, 2Pac, Rihanna, OneRepublic and Drake.
Big Deal Music Group signs Hootie & The Blowfish to worldwide publishing Admin Deal (MBW)
The deal encompasses the band’s highly-anticipated new album, Imperfect Circle, their first in nearly 15 years which is scheduled for release on November 1 by UMG Nashville, as well as their 2005 album Looking For Lucky.
Hirings and Promotions
Spirit Music Group Announces Key Executive Moves Within Its A&R, Sync and Global Administration Departments (Celebrity Access)
Independent music publishing company Spirit Music Group has appointed Nancy Matalon (pictured) to Vice President, A&R; promoted Melanie Santa Rosa to Senior Vice President, Global Administration; and appointed Tamar Wax to Senior Director, Film/TV.
Rosie Hill and Patrick Cloherty promoted after record year for Sentric Music Group sync team (MBW)
UK born Sentric Music Group’s sync team has undergone a significant reshuffle with two key promotions and other movements within the department. Sentric’s sync business saw year-on-year revenue growth of 41% in 2018.
Facts and Figures
‘A wake-up call’: Vick Bain on her report into gender inequality in music (Music Week)
Former BASCA CEO Vick Bain has called for further research and data from the music industry, following her report detailing the extent of gender inequality. According to the report, just 14.18% of the 12,040 writers represented by UK publishers are women, while female artists make up 19.69% of the rosters of acts signed to labels,
Universal Music Group posts $2bn iN Q3 2019 revenues (MBW)
UMG’s total quarterly revenues of $2bn – across records, publishing, licensing and merch – represented an increase of 16% compared to the same quarter in 2018.
Vivendi puts additional minority stake in UMG up for sale (Music Week)
It said other partners have already expressed an interest at investing at a similar level to the Tencent deal, which values UMG at €30 billion (£33.4bn) Tencent also has an option on a further 10% stake.
NMPA Calls on Congress to Investigate TikTok for Copyright Theft (Billboard)
“The scale of TikTok’s copyright infringement in the U.S. is likely considerable and deserves scrutiny,” the letter from NMPA president and CEO David Israelite reads.
Chuck D Brings Publishing Lawsuit to Federal Court, Claims He Was Cheated Out of Royalties (Billboard)
Chuck D is suing a music publisher in federal court alleging he fraudulently took copyright ownership of 28 of the Public Enemy rapper’s recent songs without his authorization.
Roadblocks to Royalties: Music Modernization Act Turns 1 as Publishers and DSPs Wrestle With the Details (Billboard)
The MMA created a mechanical licensing collective. Now publishers and streaming services need to come to terms on how to build it — and settle the bill.
L.A. Songwriter Accuses Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ of Ripping Off His Melody & Lyrics (Billboard)
A Los Angeles songwriter is accusing Lizzo of using his lyrics, melody, and chords in her hit song “Truth Hurts” without crediting or compensating him.
Trump Administration Staying Out of Challenge to Music Licensing Law for Now (Hollywood Reporter)
Justice Department lawyers address possible intervention down the road in a lawsuit from an Eminem publisher against Spotify.
How Music Publishers Are Driving a Full Stack Revolution (MIDiA Research)
Music publishing catalogues are gaining momentum fast as an asset class for institutional investments. This growing influx of capital has implications far beyond publishing, however, as ambitious publishers are using the access to debt and investment to reverse into the recordings business.
Playing the Joker: the Dark Side of Sync (Synchblog)
Eamonn Forde looks at the ethical concerns and questions surrounding the use of Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock & Roll Part 2’ in Joker, and examines whether convicted criminals should be allowed to continue to profit from their intellectual property.
Disillusion or revolution? Understanding AI’s role in the future of music rights: op-ed by Synchtank CEO Rory Bernard (Music Business Association)
In this op-ed for the Music Business Association, Synchtank CEO Rory Bernard discusses the current state of AI in the music industry and what the future holds for new AI applications.
Copyright Infringement Liability In The Music Business (Hypebot)
Living as we are in the digital age, any company which plays host to entertainment media on a large is at constant risk of copyright infringement. Whether it’s Spotify or YouTube, difficult challenges will inevitably arise over how to best monitor for and remove infringing content. Here we look at factors which determine how companies thread the copyright needle.
My Manifesto: Merck Mercuriadis (MBW)
Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis’ manifesto is nothing less than a five point plan for a revolution in power, wealth and ownership…
Trading In Music’s Futures: How to Cash In on the Industry’s Gold Rush (Variety)
Finally, the music business is returning to the dog days of the 1990s, and while the margins are smaller — a fraction of a cent for a stream versus $14 and up for a CD — there is wealth to be had in this new era, and it’s time to get a piece of it.
What will a music company look like in 2025? (MBW)
The music industry is buoyant again – but faces tough challenges, says Golnar Khosrowshahi, CEO of Reservoir Media.