We catch up on this week’s music publishing news, from key deals and signings to new hires, legislation and more.
Deals and Acquisitions
Blondie in rapture after selling song rights to Hipgnosis fund (Financial Times)
Punk icon Debbie Harry has heeded the call of London’s most deal-hungry listed music fund, selling the Blondie catalogue of hits including “Dreaming” and “Atomic”.
Could it be magic? Barry Manilow song rights sold to Hipgnosis (Guardian)
“Barry Manilow is an international treasure,” said Merck Mercuriadis. “In the 1970s and 80s he redefined mainstream entertainment and drove it to new heights of success with truly classic songs.”
Ekko Music Rights signs publishing partnership with Kobalt (Music Week)
Korean-based EKKO Music Rights opened for business in 2017 and has offices in Sweden, America and Japan and aims to continue its growth through the deal with Kobalt.
Oh, snap: Snapchat owner lands music licensing deals (Billboard)
Snap, Inc. has secured licensing deals with several major music companies to incorporate music into posts on its photo- and video-sharing app Snapchat, the company confirmed today (Aug. 3).
Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen sells half of publishing catalog in JV with Mojo Music & Media (Variety)
Mojo says it is working with Nielsen on a long-term plan to put his song catalog to use via synchs, covers and samples along with looking toward film, TV, theatrical and retail projects.
Peermusic UK signs Nigerian artist and songwriter Larry Gaaga (Music Week)
The company will administer Gaaga’s entire back catalogue and future works, as well as provide A&R services in support of his new music.
Warner Chappell Music signs global publishing deal with Australian Quartet Hiatus Kaiyote (MBW)
Warner Chappell Music has entered into an exclusive administration agreement with the Australian band, Hiatus Kaiyote, covering all past and future work.
The National’s Matt Berninger signs to Concord Music Publishing (Music Week)
Concord Music Publishing has signed a new deal with The National’s frontman Matt Berninger. The deal covers Berninger’s solo work and projects outside The National.
Sony/ATV & TwentySeven Music Publishing extend partnership, sign Jimmie Allen (MBW)
Sony/ATV Music Publishing and TwentySeven Music Publishing – led by music executive Barry Weiss and songwriter / producer Jenna Andrews – have extended their creative partnership, in addition to signing platinum-selling singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen (pictured) to a worldwide publishing deal.
Jon Pardi extends publishing deal with Sony/ATV Nashville (Variety)
Said Sony/ATV Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston in announcing the extension: “Jon Pardi is a honky-tonk genius – his music is dynamic and captures every aspect of life and love, which is why his songs will remain timeless.”
Warner Chappell & Transgressive sign publishing deal with British hip-hop artist Loyle Carner (MBW)
As part of their joint venture, London-based Transgressive Publishing and Warner Chappell Music have signed a worldwide publishing deal for the catalog and future works of multi BRIT Award nominee and Mercury Prize nominated hip-hop artist and songwriter Loyle Carner.
Facts & Figures
Sony Music’s streaming revenues grew 15.6% in H1 2020 – but pandemic hit calendar Q2 period (MBW)
The firm’s recorded music streaming revenues grew YoY in the quarter – up 5.9% to $640m – but other income sources were harder hit by the pandemic’s commercial impact.
Warner Music revenue takes a hit from COVID-19 (Billboard)
Strong digital growth couldn’t offset declines in other recorded music revenue as the company adjusted to a pandemic-altered marketplace.
Hirings & Promotions
Mechanical Licensing Collective adds three to leadership team (Music Row)
The Mechanical Licensing Collective has hired several new staffers who will help lead the company’s finance, public relations and rights management efforts: Monique Benjamin, as Head of Finance, Natalie Kilgore, as Head of Public Relations, and Maurice Russell, as Head of Rights Management.
Peermusic ups Spencer Lee to Asia Pacific President, boosting presence in S. Korea (Billboard)
Global indie publisher peermusic has promoted managing director of Asia Pacific Spencer Lee to the added role of Asia Pacific President.
Nigel Elderton appointed President of the Music Publishers Association of Ireland (Hotpress)
Music publishers Nigel Elderton and Johnny Lappin have both been appointed positions as President of the Music Publishers Association of Ireland (MPAI), and Chairman of the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society of Ireland Limited (MCPSI), respectively.
Finance & Investment
Behind the launch of ANote Music, the European marketplace for investing in music royalties (Synchblog)
ANote Music co-founder Marzio Schena talks us through the investment platform that aims to “make music royalties globally accessible to all.”
The great catalog gold rush (HITS Daily Double)
If song catalogs are recession-proof, as publishing execs have posited over the years, they now appear to be pandemic-proof as well.
‘Music is as good as gold or oil’: meet the man spending billions on old hits (Guardian)
Livin’ on a Prayer, Heart of Glass, Copacabana, Single Ladies. They’re all huge pop songs and dancefloor favourites of the past 50 years. And according to one music industry veteran, they are more valuable than gold.
Royalties & CMOs
Digital services’ appeal of publisher rate hike headed back to Copyright Royalty Board: sources (Billboard)
The U.S. Court of Appeals reviewing an appeal from Spotify, Amazon, Pandora and YouTube over the Copyright Royalty Board’s mechanical rate determination has remanded the case back to the CRB, sources tell Billboard.
YouTube responds to Koda over Danish music takedowns (Music Ally)
Earlier this week, we wrote about a controversy brewing Denmark with a dispute between collecting society Koda and YouTube. Koda announced that YouTube would be removing its members music from its platform, after the society declined a temporary extension to its licensing deal
‘We’re doing everything we can’: PRS For Music CEO Andrea C Martin on the impact of Covid-19 (Music Week)
PRS For Music CEO Andrea C Martin has spoken exclusively to Music Week about the financial impact of Covid-19.
Jeff Bezos stumped on royalties in congressional hearing (Billboard)
“Alexa, are we paying music royalties?” It’s a question that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos might have wanted to ask last week, when he testified in front of a U.S. House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee, along with the chief executives of Apple, Google and Facebook.
WIPO and CISAC sign deal to boost royalty collections in developing countries (Music Week)
WIPO director general Francis Gurry and CISAC director general Gadi Oron reached an agreement that will allow CMOs to manage their repertoire and share it with other societies beyond their borders using CISAC’s CIS-Net international repertoire database.
Remarks from ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews to DOJ workshop on competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry (ASCAP)
The Department of Justice (DOJ) held a virtual public workshop on July 28 and 29, 2020, to discuss competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry. ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews spoke at the proceedings on behalf of ASCAP.
Round Hill Music files $32M copyright infringement lawsuit against TuneCore (Billboard)
Round Hill Music’s publishing arm is suing TuneCore for “willful and unauthorized use” of 219 of their sound recordings. They are also suing Believe Digital Holdings, accusing them of distributing the unlicensed songs.
Donald Trump’s ban on TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat appears to get Universal, Warner off the hook (MBW)
Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group appear to be off the hook from serious commercial repercussions for their respective ownership structures.
Neil Young sues Donald Trump campaign for copyright infringement (Hollywood Reporter)
The legendary musician alleges that Trump lacked license to play “Rockin’ in the Free World” and “Devil’s Sidewalk” at a campaign rally in Tulsa.
NMPA boss takes another shot at Triller over licensing (Music Ally)
Triller may be suing TikTok for patent infringement, but the case has got the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) boss David Israelite riled.
Getting down with the kids: why children’s music is a key investment area (Synchblog)
Eamonnn Forde examines how the pandemic has accelerated the growth of the kids’ music sector & speaks to experts to find out what’s in store for the future.
Two months after Blackout Tuesday, the music industry has yet to see lasting change (Rolling Stone)
In June, the music industry started to have serious conversations about racism — but proof of change is hard to find.
WMG took a hit its first quarter since going public. Here’s why it isn’t sweating (Billboard)
The future looks so bright, Warner Music Group might have to wear shades. That’s the takeaway from the 70-minute earnings call on Tuesday during which CEO Stephen Cooper and CFO Eric Levin said the word “opportunity” no fewer than 11 times.
As Round Hill sues TuneCore, could war break out between publishers and indie distributors? (MBW)
Will music publishers, currently feeling the crunch of COVID-hit sync and performance revenues, be tempted to file more of these lawsuits against the likes of TuneCore and its myriad rivals?
Spotify dreams of artists making a living. It probably won’t come true (Rolling Stone)
Spotify’s own data suggests it won’t achieve its core mission — a million creators earning a living from its platform — for the better part of a century. And that’s being generous.
Where TikTok fits in Microsoft’s music strategy (Cherie Hu)
Given that TikTok is a coveted breeding ground for many of today’s music hits, this is evidently a story the music industry should care about. But there’s another angle to this story no one has really mentioned yet: It’s been a long, long time since Microsoft was at the center of any music-industry conversation.
We are at a turning point for social music (MIDiA Research)
In recent days we have seen three major developments that, collectively, are a potential pivot point for social music.
Music became even more valuable on YouTube in 2019 (Pex)
In 2020, new social platforms like TikTok may be dominating headlines, but good old platforms like YouTube are still the trusted sources of views and revenue for most creators.
Paid streaming grows as consumers head indoors (again): Five key insights from Nielsen Music/MRC Data’s COVID-19 Report (Billboard)
With rising COVID-19 cases across the United States, many Americans are spending more time indoors and leaning on entertainment more than ever for information, connection and comfort.
$2 billion: US should make TikTok sale contingent on paying songwriters (The Trichordist)
The Twitter-sphere has been captivated by the imminent ban of TikTok or forced sale to American investors. What many people do not realize is that the service, built on a foundation of stolen songs, has refused to license or pay royalties to songwriters.
Music Publishing Job Spotlight
Manager, Publisher Services – The MLC (Los Angeles)
The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) is seeking a Manager, Publisher Services to manage relationships with music publishers to ensure client satisfaction.
Copyright Coordinator – Songtrust (New York)
Reporting to the Senior Manager, Copyright you will be a key member of our team auditing registrations, matching unclaimed works, and researching registration statuses.
Manager Music Identification – ICE (Berlin)
ICE are looking for a Manager Music Identification. As part of the team, you will be working with some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated experts in the industry.
Check out more available positions here or get in touch to post a free job listing.
Get the latest Synchblog posts + key industry news in your inbox every week. Subscribe now.