From Spotify’s battle with music publishers to the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation… it’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up

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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.


We’d been waiting for the hammer to drop for some time, and this week it did: The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster owner Live Nation, accusing the company of violating antitrust law through its dominance of the ticketing business. Live Nation predicts it will prevail in court.

Meanwhile, AI music generator Suno, which some say creates unnervingly good music, revealed this week it has raised $125 million in a Series B funding round, which reportedly values the company at $500 million.

In a new op-ed for MBW, Fruits Music founder Stef Van Vugt argues it’s time to recognize that AI like Suno is now creating good music, and that rightsholders should change their focus to competing for attention rather than creating superior music.

Elsewhere, in the latest development in the ongoing feud between US music publishers and Spotify, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has asked Congress to make a change to US copyright law so that publishers can negotiate with streaming services in a “free market”.

In a rundown of the increasingly complicated battle over Spotify’s decision to treat its Premium subscription tiers as “bundled” services (thus allowing it to pay lower mechanical royalties), MBW notes that streaming services are opposed to the NMPA‘s “free market” proposal.

Here’s what happened this week…


Credit: Marcus E Jones/Shutterstock

1) LIVE NATION HIT WITH ANTITRUST LAWSUIT BY US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

The US Justice Department, along with 30 state and district attorneys general, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment and its subsidiary, Ticketmaster, on Thursday (May 23).

The DOJ says it is suing Live Nation for the alleged “monopolization and other unlawful conduct that thwarts competition in markets across the live entertainment industry”.

The lawsuit, which includes a request for structural relief, seeks to “restore competition in the live concert industry, provide better choices at lower prices for fans, and open venue doors for working musicians and other performance artists”.

“We allege that Live Nation relies on unlawful, anticompetitive conduct to exercise its monopolistic control over the live events industry in the United States at the cost of fans, artists, smaller promoters, and venue operators,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland


2) AMID SPOTIFY ‘BUNDLING’ DISPUTE IN THE US, NMPA CALLS ON CONGRESS TO LET MUSIC PUBLISHERS OPT OUT OF COMPULSORY LICENSE AND NEGOTIATE WITH STREAMERS ‘IN A FREE MARKET’

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has called on Congress to make a change to copyright law in the United States that would give US music publishers the freedom to choose how their music is licensed to music streaming services.

According to the NMPA, Congress “should allow rightsholders the choice to license through the [Mechanical Licensing Collective] using the statutorily set royalty rates or to withdraw from the MLC and operate in a free market if they meet certain conditions”.

This legislative proposal was made in a letter submitted by NMPA President and CEO David Israelite to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on May 21 and aims to solve what the NMPA calls the “continued abuse of the statutory system by digital services”.

The NMPA’s proposal arrives amid an ongoing feud between US music publishers and Spotify, following SPOT’s decision at the beginning of March to reclassify its Premium Individual, Duo, and Family subscription streaming plans as ‘bundles’ because those plans now offer access to audiobooks…


3) SPOTIFY’S BATTLE WITH SONGWRITERS AND MUSIC PUBLISHERS IS GETTING COMPLICATED. HERE’S A RECAP.

Credit: ISOVECTOR/Shutterstock

One unfortunate topic of discussion this week just couldn’t be avoided: the ongoing feud between US music publishers and the world’s largest subscription music streaming service, Spotify.

Their dispute stems from SPOT’s controversial decision to reclassify its Premium tiers as ‘bundles’ by combining music and audiobooks, which has resulted in Spotify paying a lower mechanical royalty rate in the US to publishers and songwriters than standalone music subscription services.

Music publishers are not happy. When Spotify first announced the reclassification of its Premium services as bundles on April 18, David Israelite, the President & CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, told us: “It appears Spotify has returned to attacking the very songwriters who make its business possible.”

On Tuesday (May 21), the NMPA called on Congress to update the copyright law in the United States to allow Publishers to negotiate in a “free market” just like record labels.

DiMA, the US organization that represents services like Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora, issued a statement from its President and CEO Graham Davies on Tuesday denouncing the proposal


4) AI MUSIC GENERATOR SUNO RAISES $125M, VALUING COMPANY AT $500M (REPORT)

Suno, the AI-driven music creation app that has been getting attention for its ability to create unnervingly good music, has raised USD $125 million in a Series B funding round.

“We released our first product eight months ago, enabling anyone to make a song with just a simple idea. It’s very early days, but 10 million people have already made music using Suno,” Co-Founder and CEO Mikey Shulman said in a blog post announcing the funding round.

“While Grammy-winning artists use Suno, our core user base consists of everyday people making music — often for the first time.”

According to sources cited by The Information, the funding round gives the two-year-old, Massachusetts-headquartered company an implied value of $500 million


5) THE BRUTAL REALITY: POWER IS SHIFTING TO AI-GENERATED MUSIC AND ALGORITHMIC DISCOVERY. MUSIC RIGHTSHOLDERS MUST WAKE UP TO THE OPPORTUNITY.

In a new op-ed, Stef Van Vugt, the founder of Fruits Music, a label-cum-playlist company that has racked up tens of billions of plays, argues that power in the music business is shifting to AI-generated music, and rightsholders must take advantage of the situation while they can. Van Vugt writes:

AI music startups such as Suno – which just raised $125 million in funding – are creating better-sounding music than the majority of newly released human-made songs on music streaming services.

This is indicative of a ‘new normal’ that’s already taking hold of today’s music business – and will define the music business of tomorrow.

It is not impossible for the largest traditional music rightsholders to thrive in this ‘new normal’. But, due to a number of threats to their dominance, the global business’s power balance is irrevocably changing.

In fact, I predict that new rightsholders — and, particularly, AI-driven music — will continue to take market share from the largest music rightsholders in the years ahead…


MBW’s Weekly Round-Up is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.Music Business Worldwide

https://www.highcpmgate.com/f0c2i8ki?key=d7778888e3d5721fde608bfdb62fd997

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