Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly roundup – where we make sure you’ve caught the five biggest stories that have made headlines over the past seven days. The MBW Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and lower their touring costs.
This week, Ed Sheeran triumphed in a second copyright lawsuit brought against him over alleged similarities between his hit, Thinking out loud, and Marvin Gaye Let’s go.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the case brought by Structured Asset Sales LLC.
“It is an unassailable reality that chord progression and harmonic rhythm in let’s go are so commonplace, singly and in combination, that protecting their combination would give let’s go an impermissible monopoly on a basic musical building block,” Stanton said in issuing the ruling.
Earlier this month, Sheeran won a separate case for alleged violation of Thinking out loud, contributed by the estate of Ed Townsend, co-author of Marvin Gaye Let’s go.
Also this week, Bertelsmann announced that he was proposing the management change at BMG. Thomas Coesfeld, the current chief financial officer of BMG, will become the new CEO of the music company, effective July 1, 2023, instead of January 1, 2024.
According to Bertelsmann, “due to his personal plans for the future, (outgoing CEO) Hartwig Masuch had requested an early departure” from the company, but will remain associated with Bertelsmann in an advisory capacity until 2026.
Meanwhile, TikTok launched its “Artist Impact Program” this week and signed several new distribution deals for its Commercial Music Library (CML) to “fuel the talent and music-focused pipeline.” artists” on the CML. Some of these new distribution partnerships include Believe, DistroKid, and Vydia.
Elsewhere, MBW calculated how much money the three major music companies jointly generate these days. We also reported on IMPALA’s updated ten-point manifesto for reforming music streaming.
Here’s what happened this week…
1) The top 3 music companies now jointly generate around $2.9 million per hour
How much money do the three major music companies – Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group and Warner Music Group – jointly generate these days?
It’s been a while since Music Business Worldwide answered this question, and we thought our readers needed to know. So we took the calculator.
Finding out what the three majors are generating in revenue these days is simplified as each of them recently announced their Q1 schedule results (Universal here, Sony here and Warner here).
2) THOMAS COESFELD BECOMES CEO OF BMG FROM JULY 1, 2023
Thomas Coesfeld, BMG’s current chief financial officer, will now become the music company’s new CEO effective July 1, 2023.
He succeeds founding CEO Hartwig Masuch, who the company says is leaving BMG and Bertelsmann “at his own request and on mutually best terms”.
The CEO change was originally scheduled for January 1, 2024…
3) ED SHEERAN WINS A SECOND COPYRIGHT CASE FOR HIS HIT “THINK ABOUT SAILING” AND “LET’S GET IT ON” BY MARVIN GAYE
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has emerged victorious in a second copyright lawsuit brought against him in federal court in Manhattan over alleged similarities between his hit song, Thinking Out Loud, and the Marvin Gaye’s signature song, Let’s Get It On.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the case brought by Structured Asset Sales LLC, reversing his original ruling that the lawsuit deserved a jury hearing.
Stanton is the same judge who presided over a separate case involving the same pieces of Sheeran and Gaye. The jury in that case ruled in Sheeran’s favor against the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On… (MBW)
4) TIKTOK LAUNCHES “ARTIST IMPACT PROGRAM”, INKS MULTIPLE DISTRIBUTION DEALS TO CONNECT ARTISTS WITH BRANDS
TikTok is launching what it calls its “Artist Impact Program” and has signed several new distribution deals for its Commercial Music Library (CML).
The new program allows artists to opt into TikTok’s commercial music library, giving them the ability to add trending songs to CML and then monetize their music on the short-form video platform by allowing companies to use in their advertising campaigns on TikTok.
TikTok states in its announcement that to “fuel the pipeline of talent and artist-driven music to the commercial music library”, it has signed a number of global distribution partnerships with Believe, DistroKid and Vydia…
5) Indie labels question whether record labels’ share of streaming royalties are “undervalued” compared to music publishers’ share of the pie
Two years ago, IMPALA – Europe’s independent music trade body – published a ten-point plan to reform music streaming.
IMPALA said at the time that its goal with this report was “to make streaming fairer and to deliver a vibrant, compelling, and responsible future for creators and fans.”
Last month, IMPALA released an update to its ten-point manifesto, following what the organization says will be a month-long review process.
Among the recommendations put forward by IMPALA in its new ten-point plan is a call to “reform the distribution of streaming revenue” between different sectors of the music streaming economy.
And as part of that recommendation, IMPALA recommends that the industry increase the share of the industry’s streaming revenue ‘pie’ that is currently going to record labels.
The purpose of this increase, suggests IMPALA, would be “to cover the risks and investments” made by the labels.
Yet, obviously, an increase in the share of record label revenue generated by streaming platforms would inevitably mean a reduced share of streaming revenue for one of two other parties: (i) the authors- composers and publishers; or (ii) the streaming services themselves.
So which of these two recipients of IMPALA streaming money is suggesting getting a commercial haircut?…