The five biggest stories in the music business this week…
01: A Warner company was fined a million dollars for breaching US privacy laws designed to protect children under thirteen. Artist Arena, owned by Warner outright since 2010, was accused of not getting ‘verifiable parental consent’ when children signed up to fan-club websites it ran for Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Although the fan-services company hasn’t specifically admitted being at fault, it is reported that it has agreed to pay a $1 million ‘civil penalty’ in a deal with the US Federal Trade Commission, as well as to delete any data amassed in breach of the rules and to put links to a government website on web privacy in big writing on its sites. CMU report | WSJ report
02: No Doubt settled with Activision in a long-running dispute over the ‘Band Hero’ game. No Doubt were one of a number of artists who did a deal with the gaming firm to appear in an edition of the various ‘Hero’ games to subsequently complain that users could play any song using their avatar, and not just their own tracks. The gaming giant insisted participating artists knew of this facility, but No Doubt argued the games firm had breached its contract and rights. Various attempts by Activision to have the case dismissed failed, but an out-of-court settlement was reached this week, before the dispute could get a proper court hearing. CMU report | New York Times report
03: A new fast track court for copyright disputes was launched in the UK. The new initiative, allowing intellectual property disputes where damages will be no more than £5000 to be heard at a county court, will make it cheaper and quicker for rights owners to pursue copyright infringement claims, but also easier for those accused of infringement to defend themselves. It is thought the new system might be used for rights owners wanting to sue individual file-sharers, and maybe as an initial ‘strike three’ option if and when the graduated response system for tackling file-sharers (beginning with warning letters) set out in the 2010 Digital Economy Act ever goes live. CMU report | ISP Review report
04: The Association Of Independent Festivals launched an anti-touting charter, signed by a plethora of festivals plus booking agents, management companies and artists. The declaration calls on those who resell tickets for profit online, the companies who provide the resale platforms, and fans themselves to not get involved in the marked-up reselling of tickets to events represented by the signees, or involving their artists. It almost certainly won’t work, but is an interesting new effort to combat the growth of secondary ticketing, mainly by making sure fans know that many promoters and artists are against it. CMU report
05: The music ambitions of Microsoft, the BBC and Samsung were discussed. Microsoft is reportedly interested in buying growing streaming music platform Rdio, which announced an interesting artist partnership scheme this week. The Beeb has an on-demand music service offering free access to recordings from the Corporation’s archives in development, which may launch in partnership with Spotify et al. And Samsung has said it’s really serious about music, and might acquire some existing music services to make its mobile and tablet devices more attractive to music fans. Microsoft report | Rdio report | BBC report | Samsung report
This week on CMU, Eddy revealed his latest campaign to raise awareness of tinnitus, the CMU Insights team offered some tips on how to schedule Facebook updates, and we revisited some recent CMU approved tracks with a special playlist. Newly approved, meanwhile, were Holy Shit, Big Black Delta, Solange and The Weeknd.