Business News Week In Five

The music business week in five – 9 Mar 2012

By | Published on Friday 9 March 2012

Chris Cooke

Hello there again. Coming up, our customary scan back over the last seven days in music, though if you’d rather find out about the future of the music business can I suggest our rather fab CMU Training course ‘Revenue, Investment & Deals’? OK, it’s another plug, but it’s a great course and we have a couple of places left for next week’s edition. I wrote more about it here, and you can book here. And now the week in five.

01: The Live Music Act became law. It was a long time in development, but after being cleared by the Commons in January Tim Clement-Jones’s Live Music Bill got royal assent yesterday. The new Act will reduce the licensing strain on small-scale gigs, hopefully encouraging more smaller venues to stage music events. The changes should come into effect in the autumn. Ironically the Act became law as grass roots musicians in Scotland began a campaign against a new law there that does the opposite to the English/Welsh legislation, making it harder to stage small events. Live Music Act reports | Scottish protest report

02: BT and TalkTalk’s DEA appeal failed. The net firms want to force parliament to rethink the copyright section of the Digital Economy Act, which sets up a three-strikes system for combating online piracy, on the grounds it breaches bits of European law. But this week the ISPs failed for a second time to force that rethink via judicial review. BT and TalkTalk said they were now considering their options. Various content industry trade bodies called on the ISPs to embrace the anti-piracy initiative, and to help pressure government to get the still in-development three-strikes system properly up and running. CMU report | Wired report

03: Digital distributors merged. First, late last week, INgrooves announced it had bought Universal’s independent distribution firm in the US, Fontana, meaning it now offers both physical and digital distribution for indie labels in North America. Universal already has a stake in INgrooves, and will continue to do so after the new deal. Then digital aggregators The Orchard and IODA announced they were merging too. IODA shareholder Sony Music will be a big stakeholder in that merged entity. CMU INgrooves report | CMU Orchard/IODA report

04: The US movie industry called for a summary judgement against Hotfile. Another file-transfer service accused of existing mainly to enable copyright infringement, the Motion Picture Association Of America have been suing Panama-based Hotfile for over a year, but this week asked for a summary judgement in their favour. Noting the criminal case against another file-transfer outfit, MegaUpload, the MPAA said Hotfile was running the same kind of business, and indeed that the company was deliberately set up to compete with the Mega empire. Hotfile insists it operates within US copyright law. CMU report | Hollywood Reporter report

05: RadioCentre’s chief called for a review of radio licensing, both kinds. Andrew Harrison was speaking at the Westminster Media Forum about plans to review the UK’s Communications Act. He backed plans to reduce regulation in the commercial radio sector, among other things asking that genre restrictions be removed from FM stations’ licenses. He also mentioned the radio sector’s other licences – those from the music industry collecting societies PPL and PRS – suggesting the radio industry felt it was now paying too much, given PPL and PRS were licensing all sorts of other newer digital competitors these days. He also returned to the radio sector’s common gripe, that those listening to their services in public places need another licence from PPL and PRS, something Harrison likes to call “double taxation”. CMU report | Harrison speech

And that’s your lot, until a somewhat sweary CMU Weekly podcast goes live over the weekend (it’s Andy Malt doing the swearing, I should add) Subscribe now!

Chris Cooke
Business Editor, CMU