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.
This week, Ed Sheeran triumphed in a second copyright lawsuit filed against him over alleged similarities between his hit, Thinking Out Loud, and Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.
US District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the case brought forward by Structured Asset Sales LLC.
“It is an unassailable reality that the chord progression and harmonic rhythm in Let’s Get It On are so commonplace, in isolation and in combination, that to protect their combination would give Let’s Get It On an impermissible monopoly over a basic musical building block,” Stanton said in handing down the decision.
Earlier this month, Sheeran won a separate case over alleged infringement on Thinking Out Loud, brought by the estate of Ed Townsend, who co-wrote Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On.
Also this week, Bertelsmann announced that it is bringing forward the leadership change at BMG. Thomas Coesfeld, BMG’s current CFO will become the music company’s new CEO, with effect from 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 earlier 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 pipeline of talent and artist-driven music” on the CML. Some of those new distribution partnerships include the likes of 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 to reform music streaming.
Here’s what happened this week…
It’s been a while since Music Business Worldwide has answered this question, and we thought our readers were due an update. So we reached for the calculator.
Thomas Coesfeld, the current CFO of BMG, will now become the music company’s new CEO with effect from July 1, 2023.
He succeeds the founding CEO Hartwig Masuch, who, according to the company, is leaving BMG and Bertelsmann “at his own request and on the best of mutual terms”.
The CEO changeover was originally scheduled for January 1, 2024…
3) ED SHEERAN WINS SECOND COPYRIGHT LAWSUIT OVER HIS HIT ‘THINKING OUT LOUD’ AND MARVIN GAYE’S ‘LET’S GET IT ON’
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has emerged victorious in a second copyright lawsuit filed against him in a federal court in Manhattan over alleged similarities between his hit, Thinking Out Loud, and Marvin Gaye’s iconic song Let’s Get It On.
US District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the case brought forward by Structured Asset Sales LLC, reversing his original ruling that the lawsuit deserved to be heard by a jury.
Stanton is the same judge that presided over a separate case involving the same tracks by Sheeran and Gaye. The jury in that case ruled in favor of Sheeran 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 SEVERAL 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 opportunity to add trending songs to the CML, and then monetize their music on the short-form video platform by allowing businesses to use it in their ad campaigns on TikTok.
TikTok says in its announcement that to “fuel the pipeline of talent and artist-driven music on the Commercial Music Library”, it has signed a number of global distribution partnerships with the likes of Believe, DistroKid and Vydia…
5) Indie labels question if record companies’ share of streaming royalties is ‘undervalued’ vs. music publishers’ slice of the pie
Two years ago, IMPALA – the European independent music trade body – published a ten-point plan to reform music streaming.
IMPALA said at the time that its aim with this report was “to make streaming fairer and provide a dynamic, compelling and responsible future for creators and for fans”.
This past month, IMPALA issued an update to its ten-point manifesto, following what the organization says was a month-long review process.
Amongst the recommendations put forward by IMPALA in its new ten-point plan, is a call to “reform the allocation of streaming revenue” between different sectors of the music streaming economy.
And within this recommendation, IMPALA recommends that the industry increases the share of the industry streaming revenue “pie” that is currently apportioned to record companies.
The aim of this increase, suggests IMPALA, would be “to cover risk & investment” made by labels.
Yet, obviously, increasing record labels’ share of revenues generated by streaming platforms would inevitably mean a reduction of share in streaming revenue for one of two other parties: (i) Songwriters and publishers; or (ii) Streaming services themselves.
So which of these two recipients of streaming money is IMPALA suggesting should take a commercial haircut?…