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.
Spotify has dominated the music business news cycle for the past several days, with one bombshell after another dropping throughout the past week.
On Monday (December 4), we got word that the music streaming service is laying off 17% of its global workforce, amounting to over 1,500 positions. That’s on top of two prior rounds of job cuts earlier this year, which reduced headcount by a cumulative 700.
A few days earlier, MBW broke the news that Jenny Hermanson, Spotify’s MD for the Nordic region, is leaving the company, having spent 14 years at the firm, eight of those in her current role. And on Thursday, SPOT’s MD for the UK and Ireland, Tom Connaughton, also announced his exit.
But news of this exodus of territory managers was eclipsed on Thursday night by the news that Chief Financial Officer Paul Vogel is leaving.
And according to an SEC filing from Tuesday (December 5), just 24 hours after SPOT’s layoff announcement, Vogel cashed out 47,859 Spotify shares – banking him USD $9.377 million.
In non-Spotify news, Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl weighed in on the European Union’s AI Act, which is being described as the world’s first serious attempt to regulate artificial intelligence via the law.
Elsewhere, Sony Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Jon Platt was named as the 2024 Grammy Salute To Industry Icons honoree, while music rights company Influence Media Partners announced what it called a “major partnership deal” with Grammy Award-winning artist and songwriter Enrique Iglesias.
Here’s what happened this week…
1) ON TUESDAY, PAUL VOGEL, CFO OF SPOTIFY, CASHED $9.3M IN SHARES – 24 HOURS AFTER HIS COMPANY CONFIRMED 1,500 LAYOFFS. TWO DAYS LATER, DANIEL EK ANNOUNCED VOGEL IS OUT.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced on Thursday that the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Paul Vogel, is leaving the firm.
The news comes just three days after Ek confirmed that his firm is to lay off 17% of its global workforce – around 1,500 employees – due to a “gap between our financial goal state and our current operational costs”.
Vogel will officially depart Spotify at the end of Q1 2024.
Interestingly, MBW has spotted in an SEC filing that on Tuesday this week (December 5), Vogel cashed out 47,859 shares in Spotify – banking him USD $9.377 million.
That cash-out took place just 24 hours after Spotify’s latest global layoffs were announced…
2) ROBERT KYNCL: THE EU SHOULDN’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO INCLUDE MEANINGFUL TRANSPARENCY AND RECORD-KEEPING OBLIGATIONS IN THE AI ACT
This week, the European Union’s AI Act stands on the precipice of becoming a landmark legal framework for artificial intelligence. Widely regarded as the world’s first serious attempt to regulate AI via the law, the bill is entering the final phase of the legislative process, with the EU Parliament, European Commission and European Council ruling on what it will include – and what it won’t.
Needless to say, EU lawmakers have been lobbied by many sides of the AI debate in recent months. This includes music copyright owners keen to protect the value of songs, recordings, and the ‘name and likeness’ of established stars. It also includes global tech giants who have argued that generative AI’s ingestion of copyrighted material, in many instances, should be given a legal free pass under so-called ‘fair use‘ exemptions.
Since starting his job as CEO of Warner Music Group at the beginning of this year, Robert Kyncl has established himself as one of the entertainment industry’s foremost voices on the opportunities – and the challenges – that AI creates for music.
In February, Kyncl called generative AI “one of the most transformative things that humanity has ever seen”. Since then, he’s been consistent with his core message: when it comes to engaging with AI, artists must have a choice…
New York-headquartered music rights company Influence Media Partners has struck what it calls a “major partnership deal” with Grammy Award-winning artist and songwriter Enrique Iglesias.
Citing sources, Bloomberg reports that the deal, which it says includes the acquisition of the Latin superstar’s recorded music catalog, is “valued at nine figures” and that it includes his entire catalog to date.
Influence Media says in a press release that, in addition to “partnering on the rights management of [his] recordings spanning the length of his professional career”, the partnership also includes Enrique Iglesias’ Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights “to expand future licensing opportunities”.
The agreement with Iglesias marks the first NIL deal for Influence Media since the company’s inception.
In an update to its original press release, Influence Media says that it is partnering with Iglesias “on the rights management of his pre-2021 recorded music rights including his independent masters and the Universal recorded music royalties along with Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights to expand future licensing opportunities”…
Ahead of the 66th Grammy Awards, Sony Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Jon Platt has been named as the 2024 Grammy Salute To Industry Icons honoree.
The Grammy Salute To Industry Icons honor is given during the invitation-only Pre-Grammy Gala held on February 3, 2024, hosted by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis.
“One of the most influential figures in the industry, Jon has consistently set the bar for leadership in music,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy.
The Recording Academy notes that, since his appointment to Sony Music Publishing (SMP) in 2019, Platt “has worked to revitalize the company’s Songwriters First mission”…
5) MICHELLE JUBELIRER ON ICE SPICE, THE BEATLES, AND REINVENTING CAPITOL MUSIC GROUP: ‘I DON’T THINK ANY LABEL GROUP HAS BEEN ABLE TO TURN THINGS AROUND AS QUICKLY AS MY TEAM AND I HAVE DONE IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS.’
Michelle Jubelirer took over as Chair and CEO of Capitol Music Group (CMG) two years ago, amid a pandemic and following a series of leadership changes that left the company in turmoil.
CMG “faced eroding market share, low morale, and a stagnant artist roster,” Jubelirer told MBW in an interview.
Two years later, it’s clear she’s been able to turn the Capitol ship around.
“Because I had spent almost a decade here, I was uniquely situated to bring both a fresh perspective to the job and build a modern culture within the company, while still honoring Capitol’s legacy in profound ways,” she said.
“Meaning, we could be a company that excels at launching and developing Ice Spice, and, at the same time, bring real innovation and full-throttle commitment to the release of a new single from The Beatles. And everything in between…” (MBW)