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 maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.
This week, Ticketmaster’s site crashed during the presale for Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour, with the debacle leading to calls, including from members of Congress, for Live Nation and Ticketmaster to be broken up.
Following the presale and ensuing furor, Ticketmaster announced that it was canceling the general sale scheduled for Friday (November 18), citing “extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand”.
The ticketing giant published a now-deleted blog post on Thursday (November 17), to explain what had happened during the presale, claiming that demand was so high for the tickets that, based on the volume of traffic to Ticketmaster’s site, Swift “would need to perform over 900 stadium shows (almost 20x the number of shows she is doing)”.
That volume works out to Taylor Swift having to perform a stadium show “every single night for the next 2.5 years“, the company noted. Over 2 million tickets were sold for Taylor Swift’s tour on November 15, “the most tickets ever sold for an artist in a single day” according to Ticketmaster.
Also this week, we reported that Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) says it’s created and released over 1,000 tracks containing vocals created by AI tech that mimics the human voice.
TME’s Executive Chairman Cussion Pang confirmed to analysts on the company’s Q3 earnings call that one of those songs “has become the first song by an AI singer to be streamed over 100 million times across the internet”.
Elsewhere, Primary Wave acquired copyrights to hit Whitney Houston songs as part of a deal for about 60 songs written by songwriters Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill, of American pop-music duo Boy Meets Girl.
The purchase of rights to Houston’s hit songs as part of Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill’s catalog follows Primary Wave’s $2 billion deal with financial giant Brookfield last month.
Here’s what happened this week…
1) TAYLOR SWIFT JUST CRASHED TICKETMASTER’S SITE AND SOLD OVER 2 MILLION TICKETS. TO MEET DEMAND, SHE WOULD HAVE HAD TO PLAY 900 STADIUM SHOWS.
Taylor Swift fans were left furious this week after demand outstripped supply for the superstar’s Era’s Tour pre-sale, ticketed by Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster and promoted by Live Nation rival AEG.
On Tuesday (November 15), Ticketmaster’s site crashed during the ‘Verified Fan ticket sale’ for Swift’s tour, with the debacle leading to calls, including from members of Congress, for Live Nation and Ticketmaster to be broken up…
2) OVER 1,000 SONGS WITH HUMAN-MIMICKING AI VOCALS HAVE BEEN RELEASED BY TENCENT MUSIC IN CHINA. ONE OF THEM HAS 100M STREAMS.
The use of artificial intelligence-created music just moved up a gear.
We’re not talking about AI in mere instrumental music production, but the use of machine learning to actually mimic and even recreate human vocals – rendering the need for a real singer obsolete.
MBW first explored this topic last March, in which we analyzed the long-term implications of HYBE’s investment into (and subsequent acquisition of) Korea-based Artificial Intelligence company Supertone – which claims that its AI tech can create “a hyper-realistic and expressive voice [not] distinguishable from real humans”.
Now, over in China, things have reached the next level: Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) says that it has created and released over 1,000 tracks containing vocals created by AI tech that mimics the human voice.
And get this: one of these tracks has already surpassed 100 million streams…
Paris-headquartered Believe posted some impressive Q3 2022 results earlier this month, with a 37% YoY increase in revenues.
The company is now expected to record full-year 2022 revenues in excess of EUR €750 million, up by over a third compared to 2021.
Doing so would propel Believe’s revenues into the land of music’s ‘mini-major’ leagues alongside the likes of Concord, BMG and HYBE.
(Example: Bertelsmann-owned BMG turned over €663m in 2021 vs. Believe’s €577m, although Berlin-headquartered BMG has a significantly larger profit margin than Believe, and is more exposed to the US dollar’s value due to its significant US operation.)
Indeed, if Believe could maintain an ≈33% annual growth rate next year, it would start turning over around a billion Euros annually…
4) PRIMARY WAVE BUYS WHITNEY HOUSTON HITS AS PART OF DEAL WITH SONGWRITERS SHANNON RUBICAM AND GEORGE MERRILL
Primary Wave has acquired copyrights to hit Whitney Houston songs as part of a deal for about 60 songs written by songwriters Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill, of American pop-music duo Boy Meets Girl.
That’s according to the Financial Times, which, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that the deal is estimated to be worth between $50 million and $100 million.
Included in Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill’s catalog are two of Houston’s biggest hits: How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), according to the FT’s report.
Primary Wave Chief Executive Larry Mestel is quoted by the FT as saying that “It’s one of the larger acquisitions we have done.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed…
5) BMG BUYS HARRY NILSSON SONG RIGHTS, INCLUDING PUBLISHING CATALOG, AS WELL AS ARTIST AND WRITER REVENUE STREAMS
BMG has struck a deal to acquire Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson’s song rights.
Included in the deal are Nilsson’s publishing catalog, as well as the artist and writer revenue streams of his hit songs.
Some of those songs include hits Without You, Everybody’s Talkin’, One, and Coconut, as well as Jump Into The Fire, Gotta Get Up, and Me and My Arrow, among many others.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed…
Music Business Worldwide