MBW’s Weekly Roundup: Primary Wave, Spotify, SoundCloud, Human Re-Sources, Hipgnosis

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, Primary Wave Music Publishing acquired a majority stake in the publishing catalog of singer, songwriter and Fleetwood Mac member Stevie Nicks for around $80 million.

Elsewhere, MBW broke the news that Spotify is seeking a patent for “Plagiarism Risk Detector And Interface” technology, which would allow a songwriter or composer to test a composition for plagiarism against other songs stored in its database.

Meanwhile, SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor announced that he is stepping down from the role starting January 1, 2021 and will be succeeded by the firm’s current President, Mike Weissman.

Plus, Sony Music has acquired Human Re-Sources, the distribution and label services company founded by J. Erving in 2017, and which merged with Troy Carter’s own distribution and services startup, Q&A, last year.

Also, Merck Mercuriadis-led rights house Hipgnosis Songs Fund has reached a market cap value of approximately $1.68bn.


Primary Wave Music Publishing has acquired a majority stake in the publishing catalog of legendary singer, songwriter and Fleetwood Mac member, Stevie Nicks.

Primary Wave’s partnership with Nicks will see the publisher acquire a majority stake in her publishing copyrights, as well as representing the Grammy winner in brand alliance and brand marketing opportunities.

The company will also partner with Kobalt on administration for the catalog.

Citing people familiar with the deal, The Wall Street Journal reports that Primary Wave bought an 80% interest in the copyrights, which its sources state are valued at approximately $100 million.

Additional terms of the deal include a strategic publishing alliance with the singer that will allow her to sign new songwriters to a joint venture.

Nicks will also now have access to Primary Wave’s entire marketing, branding, Broadway, Film/TV, and digital strategy teams, as well as their licensing and synch departments.

Credit: Shutterstock
2. Spotify just invented AI technology that will police songwriter plagiarism

Songwriters of global hits getting sued for alleged plagiarism has become a recurrent story on MBW these past few years – and a recurrent source of misery for writers and their representatives in the industry.

But what if a songwriter or composer were able to use AI technology to avoid litigation altogether, by finding out if their song copies elements of other compositions, potentially in real time?

That could now be a reality, thanks to a Spotify invention revealed in a new European patent filing from the company obtained by MBW.

According to a document published last week, Daniel Ek‘s company is seeking a patent for its “Plagiarism Risk Detector And Interface” technology, which pertains to “Methods, systems and computer program products…for testing a lead sheet for plagiarism”.

As explained in the filing – and as our songwriter/musician readers will already know – a ‘lead sheet’ is a type of music score or musical notation for songs denoting their melody, chords and sometimes lyrics or additional notes…


It’s been a big month for SoundCloud, with MBW breaking the news last week that the once-beleaguered platform just posted the first profitable quarter in its history.

Now, the executive who steered SoundCloud to that milestone as CEO, Kerry Trainor, has announced he is stepping down from the role starting January 1, 2021.

Succeeding Trainor as SoundCloud CEO will be the firm’s current President, Mike Weissman.

Trainor will remain on SoundCloud’s Board of Directors subsequent to his departure.

In an internal note sent on Tuesday (December 1) and obtained by MBW, Trainor told his staff that “leading this platform and incredible global team through these transformational years has been an immense privilege”.

4. Sony Music acquires distribution company Human Re-Sources, brings in J.Erving in new EVP role

Distribution and label services company Human Re-Sources has been acquired by Sony Music, MBW can reveal.

Los Angeles-based Human Re-Sources was founded by J. Erving in 2017, and merged with Troy Carter’s own distribution and services startup, Q&A, last year.

MBW has confirmed that following Sony Music’s acquisition of Human Re-Sources (from Q&A), Erving’s company will become part of The Orchard, Sony’s global independent distribution and artist/label services arm.

Human Re-Sources will continue to sign and develop artists as part of The Orchard.


It’s been a big week for stats regarding publicly-traded music companies. First came Spotify, which reached an all-time share price high of $325 on Wednesday lunchtime (ET), resulting in a market cap of just over $60 billion.

Spotify’s market cap valuation (currently at $59bn) has therefore more than doubled since the start of 2020.

Today (December 4) brings another set of blockbuster numbers from a public company: the Merck Mercuriadis-led rights house Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in summer 2018.

The first of those blockbuster numbers comes from Mercuriadis himself: “We’ve been one of the FTSE 250’s biggest yielders and have now reached a £1.25 billion market cap.”

In US dollar terms, that puts a market cap value on Hipgnosis – a company that’s less than three years old – of approximately $1.68bn….

MBW’s weekly round-up is exclusively supported by Centtrip, leading provider of smart treasury, foreign exchange and payment solutions for the music industry. Find out more here. Music Business Worldwide

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