Moonbug Entertainment is the digital children’s entertainment company that has rolled up successful YouTube channels including Little Baby Bum, Cocomelon and Blippi.
Music is key to its business, but this week it’s been criticised by The Ivors Academy and Musicians’ Union in the UK over its approach to royalties. Specifically, they cite a ‘letter of direction’ used by the company to get composers to assign it their performing rights royalties.
“This underhand and coercive behaviour by Moonbug Entertainment must stop immediately. It is the latest coercive practice designed to undermine both the value of composers and the collective rights management system,” said Ivors Academy chair Tom Gray.
“Getting work should not be contingent on giving up your royalties,” added MU general secretary elect Naomi Pohl. “This is the latest in a long line of royalty-grabs and shows what some companies will get away with if they’re given half the chance.”
Moonbug has yet to comment. The company’s revenues grew by 71% in 2020 to £39.6m according to its financial results. One wonders what Universal Music Group – which handles distribution, publishing and licensing for Moonbug’s music label – will make of this week’s controversy.