Posted inNews

Publisher Round Hill Music sues TuneCore and Believe

It’s clearly the time of year for lawsuits and legal threats. Publisher Round Hill Music is suing distributor TuneCore and its parent company Believe.

The lawsuit claims that the two companies “reproduced and distributed musical compositions owned or controlled by Round Hill… despite knowing that the Round Hill Compositions were never properly licensed. Moreover, beyond failing to properly license Round Hill Compositions, Defendants have not properly paid for the corresponding uses.”

219 of the songs in Round Hill’s catalogue are cited as part of the lawsuit. MBW reported that the works include ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘She Loves You’ by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, as well as songs written by Ted Nugent, Florida Georgia Line and Ari Levine. TuneCore and Believe have yet to comment at the time of writing.

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Are Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube the new record labels?

Spotify is signing direct licensing deals with some artists and testing the ability to allow others to upload directly to its platform. YouTube and Apple Music are creating content and putting marketing budget behind artists. And Apple Music has also acquired Platoon, the British startup which helped a number of emerging artists to develop, including Billie Eilish.

Are streaming services turning into record labels? Or at least providing more of the services that used to be the sole domain of labels? And if so, what does that mean for artists, not to mention labels? A panel at the Midem conference this morning chewed over the implications.

Speakers included Marie-Anne Robert, global head of artist development at Believe Digital; Scott Cohen, chief innovation officer, recorded music, at Warner Music Group; Diego Farias, CEO of distributor Amuse; and Martin Nielsen, CEO of African streaming service Mdundo. Veva Sound’s director of industry relations Helienne Lindvall was on moderation duties.

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Independent labels optimistic about sync opportunities in 2019

The UK’s independent-music trade body AIM is preparing for its first AIM Sync global sync-licensing conference, which takes place in London on 28 January. Ahead of the event, some of the speakers told Music Ally about their hopes for sync-licensing in 2019, from an independent perspective.

The tone was one of optimism, with labels seeing more opportunities to license their music for TV shows and films, but also games and other emerging platforms.

“Music supervisors are really pushing themselves to discover songs that convey new sounds, ideas and create a passionate response in listeners – all things that play to the strengths of independent catalogues,” says Tim Dellow, co-founder of Transgressive Records.

Posted inAnalysis

A&R in the digital age: ‘Learn with your artist and be open to admitting your mistakes’

In a world of streaming, social networks and the ability for any artist to get their music up on digital platforms, how is the role of the label A&R evolving?

A panel at AIM’s Indie-Con conference in London today addressed the topic of ‘A&R in the digital age’. The speakers included Vidhi Ghandi from Ninja Tune; Darius Van Arman from Secretly Group; Achal Dhillon from Killing Moon; Jane Third from PIAS; and Will Headlam-Wells from Believe. The moderator was Tim Ingham from MBW.

Dillon kicked off by talking about the value of A&R input into an artist’s career: it can be as much about “serving the record” as developing the artist – the happiest scenarios see those two co-incide – and it can be a very long-term process lasting years, rather than just the early period of the partnership.

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Believe Digital boss says Sony Music acquisition isn’t a done deal

This weekend’s report in the Nikkei Asian Review that Sony Music was on the verge of buying Believe Digital has sparked a response from the distributor’s CEO Denis Ladegaillerie.

In what was flagged as an exclusive interview with Billboard, he said that reports that “we have concluded a deal with Sony to sell Believe are absolutely not true”. Ladegaillerie also told MBW “that information is not true” referring to the Nikkei Asian Review story.

It’s worth noting that the original article did not claim that a deal had been concluded, but rather that Sony was “in the final stages of talks” for an acquisition.

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Sony Music tipped for up-to-$444m acquisition of Believe Digital

Sony Music appears to be in pole position to acquire independent digital distributor Believe Digital.

Japanese site Nikkei Asian Review reported over the weekend that the deal could be worth between $355m and $444m if it goes through, as expected, by the end of this year.

Any such acquisition would bring 150,000 artists and annual revenues of around $250m into Sony Music’s business, which already includes The Orchard – newly-merged with Sony’s own Red distributor, while having also recently acquired independents Finetunes and Phonofile.

Posted inMarketing

Believe Digital: Spotify playlists can’t break an artist alone

Getting an artist featured on prominent Spotify playlists is not a recipe for streaming success on its own, according to James Farrelly, head of trade marketing for the UK and Ireland at music distributor Believe Digital.

“Labels are expecting placement in a New Music Friday playlist, whether that’s on Spotify or Deezer or Apple Music, to be the answer to everything,” said Farrelly, in a speech at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam.

Posted inAnalysis, News

Believe Digital ‘pretty optimistic’ about YouTube-fuelled future

There was plenty of anticipation ahead of yesterday’s Midem keynote by YouTube director of global music partnerships Christophe Muller, with expectations of a lively discussion about YouTube Music Key and the payouts YouTube generates for labels and publishers.

As it turned out, Muller did not take the stage alone: he brought along Believe Digital CEO Denis Ladegaillerie, to interview him about how the digital distributor uses YouTube, as well as the “confusion” over streaming payouts.

After reminding the audience of some key stats, Muller reiterated YouTube’s commitment to its subscription service, Music Key. Launched in beta a few months ago, they are currently “hard at work learning from feedback” to officially launch later this year.