From Ed Sheeran’s copyright victory to Songtradr buying Bandcamp… it’s MBW’s Weekly Round-Up


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.


The end of September arrived with big news about direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp.

Just 18 months after being acquired by Epic Games, the maker of hit video game Fortnite, Bandcamp has a new owner.

Epic Games has sold Bandcamp to Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing company Songtradr.

According to the press release, the “acquisition will help Bandcamp continue to grow within a music-first company and enable Songtradr to expand its capabilities to support the artist community”.

Elsewhere this week, Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl participated in a Q&A session at the Code Conference in Laguna Niguel, California, where he discussed AI, why labels still exist, and more.

Also, the estate of Ed Townsend, co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, formally ended their court battle with Ed Sheeran over their claims that Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud copied the iconic 1970s R&B song.

Plus, Latin music generated $627 million in gross revenues in the US in H1 2023, while Jet, the rock band behind Are You Gonna Be My Girl, struck a “landmark” catalog deal with BMG.

Here’s what happened this week…


1) SONGTRADR ACQUIRES BANDCAMP FROM FORTNITE MAKER EPIC GAMES

Los Angeles-based B2B music licensing company Songtradr is acquiring Bandcamp from Epic Games.

Songtradr says it will continue to operate Bandcamp as a marketplace and music community with an “artist-first revenue share”.

The news arrives a year and a half after Epic Games (the maker of the hit video game Fortnite, and Unreal Engine) acquired Bandcamp – an online music store and direct-to-fan platform…


2) WARNER MUSIC GROUP BOSS ROBERT KYNCL ON AI, WHY LABELS STILL EXIST, AND 2 OTHER THINGS WE LEARNED FROM HIS Q&A AT THE CODE CONFERENCE

In recent months, Warner Music Group CEO Robert Kyncl has been keeping a close eye on AI in the music industry – not surprising, given that he came to the music biz from ‘Big Tech’, namely YouTube, where he was Chief Business Officer.

Nor is it surprising, given his current role, that he has been pushing for price hikes at music streaming services.

Both of these topics came up during Kyncl’s Q&A session at the Code Conference in Laguna Niguel, California, on Tuesday (September 26).

But what was maybe more surprising – for a techie like Kyncl, anyway – was his rational, level-headed explanation for why traditional music labels continue to be relevant, and continue to thrive, in the current music ecosystem…


3) ESTATE OF ‘LET’S GET IT ON’ CO-WRITER DROPS APPEAL IN ED SHEERAN ‘THINKING OUT LOUD’ COPYRIGHT BATTLE

The estate of Ed Townsend, co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, have formally ended their court battle with Ed Sheeran over their claims that Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud copied the iconic 1970s R&B song.

A jury in a federal court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Sheeran in May, rejecting the Townsend estate’s assertion that Sheeran’s 2014 hit Thinking Out Loud “copied the heart” of Gaye’s 1973 hit Let’s Get It On.

That led to the Townsend estate filing an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. However, in a filing with the court last Wednesday (September 20), the family withdrew their motion for appeal “with prejudice,” meaning the case can’t be refiled…. (MBW)


4) LATIN MUSIC GENERATED $627M IN US RECORDED MUSIC REVENUES IN H1 2023 – UP 14.8% YOY

Latin music generated $627 million in gross revenues in the US in the first half of the year.

That’s the headline stat from the Recording Industry Association of America’s (RIAA) Mid-Year 2023 Latin Music Report, which, published Wednesday (September 27), shows that on a retail basis (money spent on streaming subscriptions, as well as physical and digital music), Latin music revenues grew 14.8% YoY in the US in H1.

Latin music’s share of overall US recorded music revenues grew from 7.1% in the first half of 2022 to a new high of 7.5% in the first half of 2023.


5) JET, ROCK BAND BEHIND ‘ARE YOU GONNA BE MY GIRL’, STRIKES ‘LANDMARK’ CATALOG DEAL WITH BMG

BMG has acquired the recordings catalog of multi-platinum rock band Jet in Australia, in what the music company says is a “landmark deal.”

Under the agreement, BMG has acquired the recorded music rights for Australia and New Zealand to Jet’s initial two albums, Get Born and Shine On.

In the rest of the world, these albums will continue to be owned by Warner Music Group. (Jet previously owned and licensed the recorded rights to the two albums in ANZ; those rights then reverted ahead of the BMG deal.)

In addition, BMG has acquired the artist’s royalty stream around the world for the two albums in perpetuity, as well as the global recorded rights to the band’s third album Shaka Rock…Music Business Worldwide



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