From Universal’s Frank Zappa catalog acquisition to Triller’s US IPO… 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 maximise their income and reduce their touring costs.
TikTok’s had a rough couple of weeks in the US.
Last week, BuzzFeed ran an article claiming that TikTok’s US user data had been accessed from China via the platform.
Citing “leaked audio from more than 80 internal TikTok meetings”, BuzzFeed reported that “China-based employees of ByteDance have repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users”.
This week, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr called for the app’s removal from the Google Play and Apple App stores in the US for security reasons, echoing concerns expressed by the Trump administration when it tried to ban the app in the US.
Is TikTok’s time in America running out? Google and Apple have until July 8 to respond to the FCC’s Brendan Carr. After that? Watch this space.
If TikTok is looking over its shoulder in the US, then it might see Triller closing in.
TikTok’s rival short-form video platform filed to go public on the Nasdaq this week in what the company has claimed will be “the largest creator IPO in history”.
On Thursday (June 30), Triller announced in a concise statement that it has “confidentially submitted” a draft S-1 filing with the SEC in the US “relating to the proposed public listing of [Triller’s] Class A common stock”.
Also this week, Universal Music Group (UMG) acquired the recordings, publishing catalog, and film archive of the legendary Frank Zappa.
The acquisition also includes Frank Zappa’s name and likeness, plus, as part of the deal, Universal acquires The Vault, Zappa’s storage facility that houses more than 1,000 hours of film and video.
With Zappa’s name and likeness included in the deal, UMG says that it will now start working on Frank Zappa merchandise, feature films, interactive experiences, as well as NFTs, and other Web3 projects.
Elsewhere, Kanye West was sued for allegedly sampling Chicago House legend Marshall Jefferson’s music without permission, while CAA closed its acquisition of rival ICM Partners in a $750 million deal
Here’s what happened this week…
1) US TIKTOK BAN BACK ON THE CARDS AS FCC COMMISSIONER ASKS APPLE AND GOOGLE TO REMOVE APP FROM STORES
Remember back in 2020 when Donald Trump wanted to ban TikTok in the US?
Citing data security concerns, then-President Trump issued two executive orders banning US citizens and businesses from undertaking any “transaction” with the ByteDance-owned platform, later issuing another order instructing ByteDance to divest its US TikTok business.
Yet by June last year, after President Joe Biden revoked Trump’s executive orders, a ban on TikTok in the States seemed an unlikely possibility.
TikTok’s fate in America now appears to be hanging in the balance again, however, after FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr this week called for the app’s removal from the Google Play and Apple App stores….
2) TIKTOK RIVAL TRILLER FILES TO GO PUBLIC ON NASDAQ VIA ‘THE LARGEST CREATOR IPO IN HISTORY’
Yesterday (June 30), Triller announced in a very short statement that it has “confidentially submitted” a draft S-1 filing with the SEC in the states “relating to the proposed public listing of [Triller’s] Class A common stock”.
Other details are thin on the ground (hence the “confidential” submission), but Triller adds: “The public listing is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”
Interestingly, the entity that logged the S-1 filing with the SEC this week is Triller Inc. – not Triller Hold Co LLC (which six-and-a-bit months ago announced it was floating on the NASDAQ via the SeaChange merger), nor Triller Holdings LLC (which announced the new direct listing plan earlier in June)….
3) UNIVERSAL BUYS FRANK ZAPPA RECORDINGS, SONG CATALOG AND COMPLETE CONTENTS OF ‘THE VAULT’ HOUSING 1,000+ HOURS OF FILM AND VIDEO
“Iconic works and iconic writers. Works that have defined and have moved culture.”
That’s how Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, defined his firm’s criteria for acquiring music catalogs this month.
Speaking at an NMPA event in New York, Grainge added that UMG is only interested in acquiring underlying rights with such buyouts. He plainly stated: “We don’t buy income streams.”
Those words all ring true this week, as Universal Music Group announces a multi-rights and career spanning acquisition deal for the life work of music icon Frank Zappa…
4) KANYE WEST SUED FOR ALLEGEDLY SAMPLING CHICAGO HOUSE LEGEND MARSHALL JEFFERSON’S MUSIC WITHOUT PERMISSION
Kanye West has been hit with a lawsuit for the alleged copyright infringement of a sample used in the track Flowers on his Donda 2 album.
The legal action was filed in New York on Wednesday (June 29) by Ultra International Music Publishing, citing its client – Chicago House music pioneer Marshall Jefferson – who, as the lawsuit states, is “often referred to as the Father of House Music”.
According to the 11-page lawsuit – which you can read in full through here – West’s song Flowers features a sample of Jefferson’s “Instantly recognizable” track, Move Your Body…
5) CAA CLOSES ACQUISITION OF RIVAL ICM PARTNERS IN $750M DEAL
Los Angeles-headquartered talent giant Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has officially acquired its rival, ICM Partners.
The deal, first announced by the companies in September, was expected to close at the end of 2021, but has now been finalized after being examined by the Department of Justice.
The deal is reported by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety to be valued at $750 million with “a pro-forma” enterprise value of $5 billion for the combined firm.
Post acquisition, the combined company’s global staff count will be around 3,200, with The Hollywood Reporter noting further that, 425 ICM employees are set to join CAA, with 105 lay-offs expected…
Music Business Worldwide