From Common’s scrubbed SPAC sell-off to Warner’s Doug Morris label buyout: It’s MBW’s Weekly Spherical-Up
Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly roundup – where we make sure you know the five biggest stories that made our headlines over the past seven days. The MBW roundup is backed by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.
Who is going to own the largest music rights company in the world?
That’s a question we can’t fully answer right now, thanks to the gimmicks this week at Vivendi’s attempt to sell a 10% stake in Universal Music Group.
US-based SPAC that was supposed to buy 10% of UMG this summer – Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH) – has pulled out of this deal.
Instead, it has passed its UMG share purchase agreement to a similarly named company, Pershing Square Holdings Ltd (PSH), which trades on the London Stock Exchange.
The key fact in this narrative: Vivendi confirmed this week that PSH is now Not Buy 10% of UMG for $ 4 billion as originally agreed with PSTH.
Instead, PSH could only buy 5% of Universal – which would leave Vivendi the task of finding another buyer to get the extra 5% stake PSH still has on the table.
Vivendi has committed to find this additional buyer by September 21st if 60% of UMG is to go public in Amsterdam.
Elsewhere this week, the Warner Music Group reached for the assets of Doug Morris’s 12Tone Music, which Anderson .Paak counts in their catalog.
The fee for the deal wasn’t disclosed, but considering Sony Music just paid nine-figure sums for Todd Moscowitz’s Alamo Records, it’s a safe bet Morris made a pretty penny.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Warner’s purchase of the assets?
Apple is / was an investor in 12Tone, which means that a “traditional” player from the big record industry has just bought the music rights from a global tech leviathan.
In the music business, watchers – including MBW – have long pondered what might happen to record labels as tech giants begin to buy more and more bankable music rights directly.
Current evidence suggests that this trend is actually going in the opposite direction, and not just because of the 12Tone story: Industry whisperers tell MBW that Alphabet / Google is no longer holding a stake in 300 Entertainment, the hugely successful indie market in New York under the direction of Kevin Liles. (Google was an early source of funding for 300 previously headed by Lyor Cohen, now global head of YouTube Music.)
In the last few days, Sony Music Publishing has also announced – in a groundbreaking step – that it will disregard unredeemed balances for traditional songwriters who meet certain criteria, as CTS Eventim has confirmed that it will take up the fight against Live Nation and Co. by expanding to Asia.
Below are five of the biggest stories MBW has covered this week …
1) THE SALE OF 70% OF THE VIVENDI UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP WILL BE… COMPLICATED
Late last week, Vivendi’s plan to sell 70% of Universal Music Group seemed easy enough.
The French company planned and plans to spin off 60% of UMG to the Amsterdam Stock Exchange in September (more precisely on September 21st).
In addition, Vivendi was to sell 10% of UMG in a $ 4 billion transaction to US-based Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH).
That changed this week when Ackman announced that his SPAC had canceled its acquisition and signed a share purchase agreement with Pershing Square Holdings Ltd.
But that’s not the end of the story …
2) WARNER MUSIC GROUP ACQUIRES ASSETS FROM DOUG MORRIS ’12TONE MUSIC
Warner Music Group (WMG) acquires the assets of 12Tone Music, an independent label founded in 2018 by veteran music manager Doug Morris.
Under this agreement, Morris will continue to be actively involved in the day-to-day operations of 12Tone Music and its artists.
12Tone’s catalog and listing, most recently distributed by ADA, Warner’s independent label and artist service arm, includes artists such as four-time Grammy-winning Aftermath Anderson .Paak and the 88 Rising collective (with global superstar Joji in their list).
3) SONY MUSIC PUBLISHING NOW DISCONNECTED INVOICES FOR HERITAGE SONGWRITERS
Last month, in a move that received widespread applause, Sony Music announced that it would ignore uncollected balances for a number of iconic artists on its books.
The move was launched through an initiative called “Artists Forward” which, according to the record company, focuses on “prioritizing transparency with creators in all aspects of their development”.
Now this initiative’s marquee policy, The Legacy Unrecoped Balance Program, is expanding to include songwriters, with Sony Music Publishing (SMP) announcing today that it will be disregarding future unredeemed balances for qualifying songwriters …
4) CTS EVENTIM STARTS EVENTIM LIVE ASIA IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EX-LIVE NATION EXEC JASON MILLER
The music industry shouldn’t sleep on the rapid growth of concert promoter and ticketing company CTS Eventim.
The company, headquartered in Munich, achieved a turnover of 1.44 billion euros in 2019, more than three times the turnover of a decade earlier (2009: 467 million euros).
Now that the company is trying to recover from a pandemic year in 2020, it has taken a huge global step – the launch of Eventim Live Asia (ELA) in partnership with Jason Miller….
5) SONY MUSIC is suing fitness brand GYMSHARK valued at $ 1 billion for violating 297 ADS RECORDINGS
Sony Music Entertainment (SME) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against UK-born fitness apparel brand Gymshark.
The fitness company, founded by Ben Francis in 2012, was valued at around $ 1.3 billion in August last year after it sold a 21% stake to US-based General Atlantic. Gymshark is currently expanding into the United States.
In a legal document filed in California on Thursday (July 15), Sony Music alleged that Gymshark “achieved its success by violating the sound recordings and musical compositions of a number of different content owners”, including SMBs, “on a massive scale”. …
MBW’s weekly roundup is backed by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize their income and reduce their touring costs.Music business worldwide