“The trees will tell their secrets to those that tune in.”
US Senators Richard Blumenthal, Marsha Blackburn and Amy Klobuchar have proposed the Open App Markets Act to regulate the Apple and Google app stores. If passed, the new laws would ban Apple from obliging app-makers to use its proprietary payment system and App Store.
Vivendi recently sold 7.1% of its company Universal Music Group (UMG) to Bill Ackman’s investment firm, Pershing Square Holdings, for $2.8 billion. The deal values UMG at 35 billion Euros, or around $41 billion.
Major labels Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music have filed a second lawsuit against Charter Communications, alleging that the company has allowed thousands of its subscribers to infringe copyright during the period July 26, 2018 to present. The first lawsuit was filed against Charter in March 2019.
Ever been curious about what exactly happens behind the scenes of the music industry? Our latest episode featuring Aaron Davis, CEO & co-founder of Exploration, takes a deep dive into key operations that go into running a music company. Watch below and feel free to reach out anytime if you have any questions!
In this newsletter:
- US Senators Propose New Laws to End Apple and Google’s Unpopular App Store Rules
- Vivendi Sells 7.1% of Universal Music Group to Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square for $2.8 Billion
- Major Labels Hit Charter Communications with Second Copyright Suit
- Users Can Now Navigate YouTube Video “Chapters” with Two-Fingered Double Taps
- German Recorded Revenues Grew 12.4% in First Half of 2021
- TikTok Owner ByteDance Plans Hong Kong IPO (Report)
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - August 13, 2021
US Senators Propose New Laws to End Apple and Google’s Unpopular App Store Rules
The Open App Markets Act has been proposed by US Senators Richard Blumenthal, Marsha Blackburn and Amy Klobuchar to regulate the Apple and Google app stores. The potential bill would force Apple and Google to allow app-makers to use and sign-post alternative payment platforms within their apps, making it easier to circumvent Apple and Google’s own commission charging transaction systems. Both Spotify and Epic Games have been very vocal in their criticism of Apple and Google’s app store rules in recent years, arguing that policies that favor and/or enforce the app store owners’ proprietary payment systems are anti-competitive. If passed, the new laws would stop Apple from obliging app-makers to use its proprietary payment system or even its proprietary App Store. Any rules that stop app-makers from communicating alternative payment options to their consumers would be outlawed, and Apple wouldn’t be allowed to give its own apps preferential treatment in any App Store searches.
Vivendi Sells 7.1% of Universal Music Group to Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square for $2.8 Billion
France-based Vivendi, parent of Universal Music Group (UMG), has sold 7.1% of that company’s share capital to Pershing Square Holdings, the investment firm managed by Bill Ackman, for $2.8 billion, with the possibility to sell him a further 2.9% by September 9, 2021. The deal values UMG at 35 billion Euros, or around $41 billion. The announcement follows news last month that Ackman decided not to use his SPAC to acquire the 10% stake in UMG after the Securities and Exchange Commission voiced concerns about the complicated agreement, which would have been the biggest SPAC transaction to date. As promised, Ackman used his hedge fund to buy the stake directly instead. UMG parent company Vivendi had previously announced that UMG would be spun off as a standalone entity to trade on Euronext after it distributes 60% of UMG to its shareholders by September. It confirmed in an announcement that if Ackman’s share is less than 10%, it will sell the shortfall to other investors.
Major Labels Hit Charter Communications with Second Copyright Suit
Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music have collectively filed a second lawsuit against Charter Communications, alleging that the company has continually failed to rein in copyright infringement committed by thousands of its subscribers. The complaint, filed July 26 in the U.S. District Court in Colorado by the big three labels and their respective publishing companies and subsidiaries, follows a previous, ongoing suit lobbied by the labels against Charter in March 2019. That suit covered alleged infringement activity that occurred on Charter’s network between March 24, 2013, and May 17, 2016, while the new complaint covers infringement which took place from July 26, 2018 to present. The plaintiffs are asking for maximum statutory damages, which would be on the hook for more than $420 million.
Users Can Now Navigate YouTube Video “Chapters” with Two-Fingered Double Taps
YouTube has implemented a new gesture control on the Android version of its app that will let users navigate video ‘Chapters‘ by double-tapping with two fingers. The update was first spotted by Reddit user MagnatronMusic31, and first reported by Android Police. On the right side of the screen, a double-fingered double tap advances to the next Chapter; on the left side of the screen, it rewinds to the previous one. YouTube began testing Chapters — or delineated sections of a video within the scrubbing timeline — in April 2020, and rolled the feature out fully the following month. Chapters aim to make lengthier videos easier to navigate, the company says, and are generated based on user-provided timestamps in video description boxes.
German Recorded Revenues Grew 12.4% in First Half of 2021
German industry body BVMI has published figures for recorded music there in the first half of 2021. Revenues grew by 12.4% year-on-year to €903.8m (around $1.06bn), with streaming up by 19.9% to account for 70.6% of the market. CD sales fell by 16.4% in Germany in the first half of this year while vinyl sales grew by 49.5%, although the former format still has the upper hand with a 14.5% market share compared to 5.9%.
TikTok Owner ByteDance Plans Hong Kong IPO (Report)
After shelving tentative plans for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in April, TikTok owner ByteDance is reportedly eyeing a Hong Kong debut. The Beijing-based tech giant plans to list on the Hong Kong market in the fourth quarter of 2021 or early 2022, people familiar with the matter told The Financial Times. ByteDance was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Zhang Yiming, who left the company in May. Over the past nine years, it has raised nearly $10 billion in funding, with its most recent round, a $5 billion raise in December 2020, valuing it at $180 billion.
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