“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.”
Bill Ackman’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Pershing Square Tontine Holdings announced this week that it will no longer be acquiring a 10 percent stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. The deal was previously finalized earlier this summer, valuing the music major at $41.6 billion.
YouTube recently launched Super Thanks - a way for fans to “express their gratitude and show support” for individual videos by allowing viewers to buy at four price points, ranging from $2 to $50. The company additionally has three other ways to support creators by paying: Super Chat, Super Stickers, and channel subscriptions.
TikTok unveiled in a blog post that, according to two online surveys conducted separately by MRC Data and Flamingo Group, 75% of TikTok visitors discover artists there, while 63% say it’s a source for music they’ve not heard before, and additionally, 67% state that they are more likely to seek out songs on music-streaming services.
Lastly, our co-founder and CEO Aaron Davis dives into Episode #4 of behind-the-scenes updates, giving you a peek into the work that goes on here at Exploration! Please click below or scroll to the bottom of this newsletter to watch the latest.
In this newsletter:
- Bill Ackman SPAC Drops Deal for 10 Percent Universal Music Stake
- YouTube’s Latest Tipping Feature Focuses on Individual Videos
- Studies Show TikTok’s Music Clout: Two-Thirds of Users Go to Streaming Services to Play Songs They’ve Found
- Sony Music Sues $1 Billion-Valued Fitness Brand Gymshark for Infringing 297 Recordings in Ads
- Twitch Streamers Get Desperate, Turn to Spotify Syncing Extension to Avoid DMCA Strikes
- UK Considering New Digital Competition Rules for Companies Like Apple
Now, the details...
Compiled by Heidi Seo
Exploration Weekly - July 23, 2021
Bill Ackman SPAC Drops Deal for 10 Percent Universal Music Stake
Investor Bill Ackman’s special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Pershing Square Tontine Holdings said it had dropped a deal to acquire a 10 percent stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music Group. Vivendi had finalized the deal for the label earlier this summer, valuing the music major at €35.0 billion ($41.6 billion). “Our share price has fallen by 18 percent since the transaction was announced on June 4,” the SPAC said after discussions with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which it said raised issues “with several elements of the proposed transaction – in particular, whether the structure of our initial business combination qualified under the New York Stock Exchange rules.” Vivendi has long been planning an initial public offering of the music firm in Amsterdam in September.
YouTube’s Latest Tipping Feature Focuses on Individual Videos
YouTube viewers already have three ways to support their favorite creators by paying: Super Chat, Super Stickers, and channel subscriptions. Now there’s a fourth, Super Thanks, and unlike the first two above, it isn’t restricted to being used during livestreams. This feature has actually been in testing since February this year, initially under the name of ‘applause’. Now rebranded as Super Thanks, it’s a way for fans to “express their gratitude and show support” for individual videos. “They will see an animated GIF and, as an added bonus, get a distinct, colourful comment to highlight their purchase, which creators can respond to,” announced YouTube. Super Thanks can be bought at four price points, ranging from $2 to $50 (including in local currencies in 68 countries) and will work on desktop and mobile YouTube. For now it’s in beta, but is opening up to “thousands” more channels this week.
Studies Show TikTok’s Music Clout: Two-Thirds of Users Go to Streaming Services to Play Songs They’ve Found
In a TikTok blog post, statistics from two online surveys conducted separately by MRC Data and Flamingo Group were revealed this week, showing that 75% of TikTok visitors discover artists there, while 63% say it’s a source for music they’ve not heard before and 72% indicating they associate certain songs with TikTok. The MRC study also specifically stated that 67% of TikTokers are more likely to seek out songs on music-streaming services. Branding videos that incorporate “original sound,” such as comedy sketches or voiceovers, also resonate, with 65% stating a preference for such spots, while the Flamingo study on cultural impact says that “67% of (content) creators feel closer to brands they see on TikTok, particularly when they publish human, unpolished content.”
Sony Music Sues $1 Billion-Valued Fitness Brand Gymshark for Infringing 297 Recordings in Ads
Sony Music Entertainment (SME) has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against UK-born fitness apparel brand Gymshark. The fitness firm, founded by Ben Francis in 2012, was valued at approximately $1.3 billion in August last year after selling a 21% stake to US-based General Atlantic. Gymshark is currently expanding into the US. In a legal document filed in California on Thursday (July 15), Sony Music claims that Gymshark “has achieved its success by infringing sound recordings and musical compositions belonging to a number of different content owners on a massive scale” and has “largely eschewed traditional advertising,” instead promoting its products in videos posted to the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. Sony Music states that while these videos on Instagram, TikTok etc. “have been instrumental to Gymshark’s success”, the company “has not paid for the privilege to use the sound recordings that are featured in them”. The music label is demanding a trial by jury and seeks statutory damages of up to the maximum amount of $150,000 per infringed recording.
Twitch Streamers Get Desperate, Turn to Spotify Syncing Extension to Avoid DMCA Strikes
Twitch streamers are turning to new solutions to avoid DMCA strikes, including browser extensions. A game developer named Peter Madsen has started work on an extension for Twitch called SpotifySynchronizer. It allows viewers to synchronize their Spotify accounts with the streamer – so they can hear the music on their own account. Viewers can hear the same music at the same time as the streamer, while music artists, Spotify, and PROs get paid. Viewers who are watching without the extension will only hear the standard game audio. According to TorrentFreak, Madsen made the extension by working within the bounds of the Twitch and Spotify APIs.
UK Considering New Digital Competition Rules for Companies Like Apple
The UK government is considering new regulations on market-dominant digital companies, like Apple. In April, the UK created the Digital Markets Unit (DMU) under the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The new unit will be able to designate large companies like Apple as having ‘Strategic Market Status.’ Companies with SMS designation will be required to follow new rules of acceptable behavior “with competitors and customers in a move that will benefit the public and drive growth and innovation across the economy.” No existing companies are directly listed as having obtained SMS designation yet. The UK government is ramping up its investigations into whether Apple’s position is anti-competitive in order to avoid issues like restricting users to a ‘default’ service. That requirement lands under the “mandatory code of conduct” that is being established for tech companies.
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