The FCC has recently approved investment entity GMEI to acquire up to 14.99% of the shares in American radio giant iHeart. Earlier this year, GMEI had already bought more than 5% of the company controlling approximately 6.6% of total equity and 8.7% of voting interests.

Taylor Swift is filing another dismissal of the song-theft lawsuit over the lyrics of “Shake It Off” before it ends up in front of a jury. Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accused Swift of ripping off their 2001 song “Playas Gon Play” in 2017. After a first dismissal, the duo brought it to the appeals court and the case is now sent back to court again for take two.

US and UK vinyl sales are continuing to grow, according to the BPI and MRC Data. In the US, fans have reportedly purchased 2.11 million vinyl albums during the seven days ending on December 23rd, the highest weekly total since at least 1991. And in the UK, domestic fans purchased over 5 million LPs in the year, marking an 8% improvement from 2020.

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A little message from our Co-Founder and COO, Rene Merideth.

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Compiled by Heidi Seo


Exploration Weekly - December 31, 2021

Global-Linked Investment Entity Given Approval to Buy Up to 14.99% of iHeart

US media regulator the Federal Communications Commission has given the all clear for an investment entity linked to UK radio giant Global to acquire up to 14.99% of the shares in American radio giant iHeart. iHeart approached the FCC earlier this year regarding Global Media & Entertainment Investments (GMEI). At that point, GMEI had already bought more than 5% of the iHeart company – controlling approximately 6.6% of total equity and 8.7% of voting interests. That needed the FCC’s approval because of US rules regarding the ownership of media by foreign entities. It was also known that GMEI was interested in acquiring additional iHeart stock, so approval was sought for both past and future share purchases by the UK-linked investment vehicle. However, there was a disagreement between iHeart and GMEI about the future share purchase. iHeart sought approval for a more modest GMEI total share grab, initially 9.99%, later amended to 14.99%.

Taylor Swift Has One Last Go at Getting the Shake It Off Song-Theft Lawsuit Dismissed

Taylor Swift is having one last go at stopping her song-theft legal battle over the lyrics of ‘Shake It Off’ from ending up before a jury, urging the judge hearing the case to rethink his most recent ruling. Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accused Swift of ripping off their 2001 song ‘Playas Gon Play’ on her 2014 hit. Hall and Butler first went legal in 2017. However, the following year judge Michael Fitzgerald dismissed their lawsuit, concluding that their 2001 lyrics about ‘playas’ playing and ‘haters’ hating were simply “too banal” to enjoy copyright protection in isolation, which meant Swift had not infringed any copyrights with her very similar lyrics. But the duo took their case to the Ninth Circuit appeals court and, in 2019, judges there further questioned whether or not the two key lines of ‘Playas Gon Play’ could be protected by copyright. As a result, the whole matter was sent back to Fitzgerald’s court for take two. Swift’s team have been busy ever since trying to have the whole thing dismissed for a second time, but so far without success. Fitzgerald most recently declined to dismiss the case earlier this month.

US and UK Vinyl Sales Crack 30-Year Highs Following Record Holiday Performance

Vinyl sales are continuing to grow in both the US and the UK, according to newly released data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and MRC Data, with stateside fans having reportedly purchased 2.11 million vinyl albums during the seven days ending on December 23rd – the highest weekly total since at least 1991. The BPI further revealed in the UK that domestic fans purchased north of five million LPs in the year – marking an 8% improvement from 2020 as well as the format’s 14th consecutive year of commercial growth. Amid this vinyl sales growth, the format managed to outsell CDs for 23 weeks in 2021. Since 1991, vinyl sales have surpassed CD sales just 28 times in the States, per MRC Data, with the remaining five occurrences attributable to 2020.

Olivia Rodrigo, BTS Top Year-End Streaming Charts

Olivia Rodrigo, BTS, Bad Bunny, Doja Cat, Pooh Shiesty were among the artists topping the major streaming services’ year-end charts, according to a list distributed last week by the Digital Media Association, of which Amazon, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube are members. DIMA noted that streaming continued to rise in 2021, and that major hip-hop and reggaeton artists garnered many of the top spots in the year-end lists, “benefitting from streaming platforms’ ability to drive discovery and the exploding popularity of Latin music.” In YouTube, the top music videos in the US included “Back in Blood (feat. Lil Durk)” by Pooh Shiesty, “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd, and “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X.

Report Claims TikTok is Now the Third Largest Social Network

Research firm Insider Intelligence – formerly eMarketer – has published its latest predictions for TikTok’s growth. It claims that the app is now bigger than both Snapchat and Twitter for global users, making it the third largest social network behind Facebook and Instagram. “There will be 755.0 million monthly TikTok users in 2022. This number grew 59.8% in 2020 and will increase an additional 40.8% in 2021,” claimed Insider Intelligence. The research firm stated that “we define TikTok users as internet users of any age who access their TikTok account via any device at least once per month”.


Random Ramblings

  • The most viral music campaigns of 2021.
  • Race, COVID and the return of live music dominated country in 2021.
  • The artists we lost in 2021, in their words.
  • Remembering the Archies, a fake band ahead of its time.
  • Eric Clapton drops a new visual of "Heart of a Child" on Christmas Day.

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