“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”


The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) recently stated that this week, it received an estimated $424 million in accrued historical unmatched royalties from a total of 20 digital service providers (DSPs) along with corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties. The delivery contained more than 1,800 data files in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data.

Next month in March, YouTube is bringing its short-form video format, YouTube Shorts, to the US for official launch. The company has been testing the format in India since September, and reports that it has been watched more than 3.5 billion times a day in the country.

iHeartMedia is set to acquire Triton Digital for $230 million in a recently signed agreement with The E.W. Scripps Company. The acquired company is an Advertising Technology SaaS platform for audio streaming, podcasting and metrics that enables publishers to monetize their audiences, focusing on advertising infrastructure and measurement.

Please come and join us on Tuesday, February 23rd from 2:30-3:30 PM PST for a panel discussion on the Music Industry Report - 2020 at the California Copyright Conference! Download your free copy of the report here and register for the upcoming Zoom webinar here. We look forward to seeing you and we wish you all a wonderful and safe weekend!

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Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - February 19, 2021

The Mechanical Licensing Collective Receives $424 Million in Historical Unmatched Royalties from Digital Service Providers

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced this week that it has received a total of $424,384,787 in accrued historical unmatched royalties from digital service providers (DSPs), together with corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties. A total of 20 DSPs separately transferred accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC as required in order for them to seek the Music Modernization Act’s limitation on liability for past infringement. In addition to the accrued unmatched royalties transferred to The MLC, the DSPs concerned also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data. The transfer of these monies represents the culmination of a months-long effort on the part of The MLC and these DSPs to develop and implement the specifications for these usage reports. With these historical unmatched royalties and usage reports now in hand, The MLC can begin the process of reviewing and analyzing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners.

Google’s Answer to TikTok is Coming to the US Next Month - YouTube Shorts

YouTube is bringing its short-form video format, called YouTube Shorts, to the US in March. Both Facebook and Google have been combatting the growing rise of TikTok in separate ways. Facebook started with its Reels app in Brazil, which was eventually rolled into Instagram. YouTube has been testing the short-form video format in India since September. India serves as a great testbed for new short-form video services, since TikTok is officially banned there. YouTube says its Shorts have been watched more than 3.5 billion times a day in India, which is its largest market. Chief Product Officer Neil Mohan announced that it gives YouTube a makeover for easier content creation. He further confirmed, “Since the beginning of December, the number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools has more than tripled...In the coming weeks, we’ll begin expanding the beta to the US, unlocking our tools to even more creators so they can get started with Shorts.”

Another Giant Podcast Buy: iHeartMedia to Acquire Triton Digital for $230M

iHeartMedia has entered into an agreement with The E.W. Scripps Company to acquire Triton Digital for $230 million. Operating in more than 50 countries, Triton Digital is an Advertising Technology SaaS platform for audio streaming, podcasting and metrics that enables publishers to monetize their audiences. iHeart’s acquisition joins a tidal wave of podcast acquisitions in the music and audio space of late, with Spotify spending over $800 million on podcast-specific buyouts in the past two years. Amazon Music also recently acquired podcast production house Wondery for around $300 million, while Sirius XM acquired podcast platform Stitcher - also from E.W. Scripps - for $325 million in July 2020. Triton’s two lines of business focus on advertising infrastructure and measurement, including a content delivery system that distributes digital audio streams and podcasts to listeners while inserting ads, and its measurement business, which tracks audience and creates ratings reports.

Mechanical Licensing Collective: How to Register and Why It’s Important

The MLC, which officially launched operations on Jan. 1, 2021, is on track to begin paying out royalties from roughly 50 digital services providers (DSPs) including Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora in mid-to-late April. With roughly two months to go, the organization is now strongly encouraging all musical rights holders to register their works via the MLC website to ensure they get paid. How much in unpaid royalties is out there? The MLC has already received over $424 million in accrued unmatched royalties from those DSPs. MLC CEO Kris Ahrend adds that registration is free, the royalty payment schedule will occur monthly, and that 100% of royalties collected by The MLC goes to music creators, thanks to an Music Modernization Act clause that requires the DSPs to fund all operating costs of the organization. He further discusses all practical considerations concerning The MLC for rights holders, including who needs to sign up, how works should be registered, what resources are available for those who require assistance and more.

Universal Music Unveils IPO Plan for Later This Year

Vivendi plans to list 60% of its share of Universal Music Group (UMG) on the Euronext market in Amsterdam by the end of the year, according to announcements from the two companies this past week. The minimum target value for the company is 30 billion Euros, or around $36 billion. A Vivendi shareholders’ meeting has been set for late March to further the process. Vivendi additionally noted that Tencent - which finalized its acquisition of 20% of UMG late last year for 6 billion Euros, is expecting a higher price this time around. The company’s annual shareholders’ meeting is scheduled for June 22, with its next financial results on March 3.

Copyright Scanning Startup Pex Raises $57M Funding Round

Pex, a startup that developed technology to scan, fingerprint and index audio and video on a swathe of video streaming services and social apps, has raised an estimated $57 million funding round to continue its growth. Tencent and Tencent Music were among the new investors in the company, who also included the CueBall Group, NexGen Ventures Partners and Amaranthine. Pex plans to use the funding to continue work on its Attribution Engine (AE) product, which the company says “replaces unreliable upload filters and takedown requests with real-time use authorisation and licensing, benefiting creators while recognising and compensating those whose works are sampled and shared”.

Random Ramblings

  • NMPA President: Unmatched royalties finally turned over to The MLC brings insight and progress.
  • Hologram Artists - The future of live performance.
  • Cardi B sets a record as the first woman with consecutive No. 1 debuts on the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart.
  • How Britney Spears changed pop with ”Baby One More Time”.
  • JoJo brings soul to her folk song, "American Mood".

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