According to a press release announced by The MLC, Simply Royalties and Verifi Media have now joined its Data Quality Initiative (DQI) Partner Program. There are now seven music data companies onboarded as official DQI partners. By working with The MLC, these companies will be able to help their clients and customers prepare and submit their files as part of the DQI to increase accuracy of musical works data.

US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Charles E. Grassley proposed a new bipartisan bill called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. If the legislation is passed, dominant online platforms like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook engaging in anti-competitive conduct could face harsh penalties.

Music industry groups like the record industry trade body BPI and indie organization AIM have welcomed the news that the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority will begin a study into the music streaming market in order to consider the dominance of the majors in recorded music and music publishing as well as how streaming monies are currently shared out across the music community.

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Compiled by Heidi Seo

Exploration Weekly - October 22, 2021

The MLC Welcomes Simply Royalties and Verifi Media as New Data Quality Initiative (DQI) Partners

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced that Simply Royalties and Verifi Media have joined its Data Quality Initiative (DQI) Partner Program, partnerships that will make it easier for each company’s customers to participate in the DQI and check the accuracy of their musical works data with that listed in The MLC’s database. With the new additions, The MLC now has seven music data companies onboarded as official DQI partners. The organization continues to emphasize the importance of data accuracy with its Members as well as with the DQI - a user-friendly resource that rights holders can use to make sure they have registered the most accurate, complete and updated musical works data with The MLC. DQI users receive reports highlighting the discrepancies between the data they submit for comparison and The MLC’s data. Using these reports, participants can easily identify those discrepancies and then take the necessary steps to resolve the issues. The MLC’s DQI partners take different approaches to helping their clients and customers participate in the DQI. While some integrate new functionality into the existing data-related products, services and software platforms they offer, others work with their clients directly to help them prepare and submit their comparison files to The MLC and review the results.

Spotify Hails New Senate Bill Targeting Tech Giants

On Monday October 18, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Charles E. Grassley introduced a new bipartisan bill called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would make it illegal for dominant online platforms like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook from using their market power to stifle competition and engage in “self-preferencing” - i.e., favoring their own products and services over those of competitors in search results. It's a companion bill to one passed in June by the House Judiciary Committee. The new bill could have implications for Apple’s App Store, which could enable app developers to direct customers to purchase methods outside of Apple's in-house payment system. If the legislation is passed, tech giants engaging in anti-competitive conduct could face harsh penalties, including fines of up to 15% of revenue generated in the period during which the company in question was found to have broken the law.

Artists and Songwriter Groups Welcome Competition & Market Authority’s Streaming Market Study

Various music industry organizations responded to the news that the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority will undertake a study into the music streaming market. Although the exact scope of the study has not been confirmed, the parliamentary inquiry mentioned that such an investigation should consider the dominance of the majors in recorded music and music publishing, and the effect that dominance may or may not have had on the streaming market, and how streaming monies are shared out across the music community. The CMA’s announcement was also welcomed by various music organizations like Tom Gray’s #BrokenRecord campaign, AIM, representing the indie sector, as well as record industry trade body BPI.

Free, Social, and Video Platforms Online Account for 45% of Music Consumption, According to IFPI

Digital platforms account for the majority of global music consumption according to new stats from the International Federation Of Phonographic Industry (IFPI), although nearly two-thirds of that is on free, social and video platforms. In 2020, premium streaming services – which account for just over a third of total digital consumption – brought in nearly three quarters of the record industry’s streaming revenues. The IFPI’s new “Engaging With Music” report is based on a survey of 43,000 internet users aged 16-64 in 21 countries. Globally speaking, premium streaming services like Spotify Premium and Apple Music account for 23% of music consumption. The free streaming services, like Spotify’s free tier, account for 9%. And then you have the social and video services, with video streaming like the main YouTube platform accounting for 22% of consumption, social media platforms 3% and TikTok style short form video apps 11%.

Liberty Media Sells iHeartMedia Stake, Exiting Broadcast Radio Business

Liberty Media sold its entire stake in iHeartMedia, the largest radio broadcaster in the US. According to an iHeartMedia SEC filing, Liberty Media sold its total holdings of Class A common stock (5.94 million shares) at $25.25 per share in an open market block trade. The company had purchased $600 million worth of iHeartMedia debt between November 2017 and February 2018 for $490 million. Then, after iHeartMedia reached a bankruptcy settlement with its bondholders to reduce its debt load, Liberty received 6.54 million shares and 435,000 special warrants for an equal number of Class A common stock -- a total of roughly 6.9 million shares. Liberty Media holds 78% of SiriusXM, which owns music streaming service Pandora outright, as well as 32% of Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoter. It groups the three investments, and its former stake in iHeartMedia, into Liberty SiriusXM Group. Quietly unloading its iHeartMedia investment ends Liberty's attempt to build a market-spanning media conglomerate.

A Third of Jobs in UK Music Were Lost During Pandemic, Industry Body Calls for Urgent Government Action

According to the annual report by industry body U.K. Music, the debilitating impact of COVID-19 wiped out 69,000 jobs, or one in three of the workforce. The This Is Music 2021 report also records that employment plummeted 35% from 197,000 in 2019 to 128,000 in 2020; the music industry’s economic contribution fell 46% from £5.8 billion ($7.9 billion) to £3.1 billion ($4.2 billion) in 2020; and music exports dropped 23% from £2.9 billion in 2019 to £2.3 billion in 2020. Glastonbury was among the hundreds of festivals and live music events canceled, studios and venues were forced to close, and musicians and crew were unable to work. In a sector where 75% of the workforce are self-employed, many were not covered by government support schemes. U.K. Music is calling on the government to take action, including implementing tax incentives for the music industry to stimulate growth and jobs and removing the barriers to touring the EU.

Apple Unveils New HomePods and $4.99 Apple Music Voice Plan

This week, Apple announced a new Voice Plan that costs $4.99 a month, and is tied to the Siri voice assistant rather than to a single device. So, people can use it across “all of their Siri-enabled devices” including iPhones, HomePod Minis, AirPods and more. It seems playlist-focused too: Apple Music is launching “hundreds” of mood and activity-based playlists to accompany its launch, sitting alongside its existing curated selection. Users will be able to access the whole Apple Music catalog, and skip songs as often as they like although they won’t get features like spatial and lossless audio, lyrics or music videos, which are reserved for the $9.99 individual and $14.99 family tiers.

Random Ramblings

  • How producers shaped our sounds.
  • 6 of the most innovative digital music platforms you might have not heard of from around the world.
  • Adele breaks records on Spotify and Amazon Music with “Easy On Me”.
  • How Non-Fungible Tokens will revolutionize the music industry.
  • Willow Smith drops a new video of her collaboration with Avril Lavigne.

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