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Hi there -  

There's been much chatter these last couple of days around Vivendi's confirmation that it will look to go public via the Dutch stock exchange some time this year. MBW has a solid breakdown of the financials around this, but the short version is that it will generate significant sums for shareholders - even the smallest ones.

Doubtless this might prompt discussion as to whether artists should see a windfall from that, but I would be surprised if Universal took that route. As Rolling Stone outlines below however, there could be a big PR win for the major if it were to sell its stake in Spotify and share that revenue with artists instead. As the article notes, it is possible that Spotify's future might get a little less exciting in coming years as growth flattens out, making now arguably a fine time for someone like Universal to sell up.

Speaking of Spotify, an interesting article below asks whether Clubhouse will challenge the worlds of podcasting and music purely by swallowing up more and more of that valuable "share of ear" metric. If it does, then Spotify, with its strong focus on music and podcasting, could certainly see its share prices take a hit.

And would one of the Big Four buy Clubhouse? Well Facebook is plotting it's standard path for now, attempting first to clone the platform into a product of its own. We have been here before though, and it is equally likely that the company may eventually look to make its move if the cloned product fails to take off. Watch this space...

Have a great evening,


Universal’s Amsterdam adventure will leave even slender shareholders of Vivendi loaded
So what if Universal now floats in Amsterdam at this touted €30 billion valuation? The owner of a 1% stake in Vivendi today would receive a 0.6% stake in Universal… worth €180 million (currently worth around $218 million). The owner of a 0.1% stake in Vivendi today would receive a 0.06% stake in Universal… worth €18 million ($22 million) And the owner of a 0.01% stake in Vivendi today would receive a 0.006% stake in Universal… worth €1.8 million ($2.2 million) Yes: if all goes swimmingly with the UMG IPO plan, even Vivendi shareholders with a fractional stake in the French multimedia house are going to become multi-millionaires. Such numbers may draw the attention of artist advocates, questioning where their flock’s share of the money is. At the end of the day, however, Vivendi’s investors don’t answer to the music business, but to the travails of the stock market, and to the hard-hearted rules of corporate ownership.
Confirmed: Universal Music Group set to go public on Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange this year
Looks like Universal Music Group is going public this year – in Amsterdam. UMG parent Vivendi has confirmed it is examining a proposal to spin 60% of the music company out from the French company’s corporate ownership, and for UMG to start trading on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange by the end of 2021. Arnaud de Puyfontaine and Yannick Bolloré (Vivendi’s CEO and the Chairman of its Supervisory Board, respectively), informed their colleagues of the news this morning (February 13).
If Universal Music Sells Its Spotify Stock, Artists Get $500 Million
That said, there is an increasingly strong case to be made for Universal finally selling up. First, and most important, are its artists: In a year where touring has been decimated by the pandemic, and where other income streams — merch, public performance — have also been hit hard, delivering a one-time windfall of $550 million-plus to performers everywhere would no doubt buy Universal valuable goodwill amongst the artist community for years to come. Then, there’s the collywobbles around Spotify itself. The streaming company has just issued annual guidance to investors predicting that its global subscriber base will grow more slowly across 2021 (+17 to +29 million) than it did in 2020 (+31 million).
Vevo launches Moods, an ad product that targets users based on their emotions
Vevo has launched a new curation product called Moods, designed to help advertisers target the platform’s users more effectively Moods has been created in collaboration with music data and lyrics company Musixmatch. A proprietary model built by Musixmatch assigns a mood to each Vevo video’s metadata tag, enabling brands to target viewers based on “emotionally congruent environment”. To start, a palette of Moods available to advertisers on Vevo includes “fun”, “heartfelt”, “impassioned” and “empowering”. The platform says that additional moods and features will be rolled out over the coming months.
After leaving Spotify last year, Joe Budden takes podcast to Patreon, joins firm as Head of Creator Equity
Jack Conte, Patreon CEO and co-founder said: “Joe understands the discrepancy between what creators are worth and what they are paid. “From music to podcasts, Joe has found himself reaching millions of people and getting a tiny fraction of the value he has created. That’s exactly the problem that Patreon set out to solve — and Joe wants to help. “We’re excited to start working with him and figuring out even more ways to close the gap between the value that creators bring into the world and what they’re actually paid.”
Mike Shinoda releases his first NFT – and it's valuable
“Think of it like like owning a 1 of a kind item in a game, or like “owning” an instagram post. It’s a weird thing to own, yes, but: Here’s the crazy thing. Even if I upload the full version of the contained song to DSPs worldwide (which I can still do), i would never get even close to $10k, after fees by DSPs, label, marketing, etc,” tweeted Shinoda. “And reminder: the NFT isn’t the song—it’s an NFT containing the song. You can even rip the audio and video. And if the contained song becomes more popular, then arguably the NFT becomes more valuable.”
Licensing platform Pex secures $57m investment from Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment and others
Originally founded in 2014, Pex’s technology monitors social networks worldwide – as well as platforms which rely on UGC content – to weed out music and film content that belongs to rightsholders. Pex boasts that it can find “snippets as short as 1 second across dozens of platforms worldwide”. Last year, the company acquired Dubset Media Holdings in a buyout worth $25m-plus. Pex states that the new investment will help it to scale its Attribution Engine (AE), which the company describes as “the licensing infrastructure for a better Internet”.
Taylor Swift: ‘Artists should own their work for so many reasons’
Swift tweeted that the full album “is done and will be with you soon”, accompanied by an all-lower-caps message about the motivation behind the re-recordings. Well, all-lower-caps apart from some mid-sentence capitals spelling out ‘APRIL NINTH’, which helpfully expands on the “soon” release date. “Artists should own their own work for so many reasons, but the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really *knows* that body of work,” she wrote. The album will come with six previously-unreleased tracks, written for the original album but not included on it. “The process has been more fulfilling and emotional than I could’ve imagined and has made me even more determined to re-record all of my music,” she added.
Tax write-offs musicians should take advantage of
Full disclosure: we’re going to go into a list of potential write-offs in this post to give you ideas, but you should talk to a professional accountant about your own business situation and identify legitimate write-offs. Tax laws change over time, and the best accountants will make sure everything you are doing is legitimate. In other words, we’re not tax accountants, but this advice should help get you to better understand the landscape.
New artists, does it pay to be streaming first?
My prediction is that of many of the services designed to help harness the fan community model (FanCircles, Trackd) as well as smart marketing platforms (Feed, Toneden, Zebr) will gain in success by playing a key role in enabling fan first marketing strategies, be they for artists directly or via picking up more projects being outsourced by labels. The same goes for creative digital agencies (un:hurd, Deep Cuts, Motive Unknown) that are focused on knowledge sharing and co-creation with artists as well as marketing strategy & execution.
Does Clubhouse Mean Bad Things for Podcasting?
Well, the answer is yes, of course, probably. For one thing, on the consumption side, all media formats ultimately compete with each other for minutes of attention in a day, and within the specific frontier of audio, one could make the case for thinking in zero-sum terms: Time spent on Clubhouse or Spaces or whatever is time that could have been spent on, say, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. (It’s also, for that matter, time that could’ve been spent digitally streaming the radio, or listening to music.) But there are also non-zero sum possibilities: Time spent on Clubhouse or Spaces could theoretically increase affinity for audio experiences that can be trickled down to elsewhere, which in turn grows, to borrow Edison Research’s terminology, the overall “share of ear.”
Fortnite is hosting a film festival on the party royale island
Fortnite’s violence-free mode, party royale, will soon be the home of a short film festival. Today, developer Epic announced “Short Nite,” which will feature multiple animated shorts, all broadcast on the virtual island’s big screen. The event will start on February 20th at 2PM ET, and Epic says the entire run will last around 30 minutes, though it will be rebroadcast for 24 hours, ending on February 21st at 2PM ET.
UK watchdog fines two firms £270k for cold-calling 531,000 people who had opted out
The ICO said it had asked House Guard about compliance with PECR, and found it too had bought a database of phone numbers from several third parties, and had not screened the data against TPS. The ICO said there were multiple breaches of PECR. House Guard has now been fined £150,000 and payment is due via BACS transfer or cheque by 12 March. This will be reduced by 20 per cent if payment in full is made by 11 March.
Facebook is reportedly working on a Clubhouse copy
Facebook, a company known for ripping its ideas from competitors, has reportedly set its sights on social audio. The New York Times reports today that the company is working on a copycat of Clubhouse, the buzzy invite-only social audio startup. The Times reports the product is in the “early stages of development,” so it’s unclear if and when it might launch.
Cops playing copyrighted music to stop video of them being posted online
On several occasions, cops have started playing popular music when they realize they're being filmed. The odd behavior has a point: they hope that copyright-strike algorithms on YouTube, Instagram and other social media sites will prevent the video being posted and shared. The latest example comes courtesy of Sgt. Billy Fair of Beverly Hills P.D, who only succeeded in Streisand Effecting himself with a blast of Sublime's 'Santeria.'
Still looking for more? Here's some other reads I have enjoyed lately...
Why using Facebook and YouTube should require a media literacy test
“Fucking bonkers”: The Isle Of Man has been raving safely though the pandemic
Bill Gates: ‘Carbon neutrality in a decade is a fairytale. Why peddle fantasies?’
Clubhouse app: what is it and how do you get an invite to the audio app Elon Musk uses?
Covid-19: Five ways to avoid lockdown eye strain
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