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Universal Licenses Entire Music Catalog For Fitness App

In yet another sign of the momentous changes in the music licensing industry, Universal Music Group has licensed its entire music catalog to the Variis digital fitness app. The deal means app users will be able to work out at home to the music of major recording artists like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and many more. It also marks one of the early deals in a game-changing trend which has seen music publishers and labels greatly expand their concept of where synchronous music licensing can go. Over the past year the industry has seen major labels signing licensing deals with social media networks like TikTok, and with video game publishers, as a way to expand revenue far beyond the world of streaming. At the… . . . read more

Ector Hired to Lead Downtown’s Licensing Work

As the acquisitions of music catalogs has soared, Downtown Music Holdings has hired Dewayne Ector as its Chief Revenue Officer, a newly created position, to oversee digital licensing. In his new role, Ector will be responsible for overseeing the successful negotiation and maximization of revenue from digital licenses covering all rights types represented across Downtown’s business units. Ector’s appointment follows a successful tenure leading partner relations and income tracking for Downtown-owned subsidiary SongTrust, a leading technology solution for global music publishing royalty collection and administration. “Establishing a group-wide strategy for digital licensing with DSPs and other pay sources has long been part of Downtown’s plan to support our continued growth and efforts to scale our business globally,” said Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz. “Dewayne’s knowledge and command of the complicated global royalties… . . . read more

Special Report: The Evolution of Music Licensing

By Gary Symons, TLL Editor in Chief The Bob Dylan music deal with Universal Music has shown that for musicians and music companies, the times truly are a’changin’. But, in truth, that change was coming long before Universal stroked a check for a reported $300 million to $400 million, in return for Dylan’s entire music catalog of roughly 600 songs. Also in December Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks sold 80 per cent of the rights to her catalog of songs she wrote to music publisher Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. In August, Imagine Dragons sold their catalog for more than $100 million to Concord Music Publishing. What should have gained a lot more press, however, were the other deals happening in 2019 and building momentum through 2020. For… . . . read more

Neil Young to Cash In on Music Catalogs

Canadian rock star and songwriter Neil Young is out of the blue, and heavily into the black, after selling a 50 per cent interest in his music catalog for an estimated $150 million US. As noted in this week’s Special Report from The Licensing Letter, the past four years and 2020 in particular have seen a massive increase in the value and scale of music catalog deals. Sales rose from an average of $100 million to $200 million a year prior to 2016, to more than $4 billion in 2019. Figures for 2020 are not yet out, but music rights deals are expected to hit a new and dramatic high after landmark deals with Bob Dylan, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac, and many others. Young’s sale… . . . read more

“Makeup junkie” Halsey Launches Own Beauty Line

Most people, including her fans, aren’t aware that hit singer/songwriter Halsey is a self-taught makeup artist, so it makes sense she’s launching her own beauty line on Jan. 25 under the brand name about-face. “Makeup is an art and art is about happy accidents, not any one ideal of perfection,” said Halsey, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of about-face. “I always feel the most free when I am creating looks without following any rules. The beauty industry has norms, but I want to encourage people to challenge those standards and allow things to be imperfect and fun.” Halsey says she’s always taken control of her own look on stage and for music videos. Over the years she’s become a self-described “makeup junkie,” and has an encyclopedic knowledge of brands, application… . . . read more

Music Licensing Collective Goes Live

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief New Year’s Day marked a major change in the music licensing industry, as the Mechanical Licensing Collective went live as part of the Music Modernization Act. The bill was passed in 2018 with the goal of bringing in more fair rules for the compensation of musicians and songwriters, and called for the establishment of a body to oversee payment of royalties for songs that are downloaded, streamed, or sold as a record or CD. The MLC is a non-profit established under the regulations established in the Music Modernization Act, and has broad implications for songwriters or any company that has purchased the rights to music. The MLC also comes into play just as the market for music rights has heated up, with more… . . . read more

#1 TikTok Star Charli D’Amelio and Family Get Hulu Series

Charli D’Amelio must have one of the fastest arcs to stardom of all time, rocketing to 100 million followers as the top TikTok user, and now getting a series on Hulu with her sister Dixie (also a TikTok star of note), and their parents Heidi and Marc. “The D’Amelio Show” will air on Hulu in 2021 as an eight-episode docuseries that follows “the first family of TikTok” as they live through the sudden transition from ordinary American family to international celebrities. “Two years ago Charli and Dixie D’Amelio were virtually unknown outside of their town, and now have over 100 million fans who tune in daily for their every move. Every teen on social media dreams of becoming famous, but what happens when the reality hits?” said Belisa Balaban, VP… . . . read more

Spotify Crowns Its Year With Royal Podcast Deal

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief Photo by Mark Jones The audio streaming leader Spotify has literally placed a crown on the year 2020, as its burgeoning podcast business signed a multi-year partnership with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  The royal couple recently formed Archewell Audio, and that company will now produce regular podcasts for Spotify’s 144 million premium subscribers and 320 million monthly active users. “What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction,” The Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a joint statement. “With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we… . . . read more

Who’s News: Big Moves at Henson, Sony, iHeart Media

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Selects New President for Global Digital Sony looked internally to fill the position of President, Global Digital, promoting Antony Bebawi to the position, reporting directly to Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Jon Platt. Throughout his career at Sony/ATV, Antony has spearheaded pivotal digital initiatives and led the negotiation of key deals with the major digital services. Working closely with Sony/ATV’s global administration team and collection society partners, he also has been focused on industry data challenges and the streamlining of digital royalty processing to improve accuracy and transparency as streaming continues to evolve. “As a leader in the digital music space, Antony has been pivotal in strengthening the presence of our songwriters and their music on a global scale,” said Platt. “I’m proud to promote Antony to this… . . . read more

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Gets Into Book Biz With Random House

Recording artist and producer Jay-Z is getting into the book publishing business, and in a big way, thanks to a deal with Random House. The publishing giant announced this week the launch of a new publishing imprint with Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter. Called Roc Lit 101, the imprint will be devoted to publishing books at “… the dynamic intersection of entertainment and genre-defying literature, including exhilarating, innovative work from some of the biggest artists and writers of our time on a wide range of subjects such as music, sports, pop culture, activism, and art.” Random House says Roc Lit 101 will be overseen by Chris Jackson, the current Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of One World books, and Jana Fleishman, EVP of Roc Nation. “The goal of Roc… . . . read more


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