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Merlin Announces New Music Licensing Pact With JOOX

The indie music licensing company Merlin has just announced a new partnership, this time with the makers of the music app JOOX, owned by Chinese parent company TenCent. JOOX is a new strategic partner that gives Merlin members access to new audiences in Asia, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as South Africa. The agreement between the parties licenses Merlin content via JOOX’s ad-supported and premium tiers, as well as its karaoke feature and library. The music streaming company says it’s thrilled to work with Merlin, bringing a vast new library of unique content to its users across Asia and South Africa. “JOOX always strives to bring users a wide range of music entertainment content from around the globe in different languages and genres, catering… . . . read more

Paul Simon Latest To Sell Music Catalog

Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon has become the latest star musician to cash in on his lifetime body of work, selling his entire music catalog to Sony Music Publishing for an undisclosed amount. “I’m pleased to have Sony Music Publishing be the custodian of my songs for the coming decades,” said Simon after the deal was announced. “I began my career at Columbia/Sony Records and it feels like a natural extension to be working with the publishing side as well.” The deal is just the latest to be announced in a continuing trend that began in 2016. Prior to that year, investments in music catalogs never exceeded $200 million, and were usually much less, but in 2016 and the years since the sector has seen rapid growth. In that year sales… . . . read more

Songwriters Demand Musicians Stop Taking Credit For Their Work

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief A group of the world’s top songwriters are launching a rebellion of sorts against “a growing number of (recording) artists” who they say are taking credit—and royalties—for songs they had no hand in writing. Called The Pact, the group includes writers who have penned massive hits for Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, One Direction, Lorde, Michael Bublé, Shawn Mendes, and Selena Gomez, but it’s worth noting the The Pact has not named any of those artists as being part of the problem. This week the new advocacy penned an open letter, which we’ve reprinted in its entirety below, demanding a fair share of publishing royalties and full credit for songs they’ve written. They say music labels and artists alike have… . . . read more

Maurizio Distefano Licensing Inks Four Key Deals Through Global Merchandising Services

The Italian licensing firm Maurizio Distefano Licensing (MDL) has begun its partnership with Global Merchandising Services with a slate impressive deals, including several iconic musical artists and the brand of British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Thanks to its agreement with Global Merchandising Services, a leader in creating unique and innovative international merchandise programs, MDL now represents in the Italian market a roster of artists who together have sold in excess of one billion records. They include some of the biggest names in rock, pop and metal: Motörhead, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Backstreet Boys, Little Mix and Louis Tomlinson, to name only a few. MDL says the group of artists—who can boast sold-out tours all over the world and an influence on global fashion trends across a variety of musical genres—will offer MDL… . . . read more

Bob Marley Family Inks Deal With Psychedelic Mushroom Company

The family of reggae legend Bob Marley has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Silo Wellness, a company operating in the newly developing psychedelic and functional medical mushroom industry. The deal offers Silo the exclusive worldwide rights to brand, market, and sell a product line of functional and psychedelic mushrooms with the name and likeness of the reggae superstar, who died in 1981. “Our family is happy to collaborate with Silo Wellness to create the first ever global mushroom brand,” said the singer’s widow, Rita Marley. “When Bob and I were young we followed a strict, natural diet and we would include medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms fit with our vision of a world transformed for good through natural products.” This is not the family’s first foray into licensing deals for products… . . . read more

K-Pop Back on Spotify After Deal With Kakao

Music streaming leader Spotify says it has reached an agreement with Kakao Entertainment (previously known as KakaoM), making their content available on the platform across the globe, including for the first time in South Korea. As reported in The Licensing Letter, Kakao and Spotify were in a bitter dispute over music rights that saw hundreds of popular K-pop songs removed from Spotify, raising the ire of Spotify customers who are K-pop fans. The dispute came up when Spotify’s licensing agreement with Kakao expired, at the same time that the streamer was trying to negotiate access to the South Korean market. Kakao also operates a music streaming business in South Korea called Melon, and when the license expired without an agreement, Spotify pulled the distributor’s artists from its playlists. The ensuing uproar… . . . read more

Cardi B Releases Doll, Then Deactivates Her Twitter Account

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief The famous and sometimes infamous rapper Cardi B has released her own limited edition fashion doll, and within three minutes the doll had sold out, and Cardi B deactivated her Twitter account after a spat with fans. The release of the Cardi B doll was timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, and was put out through the newly formed enterprise Real Women Are, “a new diverse and inclusive doll brand.” The good news for Cardi B and Real Women Are is that the 10,000 copies of the limited release doll sold out within minutes. The bad news, that Cardi B quickly came under criticism by fans who complained she should be producing more music, not dolls for kids. As well, some critics have questioned… . . . read more

Spotify Removes K-Pop Songs in Licensing Debacle

If you’re a big K-pop fan with a Spotify account, you’re probably not too happy today. Thanks to a breakdown in licensing talks, songs from some of the world’s biggest K-pop stars have vanished from Spotify’s music library after talks between the streamer and Korean distributor Kakao M hit a brick wall. Some of the acts affected include many of Korea’s most popular acts, including Seventeen, MonstaX, Mamamoo, (G)I-DLE and IU. The issue was first noticed on March 1 (Korean time) as Spotify users around the world first noticed that many K-pop songs were no longer available to them on the platform. Some artists’ entire catalogs disappeared without warning from Spotify, while other artists saw some of their songs remain. Later the same day Spotify announced that its licensing agreement… . . . read more

Special Report: The Future of Hasbro

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief The ‘Play and Entertainment’ conglomerate Hasbro has for the first time outlined its future plans in a live investor event, and as expected, the news will be game changing for the company and for its licensing partners worldwide. Sit down and grab yourself a coffee or tea, because it’s a LOT. At the core of the announcement, Hasbro has outlined its “strategic growth drivers” for the near and medium term, and has unveiled new product segments aligned to these drivers. In other words, the company is restructuring, and it’s doing so in ways that it feels will better prepare Hasbro for a rapidly changing environment. The new financial reporting segments are: Consumer Products, including toys and games; Wizards of the Coast (Wizards) and… . . . read more

YouTube Clones TikTok For March Launch

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then TikTok must be positively blushing right now. The spectacular rise of TikTok as a social media and entertainment phenomenon has inspired Alphabet-owned streamer YouTube to face off directly with the upstart by launching its own version, called Shorts. Shorts is due to arrive in the United States in March, after a successful six-month beta test in India, where the service racked up 3.5 billion daily views. However, it’s worth noting that Chinese-owned TikTok is banned in India, due to ongoing tensions between the world’s two most populous countries. It’s unknown how Shorts will fare in a direct duel with TikTok, but we’ll find out next month when the services go head to head for the first time. Information about the new… . . . read more


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