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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

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

Deadline Passes for TikTok Forced Sale With No Deal in Sight

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief TikTok owner ByteDance has blown by the deadline set by US President Donald Trump to sell the company to a US buyer, but US officials say they are not enforcing the executive order. US officials also say they will not extend the Dec. 4 deadline for TikTok’s parent company to sell off the rapidly growing social media app, but CNN and Bloomberg have both reported the Treasury Department does not currently plan to take action against ByteDance. ByteDance and its subsidiary have been negotiating a deal with the United States aimed at trying to resolve concerns that the app poses a security risk to the United States and other Western nations. ByteDance proposed bringing in US partners like Walmart and Oracle, and in… . . . read more

Universal Music Acquires Bob Dylan Catalog in 9-Figure Deal

Bob Dylan must be ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ right about now, after Universal Music Publishing Group announced the acquisition of the singer-songwriter’s entire music catalog for a reported nine-figure sum. The exact acquisition cost is still ‘Blowin’ in the Wind,’ but rumors are that it will top Stevie Nicks $100 million deal last week from Primary Wave, and could be one of the largest music catalog deals in history. Universal has acquired Dylan’s entire collection of more than 600 copyrighted songs spanning six decades, from 1962’s Blowin’ in the Wind to this year’s epic hit Murder Most Foul. “To represent the body of work of one of the greatest songwriters of all time – whose cultural importance can’t be overstated – is both a privilege and a responsibility,” said UMPG Chairman… . . . read more

Special Report: The TikTok Gold Rush Has Begun

Why Brands Need to Engage With the Upstart Social Media Platform By Gary Symons, TLL Editor in Chief It’s been a while since a new social media platform has really punched through the ceiling to join the ranks of the well-established giants like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  In early 2019 not many people in the West even knew about TikTok; it was just another in a series of video-related social media upstarts (remember Vine, anyone?) that briefly soared across the digital firmament, and then faded away.  But TikTok seems like it’s got real legs, not just because of the fast rate of adoption, but also because the company appears to have solved the monetization puzzle. Typically, social media networks acquire a lot of users, but struggle to turn those users… . . . read more

TikTok Stars Snag Deal With Build-A-Bear Via Joester Loria Group

If you’re in licensing and you’re not following TikTok stars like the sister duo WeWearCute, then you better start. The sisters Ashley and Emma have racked up billions of views on the rising social media platform, and represented by Joester Loria Group and TTPM Influencer Talent Management, they are knocking down deal after deal after deal. This week Joester Loria announced the duo have now signed with Build-A-Bear for a new collection that brings Emma and Ashley’s fashion flair to customizing plush toys and coordinated clothing. Given the two girls already have millions of fans, Build-A-Bear Workshop is obviously excited to have the two promoting their products online. “We are excited to begin a strategic partnership between TikTok influencers WeWearCute and Build-A-Bear Workshop,” says Jennifer Kretchmar, chief digital and merchandising officer, Build-A-Bear… . . . read more


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