From Universal dumping DIY distribution to Bandcamp using its own payment system on Android: that’s MBW’s weekly roundup

Welcome to Music Business Worldwide’s weekly roundup – where we make sure you’ve caught the five biggest stories that have made headlines over the past seven days. MBW’s Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize revenue and lower touring costs.


This week, distribution platform Spinnup, owned by Universal Music Group, revealed that it was changing from an “open DIY music distribution service” to a “discovery and distribution platform for organized artists.

In other words, Spinnup will soon be invitation-only and will reduce the number of artists using the platform.

Existing users were notified of the change via email Wednesday, May 18, and a notice on Spinnup’s website confirms that “certain artists” will now be leaving the platform. These artists are asked to pull their releases and transfer them to a new distributor by July 19, 2022.

This decision brings Spinnup’s business model closer to that of AWAL, the platform acquired by Sony Music last year.

Spinnup’s move from an “open DIY music distribution service” to an invite-only platform also comes three years after another distributor, Los Angeles-based Stem, revealed it would turn off the ability for any DIY artist to distribute their music via their platform.

Elsewhere, Bandcamp, which was acquired by Epic Games in March, announced it would continue to operate using its existing payment system on Android devices, after a joint stipulation was filed by Epic and Google in court. Californian Friday, May 20.

The news follows a petition filed by Epic against Google in April seeking a preliminary injunction to block Bandcamp’s removal from the Google Play Store.

According to the petition filed by Epic in April, Google threatened to remove all apps, including Bandcamp, from its app store on June 1, 2022, if they did not adopt Google’s payment system for in-app purchases.

Google agreed not to remove Bandcamp from its store, and Bandcamp agreed to place 10% of revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in an escrow account, until Epic’s ongoing case against Google is resolved.

Meanwhile, this week Danmark Music Group acquired the operations of Secretly Noord, the Scandinavia-based digital distribution arm of independent distributor Secretly Distribution.

As part of the agreement, Secretly Distribution becomes a financial partner in DENMARK.

Also this week, UK music licensing company PPL reported revenue of $347.7 million for 2021, while Universal consolidated licensing listings from its merchandise companies Bravado and Epic Rights.

Here’s what happened this week…


1) UNIVERSAL DUMPS DIY DISTRIBUTION, AS SPINNUP GOES ON PROMPT ONLY

Among the multitude of tempting reasons for Sony Music to acquire AWAL last year (*cough* instant market share *cough*) was the ex-platform Kobalt’s uncommon download model for indie artists.

Rather than allowing all artists around the world to upload their music to digital services (a la DistroKid or TuneCore), AWAL instead deploys a “first layer” of A&R filtering. As a result, approximately nine out of ten leads submitted to the AWAL platform would be rejected.

Now, Universal Music Group is making a significant change to its own independent artist distribution business that brings it closer to the AWAL model – and slams the door on many DIY artists hoping to distribute their music through UMG….


2) AFTER FOLLOWING GOOGLE ON THE APP STORE RULES, EPIC’S BANDCAMP MAY CONTINUE TO USE ITS OWN PAYMENT SYSTEM…FOR NOW.

Bandcamp has had a roller coaster few months.

In March, the online music store and direct-to-fan platform got both music and video game companies talking when it was acquired by Epic Games, worth $31.5 billion. million, maker of the hit video game Fortnite and Unreal Engine.

Last month, Bandcamp’s new parent company filed a lawsuit against Google seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the tech giant from removing the Bandcamp app from its app store.

Today (Friday, May 20), Epic and Google filed a joint stipulation in a California court, with the latter company agreeing not to evict Bandcamp from its app store…


3) A NEW INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTION CENTRAL EMERGES IN SCANDINAVIA, AS DENMARK SECRETLY BUY NOORD

Danmark Music Group has acquired the business of Secretly Noord, the Scandinavian-based digital distribution arm of independent distributor Secretly Distribution.

As part of the agreement, Secretly Distribution becomes a financial partner in DENMARK.

The Secretly Noord team – including former Phonofile employees Daggan Stamenkovic, Torny Gottberg and Jarle Savio – will become DANMARK’s Nordic team, with offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Oslo…


4) UK MUSIC LICENSING COMPANY PPL ANNOUNCES REVENUES OF $347.7M FOR 2021, UP 12% YOY

UK music licensing company PPL reported revenue of £252.8m ($347.7m) for 2021, up 12%, or £27.1m ($37.27m). dollars) year-on-year.

The company’s results for 2021 mark its second-highest annual revenue total, having collected £271.8million in 2019.

PPL reports that it saw year-on-year growth across all three revenue streams in 2021, including International, Broadcast & Online, and Public Performance & Dubbing, with International and circulation, and online licensing revenue reaching record annual amounts…


5) UNIVERSAL CONSOLIDATED BRAVADO AND EPIC RIGHTS MERCHANDISE COMPANY LICENSE LISTS

Bravado, the merchandise and brand management company of Universal Music Group, has announced what it calls the “centralization” of the Bravado and Epic Rights licensing listings.

The new structure will see Lisa Streff, Epic Rights’ SVP Global Licensing, oversee the two companies’ global licensing strategies.

Bravado and Epic’s centralized global roster includes AC/DC, Blackpink, David Bowie, Def Leppard, Guns & Roses, Justin Bieber, KISS, Slipknot and The Weeknd, among others….


MBW’s Weekly Roundup is supported by Centtrip, which helps over 500 of the world’s best-selling artists maximize revenue and lower touring costs.The music industry around the world

About Matthew R. Dailey

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