30 episodes

Music Business Worldwide (MBW) is the leading information and jobs service for the global music industry. It publishes two podcasts: The weekly series, Talking Trends – which dives behind the biggest headlines in the music industry – as well as The MBW Podcast, which sees us interview some of the leading figures in the global business.

Music Business Worldwide Music Business Worldwide

    • Music
    • 4.7 • 30 Ratings

Music Business Worldwide (MBW) is the leading information and jobs service for the global music industry. It publishes two podcasts: The weekly series, Talking Trends – which dives behind the biggest headlines in the music industry – as well as The MBW Podcast, which sees us interview some of the leading figures in the global business.

    Why Sir Lucian Grainge got paid what he got paid in 2021... and why it's okay to be jealous (Talking Trends)

    Why Sir Lucian Grainge got paid what he got paid in 2021... and why it's okay to be jealous (Talking Trends)

    Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.

    This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, discusses the stunning amount of money paid to Universal Music Group boss, Sir Lucian Grainge, in 2021.

    Ingham (pictured) calculates that Grainge pulled in around $45 million in basic salary plus annual bonuses in 2021, in addition to a nine-figure one-time payment related to Universal's flotation on the Amsterdam stock exchange in September.

    Grainge's astronomical payday in 2021 has agitated some sections of the music industry, but Ingham argues why – from a Universal shareholder perspective – the British exec was "worth every penny" of the huge one-time payout he received.

    Much of this week's episode comments on this Guardian article from November 2021, and why it's problematic  to compare the one-time payments of a public company CEO/Chairman to the annual cumulative royalties of UK songwriters in 2019.

    • 17 min
    Spotify suddenly deletes comedy albums: Could it be sued for $100 million-plus? (Talking Trends)

    Spotify suddenly deletes comedy albums: Could it be sued for $100 million-plus? (Talking Trends)

    Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.

    This week on Talking Trends, MBW founder, Tim Ingham, explains why Spotify deleted a swathe of comedy albums from its service over the Thanksgiving weekend – and why it might be at the mercy of big-money lawsuits in the weeks and months ahead.

    Ingham (pictured) explains that two prominent companies now operating in the world of comedy royalty collection and administration – Word Collections and Spoken Giants – are each respectively run by two music industry veterans who are experts in the intricacies of licensing in the US: Jeff Price (Word Collections), the founder of Audiam and TuneCore; and Jim King (Spoken Giants), a former senior figure at US collection society BMI.

    Spotify has suddenly removed comedy albums by stand-ups ranging from Kevin Hart to Tiffany Haddish, Jim Segura and Robin Williams – as Jim King accuses the streaming company of knowing "they don’t have all the rights in place to serve this content".

    That's a reference to the rights to the underlying lyrical content of each piece of performed stand-up. Spotify has the licenses to the recordings, but possibly not this underlying right – the equivalent of the publishing right in music.

    In music, such rights are now covered by the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) in the United States, ensuring that Spotify has cleared rights to every song on its platform from the get-go.

    But this wasn't always the case: In 2016, Spotify was sued by songwriters such as Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, having allegedly not obtained the mechanical licenses required to host their music. (Spotify eventually settled in a class action case against these and other songwriters, via a $43 million fund.)

    Comedy routines are not currently covered by the MLC.

    On Talking Trends, Ingham wonders aloud if Price and King may have spotted an "opportunity or injustice" to discuss a similar settlement with Spotify for these analogous rights in comedy. If a party could prove "wilful copyright infringement" by Spotify on this score, Ingham notes, the streaming company could be on the hook for up to $150,000 in damages for every comedy 'track' infringed.

    Says Ingham: "The fact that Jeff Price has been able to raise $3.5 million in investment for Word Collections in the in the past few weeks doesn't surprise me. Maybe opportunity knocks here, and his investors can see that."

    Ingham further suggests that this story could have ramifications for Spotify far beyond comedy: "Jim King's company [Spoken Giants] defines itself as representing rightsholders who make 'spoken word content' – not just comedy content. And spoken word content, whether that's podcasts or the more obvious analogous world of audiobooks, is a big part of Daniel Ek's future strategy for Spotify. "

    • 13 min
    Could Jay-Z's TIDAL revolutionize music streaming payments to artists? (Talking Trends)

    Could Jay-Z's TIDAL revolutionize music streaming payments to artists? (Talking Trends)

    Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.

    This week on Talking Trends, host Louise Porter asks MBW founder, Tim Ingham, about a raft of new changes coming to TIDAL – the music streaming platform founded by Jay-Z, and acquired by Jack Dorsey's Square earlier this year for over $300 million.

    Last week, TIDAL announced three big changes were coming to its service in 2022: (i) That it would launch a free tier for the first time, allowing non-TIDAL-subscribers to listen to music on the platform; (ii) That it would introduce 'direct to artist' payments on its most expensive ($19.99 per month) tier, that will see a proportion of each subscriber's monthly payment go direct to that subscriber's favorite artist; and (iii) The adoption of a 'user-centric' payment system, like that launched by SoundCloud earlier this year.

    Ingham (pictured) explains the details behind all three moves – and considers the impact they might have on fans, artists, and the wider music business.

    Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.

    • 10 min
    Josh Empson, CEO, Tempo Music: 'We're slow, steady, and very choosy.' (The MBW Podcast)

    Josh Empson, CEO, Tempo Music: 'We're slow, steady, and very choosy.' (The MBW Podcast)

    Welcome to the Music Business Worldwide Podcast, supported by Voly Music.

    Tempo Music has been sitting on a billion-dollar-plus fund to buy music rights since 2019. This fund is bankrolled by a private equity giant – Providence Equity – that has over $45 billion in assets under its control.
    Josh Empson (pictured) is the CEO and founder of Tempo Music, and the guest of this episode of the MBW Podcast.

    According to Empson, Tempo is quietly and efficiently building a catalog of what he terms "modern masters".
    Not to be confused (solely) with master rights, Empson's "modern masters" descriptor refers to songwriters and artists who have established themselves as standout, enduring talents over the past 10 or 20 years.
    This explains Tempo's occasional announcement of deals in 2021 that have included its acquisition of a portion of the song catalog of Twenty One Pilots star, Tyler Joseph, as well as – more recently – its acquisition of a majority stake in the recording rights of two classic albums by Korn.
    Josh Empson knows the finance world intimately: before founding Tempo, he was previously a Managing Director at Providence and a director of Learfield Sports, MLS Media and the NFL/PEP investment fund.
    With a rich history of investing in media/entertainment properties and IP, he moonlights today as Director of European Media Partnership – a big-money partner of soccer giant Real Madrid.
    Here, MBW asks Empson about Tempo Music's strategy going forward, and how contingent that strategy might be on the fund's cozy relationship with Warner Music Group.
    We also get into how Empson believes the shape of the music business might change in the years ahead, and why Tempo is quite so bullish on the future growth of value in music rights.

    The MBW Podcast is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.

    • 35 min
    Why it makes sense for Warner to buy David Bowie’s songwriting catalog (Talking Trends)

    Why it makes sense for Warner to buy David Bowie’s songwriting catalog (Talking Trends)

    Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide – where we go deep behind the headlines of two major news stories affecting the entertainment industry. Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music.

    This week, host Louise Porter asks MBW founder Tim Ingham about the news that Warner Music Group is raising $535 million in order to part-fund three new potential acquisitions.

    Ingham suggests that one acquisition that makes perfect sense for Warner is David Bowie's songwriting catalog, which is reportedly on the block for around $200 million.

    He points out that Warner's Max Lousada has already announced an important deal with the Bowie estate this year – with Warner licensing Bowie's entire post-1968 recordings catalog from 2023 onwards. 

    This may have "opened an ongoing line of negotiation" between WMG and the Bowie estate, suggests Ingham.

    Says Ingham: "If Warner is going to be in complete control of Bowie's hit recordings catalog from 2023 onwards, then it's an obvious complement to also be in control of – or indeed own – the publishing rights to his songs.
    "Imagine a SuperBowl or a Grammy special, for example, celebrating all of Bowie's hit music – maybe around an anniversary of a particular release – with Warner earning both on the recorded side and on the publishing side, not only from the usage of music at the event, but also on the subsequent uplift in Bowie's catalog."

    The second story discussed on Talking Trends this week is the news that Universal Music Group is teaming with Authentic Brands Group to acquire 'name and likeness' rights from artists.

    Ingham suggests that this move may have a fair amount to do with Universal's internal audio-visual company, PolyGram, and the artist films it hopes to make in the future.

    He says: "Universal starting to have more exclusive control of name and likeness rights of legendary artists will not only help propel [UMG's] audio-visual business forward, but I'm guessing it will also help Universal and PolyGram obtain exclusivity to making artist biopics, scaring off others in Hollywood from from trying to do the same films."

    Talking Trends is supported by Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.

    • 12 min
    Meet the executive who was investing in music rights long before it was fashionable (The MBW Podcast)

    Meet the executive who was investing in music rights long before it was fashionable (The MBW Podcast)

    It's the biggest story in the modern music business, certainly for those whose eyes are drawn to dollar signs:  acquisition funds buying up music rights.

    From Blackstone to KKR and beyond, recent months have seen some of the world's most powerful investment institutions throwing billions at the music market to quickly capture market share.
    Many investors presumed that year zero for this trend began when Hipgnosis Songs Fund floated on the London Stock Exchange in summer 2018. And it’s certainly true that Merck Mercuriadis’s then-flamboyant-looking move to publicly list his fund was a swift accelerant of the rush to buy and sell music rights.
    But Hipgnosis wasn’t the first player in this space. In the United States, for one example, Primary Wave, led by Larry Mestel, was acquiring music rights using institutional investor money from as early as 2006.
    And over in the UK, one of the most notable pioneers in this space was Darren Michaelson, who joins us on this episode of the Music Business Worldwide Podcast.

    After leading a bunch of activity in the music rights space, in 2018 Michaelson co-founded the Barometer Music Royalties fund, partnering with Toronto's Barometer Capital.
    Barometer Music Royalties fund acquired hits made famous by the likes of Jason Derulo, Chris Brown, Notorious B.I.G and more, before the fund (and its portfolio) was sold on to a Swiss Fund of Funds earlier this year, having delivered a internal rate of return of 24.5% to investors.
    Here, Michaelson tells us what he's observed from his front-row seat to the music M&A market in the past half-decade – and explains why he's so bullish about music’s growing value in the future.

    The Music Business Worldwide Podcast is supported by  Voly Music, the new bespoke financial management platform for people in the music business.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

Cheefguy ,

I love this podcast

Wish Tim would make even more episodes. As usual MBW has the best analysis of today’s music industry and the new podcast format is great.

Tiah Moss ,

Very insightful

I've learned about a lot of subjects from BTS moving to Sony to Astroworld and more. Could you make them longer though? They end too quick for me

Timur Beattie ,

Artist trying to make it

I listen to these and find they help me with my strategy to make it in the music business. Would like more direct advice please

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