Sony merger to be investigated

16 Sep 2021

A proposed merger involving music label Sony will be probed further after concerns about the deal were raised.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has referred Sony Music’s acquisition of AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights for an in-depth investigation.

The watchdog raised concerns over the merger last week, suggesting that Sony’s increased market share could worsen deals for artists.

The escalation suggests Sony did not respond to CMA’s initial findings within the five days granted.

An independent inquiry panel will now consider whether the merger has caused “a substantial lessening of competition within any market,” the CMA says.

Watchdog raises concerns over Sony merger

08 Sep 2021

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating Sony Music Entertainment’s acquisition of two Kobalt Music Group subsidaries, AWAL and Neighbouring Rights.

The watchdog believes the £312m deal, completed in May, could limit competition after an initial investigation.

The CMA found evidence AWAL was "well-placed" to compete with Sony in the future, recognising the music distributor as "one of few suppliers outside the major labels that succeeded in gaining a meaningful foothold in the market".

CMA's Senior Director Colin Raftery said the merger could worsen deals for many music artists in the UK, leading to less innovation across the industry.

Sony has said it is "perplexed" by the findings. The industry giant has until September 14 to address the CMA's concerns, before the deal is referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.

£100m in royalties paid to visual artists

06 Sep 2021

Visual artists' rights manager DACS is celebrating a milestone: £100m distributed to artists.

Since resale rights were passed into law, the organisation has paid these royalties to 5,624 artists. The rights are payable on any secondary sales of works over €1,000.

However, more than half of all eligible sales are less than £5,000, meaning the right represents a vital source of income for lower-earning artists.

"In the current climate as artists face the myriad of challenges of the pandemic, many without the security of government support, that is more important than ever," DACS Chief Executive Gilane Tawadros said.


'Political sentiment' to trouble removal of hospital founder's statue

02 Sep 2021

Guy's & St Thomas' Foundation says it will remove a statue of the London hospital's founder, Thomas Guy, to "a less prominent area" over his links to slavery.

It will need planning permission to do so - something its lawyers say is "very unlikely in the short to medium term due to planning legislation and political sentiment".

The plan for the listed statue conflicts with the Government's 'retain and explain' policy on contested heritage, and a final decision may lie in the hands of the Planning Minister, Robert Jenrick.

"Clearly, the minister is likely to give great weight to his policy which is not supportive of removing or otherwise altering the statue," the hospital's lawyers concluded, warning the removal plan may not succeed.

A consultation recommended the trust retain statues of Thomas Guy and historical benefactor Robert Clayton but provide information on how the men made their wealth. Clayton's statue will remain in place, as it's considered to be less prominent than Guy's.


Instrument dealers banned from trading

31 Aug 2021

Two owners of a London flute shop have been banned from trading for the rest of the decade.

Fred Patrick Onn and Andrew Thomson admitted to allowing Top Wind to sell over 20 musical instruments owned by third parties after the retailer went bust in July 2019.

An Insolvency Service investigation found proceeds worth more than £33,000 were not passed onto the owners.

Top Wind entered into liquidation in March 2020 after its accountant was jailed for malpractice.

The Insolveny Service's ruling determined Onn and Thomson cannot become involved with the promotion, formation or management of a company for nine years.

Legislate fair payment from music streaming, inquiry says

15 Jul 2021

After a nine-month-long inquiry, MPs have recommended "a complete reset" of music streaming to better compensate creators. What could a new model look like?

Creatives call for device tax to generate arts funding

01 Jul 2021

A major collection society says the levy could provide up to £300m per year. What would it look like and how would it work?

What Banksy teaches us about art ownership

Black and white stencil graffiti of a prisoner escaping down a wall
02 Jun 2021

Think the elusive artist has automatic rights to their famous murals? It’s a bit more complicated than that. Jack Martin and Kate Johnson break it down.

A crash course in anti-money laundering regulations

Two people in a gallery looking at a tablet
20 Apr 2021

Despite new requirements coming into force more than a year ago, many arts organisations remain woefully underprepared. Mary-Alice Stack offers some guidance.

Getting copyright right

17 Nov 2020

Big brands and advertisers are cottoning on to the marketing potential of street art. What does that mean for the artists? Timothy Watkins unpacks the legal issues.

Call to boycott casting company over option to exclude disabled actors

03 Nov 2020

Performers and advocates are outraged after casting directors were able to list roles as unavailable to D/deaf and disabled actors.

Planning reform could put arts venues at risk

19 Aug 2020

An 84-page plan to overhaul the system makes no mention of protecting arts and cultural venues.

Union speaks out on recompense for artists whose work is streamed

man watching a streamed performance on a TV or computer screen
08 May 2020

As ad hoc agreements are hastily put in place to enable performances to be streamed to audiences at home, AP has discovered an ecosystem that lacks a transparent process for creatives to claim repeat fees for recordings of their work now going online.

Creators alarmed by Government’s U-turn on copyright laws

27 Jan 2020

On the eve of Brexit, musicians and authors are calling for equivalent legislation to safeguard their intellectual property rights.

Counter-terrorism steps for City of Culture

07 Jan 2020

Coventry City of Culture is spending £1m on bolstering the police while local authorities plan strategies to reduce the risk of an attack in 2021.

GDPR one year on: four things to watch out for

A photo of a hand on a keyboard
05 Sep 2019

Following recent large fines issued by the UK’s privacy watchdog, Raj Shah offers some tips to avoid falling foul of the regulator.

Gaining confidence around compliance

Photo of Merle Reskin Theatre fire escape
20 Jun 2019

The Primary Authority scheme can help reassure arts organisations they are meeting legal requirements on health and safety, trading standards and fire regulations, explains Rob Belton.

Stables faces new threat as developer circumvents noise ruling

Photo of a band on stage
11 Jun 2019

The Milton Keynes venue says new plans to build 79 houses nearby present a “real threat” to its future.

Taking inspiration from sport

Photo of Alex Morgan, captain of the United States women's soccer team, by Jamie Smed
09 May 2019

Why are many women in the arts not progressing into leadership roles? Alex Marshall asks if there are lessons to be learned from the world of sport.

Getting to grips with intellectual property

Photo of Ruth Soetendorp presenting in front of an image of a tree
28 Feb 2019

The idea of managing intellectual property fills many people with not just uncertainty but dread - which is why the Boosting Resilience programme recently explored a three-stage approach to make it less daunting.


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