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Music Publishing News Roundup: Friday, May 27, 2016

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The Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) has filed an N16 Billion lawsuit against telecommunications giant, MTN, for copyright infringement.  The lawsuit, which is the biggest copyright lawsuit ever in the continent of Africa, alleges copyright infringement by six of MTN’s brands.  COSON is Nigeria’s sole government approved collective management for musical works and sound recordings, and is “resolute that the labour of Nigerian musicians and investors in the music industry who toil every day to make people happy will no longer be in vain.”

ICE, Europe’s music licensing body, has signed its first agreement with Google’s music streaming service, Google Play Music.  ICE, a collaboration between PRS for Music in the UK, STIM in Sweden, and GEMA in Germany, represents around 250,000 rights-holders across Europe and hopes this agreement will help streamline licensing, resulting in growth and more profit for artists and rights-holders.  Google Play Music’s Head of International Music Publishing Partner Operations, Victoria Campoamor says, “We look forward to building a constructive relationship with ICE and to the realisation of operational efficiencies from the new platform and its benefits to composers and publishers.”

Spotify has reported a dramatic increase in revenue, a slowdown in losses, and an increase in total users in 2015.  28 million of the streaming service’s 89 million users are on the subscription tier, a 75% increase, which is twice as many subscribers as Apple Music at its last report.  Free listening only brought in about 10% of the platform’s total revenue, while the subscription tier brought in €1.7 billion, or 89.7% of total revenues.  Spotify paid the record industry €1.63 billion, about 83% of its revenue, in royalties last year.

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