Warner Music gave thanks this week for a strong financial report, but the rest of the music world’s attention turned to grievances. One artist claimed he was the victim of unfair accusations of sexual harassment, while a band claimed to be concerned about the carbon footprint caused by touring.
On another front, a consortium of independent music companies worried that China’s Ten Cent buying into Universal Music would spell trouble for the overall health of the industry.
This week in music:
PLACIDO NOT BEING PLACID ABOUT ACCUSATIONS: In his first interview since accusations of sexual harassment emerged, opera star Plácido Domingo said the situation has been “a nightmare” and denied any wrongdoing. Domingo, the founder and former head of the Los Angeles Opera, said Spaniards are naturally “warm, affectionate and loving,” adding that he has always been “gallant,” but saying “gallant gestures are viewed differently nowadays.” In August, eight singers and a dancer told the AP they had been sexually harassed by Domingo in alleged incidents that spanned three decades, running from the late 1980s. Domingo, age 78, said he will continue performing until the end of engagements booked through 2021.
Placido Domingo Steps Down From L.A. Opera Amid Harassment Allegations
MASSIVE ECO MOVEMENT: Massive Attack are partnering with academia to map the carbon footprint of the music industry. Researchers from Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will analyze data from Massive Attack’s touring and recording schedule to look at three key areas where CO2 emissions are generated: band travel and production, audience transport and venue. The study hopes to provide information and guidance to the wider music industry, reducing any negative environmental impact. “In an emergency context, business as usual – regardless of its nature, high profile or popularity – is unacceptable,” wrote Robert Del Naja, AKA 3D, Massive Attack’s vocalist, in an article for the Guardian.
GLOVE LOVE: Johnny Depp will be producing a musical about the life of Michael Jackson from the perspective of the late singer’s famous white sequined glove. Playwright Julien Nitzberg wrote For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorised Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson, As Told By His Glove, described as “a fresh, revisionist look at the strange forces that shaped Jackson and the scandals that bedevilled him”. Nitzberg began working with Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, on a biopic of 1960s one-hit wonder Tiny Tim.
BIG MONEY IN STREAMING: Warner Music Group said it generated more than $2 billion in streaming revenues for its music in the 12 months ending in September. Revenue from streaming services grew by $396m to $2.13bn for the fiscal year, up from $1.73bn in the prior fiscal year. WMG reported $258 million in net profit for its 2019 fiscal year. The company’s major sellers in the past year included Ed Sheeran, Johnny Hallyday, The Greatest Showman soundtrack, Cardi B and Meek Mill.
BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE TEN CENT: Ten Cent’s proposed $3 billion in investment in Universal Music would change the music ecosystem, argues a European organization of independent music companies. In a statement, IMPALA, which represents over 4,000 independent music companies and national associations, says that it is also ‘concerned about who might buy the additional UMG stakes that are up for grabs’. Tencent Music Holdings is the majority shareholder of Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), which owns QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo and has an estimated 90% market share of digital music in China.
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