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COVID-19: PPL has donated $875,000 to Music Industry relief funds

The sum will be divided up amongst three COVID-19 relief funds, including AIM’s, Musician Unions’, and Help Musicians’.

MBN Staff

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PPL UK
4 min read

Story Highlights

  • The funds will be divided up amongst three COVID-19 relief funds.
  • UK Music has called upon the British Government to give better support to the music industry amid COVID-19.

British music licensing company PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) are giving back to their members. Today, the non-profit organization announced they were pledging a total donation of £700,000 ($875k) to three COVID-19 relief funds established to support music industry professionals. Of the sum, £200,000 ($250k) will be split equally between AIM’s COVID-19 Crisis Fund and the Musicians’ Union’s Coronavirus Hardship Fund. The remaining £500,000 ($625k) will go to the ‘Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship’ Fund.

After launching on March 15th with an initial pot of £5m, the Help Musicians Fund has had an overwhelming response – receiving over 17,000 applications.

Since then, Help Musicians has had additional donations from Spotify, Amazon Music, Arts Council for England, The Royal Society of Musicians, and now PPL. However, due to the volume of applications that have come in, they have now ceased accepting any new enquiries. Outstanding applications will still be processed, with approved ones receiving a one-off payment of £500 ($625).

James Ainscough, Help Musicians’ Chief Executive said: “We gratefully welcome the financial contribution and continued support of PPL to Help Musicians Coronavirus Financial Hardship funding.

“Demand for financial support has been overwhelming and we are seeing first-hand how the monies are supporting the many thousands in the music community who desperately need it. We are grateful to all of those who have responded to our plea for donations and this latest contribution from PPL will significantly boost our ability to help musicians”, he added.

Demand for financial support has been overwhelming

James Ainscough (CEO, Help Musicians)

The Musicians’ Union Fund opened a starting fund of £1million ($1.2m) to its members – granting applications of £200 ($250). Like most of these funds, hopefuls must be suffering from a loss of income due to the pandemic in order to apply.

Musicians’ Union General Secretary Horace Trubridge stated: “The Musicians’ Union has been working around the clock to provide much-needed support and advice to its membership. PPL’s donation to our Hardship Fund will enable us to reach even more musicians who are struggling through these challenging times”

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Differing slightly from the demographic of the Help Musicians and Musicians Union COVID-19 initiatives is AIM. The Association of Independent Music’s fund is more so targeted at music industry contractors and freelancers that were due to work with artists signed to AIM’s indie member labels prior to the coronavirus shutdowns. According to the company’s website, this includes ‘tour crews, studio producers, mixing engineers, radio pluggers, graphic designers, stylists, photographers, publicists’, and more.

Paul Pacifico, current CEO of AIM said: “The launch of the AIM COVID-19 Crisis Fund was a call to arms to ensure that all those working in the music industry, including contractors and freelancers who play such vital roles in the success of labels and artists, can weather these tough times.

“I am delighted that PPL has confirmed a donation to the fund which will increase the level of support we can provide in the short-term to these individuals”, he continued.

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Approved applicants of AIM’s crisis fund will instantly receive anywhere up to £1,000 – depending on the amount of income lost.

With 96% of music businesses losing income over the past two months (a direct result of COVID-19), the widespread support given to those impacted is certainly much needed. Trade Body UK Music recently voiced strong concerns to the British Government, regarding the need for better assistance to individuals in the music industry – particularly the ‘lower earners’.

In a statement address to British Government officials, UK Music shared: “Many in our industry are directors of their own small firms“.

However, company directors are disqualified from the self-employed scheme and cannot furlough themselves as this would stop their businesses from operating. They need urgent government help to make sure these individuals, often low earners, do not slip through the net”.

This was in response to a government stimulus package offered to self-employed workers. Whilst sole traders (the UK equivalent of a sole proprietor) are covered in the package, company directors are not. These, however, make up a significant portion of those working in the music business – from some artist managers/management companies, pr firms, independent record labels and beyond.

Prior to making this £700,000 donation, PPL just recently made a quarterly royalties payout of £87.6 million ($11million) to its right holder member – sent March 31.

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Business

$500m of Live Nation stock was just purchased by Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bought 12,337,569 shares in Live Nation Entertainment, according to an SEC filing.

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Mohammed bin Salman
4 min read

Story Highlights

  • The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia bought 12,337,569 shares in Live Nation Entertainment.
  • Saudi are now the third largest shareholder of the live music giant.

 

In an opportunistic move, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has purchased over $500million worth of Live Nation Entertainment shares on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Amongst other media conglomerates, Live Nation has seen a big dip in stock value amid COVID-19. After closing out at $76.08 on February 19, company stocks have closed at as low as low as $25.50 within the past two months – reaching an 52-week low of $21.70. However, after the half-a-billion dollar transaction by the middle eastern nation was revealed in a SEC filing today, value for the company shot up by 15% (at the time of writing). 

As a result of this major purchase, Saudi Arabia now owns 5.7% of Live Nation Entertainment – holding the title of the third largest shareholder of the company. To be precise, that is a whopping 12,337,569 shares.

Music Biz Nation previously reported on the impact COVID-19 has had on the Live Music Industry, and specifically, Live Nation. Due to a widespread cancelation of concerts for the remainder of the year, LNE shares have been down around 40% since this time last year.

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Company CEO Michael Rapiro announced he will be forfeiting his 2020 salary, and a number of senior Live Nation executives will be taking up to 50% pay deductions to compensate for loss of income occurred by the cancelations.

Prior to COVID-19, the Live Music Industry was set to see a record-breaking year in 2020 – but may instead incur potential losses of up to $9billion. With the year-on-year growth the industry has been experiencing over recent years (as reported by Pollstar), it is likely the demand for concert tours will see an unprecedented demand once the coronavirus pandemic has settled, globally. This, of course, creates a perfect opportunity for investors – that Saudi Arabia has capitalized on.

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According to reports, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund has made a number of investments during the COVID-19 period, including oil companies – though this has not been confirmed.

Due to the strict islamic culture of Saudi Arabia, this $500million purchase of LNE shares raises questions about the country’s overall interest in entertainment. Due to some of their restrictions – which have been protested by Women’s Rights and LGBGTQ Activists, many artists have avoided performing in the region. Nicki Minaj famously turned down an offer to perform at Jeddah World Fest in Jeddah (Saudi’s second largest city) last year.

Time will tell if this buy was strictly an economic move – or one to boost tourism, which has been a focus of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since he took office.

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Analysis

Twinkie Clark’s publishing catalog worth millions, says Attorney

Twinkie’s songwriter journey was recently depicted in Lifetime TV Biopic ‘The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel’.

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The Clark Sisters at the 19th Annual BET Super Bowl Gospel Celebration
7 min read

Story Highlights

  • The Clark Sisters’ story was recently depicted in a Lifetime movie biopic.
  • Attorney James L. Walker, Jr. recaptured Twinkie Clark’s publishing rights after she sold her catalog for a car.

Gospel Music Legends The Clark Sisters have recently seen a huge resurgence in interest and popularity. On April 11, the faith-based music icons saw their story told in more detail than it has ever been – as their first biopic ‘The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel’ aired on Lifetime TV. Produced by Dr. Holly Carter (alongside Grammy Award Winning Artists Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah) – the initial broadcast captured an audience of a 2.7 million, and closed out with 11 million total (after repeat airs and DVR ratings came in).

The movie told the lives of sisters Denise, Jacky, Elbernita (otherwise known as Twinkie), Dorinda and Karen – their rise to fame, and everything in between. One of the highlights, from a music business perspective, was the sale of Twinkie’s publishing catalog.

It is unknown exactly how accurate the Lifetime movie depiction was, as a number of scenes have been disputed by Larry Clark (son of Denise) and Twinkie’s former husband Johnny Terrrell. However, with the Clarks themselves being listed as Producers – and Executive Producer Dr. Holly Carter already having a working relationship with the family – one can assume most of the events were not too far from the truth.

'The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel' Cast - From Left to Right: Aunjanue Ellis (Dr. Mattie Moss Clark), Kierra Sheard (Karen Clark Sheard), Angela Birchett (Jacky Cullum Chisholm), Raven Goodwin (Denise Clark Bradford), Christina Bell (Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark-Terrell), Shelea Frazier (Dorinda Clark Cole)

During their earlier days, Twinkie was the sole songwriter for The Clark Sisters – penning several hit songs for the group. The biggest of these was ‘You Brought The Sunshine’ – from the 1981 album of the same name. The single became a crossover hit, landing a Top 20 Spot on Billboard’s R&B Charts and a Top 30 spot on its Dance Club Songs listing.

It has been claimed that the single and album achieved a Gold certification – for sales in the excess of 500,000. Music Biz Nation was unable to verify either claim using the RIAA database – which lists U.S. gold and platinum certifications awarded as far back as 1958. We did, however, reach out to RIAA for comment, but had not heard back at the time of writing. At present, we can verify that the single had sold at least 200,000 within the two years following its release, according to a 1985 article in Billboard Magazine.

At some point during this era, according to the movie – Twinkie sold her publishing catalog to Michigan-based Bridgeport Music (which was given a fictitious name in the film) in exchange for a Lincoln Continental. Of course, the car selected for the scene may have not been the exact same as what was exchanged in the actual deal. However, if we are to assume it was of similar luxury status – that particular vehicle retailed for around $24,000 in 1979 – close to the time when Twinkie made the deal. In today’s money, that would be equal to $85,000.

The interesting part is, according to a calculated estimation by Music Biz Nation, the success of “You Brought The Sunshine” possibly made Twinkie’s catalog worth at least $400,000 to $450,000 from that release alone – more than 5x what it was sold for. It was later worth ‘millions’.

...artists and songwriters have lost millions of dollars by giving up their publishing

James L. Walker, Jr., Esq.

Music Biz Nation spoke with James L. Walker, Esq. –  the Atlanta-based Entertainment Attorney who worked with Twinkie to recapture her rights five years ago. Walker was not working Twinkie when she initially sold her catalog, but did say that “generally speaking artists and songwriters have lost millions of dollars by giving up their publishing“.

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When discussing the amount of publishing money made from record sales, Walker shared that “one song on a gold album is worth about $50,000“. Meaning, if it is true that the 8-song ‘You Brought The Sunshine’ album did achieve Gold status, Twinkie’s catalog on that release would have been worth $400,000 from record sales alone. This does not include additional income generated from the success of the lead single.

We also discussed the impact of the radio success and other types of revenue. Walker stated that “a hit song is worth well over a millions dollars, if it’s promoted right“. MBN asked if he would place “You Brought The Sunshine” (single) in that category – to which Walker confidently responded “oh, yes“.

'You Brought The Sunshine', The Clark Sisters

Later in the conversation, Walker was asked how he was able to get Twinkie’s rights back. He shared: “There’s what we call ‘the copyright act’, and with the copyright act the writer is allowed to reclaim their rights in the 35th year of the assignment“.

The world of publishing in gospel music slightly differs to that in the mainstream. Being a niche genre, gospel generally does not generate nearly as much as pop or hip hop music in revenue. To give context, it often takes less than 5,000 equivalent albums sales to land a #1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums Chart. Grammy-nominated Artist Travis Greene topped the list last November, shifting just 3,000 units.

Though sales may not be where the money is at for the faith-based genre, Walker stated that ‘sampling’ is another income stream for many of its artists. Referring to Gospel Acts, he said: “Their music is used – people sample it. Jay Z sampled Twinkie’s song“.

Because Twinkie now owns her rights, she was able to claim 50% of publishing revenue when Jay-Z sampled her composition on his 2017 single release ‘Family Feud’. This 50% meant Twinkie owns a bigger share and made more publishing money from the record than lead artist Jay Z himself (and co-writer Beyonce, combined).

Twinkie Clark, the only BMI-registered composer on the song, owns 50% of "Family Feud" publishing share.

Outside of this example, Gospel Music has had a solid history of being sampled by mainstream artists. In the past year alone, Mary Mary’s most popular hit “Shackles” (a UK Top 10 and US Top 40) was sampled by BRIT Award Winning Rapper Stormzy on his UK #1 album “Heavy Is The Head”, and most recently by Lecrae and YK Osiris. Kirk Franklin was also sampled on Daniel Caeser’s ‘Freudian’ album.

Twinkie Clark now owning the rights to her work with The Clark Sisters means she will also receive revenue from her songs being used the Lifetime Biopic. The day following the premiere, the sisters received the largest amount of daily YouTube views since at least 2018.

The Clark Sisters, DEMAND - YouTube
The Clark Sisters received over 150,000 YouTube views on April 11, 2020. MBN research via Demand

There was also a huge spike in google searches for tickets to see them live, according to Music Industry Platform ‘DEMAND’.

The Clark Sisters, DEMAND - Google
Google searches related to live shows and tickets for The Clark Sisters reached its peak on April 12, 2020. MBN Research via Demand.

The Clark Sisters’ latest release ‘The Return’ was released on March 13, 2020.

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