News November 10, 2015

Exclusive: No UMA & EMI music videos on Foxtel, due to dispute

Exclusive: No UMA & EMI music videos on Foxtel, due to dispute

Music videos from some of the world’s biggest acts have been banned from appearing on any Foxtel-owned music channels for the past two weeks, due to an ongoing programming dispute between Foxtel and the world’s leading record label, Universal Music.  

Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and 5 Seconds of Summer are among dozens of chart toppers whose music is nowhere to be seen on Foxtel, throwing its chart programs into disarray.

TMN contacted both companies today, but executives remain tight-lipped and management have not commented. TMN believes this is the first time an Australian media company has been unable to program music from a major label.  Universal and EMI Music artists account for over 50% of this week’s TMN Top 40 airplay chart, taking the #1, #3, #4 and #5 spots respectively.  

Foxtel owns and operates five music channels: Channel [V], [V] Hits, CMC, Max and Smooth, while its Foxtel Tunes channel is a 50/50 joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment Australia and Universal Music Australia.

Industry insiders say the dispute has probably been brewing for months and is likely to be centred on artist royalty payments and related commercial terms. It is not yet clear whether Universal is refusing to allow its artists’ videos to be shown, or whether Foxtel is refusing to play them.  

Foxtel’s flagship Channel [V] is under increasing pressure with total audience figures down 28% in the past six months, compared to the same period last year (Source: OzTAM).  The growth in online video, along with Vevo and YouTube channels continues to put the spotlight on the traditional music television model.

Meanwhile, MTV Australia appears to be unaffected and is running its chart programs normally, with more than half of its Top 20 represented by Universal and EMI artists, but the real winner (however temporarily) seems to be Sony Music, whose artists account for 75% of the most played songs on Foxtel in the past two weeks.

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