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DOJ Probing Live Nation and Ticketmaster Regarding Antitrust Violations

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The Department of Justice is probing Live Nation Entertainment, the concert production giant and parent company of Ticketmaster, over it’s dominant presence within the music industry which some believe could lead to a breakup of the company, according to Politico (via the New York Post).

The company has been brutally scrutinized over the last week following the botched sale process for an upcoming Taylor Swift concert, but the Swift fiasco is not part of the DOJ’s investigation into the company.

The report indicates that the investigation began in earnest over the summer, and it is focused on whether and how the company uses its heft to muscle out competing ticketing services, concert promoters and other parts of the multibillion-dollar live music industry.

Musicians and venues have complained for years that the company enforces anti-competitive contract terms that they believe make it difficult for an artist being promoted by Live Nation to use a Ticketmaster competitor for ticket sales.

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Sony Acquires Queen’s Catalog for $1.2 Billion

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Sony has made a massive acquisition in the music space, acquiring the catalog of legendary rock band Queen for a whopping $1.27 billion, according to a report from Hits and later confirmed by Variety.

According to Variety, the only revenue not covered in the deal is for live performances, which founding members Brian May and Roger Taylor, who still actively tour with singer Adam Lambert, will retain.

The bidding came down to Sony and an undisclosed player who was said to be very close but stopped short at $900 million, allowing Sony to walk away with the catalog.

There is no denying the iconic value of Queen’s catalog, which includes such memorable hits as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Radio Ga Ga,” “39,” “Somebody to Love” and “You’re My Best Friend” as well as the iconic “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” which have been globally integrated with major sports leagues especially during games and during championship celebrations.

Furthermore, the success of  the 2018 biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” demonstrates the potential for the group’s name and likeness rights and could also hint at a potential musical presentation for Broadway or in London in the future.

It is worth noting that the catalog, which has been in play for the last several years, is complicated by the group’s recorded-music rights for the United States and Canada, which were acquired by entertainment juggernaut Disney, for an undisclosed price, at some time during the 2000s following an initial $10 million licensing deal back in 1991, with those rights remaining with Disney  in perpetuity, although certain of the bandmembers’ remaining royalties from them will go to Sony once the deal officially closes.

Queen’s distribution deal is current with Universal, but will go to Sony in all territories outside the United States and Canada when it expires in 2026 or 2027.

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Pixar CCO Pete Docter Excited About Future

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The latest smash hit in theaters is Pixar’s ‘Inside Out 2’ which had a stellar opening in theaters grossing $295 million globally in its first weekend, and the film is currently this year’s highest box office debut.

Naturally, that success has many people excited, specifically Pixar who feel that the numbers, which are similar to pre-2020 numbers, indicate an incredible future is upon them.

“I feel like we’re in a really golden place where, after a lot of turmoil, every project we have is exciting to me for multiple reasons — both from new looks and technology, but more importantly, original stories and storytellers,” Pixar Chief creative officer Pete Docter said, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Docter also spoke about the recently announced ‘Inside Out’ series that will land on Disney+ and stated that the project is already completed and will be arriving to the streaming platform sometime in Spring 2025.

“But in the first film, remember we go to Dream Production to see how Riley’s dreams are made? It semi-explains why they’re so weird. We’ve continued the exploration of the power of dreams and how they affect us in our waking life, as well. So it’s pretty cool,” Docter said.

Docter discussed how the company decides which content lands on Disney+, which was announced just before the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, or gets a premier release in theaters, which seems to be making a comeback in the market.

“But that was really before anyone had an understanding of the economics of how it all works. How much can you spend on a show, and how do you even track what it made? A box office is super easy. Three people came in, I know I can count the money exactly. With streaming, depending on how you divide it up, do you get more money to do something that’s new or that attracts new viewers? It’s very squirrely,” he explained.

With Pixar basking in the limelight of their latest success, the future is exciting for the company and it will be interesting to see how far their new success can go.

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Cartoon Swim, Adult Swim, Boomerang President Pushing for International Expansion

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Cartoon Swim, Adult Swim, and Boomerang president Michael Ouweleen is hinting at the company’s intentions to ramp up it’s international presence, specifically their presence in Europe, and international markets.

“We very much want to see Adult Swim originals coming from anywhere in the world,” Ouweleen said, during an interview with Variety at the French festival.

Adult Swim is certainly on the upward trajectory, experiencing greater primetime growth among 18-49s than any other major cable network in the fourth quarter of 2023, and bowed the top three new animated series on cable in all of 2023: “Unicorn: Warriors Eternal,” “My Adventures with Superman” and “Royal Crackers”, according to Cartoon Brew.

Ouweleen spoke about the future while participating in an Adult Animation Annecy panel on Friday, saying  “the distribution of adult animation just this week got better.”

Adult Swim has started it’s international expansion, officially kicking off on June 11th when Max started offering Adult Swim on their streaming platform in countries such as France, Poland and Monaco, which are three of the 25 countries across Europe where Max will be made available over May 21st through July 1st.

“My great hope is that as more people in Europe [who are] going to art school and more creators see more and more Adult Swim content and become part of the family and make stuff for Adult Swim. There’s nothing more gratifying than that,” Ouweleen said while speaking in the panel (h/t Variety).

Ouwleen later went into detail about his vision for Adult Swim internationally over the next few years.

We already do shows that come out of different countries” he said. “YOLO” out of Australia, “Women Wearing Shoulder Pads” animated in Mexico and we have “Rick and Morty: The Anime.” But we very much want to see Adult Swim originals coming from anywhere in the world and for [creative talent] not to be trying to give us an American show.”

He also spoke about interest in bringing French talent aboard.

“Hopefully. Part of the audience we are addressing today in the room at our Studio Focus is first-time creators, new creators. What are their Adult Swim shows?”

“Our bias is more directly with talent, but whatever. Either way. And then deploy that content globally. It has to work for a global audience. Its global talent for global use, not a regional approach to releasing.”

You can read the entire feature over at Variety including more details on the leader’s plans to bring their brand of entertainment and content global.

 

 

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