If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard a peep from Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber or 5 Seconds Of Summer on any of Foxtel’s music channels over the past fortnight, it’s because their record labels have been embroiled in a stoush with the entertainment giant believed to be over royalty payments.
As The Music Network reports, no music videos from artists on either the Universal or EMI rosters have been aired on Channel [V], [V] Hits, CMC, Max or Smooth over the past two weeks, as the parties try to hammer out a new commercial arrangement.
A spokesperson for Foxtel confirmed that the pay TV juggernaut is currently in talks with both labels.
“Foxtel has been in negotiations with Universal Music for some weeks to resolve a commercially viable agreement to continue to showcase Universal Music artists and music on our five music channels,” the spokesperson told mUmBRELLA.
“Regrettably we have not resolved our commercial issues, which has forced us to pull all Universal acts from our contemporary music channels. Foxtel Arts and Foxtel’s audio streaming service Foxtel Tunes are unaffected. The Foxtel music channels can continue without Universal artists however, it is not our desired outcome.”
Defs not the desired outcome, as Universal and EMI artists currently make up more than half of the top 40.
While it’s still unclear whether the labels are refusing to allow their artists’ videos to be shown, or whether Foxtel is just plain refusing to play them, it’s no doubt in Foxtel’s best interests to rectify the situation ASAP.
The dispute comes at a time when the pay TV operator’s music channels are under increasing pressure from online competitors like Vevo and Youtube, with OzTAM putting Channel [V]’s total audience figures down 28% in the past six months, compared to the same period last year.
Meanwhile, MTV Australia appears to be unaffected by the whole shamozzle and is continuing to run its chart programs normally, with more than half of its Top 20 represented by Universal and EMI artists.
But the big winner of the whole thing – sitting silently in the corner and rubbing its hand together – seems to be Sony, whose artists have accounted for 75% of the most played songs on Foxtel over the past two weeks.
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