The big story in distribution continues to be consolidation, however. Universal Music took full ownership of Ingrooves in February; Downtown Music Publishing took control of CD Baby as part of its acquisition of AVL Digital Group in March; SoundCloud bought rights company Repost Network (which also handled streaming distribution) in May; and FUGA acquired rights-management platform Songspace in July. Even collecting societies were getting in on the act, with GEMA recently taking a majority stake in Zebralution.
The onus is on distributors to nip fake music in the bud as it goes through their pipelines. In April, CD Baby announced a deal with audio-fingerprinting firm Audible Magic to spot previously-copyrighted music coming through its system, while in June DistroKid followed suit, but also launched a tool called ‘DistroLock’ for artists to upload and register their unreleased music too, so any bootlegs can be spotted.