TODAY'S TOP STORY: The attorney speaking for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the ongoing 'Blurred Lines' copyright case has made statements that are "confusing, wrong, and entirely prejudicial" according to legal reps for the Gaye family. The confusing statements, it's claimed, relate to the relevance of the sound recording of Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' in the case. As previously reported... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Californian pop duo Priest released their debut EP, 'Samurai', last year under the more Googlable but harder to say moniker X Priest X. Their name now streamlined down to just the surname of vocalist Madeline Priest, they have just returned with 'The Game', the first single from their debut album, which is due out on 5 May. Released by Swedish label Emotions, 'The Game' distracts... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Gaye lawyer says Thicke defence is misleading the jury in 'Blurred Lines' trial
DEALS A Prime deal? You better Believe it
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sony/ATV appoints new Co-President for US business
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL BM Soho store closes after landlord dispute
LIVE BUSINESS Grateful Dead farewell ticket prices soar on secondary sites
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES SoundCloud claims 100 partners and $1 million payouts for ad scheme
Grooveshark revamps
ARTIST NEWS Kanye West addresses Oxford University
Azealia for president
ONE LINERS Independent Label Week? Yes, Independent Label Week. And some other things that don't come in weeks.
AND FINALLY... Taylor Swift not talking about Katy Perry, which is why no one ever mentions them in the same sentence
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Gaye lawyer says Thicke defence is misleading the jury in 'Blurred Lines' trial
The attorney speaking for Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the ongoing 'Blurred Lines' copyright case has made statements that are "confusing, wrong, and entirely prejudicial" according to legal reps for the Gaye family. The confusing statements, it's claimed, relate to the relevance of the sound recording of Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' in the case.

As previously reported, Thicke and Williams are accused of stealing from the Gaye track when writing 'Blurred Lines'. Given that there are definite similarities between the two songs, a core element of the case even before it reached court last week was a debate over what elements of 'Got To Give It Up' are even protected by copyright.

Thicke and Williams' lawyer Howard King argued that, because of the whims of American copyright law and the age of the Gaye song, only the core composition of 'Got To Give It Up' as represented in the original sheet music is protected. Other elements in Gaye's recording of the song are not part of that composition, and therefore are not protected.

Ahead of trial, the judge overseeing the case basically agreed with King, limiting the reach of the litigation and reducing the Gaye family's chances of winning. It was because of that decision that the judge said that the two recordings could not be played side by side to jurors, but instead the core compositions of 'Got To Give It Up' and 'Blurred Lines' should be played on a keyboard.

But despite that pre-trial decision, the Gaye's attorney Richard Busch has continued to argue that the full 'Got To Give It Up' composition, as represented by the recording, should have copyright protection, and therefore, if jurors conclude that elements of that recording are directly replicated in 'Blurred Lines', that must constitute copyright infringement.

While that might seem optimistic given the judge's pre-trial opinion on the matter, Busch did persuade said judge to allow a stripped down version of the 'Got To Give It Up' track to be played in court in addition to any piano-based interpretation. And he does seem to keep coming back to the argument that the song as performed by Gaye, as opposed to what may or may not have been put in the sheet music, should still be under consideration.

Meanwhile Busch has complained that King is trying to confuse jurors by repeatedly declaring that the sound recording of 'Got To Give It Up' is owned by the Motown label and not the Gaye family. Busch says that the Gaye family has never claimed to own the sound recording, and this is just an attempt by King to confuse the jury over the distinction between the copyright in the sound recording itself, and the copyright in the song as captured in the sound recording.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Busch wrote in a motion submitted to court yesterday: "The Gaye Parties have never claimed ownership of the Motown sound recordings, but the Thicke parties have committed copyright infringement by copying the musical composition as embodied in those sound recordings. The jury simply will not understand that fine distinction unless specifically instructed. [King's comments are] confusing, wrong, and entirely prejudicial".

He goes on: "The sound recording is not irrelevant, as has been continually stated by the Thicke parties during the trial, and the jury is being confused and will likely believe, unless this matter is clarified, that the Gayes have no rights in the musical composition as embodied in such recording. This will further reinforce the improper remarks by the Thicke parties noted above, and will continue to prejudice the Gaye parties. These blurred lines must be sharpened and focused".

Hey, clever little punchline there Mr Busch, well done. The case continues.

A Prime deal? You'd better Believe it*
Believe Digital yesterday announced an alliance with Prime Direct Distribution which, says the two companies, will allow the latter "to provide a more cohesive and complete music distribution service which encompasses digital as well as its traditional physical formats". Prime works for over 300 labels providing pressing and distribution services, with Baile Musik, Nocturnal Groove Records, Drumcode, ManMakeMusic, Just Jack Recordings, Voyage, Rebirth, Nu Northern Soul and Midnight Riot amongst its client based.

Confirming the Believe tie-up, Prime Direct Director Richard Stewart told reporters: "Following lengthy negotiations, we are delighted to announce a brand new joint-venture with Believe Digital, one of the sector's most dominant forces globally. This is an exciting coming together of two independent and like-minded companies that gives us access to cutting edge technology as well as on the ground presence in all the established and emerging international territories, not to mention the competitive revenue rate that we have brokered on behalf of our labels".

Meanwhile Believe Group's Lee Morrison added: "The guys at Prime have been around for all of my 20 plus years in distribution and I am personally really excited to finally get to work with them fully in the next part of their growth. Prime's extensive catalogue of high-quality independent labels is a great addition to Believe's network and we look forward to working collectively with them to maximise their digital sales potential on a broader international level whilst giving them the technology platform their clients deserve".

*By the way, we're "thrilled" to confirm that this is up for the Worst Headline Of The Month award. But can we count on your vote?

Sony/ATV appoints new co-president for US business
Music publishing powerhouse, composition-deliverers supreme, and the most mighty of all the song engines, the one, the only, Sony/ATV (who are welcome to licence that snappy slogan I just wrote from them if they'd like), yesterday announced the appointment of Rick Krim to the role of Co-President of its US operations.

Krim, who previously worked with Sony/ATV boss Marty Bandier at EMI Music Publishing, and who also spent a chunk of his career at MTV and VH1, will now lead the publisher's American A&R activities alongside its other Co-President Danny Strick, as well as pursuing "the expansion of the company into new areas of business". Like snappy slogan licensing, perhaps.

Confirming the new hire, Bandier told reporters: "Rick is a true music industry professional with deep relationships with the best artists, talent managers and industry executives. He truly knows songwriters and will be a great asset to an already strong team. Given his time at MTV and VH1, he will also bring to us a number of additional skills to complement his immense A&R capabilities. Not least, helping us select a new snappy slogan for the company".

Meanwhile Krim himself added: "I cannot wait to get started in this role as I am not only returning to music publishing, but will be reunited with Marty Bandier who I learned so much from during my time at EMI. It is so exciting and such an honour after all these years to get a chance to work with him again, especially at a company as dynamic as Sony/ATV that is blessed with so many great songwriters and artists. If only it had a new snappy slogan, this would be the greatest company ever".

In addition to my snappy slogan creation services, I'm also available if you want sneaky sentences added to the end of official quotes.

BM Soho store closes after landlord dispute
London-based record store BM Soho has temporarily closed because of a dispute with its landlords who, the retailer seems to imply, is keen to boost their rent income by capitalising on the "massive gentrification of Soho".

The owners of the shop posted a statement on Facebook at the end of last week following chatter online that the store, which stocked vinyl on one floor and DJ kit on another, seemed to have closed down.

They wrote: "Unfortunately due to contractual dispute over the building that has been home of BM Soho for the past 25 years we have been forced to temporarily close. Our landlord has been certain that our address will join the massive gentrification of Soho and regrettably we could no longer afford to fight the legal battle to stop that happening anymore".

They went on: "Unlike many businesses that have closed recently, BM Soho BeatControl was performing well, so it is a massive shame to end this way. Fear not though, we plan to be back bigger and stronger than ever very soon in central London".

The company already has a second store in Edgware where it sells music production and DJ equipment which is unaffected, and the firm will continue to sell vinyl online in the interim at bm-soho.com.

Grateful Dead farewell ticket prices soar on secondary sites
People who resell concert tickets are just plucky entrepreneurs using the system to their advantage, according to the UK's Secretary Of State For Culture, Media And Sport Sajid Javid. So I'm sure he'll be pleased to see that some tickets for The Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary shows are being listed for over $100,000 on secondary ticketing sites.

As previously reported, the surviving members of the band are set to reform for three shows this summer to mark the half century since they formed. The shows will also act as a farewell to fans, as band members take to stage for the final time together.

All three shows sold out in minutes when they went on sale last week, with tickets quickly appearing on secondary sites. And various publications have now noted that some of the best seats are being listed for resale on Stubhub at prices over $100,000 - the highest at $116,004.09 for a single ticket. Or you could buy a pair for a mere $105,415.61, though it's worth noting that those ones have no view of the stage.

Of course, a ticket being listed at that price does not mean it will be sold, but the cheapest of the nearly 800 tickets Stubhub currently has on its books - 20 rows back - is going for $1453.53, with tickets for around $1300 (with obstructed view) seemingly already sold. And inflated prices such of these also increase the likelihood that seats will go empty as fans are unable or unwilling to stump up for them.

Speaking to the New York Times, co-producer of the show Peter Shapiro said: "Technology brings good and bad. The secondary market did not exist like this for the last Dead shows, but what also didn't exist was the ability to bring the show in high-quality audio and video to other venues and to your home at the same time".

The face value prices for tickets ranged between $59.50 and $199.50.

SoundCloud claims 100 partners and $1 million payouts for ad scheme
Hey everybody, get your post-it notes at the ready and write this down for a laugh, you all need to stop saying "yeah, but the thing about SoundCloud is that it doesn't pay the content owners". Because it just paid out $1 million to content owners. Well, I say "just". I mean over the last six months. But one million fucking dollars, people! I mean, you could buy 0.005% of Snapchat with that. Or 0.08% of SoundCloud, even.

So yes, six months after launching its On SoundCloud partner programme, which promises to help content creators monetise their output on the popular audio-sharing platform, the digital firm yesterday bragged that it now has 100 such partners and has paid out over $1 million in ad income to them.

Many record labels, of course, remain critical of SoundCloud which, while popular with artists, musical opinion formers and fans, was rather slow in getting any monetisation element off the ground. Warner Music, though, is a partner, and the firm says it is also working direct with some independents, producers and emerging artists on the new ad-selling side of its business. It's also been working with the multi-channel networks of the YouTube world on distributing and monetising audio content.

After listing a number of specific partnerships struck up under the On SoundCloud banner, the firm said in a blog post yesterday: "What's coming up? We got started with On SoundCloud in the US, but we're aiming to begin bringing it to new territories later this year - stay tuned. We'll also continue to add more Premier Partners as we go. We're looking forward to the next steps of the On SoundCloud journey - and to having you along for the ride".


Grooveshark revamps
Often controversial streaming music service Grooveshark announced a super new look last week, with "a beautiful, responsive design to help ensure a consistent experience across all devices" and more "community interaction and sharing" to aid discovery of all that music that the labels claim shouldn't be there in the first place.

Announcing the year-in-the-making overhaul of the Grooveshark platform, the firm's CTO Josh Greenberg recently told reporters: "Grooveshark will be centred on social interaction through music. We've listened to the needs of our listeners and artists, as well as the music industry as a whole. Listeners want better ways to discover music, just as artists want better ways to engage with their fans. We've coupled these needs with the industry's desire for more flexibility in controlling content. These were the driving motivations behind the new site".

I'm pretty sure that if Grooveshark had listened to most key "artists" and "the music industry as a whole" they'd have actually shut up shop. But whatever. The US-based streaming service insists, of course, that it operates within copyright law, even though it allows users to upload unlicensed music onto its servers.

And it probably is operating within the law (which is why the majors have had to sue on technicalities rather than with a straight infringement lawsuit), though many artists and labels reckon the firm exploits a loophole in American copyright law to operate without having deals in place with either the majors or most key indies.

That said, the revamp seems to push forward more Grooveshark's newish Broadcast element, which, if cut free from the Spotify-style on-demand element, could be less controversial in music circles in that it could probably be licensed in the US via the SoundExchange system, which might be more realistic for the Grooveshark company, and would certainly save it from having to deal directly with the big labels that would rather see the streaming company collapse.

Though it's not clear if that is Grooveshark's plan for Broadcast. Plus, while I say "less controversial", that's the way Pandora is licensed, and it's hardly light on controversy in the American music community.

  Approved: Priest
Californian pop duo Priest released their debut EP, 'Samurai', last year under the more Googlable but harder to say moniker X Priest X. Their name now streamlined down to just the surname of vocalist Madeline Priest, they have just returned with 'The Game', the first single from their debut album, which is due out on 5 May.

Released by Swedish label Emotions, 'The Game' distracts you with a simple, sparsely constructed song up front, while sending in dense layers of guitar, synth and backing vocals to creep up behind you and slowly envelop you in a warm cocoon. It's basically the sonic version of an alien abduction, except no one does any experiments on you and no cows have to die.

Have yourself a listen here.
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Kanye West addresses Oxford University
Kanye West gave a guest lecture at Oxford University yesterday afternoon, in the institution's Museum Of Natural History.

Organised by the Oxford Guild Business Society, the talk was the first in a series of lectures from high profile speakers, and saw West discuss everything from his ego to hip hop rivalry to affordable fashion to new taboos in society. In fact, he covered so much that every tweeted quote from the event seemed to come from an entirely different lecture.

Amongst other things, he seemed to show some actual self-awareness, commenting at one point: "One of my biggest achilles heels has been my ego. And if I, Kanye West, can remove my ego, I think there's hope for everyone". Which seems like quite an egotistical thing to say, so let's not all start getting too hopeful just yet. In fact, maintain your despair until Kanye shows us the true way forward, people.

Getting slightly less egotistical, he then spoke about Nicki Minaj's contribution to his 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' album, admitting: "One of the best things about the album was Nicki Minaj, and that she kicked my ass, on my own song..."

And just to remind us what song that album was on again, he clarified "...on the best album of the last 25 years".

So apparently there is no hope for any of us. Anyway, a full video of the speech is apparently due to be uploaded at some point in the coming days.


Azealia for president
Azealia Banks could be a future president of the United States Of America. Maybe. We only have an offhand comment to go on, but I suppose that's as good as anything.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Banks explained that she does not write about politics in her music because she sees it as an escape from what's going on in the world, rather than a reflection of it.

"I just feel like for centuries and centuries and centuries black people have been painted to be these animals and just be these crazy people, when we are really not", she said. "And I feel like all of the things like hip hop - these are the things we have created for ourselves in the face of all of the adversity".

On her political views, especially in the wake of events like the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, she added: "I think that there needs to be some new black political party that's going to run for office - or whatever, even if they don't run for office they just need to be this trusted board of members".

Asked if she would lead that group and then run to become a US President, she smiled: "Maybe. Yeah, I would. I think I could do it".

Though she admitted: "I definitely have a really hot temper... which I'm working on".

Watch the full interview here.

Independent Label Week? Yes, Independent Label Week. And some other things that don't come in weeks.

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• So, who had James Steven in the sweepstake for "next person to be promoted to the role of Exec VP Comms & Marketing at Warner Music, reporting directly into the major's CEO Steve Cooper and leading worldwide communications and corporate marketing from the company's New York office"? Well, congratulations, you're a winner. Have a quote from the Coop as your prize. "Fantastic".

• Independent record shops have a day. Independent venues have a week. But what about independent record labels, huh? When do they get a period of time? November, that's when. All hail the first Independent Label Week, set for 9-15 Nov.

• Mumford & Sons will release a third long-layer called 'Wilder Mind' on 4 May. And however hard you wish, that's still happening. Which is good news if you were wishing for it to happen. Less so if the opposite is true. There's a single too on 27 Apr. Or so I 'Believe'. Ha, I just got two bad Believe puns into one edition of the CMU Daily. So, that's my wishes all come true.

• It's now more than a day since Carly Rae Jepsen premiered her new single. I feel we should have mentioned its existence yesterday. Oh well.

• Major Lazer and DJ Snake have recorded a track and got MØ to sing on it.

• Another new single from Courtney Barnett? Yes. It is called 'Depreston'.

• Maya Jane Coles is releasing an album under her occasionally used Nocturnal Sunshine alias. It's called 'Take Me There', as is the first single. The latter's out this week, the former on 25 May.

• Kyary Pamyu Pamyu will release a new single, 'Mondai Girl', on 18 Mar. Here's a shortened version of it.

• Meg Myers has released the first single from her new album. 'Sorry'. I mean it's called 'Sorry'. I'm not sorry. Meg Myers seems pretty apologetic though, as she's also called the album 'Sorry'. It's OK, Meg.

• Sophie and AG Cook have remixed Yelle's 'Moteur Action'. S'good.

• Rinse FM founder Geeneus has shared his first new single for over six years. Listen to 'ELE' here.

• Jenny Hval will release a new album, called 'Apocalypse, Girl', on 8 Jun. Jenny Hval is good.

• Rowdy choir Gaggle will release a new EP, called 'Make Love Not War', on 18 Mar. It's Bill Hicks-sampling title track sounds like this.

• Madonna has announced details of her 'Rebel Heart' tour, which includes December dates in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and at London's The O2 Arena. Imagine all the 'falling down stairs' gags we came up with for that. But then this story got relegated to the One Liners, so there isn't room to share them. Sorry. "Thrilled", said Live Nation's Arthur Fogel. Obviously.

• Sam Smith thinks he can go and hide in the woods and not be found. Pah! Bad luck, Smith. We all know you're going to be in Thetford Forest on 3 Jul. Someone's even selling tickets.

• Singer-songwriter Josh Weller has formed a band called The Kenneths. They're going to be playing the Vans Warped Tour in the US, but before that they're supporting Bleach Blood. Dates include a show at the Hoxton Underbelly on 11 Mar. Grab a free track here.

Taylor Swift not talking about Katy Perry, which is why no one ever mentions them in the same sentence
Taylor Swift is never going to talk about Katy Perry, who is rumoured to be the subject of her song 'Bad Blood', in order to ensure that journalists have no excuse to write about the subject. Well, bad luck, because it's all anyone's writing about at the moment.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Swift said: "I'm not giving them anything to write about. I'm not walking up the street with boys, I'm not stumbling out of clubs drunk. [And] I'm never going to talk about her in my interview. It's not going to happen".

In a Rolling Stone interview last year, Swift admitted that the song was about a fellow musician, without naming names, saying: "She did something so horrible. I was like, 'Oh, we're just straight-up enemies'. And it wasn't even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I'm surprisingly non-confrontational - you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It's awkward, and I don't like it".

Perry was rumoured to be writing a special song in retaliation to 'Bad Blood' with plans to perform it during the Super Bowl Half Time show, but she didn't and then everyone just talked about that stupid shark instead.

But still, once the shark thing died down, everyone turned their attention back to Swift v Perry. Largely, I imagine, because this was a rare occurrence of a feud between two female popstars that the media didn't have to invent. Swift didn't think it was much of a story though. And another thing she didn't think was much of a story was her decision to remove all of her music from Spotify. Which shows you why she's not a journalist.

"I didn't think it was going to be international news or affect a public offering", she said. "If I have an opinion on something, I act accordingly - and I believe music is valuable. There were so many doomsday theories about the music industry. For the last two albums I'd sold one million copies in a week, and I knew people were waiting to see me not hit that number and then diagnose the music industry as dying or dead. Which is a lot of pressure to put on one artist and one album".

Asked if she thought that current trends in music consumption could be reversed and album sales returned to their former heights she said: "It's possible. We all have to step up and make albums that are good, top to bottom, if selling albums is still important. It is to me, but a lot of artists have already given up on that. I have friends who just think it's not attainable, which I feel is a very defeatist way to look at life".

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Publisher, Business Editor & Insights Director
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business, and is MD of CMU publisher UnLimited Media.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of UnLimited Media she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

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