TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Beastie Boys have emerged victorious from a lawsuit accusing them of copyright infringement over unauthorised samples on their 1989 album, 'Paul's Boutique'. As previously reported, the day before Beastie Boy Adam Yauch died in 2012, often litigious US label TufAmerica sued the group alleging that they had sampled without permission songs by American band... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Icelandic musician Dísa - real name Dísa Jacob - released her debut EP, 'Sculpture', this week through Danish label Tigerspring. The EP, which you can listen to in full on SoundCloud here, shows a thoughtful take on pop, both musically and lyrically. Opening track 'Sculpture' has a chorus that begins to seem more like a mantra, which then seeps thematically... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Beastie Boys gain summary judgement on TufAmerica case
LEGAL Number of UK web-blocks passes 100
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Vevo and YouTube begin to display age ratings on music videos in the UK
The Orchard acquires RoyaltyShare, invests in Korrect
Ethan Kaplan joins Gracenote
7digital financials illustrate download to streaming shift
ARTIST NEWS Zayn Malik leaves One Direction, after Jeremy Clarkson sacked by BBC
Passenger to donate profits from new album to UNICEF
GIGS & FESTIVALS Final batch of bands added to Great Escape line-up, headed by Skepta and JME
ONE LINERS Proper aligns with Redeye, David Guetta lyric video, QT music video, and more
AND FINALLY... Snoop Dogg triumphs in wrestling disagreement
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Beastie Boys gain summary judgement on TufAmerica case
The Beastie Boys have emerged victorious from a lawsuit accusing them of copyright infringement over unauthorised samples on their 1989 album, 'Paul's Boutique'.

As previously reported, the day before Beastie Boy Adam Yauch died in 2012, often litigious US label TufAmerica sued the group alleging that they had sampled without permission songs by American band Trouble Funk on their 1989 tracks 'Shadrach' and 'Hold It Now Hit It'. The company said that it had taken control of the rights to the Trouble Funk catalogue via an administration deal in 1999.

Launching legal action against the Beastie Boys in 2012, TufAmerica said it had only just become aware of the infringement. And in 2013, a judge refused to dismiss the case, saying that there had been "qualitatively and quantitatively significant" use of the Trouble Funk tracks, therefore meaning the Beastie Boys had to answer the case.

But last year the surviving members of the rap group hit back, questioning what copyrights TufAmerica actually controlled in the sampled records.

The defendants argued that in 1984 Trouble Funk had signed to Island Records, now a Universal Music label. Meanwhile two of the group's members signed a publishing deal with a company ultimately acquired by Polygram, now Universal Music Publishing. And what label released 'Paul's Boutique'? Capitol, now part of, you guessed it, Universal Music. Indeed, Universal was co-defendant on the case.

Questions about what TufAmerica did and did not control put the focus on its contracts with Trouble Funk members Robert Reed, Tony Fisher and James Avery. The former two allied with TufAmerica in 1999, but Avery only signed up in 2012, meaning that until that point the company didn't have exclusive rights in Trouble Funk songs (which, with hindsight, possibly explains why it didn't sue until 2012).

But even then there was a problem for TufAmerica, because of the nature of Avery's contract. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Avery deal only granted the music company the 'right to sue' on the band member's behalf, rather than giving it control of his rights, which - ruled US District Judge Alison Nathan - is not sufficient for a case of this kind.

"Putting aside the issue of whether the 2012 agreement and 1999 agreements can be read together, the 2012 agreement conveys nothing more than the bare right to sue", wrote the judge. "It has long been the rule that [w]here ... an agreement transfers nothing more than the bare right to sue ... [it] cannot be the basis for standing under the Copyright Act".

And so, basically, TufAmerica hasn't got a leg to stand on.

Number of UK web-blocks passes 100
Bored of the endless 'this many billion downloads' and 'this many billion streams' stats? Well, here's another fun digital landmark for you, the UK entertainment industry has now blocked more than one hundred websites on copyright infringement grounds. Well done one and all. Let's have a big fat block party. Maybe with Bloc Party headlining.

So yes, Torrentfreak, which keeps count of such things, has noted that a recent injunction sought by record label trade group BPI and the groovy guys over at record industry rights body PPL, which forced internet service providers to block access to seventeen unlicensed download sites, took the total number of blocked sites to 110.

As so much previously reported I now spout this shit in my sleep, web-blocking has become a favoured anti-piracy method of the music industry in those countries where new legislation or legal precedent has enabled such a thing. Once a court has deemed a website to be liable for copyright infringement (or, more often, so called 'authorising infringement'), an injunction is issued ordered ISPs to stop their customers from accessing it.

Of course, piracy sites have a habit of moving location, while piracy fans like to set up proxies to help their brethren circumvent the blockades. And then Google, a firm which has, let us never forget, "done more than almost any other company to help tackle online piracy", helps everyone find the new locations or latest proxies, so that no one is actually deprived of their free speech rights, aka free Megan Trainor tracks for all.

But the movie studios and record labels reckon that the web-blocks do reduce the number of more casual web-surfers accessing illegal sources of content, or at least they make it clearer to everyone that this website or that ain't legit. And so the blocks continue.

Most of the seventeen set-ups to have been blocked in the latest injunction are unlicensed MP3 download sites, though it did also include a site that enables people to find music and movies of Mega, the newer of the cloud hosting services set up by MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom.

If you're interested, Torrentfreak has a full list of all the sites now blocked.

Vevo and YouTube begin to display age ratings on music videos in the UK
And so it begins. Music videos for tracks released by the UK factions of the three major record companies will now feature age ratings on Vevo and YouTube.

This is the second stage of a government-backed pilot to test how online music video age ratings might be used in the UK. The programme began in October, with the major labels submitting videos to the BBFC in order to determine if they required a 12, 15 or 18 certificate (videos expected to require a lower certificate are not being submitted).

"Parents taking part in our most recent review of the BBFC Classification Guidelines in 2013, expressed their concerns about the content of music videos online" explained BBFC Assistant Director David Austin. "In particular their role in the sexualisation of girls, and portrayals of self-harm, drug use and violence in some music video content",

However, as the videos currently being submitted to the BBFC are all from artists directly signed to UK labels, most of the videos that prompted the pilot in the first place - which were generally put out by US artists - are left untouched, leading to situations like this one. Though I'm sure those involved would point out that if the pilot is deemed successful, it would be hoped that it could be rolled out more widely.

"We want to empower consumers by giving them useful, advance guidance as to the suitability of the music videos they watch, whilst leaving artists the freedom to fully express themselves", says BPI boss Geoff Taylor. "The introduction of age ratings on top of the existing parental advisory warnings is a key next step by the UK's record labels, working with BBFC, Vevo and YouTube, that will enable families to make more informed viewing decisions".

And Vevo's EVP International Nic Jones added that, while the company fully supports musicians' "right to freedom of expression in the videos they create", the company also recognises its role in ensuring that viewers can be "comfortable with their choice of viewing material and its suitability".

"In turn age ratings will help Vevo become even more valuable to brands, helping them to connect to their desired audience", he added, possibly revealing the real drive behind Vevo's support.


The Orchard acquires RoyaltyShare, invests in Korrect
The Orchard has acquired royalty processing service RoyaltyShare and invested in another, Korrect. The music distributor will now combine technology from both to offer improved royalty processing and collection to its label clients.

"We're always looking for ways to free up our clients' time to allow them to focus on the creative side of their businesses, whether it's through performance right collections, sales and marketing, or premium video services", says Orchard CEO Brad Navin. "Artist royalty processing is a natural extension of our end-to-end solution, particularly as it follows our philosophy of providing complete transparency from point of purchase to artist payment".

Launched in 2005 in order to help overcome the "inherent difficulties faced by independent labels in transitioning to a digital world", says CEO Steve Grady, RoyaltyShare counts over 90 indie labels as clients, as well as a number of book publishers.

Korrect, meanwhile, was originally launched as general accounting software in 2001, before switching to offer a software specifically aimed at processing the complex payments received from the likes of YouTube and Spotify.


Ethan Kaplan joins Gracenote
Gracenote has hired Ethan Kaplan as its new Senior Vice President and General Manager Of Music. He was previously a key exec at Live Nation Labs, which closed earlier this year.

Announcing the news, Kaplan said: "Gracenote is a music technology pioneer and has been on the forefront of the digital music revolution since the very beginning. While the music industry has come a long way, there's still a great divide between the music and tech industries. Gracenote sits in the centre of that divide and has an enormous opportunity to play a lead role in how tech companies leverage music to drive product innovation. This is what excites me".

Gracenote CEO John Batter added: "Ethan's curiosity and passion for technology and deep understanding of the music industry makes him best to lead our customers into the next evolution of music innovation. I'm confident that he has the music and technology chops to expand our global footprint, innovate next generation products across recorded and live music, and continue to take our products and services to the masses".

Batter himself joined the company last August, following the company's purchase by media firm Tribune six months earlier.


7digital financials illustrate download to streaming shift
Now publicly listed, 7digital released an earnings report earlier this week. With many digital music firms in private ownership, or existing as subsidiaries of massive tech businesses with many other interests, 7digital's regular reports to investors could now provide a few interesting nuggets of information regards what's happening in the wider sector.

Unsurprisingly, the shift from download to streaming is seen in the figures, with download income accounting for 79% of revenue in 2013, and just 22% last year. And while that in part is due to the merger of 7digital with radio services firm UBC and some other innovations, it is also the result of the digital music side of the company increasingly providing a white-label streaming set-up to clients, rather than allowing them to run an iTunes-style download store. For example, 7digital is powering the expansion of streaming platform Guvera in various territories.

In terms of overall figures, the 7digital Group posted a 'statutory loss' of £2.6 million for the year, down from £4.5 million in 2013, despite turnover declining 12% to £10.2 million, mainly because of the decreasing importance of the download side of the business (something which was always "low margin", the company's report notes).

In addition to the Guvera alliance, 7digital used its financials report to confirm a new three year contract to power Sainsbury's digital music store. We also found out that the company raised proceeds of £3.5 million against an investment of £1.6 million by selling part of its stake in audio-sharing platform Audioboom.

Remarking on it all, CEO Simon Cole told reporters: "These results represent a year in which we successfully created a new company from the merger of UBC Media and 7digital; we have ended it in a position ahead of the predictions we had made during the merger".

He went on: "Our success and growing customer base is proof of the developing market for streamed music services and the coming together of the radio and music industries as technology and consumer habits change. As our business model has changed, our high margin monthly recurring revenues and profitability continue to grow, powered by the fast growth of our existing clients and new customers wins".

  Approved: Dísa
Icelandic musician Dísa - real name Dísa Jacob - released her debut EP, 'Sculpture', this week through Danish label Tigerspring.

The EP, which you can listen to in full on SoundCloud here, shows a thoughtful take on pop, both musically and lyrically. Opening track 'Sculpture' has a chorus that begins to seem more like a mantra, which then seeps thematically into the stories of love and loss that follow.

If you're in London tonight, you can catch Dísa at this month's edition of the Ja Ja Ja Nordic showcase night, which takes place at The Lexington as usual.

Ahead of that, here's the video for the EP's closing track 'Cure'.
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Zayn Malik leaves One Direction, after Jeremy Clarkson sacked by BBC
There was a point yesterday when it looked like Jeremy Clarkson being sacked for punching a man might be the only entertainment story of note for Wednesday 25 March 2015. And that would have been fine, but try as I might, I was struggling to find a music angle to whole thing.

Radio 2 deejay Chris Evans being in the frame to replace him on 'Top Gear'? Maybe, but it's still a bit of a stretch. But what else is there?

The next possible link I came up with was that time the BBC aired a weird mashup of 'Top Of The Pops' and 'Top Gear' for Comic Relief back in 2007. I mean, that can't be the weakest excuse for running the biggest entertainment (but non-music) news story of the day in my daily entertainment (but only-music) news bulletin, can it? True, I can't think of a weaker one just at the moment, but there must be one. Maybe I should look to the local press for inspiration.

But then, thank the heavens, the Zayn came. Recognising the stress myself, and others like me no doubt, were suffering as a result of the biggest entertainment news story of the day being decidedly unmusical, he chose to give in to rampant speculation about his future as a teen pop sensation and fall on his sword. God bless you, Zayn. One Direction fans' loss is journalism's gain.

Yes, at 4.30pm on Wednesday 25 Mar 2015, two and half hours after BBC Director General Tony Hall had announced that Clarkson's contract with the Corporation would not be renewed, it was announced that Zayn Malik had quit One Direction after five years of being the one people suspected would leave first.

Malik said in a statement, issued via 1D's Facebook page: "My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologise to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart".

"I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22 year old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight", he continued, his decision coming after the latest round of tabloid speculation about his love life. "I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world".

I don't know, Zayn? Best band in the world? The absolute best? I don't mind them, but the very best band in the world? Oh wait, I see what you're saying: 1D are not splitting up just because they are one man down. Not yet, anyway. No, for the foreseeable future (depending on how far you can see), 0.8 Direction will slog on with their scheduled tour dates. Before finally calling it a day just after Christmas. Probably.

They said in unison: "We're really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we've gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We're looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour".

The man who originally saw the potential of putting five slightly mediocre solo acts together as a group, Simon Cowell, added: "I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction. Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond - and immensely proud - of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave. As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band".

Jeremy Clarkson could not be reached for comment.


Passenger to donate profits from new album to UNICEF
Passenger, aka singer-songwriter Michael Rosenberg, has announced that any money he earns from his new album, 'Whispers II', will be donated to a UNICEF campaign aiming to lower child mortality rates in Liberia.

Writing on his website, Rosenberg told fans that the success of his last album, 'Whispers', had placed him "in a situation that I never dreamed I'd be in", which prompted him to make the decision to give up profits from his latest release.

"It's so exciting to be able to work with UNICEF on such an important campaign", he said in a statement. "Money raised from these sales will go directly towards food and supplements to help bring severely malnourished kids back to health, facility upgrades and maintenance, education and training for health workers in the region".

The album will be released through Rosenberg's own Black Crow label, while Sony/ATV handles publishing outside Australia.

Final batch of bands added to Great Escape line-up, headed by Skepta and JME
The final of the big Dome Shows has been announced for this year's Great Escape festival, the tenth anniversary edition that takes place in Brighton from 14-16 May. And with Skepta and JME joining the bill, alongside other big Dome Show acts Alabama Shakes and Kate Tempest, it's set to be one hell of a party for that tenth birthday.

And across the board over 400 great bands will play over the three days, including established names like The Cribs and Gaz Coombes, but crucially hundreds of exciting new acts too, the best of British music ready to break into territories abroad, and international talent galore looking to build an audience in the UK and the rest of Europe. The full list of bands added to the bill today is below.

The Great Escape festival, of course, sits alongside the convention for music business professionals, which this year includes four full-day conference strands as part of CMU Insights @ The Great Escape, including Spotify keynoting on music marketing in the streaming age, and BASCA boss Vick Bain leading the 'digital pie debate' in a licensing-themed strand. Elsewhere Blur's Dave Rowntree will inspire future talent as part of the CMU:DIY day.

Get your delegate passes now while the £175 saver rate still applies! Click here.

And the full list of bands added to the bill today: AOSOON, Acid Arab, Ady Suleiman, Afrikan Boy, Akcadamy, Al Bairre, Allusondrugs, Andreas Moe, Arborist, Astronomyy, Baby Queens, Bad Weed, Baxter Dury, Beach Baby, Bill Ryder Jones, Blanck Mass, Blaue Blume, Bonkaz, Brika, Bristol, C. Duncan, Cape Cub, Casi, Cc Smugglers, Chilli And The Whalekillers, Ciaran Lavery, Daisy Victoria, Dan Owen, Daudi Matsiko, Dj Nature, Duke Garwood, Elias, Empress Of, English Heretic, Fekky, Feverist, Fickle Friends, Float Fall, Francisco The Man, Furs, Gabi, Gaz Coombes, Georgia, Get Inuit, Gramotones, Hannah Lou Clark, Hein Cooper, Ho99o9, Hollysiz, Hooton Tennis Club, Hyena, Indigo Face, Jack Robert Hardman, Jamie Lawson, Jane Weaver, Jeanne Added, Jeremy?, Jerry Williams, Jesse Sheehan, Jme, Joe Dolman, Jpnsgrls, Julia Marcell, Junius Meyvant, KID, Kelvin Jones, Klara Ketelaars, Klo, Kuenta I Tambu, Landshapes, Liberto Wolf, Lily Rendle-Moore, Lion Babe, Lloyd Yates, Lonely The Brave, Loris, Miamigo, Mick Jenkins, Mile Me Deaf, Model Aeroplanes, Mugwump, Nah, Neon Saturdays, New City Kings, Ngod, Ocean Wisdom, Okmalumkoolkat, Ólah Bliss, Oliver Daldry, Olivier Heim, Optical, P.H. Fat, Palace, Plastic Mermaids, Queen Kwong, Raye, Rebecca Clements, Rhodes, Ria Mae, Rob Finlay, Robyn Sherwell, Rory Indiana, Sabella, Sasha Siem, Say Yes Dog, Saycet, Scarlet Rascal, Sg Lewis, Shopping, Skepta, Slug, Sonar Soul, Spring King, Stal, Sunflower Bean, Sykes, Tama Sumo, The Academic, The Accidentals, The Big Bluff, The Cribs, The Mispers, The Moon, The One Hundred, The Strypes, The Vryll Society, Thor Rixon, Tkay Maidza, Tor Miller, Tora, Triana Park, Tropics, Tusks, Versus You, Warm Graves, Whilk And Misky, White, Wyles & Simpson, Yorke, Young Kato, Young Romance, Yung, Zak Abel, Zibra and Ωracles.

Proper aligns with Redeye, David Guetta lyric video, QT music video, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Proper Music Distribution has signed deal with US distributor Redeye to distribute the latter's label partners - including Kill Rock Stars, Barsuk and Northern Spy - in the UK and Ireland. "Thrilled', said Redeye co-founder Glenn Dicker.

• David Guetta's only gone and put out a lyric video. I mean, really. The track's called 'Hey Mama' and features not only Nicki Minaj, but also Afrojack delivering those lyrics.

• Becoming Real has finally got around to recording his first full-length LP. About bloody time. It's called 'Pure Apparition', and will be released on 25 May. Wanna hear a track? Yeah? OK, this is 'Tibetan Moves'.

• Ghost Lost has announced a new EP, called 'Chocolate Haze', will be released in May. Here's lead single 'Overflow'.

• If you thought 'Hey QT' by QT was a thing we'd left back in 2014, then you were wrong. And shame on you. It's not even out yet. 10 May is the date that situation will change. There is a music video for the track now though.

Earlier this month, Girls Names released a very short teaser video on YouTube. Now they've released their very long new single. That's just the way the world works, I guess.

• And I ought to mention that you can now listen to a track from Hudson Mohawke's new album.

Snoop Dogg triumphs in wrestling disagreement
So, here's a funny thing. Snoop Dogg got into a fight with a wrestler earlier this week. It was all part of WWE Raw (that's a wrestling thing), and was something to do with who should be allowed to append the word 'mania' to their name. Or something.

Anyway, Snoop got into an argument with wrestler Curtis Axel, and when this could not be resolved amicably, the rapper got Hulk Hogan to back him up. Then there was some shirt-tearing and Snoop threw Axel out of the ring (I didn't mention that this all took place in a wrestling ring did I? But it did).

And if you think my write up of it is confusing, you should see the actual video.

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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