TODAY'S TOP STORY: Pandora has confirmed that it has reached a settlement with the major labels over its use of pre-1972 sound recordings. The streaming platform follows the lead of US satellite radio service Sirius which, back in June, agreed to pay $210 million to the three majors - Universal, Sony and Warner - and ABKCO Music, which is best known for controlling... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: This looks good. Very good. Yes, the Soundcrash team have come up with the goods once again. This Saturday they have Squarepusher playing two sets at The Troxy, surrounded by a drum n bass history lesson provided by the Metalheadz crew, and there's a live set from 808 State. For his first set, Squarepusher will appear with his Shobaleader One band. They'll perform... [READ MORE]
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Alex James. You know, Alex James off of The Blur. He hasn't appeared in the Beef Of The Week column for bloody ages. And given that his last appearance way back in 2012 was such a triumph, I thought it was about time for a reprise so that I can spoil that record of fine beefdom. This week, while giving an interview in his capacity as Ambassador for Lidl's new craft... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including the unveiling of YouTube's Red subscription service, Victory Records' mechanical rights dispute with Spotify, the debates around the Music Venue Trust's Venues Day conference and this year's Mercury Prize shortlist. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Pandora confirms settlement with majors over pre-1972 recordings
LEGAL CBS hits back in pre-1972 case against AM/FM radio
Both sides request rethink in latest dancing baby judgement
LIVE BUSINESS SFX board considering multiple bids for the company's assets
MEDIA Vice planning a dozen TV channels in Europe
ARTIST NEWS Janet Jackson apologises for over zealous takedowns of live videos
Andrew Weatherall forced out of Shoreditch studio
Lana Del Rey discusses panic attacks
RELEASES Adele is releasing an album and has made one song from it available to the public
ONE LINERS Sentric Music, Fall Out Boy, Lady Gaga, more
AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #276: Alex James v Independent Music
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
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Pandora confirms settlement with majors over pre-1972 recordings
Pandora has confirmed that it has reached a settlement with the major labels over its use of pre-1972 sound recordings. The streaming platform follows the lead of US satellite radio service Sirius which, back in June, agreed to pay $210 million to the three majors - Universal, Sony and Warner - and ABKCO Music, which is best known for controlling the early Rolling Stones catalogue.

This relates to ambiguities in US copyright law over whether or not satellite and digital services are obliged to pay royalties to record labels when they play tracks that pre-date 1972. Federal copyright law says royalties are due from such services, but those rules only cover catalogue back to 1972, with earlier recordings protected by state laws.

The older state-level copyright laws say nothing specific about services like Sirius and Pandora so - given that AM/FM radio stations have never paid any royalties to labels - some satellite and digital services decided they had no obligations either. But key court cases last year suggested otherwise.

As expected, Pandora will pay the majors $90 million for past and future usage of pre-1972 repertoire, in a deal that runs to the end of 2016. The settlement - as with the Sirius deal - poses the question as to what the labels intend to do with the money. Pandora and Sirius usually license recordings through the SoundExchange collective licensing system, where income is automatically split 50/50 between labels and artists, with session musicians also getting a cut of the latter share.

Technically speaking, if monies circumvent the SoundExchange system, the statutory obligation to automatically give artists half the cash no longer applies. But Billboard's sources at the majors indicate that they are intending to pass half the settlement money onto artists, possibly using SoundExchange to administer that process.

Certainly a statement from SoundExchange chief Michael Huppe implied that artists as well as labels would benefit from the settlement. He told reporters yesterday: "We are pleased that Pandora has agreed to pay these legacy artists, giving them the compensation and respect they have earned. It is a great day when performers are paid for their work as all artists should be paid fairly, every time their music is used, across all platforms. This is a good start, which we hope encourages all services - including Pandora - to pay for all pre-72 recordings across all of their programming".

Meanwhile Recording Industry Association Of America CEO Cary Sherman said: "Major settlements with SiriusXM and now Pandora means that an iconic generation of artists and the labels that supported them will be paid for the use of their creative works".

Confirmation of the settlement came as Pandora issued its latest financial report, which showed decent revenue gains, and losses more or less in line with expectations, though the firm's share price still slipped 20% in after hours trading, with investors seemingly concerned about a slowdown in audience growth, possibly as a result of increased competition in the streaming music market.

Pandora is also facing continued battles in its bid to reduce its royalty commitments to the music industry. A review of the rates it pays the labels via SoundExchange is still going through the motions, while earlier this week the digital firm filed an appeal to the rate court that in May increased its royalty obligations to one of the performing rights organisations on the songs side, BMI.

The appeal argues that the rate court judge was wrong to take into account the royalties agreed in the ultimately unfulfilled direct deals that were negotiated between Pandora and the major music publishers at a time when the former thought the latter were going to pull their digital rights from the PROs (an eventuality that the courts subsequently blocked). Pandora also says that the judge in the BMI case should have considered a ruling on the rates it pays the other main US PRO, ASCAP.

For its part, BMI said in response to the appeal: "We think [the judge] got it right in his decision, and we look forward to presenting our arguments once again in our reply brief. We are confident the Court Of Appeals will affirm the decision".

CBS hits back in pre-1972 case against AM/FM radio
More pre-1972 good times now, and US radio firm CBS has come up with some arguments against a legal claim that it should also be paying royalties to labels whenever it plays golden oldie recordings on its AM and FM channels.

Under federal law Stateside, conventional radio stations do not have to pay the labels any royalties, on the basis that airplay is free promotion. This puts the US out of sync with most other countries, where radio stations pay royalties to both record companies and music publishers. It was always assumed that the same rule applied to earlier sound recordings even though they were protected by state-level rather than federal copyright law.

The landmark ruling in the pre-1972 lawsuits against Sirius, which said that - even though state laws make no specific reference to satellite or online radio - it still had to pay royalties to the labels on that older catalogue, suggested that all broadcasters have, in theory, always had that obligation too. Even though no AM/FM stations have ever paid.

A company called ABS Entertainment, which owns old recordings by Al Green, amongst others, decided to test this precedent by suing radio giants CBS Radio, iHeartMedia and Cumulus for royalties last month. And earlier this week the first of the defendants filed a motion attempting to have that lawsuit thrown out.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the filing disputes that a general 'performing right' exists as part of the sound recording copyright at state level in California - where the landmark ruling in the Sirius case occurred - while arguing that the fact the labels have never gone after royalties on pre-1972 tracks before, instead lobbying Congress for a general performing right to be added at a federal level, proves that the record industry accepted this interpretation of the law. Though a New York judge considering another Sirius case said previous failure on the record industry's part to enforce this right didn't mean the right could not exist in state law.

Just in case none of that works, CBS then introduces a novel argument: that it only plays re-released, re-mastered versions of pre-1972 sound recordings. A new copyright was created in the remastering and that occurred well after 1972, it argues. "In fact, every song CBS has played in the last four years has been a post-1972 digital sound recording that has been re-issued or re-mastered", says the filing.

Whether that wiggle will work in court remains to be seen.


Both sides request rethink in latest dancing baby judgement
Both sides in the so called 'dancing baby case' have issued motions seeking a rethink of a recent ruling in the long-running legal battle.

This is the famous case where a woman called Stephanie Lenz posted a video of her child dancing to a Prince track onto YouTube, which Universal Music Publishing then had taken down on copyright grounds using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's takedown provisions. Lenz argued that the video was 'fair use' under US law, and then - with support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation - sued Universal for abuse of the DMCA.

This all happened in 2007, but the legal action is ongoing. As previously reported, last month the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals ruled that rights owners must indeed consider fair use rules before issuing a takedown notice, but it then said that that consideration need not be too rigorous, and providing the label genuinely doesn't think fair use applies, well, that's alright then.

Which was sort of good news for Universal. Though the same court rejected the major's argument that - whatever the rights and wrongs here - Lenz had to prove "actual monetary loss" in order to pursue damages for the incorrectly taken down video.

Both sides have now requested a rethink on these points. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in its filing that, under the Ninth Circuit ruling, "senders of false infringement notices could be excused so long as they subjectively believed that the material they targeted was infringing, no matter how unreasonable that belief". This, the group argues, "rewards sloppiness and creates a perverse incentive for copyright owners to not learn about the law before sending a takedown".

Meanwhile, in its filing Universal says that before going legal Lenz had "successfully used the 'put-back' procedure that Congress provided to address a takedown that a user believes is mistaken, and had done so without incurring any cost or injury". Therefore, there isn't a case to answer on the damages front, the major says.

It remains to be seen how the court now responds.

SFX board considering multiple bids for the company's assets
EDM festival promoter and Beatport owner SFX has confirmed that it received a number of bids for some or all of the company, and it is now considering those offers.

As previously reported, after SFX founder Robert FX Sillerman's first attempt to take the publicly listed EDM powerhouse back into private ownership failed in August, the company's independent directors invited bids for the firm or any of its key assets. As speculation about SFX's finances grew, some started to talk about that process as a "fire sale".

The extended deadline for offers expired last week. We already knew that Sillerman had made a new offer to buy all the shares he doesn't currently control, but yesterday the special committee set up to consider the offers confirmed it had received other bids too.

It added in a statement: "The committee is not disclosing the terms contained in these preliminary indications of interest at this time [though] Mr Sillerman's preliminary bid was publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in an amendment to his Schedule 13D. The committee is evaluating the indications of interests and is in discussions with those parties concerning the next steps in the process. The committee expects to finalise the bidding process as expediently as possible".

As also previously reported, Sillerman is now offering his company's other stockholders $3.25 a share, $2 down on his previous offer earlier this year, but still more than three times the current share price. It remains to be seen if his independent directors now approve that bid.

Meanwhile, in other SFX news, attempts to compensate ticket-buyers for problems that occurred at its US-based TomorrowWorld festival hit a snag this week, when an error was reportedly made in the refunds process. As previously reported, the TomorrowWorld event was a washout this year, with heavy rainfall resulting in traffic chaos, and a stripped back final day only open to those already on site at the event.

SFX pledged to refund those affected by the changes to the third day of the festival, with anyone who bought a three day ticket due to get a partial refund. Though, according to YourEDM, the live firm accidentally gave some of those due a third of their money back a full refund. Emails then went out explaining that those punters will now be charged for the two thirds of the ticket price they weren't meant to get back.

Sillerman has insisted that insurance means the headaches at TommorrowWorld won't damage his company financially, though he admitted that the problems were bad for the event's reputation. And while the refund error also should sort itself out, it's another slip up for a festival and company subject to more scrutiny than most at the moment.

Vice planning a dozen TV channels in Europe
Vice is planning to launch a dozen TV channels across Europe, according to its boss man Shane Smith.

The Guardian quotes Smith as confirming that he is in talks with various broadcast firms in Europe about collaborating on the launch of a number of channels in the next twelve to eighteen months, adding: "There is a bit of a bidding war going on. In the UK there are potentially a number of partners. There are lots of deals on the table. It's pretty fast and furious".

Smith was chatting about his company's European expansion plans ahead of a talk on that topic due to take place in London this evening. Negotiations with conventional broadcasters have been slow going, he added, partly because they are nervous about being part of a wider media mix.

He continued: "The problem is we want to include mobile, online and OTT [over the top]. But the old-school TV guard pays lip service to doing everything but they don't like simultaneous windows [with other partners or on other platforms]. We are trying to navigate those waters".

Once the deals are done - which might involve a Vice strand on an existing channel rather than a completely standalone entity - the programmes are already ready to go apparently, with Smith saying his company had "kind of secretly" been developing a large number of shows to populate its new channels.

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Squarepusher at The Troxy
This looks good. Very good. Yes, the Soundcrash team have come up with the goods once again. This Saturday they have Squarepusher playing two sets at The Troxy, surrounded by a drum n bass history lesson provided by the Metalheadz crew, and there's a live set from 808 State.

For his first set, Squarepusher will appear with his Shobaleader One band. They'll perform the world premiere of a new set of reinterpretations of some of his solo tracks from 1995 to 1999. Then at midnight he'll return solo to perform his fourteenth and most recent album, 'Damogen Furies', in full.

Across the night there will also be sets from Metalheadz DJs Ant TC1, Source Direct and Jubei, who between them will explore Headz-related tunes from the label's early years to the present day. And again, I say, you get 808 State live. My giddy aunt. What a line-up.

Check the trailer here.

Saturday 24 Oct, The Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, London, E1 0HX, 8pm - 2am, £22.50. More info here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

Janet Jackson apologises for over zealous takedowns of live videos
Janet Jackson has apologised that takedown notices submitted by her team against video clips of her live performances on Instagram have resulted in some fans' accounts being deleted.

In a post on Twitter, she said: "I love and appreciate my fans. I want you to know that I enjoy watching the short video clips of how you are 'Burning It Up' at the 'Unbreakable' shows. Please keep posting them".

The problem, she said, was with longer clips or full songs being made available online, continuing: "My team is passionate about protecting the intellectual property we are creating for the tour and possible future projects. It was never their intention, acting on my behalf, to have social media accounts removed. [But] permitting the use of long clips does present a contractual problem for these projects. I hope you understand. I trust the fans will use their short recordings for their own memories and to share on their social media networks of choice".

Exactly how short is short enough she's not clear on, though she added that she has "asked my team to change their approach and allow you to engage socially with these videos".

In a statement issued to Billboard, Instagram said that some of the accounts deleted had been taken down in error: "When we receive a valid report of intellectual property infringement, we're legally required to remove the reported content and to disable the accounts of repeat infringers. However, in this instance, we have identified a bug that resulted in the removal of accounts that shouldn't have been removed. We have fixed the bug and are in the process of restoring the impacted accounts".

So that all turned out alright then. Keep posting those pointless, poor quality, short clips that are of no interest to anyone, please.


Andrew Weatherall forced out of Shoreditch studio
Producer Andrew Weatherall has been forced to leave his Scrutton Street Studios in Shoreditch as the gentrification of East London rages on.

He tells Ransom Note: "Grayson Perry in his Reith Lectures of 2013 described artists and musicians as the shock troops of gentrification. The first wave that sanitises the battlefield and prepares the ground for the officer classes. I've had a studio in Shoreditch for 20 years but I've just been given my marching orders due to what I've been told is 'redevelopment'. My services are no longer required".

"To be honest with you, other people seem to be getting annoyed on my behalf", he continues. "Deep down I knew about seven or eight years ago that my time was most probably up: it was the Saturday afternoon I saw the stretch limo disgorge its hen party payload onto the Old Street pavement. But down in my bunker, denial was beginning to set in, and I felt increasingly like a jungle-dwelling Japanese soldier who refuses to believe the war is over".

Although unwilling to say exactly where he's now moved on to, he explained that it was "another battlefield wasteland - run down factories, giant broken extractor fans now the homes for oil slick pigeons".

Have a look at the old studios, as they were, here. And if you find yourself getting angry that this space is now being all gentrified up by some tedious property twonk, apparently you're meant to voice your protest by throwing a brick at someone eating Cornflakes.


Lana Del Rey discusses panic attacks
Lana Del Rey has spoken about her struggle with panic attacks in an interview with Billboard.

Speaking to the magazine, she said: "It's hard for me sometimes to think about going on when I know we're going to die. Something happened in the last three years, with my panic [attacks]. It got worse. But I've always been prone to it. I remember being, I think, four years old and I'd just seen a show on TV where the person was killed. I turned to my parents and said, 'Are we all going to die?' They said, 'Yes' and I was totally distraught! I broke down in tears and said, 'We have to move!'"

"I saw a therapist [about it] three times", she went on. "But I'm really most comfortable sitting in that chair in the studio, writing or singing. I don't [think they'll last forever], but sometimes you just want to be able to enjoy the view".

Read the full interview here.

Adele is releasing an album and has made one song from it available to the public
Adele is back. Has anyone mentioned this? Well, let me be the first to break the news to you then. Adele is releasing a brand new album called '25' on 20 Nov.

When will you be able to hear the first single though? Oh God when? Calm yourself, it is available right now. It is called 'Hello' and the video is up on that YouTube thing. I'll warn you though, there's lots of talking in the background on the video, which is super fucking annoying.

Honestly, if I were you I'd just get on iTunes or Spotify or something and listen to it that way. Or switch on the radio and wait for it to be played there. But if you really want to see Adele's face moving and stuff, here is the barely listenable video.

And here's a list of all the names of the songs on '25'. Spend the rest of the day imagining what they might sound like:

1. Hello
2. Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
3. I Miss You
4. When We Were Young
5. Remedy
6. Water Under The Bridge
7. River Lea
8. Love In The Dark
9. Million Years Ago
10. All I Ask
11. Sweetest Devotion

Sentric Music, Fall Out Boy, Lady Gaga, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Sentric Music has compiled some of its best blog posts aimed at emerging artists into one handy list. Go forth and read here.

• Fall Out Boy have released their version of 'I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)', taken from a new Disney covers album. It's terrible. Like, really awful. But I've just put myself through listening to it, so you might as well share my pain. Listen here.

• Lady Gaga is recording a second jazz album with Tony Bennett. Because that's what the fans want. This one will be all Cole Porter songs, Bennett told Vulture.

• Duran Duran's Simon Le Bon thinks his band's 1985 Bond theme 'A View To A Kill' is better than Sam Smith's recent effort. Although he doesn't seem to have heard the whole of Smith's 'Writing's On The Wall', so that's probably not a fair critique. Even if he is correct. "I caught a little bit of it, it's not my favourite - I prefer ours", he told Gigwise.

• One Direction's Louis Tomlinson called BBC Northern Ireland presenter Stephen Nolan a "little shit" for not listening to the band's new single 'Perfect' before interviewing him. Fair enough. Don't get similarly caught out, watch the video now. It sounds a bit like 'Style' by Taylor Swift.

• The artist most likely to win the Mercury Prize, Róisín Murphy, has released a new track from her Mercury-nominated album 'Hairless Toys'. Here's the video for 'Unputdownable' right here.

• Dead cert Mercury winner Eska will be touring the UK next month, including a show at London's Islington Assembly Hall on 27 Nov. Here's recent-ish single 'Shades Of Blue'.

CMU Beef Of The Week #276: Alex James v Independent Music
Alex James. You know, Alex James off of The Blur. He hasn't appeared in the Beef Of The Week column for bloody ages. And given that his last appearance way back in 2012 was such a triumph, I thought it was about time for a reprise so that I can spoil that record of fine beefdom.

This week, while giving an interview in his capacity as Ambassador for Lidl's new craft beer range, Alex James told the Daily Express that the spirit of independence has entirely disappeared from music and now exists only in the manufacture of artisan foods. And he would know, because he once put tomato ketchup in some cheese.

"That culture of independent music that I grew up with has disappeared really", he said. "All those bands that I used to see when I went to school, such as Gaye Bykers On Acid, it's really hard to exist like that now. The small ones are definitely disappearing, but if you can make pickled onion in your garage, rather than be a garage band, you're in business, and there's a market for interesting artisan foods. The spirit of independence has been transferred to food".

So, sorry to any independent artists reading this, but I'm saddened to inform you that you don't exist. Not in the way Gaye Bykers On Acid did. A band who signed to Virgin Records two years after forming, had a load of money thrown at them, and then set up their own label when they were dropped another two years after that. Honestly, I'm sure half of you haven't even attempted to get a massive advance from a record label that you can then piss up a wall.

Actually Mr James, if anything, I think the spirit of independence is more alive in music today than it ever was. There are hundreds, no thousands of bands releasing and playing music entirely off their own backs, capitalising on opportunities they would never have had before but which now exist because of the internet.

Sure, for some acts the ultimate aim is to get a big record company on board to help them achieve world stardom. But for many being independent is a badge of pride. Artists like Chris T-T and Laura Kidd (aka She Makes War) work entirely within their own means and regularly advocate for other artists who wish to do the same.

Another independent artist I've followed for many years, MJ Hibbett, wrote a timely blog on this subject just this week. His gripe was that BBC Four's 'The History Of Indie' went from chronicling the history of independent music to detailing the rise of major label-funded Britpop.

"I'd enjoyed the first two episodes as they were about LOONIES and MAVERICKS creating their own bands and labels and distribution, whereas this one seemed to decide that in the 90s that all stopped and everything was handed over to the major labels", he wrote. "The bands featured were ALL the corporate big names of Britpop, with hardly anything mentioned about the massive boom in actual independent acts around the time who had discovered this thing called "the internet" as a way to reach new people".

He continued: "Strangest of all was the fact that Stuart Murdoch from Belle & Sebastian had been a regular talking head on ALL of the episodes, but his band was not mentioned AT ALL! AT ALL! Belle & Sebastian were THE band of indie in the 90s, they were one of the first bands to have their fanbase create itself online, through fan pages and tape swapping on email lists".

Ironically, I think you could possibly argue that James's band basically killed off old 'indie', but in doing so allowed a rebirth and a massive growth in its wake. Blur made 'indie' just a name for bands with guitars who sounded like Blur, and as a result freed independent music from the shackles of the term. People now make music in all genres entirely independent of the traditional music industry. There are whole scenes you don't know about, made up just of people entertaining other people for the fun of being entertaining.

Classical music! There are people self-releasing classical music now. Saving up money from their day jobs to hire the music industry's most expensive category of session musician. While opposingly, cheaper and more powerful software has allowed people to make ever more sophisticated electronic music in their bedrooms. The new House Of Black Lanterns album, featured in the Approved column last week, is a comment on exactly this.

If it's independent spirit you want, Hibbett saves up all of his holiday every year so that he can go to the Edinburgh Festival to perform a new two man rock opera he's written with his mate Steve. For no reason other than it might be fun.

Equally, another independent artist who's work and spirit I admire endlessly is Matt Farley. As you may know, under various names he has written and released tens of thousands of songs in an effort to take advantage of economies of scale where big budgets for promotion are unavailable. But also, every few years he makes a new low budget movie, because making low budget movies is fun, and someone might want to watch it when he's finished.

You might think that Farley's self-imposed task of attempting to pre-empt every possible random search on Spotify or iTunes is ridiculous (and I realise you almost certainly do). But I'd still urge you to listen to his podcast, where he often has insightful things to say about the plight of the truly independent artist and the disingenuousness of those with major financial backing. Cue regular rants about Tom Petty.

This week's episode is particularly worth a listen, as he ponders the problem that being a totally independent artist also forces you to become a salesperson. He ponders whether it would be smart, or even bearable, to cold call people to ask them to stream his newly completed film, 'Slingshot Cops', when it comes out. Then, noting the increase in the number of podcasts asking for donations and running adverts to keep them going, he examines how wanting to create music (or podcasts) for yourself and the people who might be interested almost inevitably forces you into selling out, if you want to carry on long term.

But that uncomfortable feeling of having to sell your own art doesn't stop you from being an independent artist. Nor from having a spirit of independence. Just because there are more people independently making food now, doesn't mean all that has gone from music. There are people independently creating all kinds of things, from videogames to beer. It's everywhere, and it's brilliant.

What is more likely is that these days Alex James engages more with the food industry than he does the music community. And that while he's giving interviews about beers for a major supermarket chain, he's no closer to independent music than he was at the height of Blur's fame.

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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