TODAY'S TOP STORY: Insurers from Lloyd's Of London have filed a countersuit against Kanye West, who went legal earlier this month in relation to the cancelled dates on his 2016 'St Pablo' tour. The insurers accuse the rapper of failing to cooperate with their investigators, while also claiming that there are "substantial irregularities in Mr West's medical history"... [READ MORE]
Copyright provides creators with control over that which they create, but what happens when the creators themselves don't own the copyright in their work? Artists and songwriters who are no longer in control of their copyrights do still have some rights, sometimes by contract, and via performer and moral rights. With the latter in the news this week, CMU Trends considers what the law says about the rights of artists and songwriters after their copyrights have been assigned. [READ MORE]
Rarely a week goes by in the music business news these days without at least one catalogue acquisition. But who - other than labels and publishers - is buying music rights, and why? Are there opportunities for individual artists and songwriters to do deals with professional investors? And how do you even value music rights? CMU Trends reviews the music rights market - past, present and future. [READ MORE]
While the challenges faced by the music industry since the mainstream adoption of the internet in the early 2000s have been widely documented, the music media has faced many of the same challenges too. CMU Trends reviews recent developments and trends in the music media business, and the ongoing challenges faced by media owners. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Lloyd's insurers countersue Kanye West over St Pablo tour claim
LEGAL musicFIRST launches campaign to rally US artists behind copyright reform
DEALS Kobalt signs Rudimental
LIVE BUSINESS 9500+ sign petition to save Oxford venue The Cellar
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Deezer rolls out high quality audio service beyond Sonos
LG unveils MQA-enabled smartphone for higher quality audio
ONE LINERS Vevo, ACM, LCD Soundsystem, more
AND FINALLY... Radio X criticised by media regulator over Russell Brand's sex chat with Elvis impersonator
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Digital Deals, Dollars And Trends - Explained!
MASTERCLASS | Monday 18 September 2017, London | INFO
This half day masterclass, presented by CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke, will explain how digital music platforms are licensed and royalties distributed, as well as reviewing the digital market in 2017 and which services are leading in terms of users and revenue.
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Enforcing Music Rights - Safe Harbours And Piracy
MASTERCLASS | Monday 20 November 2017, London | INFO
In this half day masterclass, CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke will look at how the music industry enforces its copyrights, at the long-running battle with online music piracy, and at the controversy around the copyright safe harbour.

Lloyd's insurers countersue Kanye West over St Pablo tour claim
Insurers from Lloyd's Of London have filed a countersuit against Kanye West, who went legal earlier this month in relation to the cancelled dates on his 2016 'St Pablo' tour. The insurers accuse the rapper of failing to cooperate with their investigators, while also claiming that there are "substantial irregularities in Mr West's medical history".

As previously reported, West abandoned his US tour last November after erratic behaviour at a couple of his shows, including a ten minute rant that took aim at Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Drake and Mark Zuckerberg, among others. He was subsequently admitted to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital Center, with one news agency stating at the time that "the decision to hospitalise West was for his own health and safety".

West's lawsuit earlier this month claimed that it was his doctors who advised him to end his tour prematurely in order to receive treatment following a psychological breakdown. The rapper and his company Very Good Touring Inc then claimed on the insurance policies that had been taken out for the tour, citing this medical guidance as the reason for cancellation. But the Lloyd's based insurers are yet to pay up, despite - West's lawyers argued - their client submitting to the independent medical examination required by his insurance policy.

But in the countersuit filed this week, the insurers claim that West has not fully cooperated with the people they appointed to investigate the insurance claim. One thing seemingly being investigated is any possible drug consumption, because the 'St Pablo' insurance policies exclude any losses directly resulting from the use of illegal drugs or the impact of prescription medication not used as prescribed.

The legal filing made by the insurers in the LA courts this week said that specifics weren't being including in the countersuit to protect West "from public disclosure of details of his private life", but the litigation does allege that the insurers' investigators have found "substantial irregularities in Mr West's medical history".

When West filed his litigation, his lawyer Howard King said that insurers like those trading via Lloyd's Of London have business models that thrive "on conducting unending 'investigations' of bona fide coverage requests, stalling interminably, running up their insured's costs, and avoiding coverage decisions based on flimsy excuses".

Now responding to the countersuit, King told reporters that the Lloyd's insurers simply didn't "want to honour a legitimate claim but can't find a factual basis to deny" payment.


musicFIRST launches campaign to rally US artists behind copyright reform
US-based organisation The musicFIRST Coalition yesterday launched a new website and online campaign to rally artists behind the key issues on which it is lobbying, namely radio royalties, compulsory licences, the 1972 copyright quirk and those bloody safe harbours. Many of these issues relate specifically to American copyright law, though - of course - safe harbour is a global gripe for the music community.

musicFIRST has given each of the strands of its campaign a tongue-in-cheek title. 'No Heart Radio' is focused on the fact that, under US copyright law, AM/FM radio stations pay no royalties to artists and labels, the biggest beneficiary of which is American radio giant iHeart. Meanwhile the 'SiriusLY' strand notes that, while US online and satellite radio stations like Sirius do pay recording royalties, they can utilise a compulsory licence where rates are set by the Copyright Royalty Board. musicFIRST reckons that results in below-market rates.

Under the banner 'That 70s Law' is the campaign to extend federal copyright law to all copyright protected sound recordings, rather than only those released since 1972. As it currently stands older tracks are protected by state copyright law, throwing up all sorts of complications when it comes to the online and satellite radio royalties due under federal rules. And finally 'YouLose' is the title for musicFIRST's campaign against the use of safe harbour protection by user-upload services, which - of course - mainly means YouTube.

The new digital advertising campaign targets American artists, seeking to get more music makers behind musicFIRST's lobbying efforts. Among other things, artists will be encouraged to share their stories online and to send messages to their local representatives in US Congress, where the industry is seeking legislative reform.

Says musicFIRST Executive Director Chris Israel: "Music has incredible value and music creators should always be fairly compensated for their work. It is a very exciting time and the ways that we are listening to music are changing rapidly. Unfortunately, many laws remain outdated and often fail to protect music creators by denying them fair pay for their hard work. Our new campaign is focused on empowering music creators to advocate for the essential and enduring value of their works".

Israel goes on: "Our goal is to rally the people and organisations who make and love music to ask Congress to address obvious flaws in our copyright system. We are simply looking for a level playing field with no government subsidies, grandfather clauses or decades-old safe harbours. The music industry has evolved, innovated and grown. Some of those who told us to 'adapt to disruption' are now the ones hiding behind outdated government protections. It's time to modernise the rules to let competition, innovation and great music thrive. The real winners will be the millions of fans who ultimately drive everything we do".


Kobalt signs Rudimental
Kobalt yesterday announced it had signed a new worldwide deal with Rudimental, via which it will administrate the publishing rights in all of the group's future works, kicking off with their recent release, the James Arthur featuring 'Sun Comes Up'.

Noting Rudimental's regular collaborations with other artists, Kobalt's SVP Of Creative Sam Winwood said: "Rudimental is not only one of the most exciting and important bands to come out of the UK in recent years but they have also helped discover and launch a whole new generation of great UK artists and continue to do so".

Rudimental also recently teamed up with Sub Focus, Chronic and Maverick Sabre on a new track called 'Trouble', which you can listen to here.


9500+ sign petition to save Oxford venue The Cellar
Over 9500 people have now signed a petition calling on the landlords of Oxford venue The Cellar to allow the club and music space to continue to operate. It follows the news earlier this week that the venue's landlord - St Michael's & All Saint's Charities - plans to redevelop the basement space for retail use.

The Cellar was opened 40 years ago by local promoter Adrian Hopkins and is now managed by his son Tim. It has long history of presenting an eclectic mix of artists and genres through its gig and clubbing programme - especially up and coming talent - as well hosting comedy, film, art and student theatre events.

Commenting on the news that redevelopment may force the venue out, Tim Hopkins told reporters earlier this week: "It is devastating news, not just for The Cellar team, but for the Oxford music scene as a whole. The loss of an important cultural asset such as The Cellar is a matter of concern for everyone, not just the music fans and musicians of Oxford. It should be of concern to anyone who cares about jobs, the night-time economy, local creativity and the social community of the city".

Speaking for St Michael's And All Saints' Charities, which also owns the shop unit above The Cellar, currently occupied by Lush, Rupert Sheppard told the BBC: "The trustees have no wish to cause unnecessary upset to those who value The Cellar, but it will be appreciated that they are under obligations to act in the best interests of the charities and their beneficiaries".

With that position in mind, Hopkins went on: "We appreciate the pressures that may be felt by St Michael's And All Saint's Charities, but the aims of the charity are not furthered by losing such a vital local space. We would welcome the opportunity to work with St Michaels and All Saints to look at an alternative way to increase their income, if this is their aim; but we have yet to be consulted on this. Working together could led to economic benefits for the charity, and we urge the trustees to pause and consider the wider benefits that a cultural space such as The Cellar brings to the local community".

The UK's Music Venue Trust has likewise called on St Michael's And All Saint's Charities to halt its planning application to redevelop The Cellar space into a retail unit, and to instead liaise with Hopkins on possible alternative options.

It's CEO Mark Davyd said: "We urge St Michaels and All Saints to withdraw their application and work with The Cellar to develop a proposal that protects this important venue. Oxford City Council have a very clear cultural strategy, and converting a fantastic cultural asset like The Cellar into a retail space quite obviously flies in the face of that, as well as the needs of local people. It's quite clear that the people of Oxford want The Cellar to stay, and we hope the charity will recognise this and reconsider their plans."

Foals, Ride, Glass Animals, Objekt, Rob Da Bank and Young Knives are among the artists and DJs to have already backed the campaign to save The Cellar. The online petition is here.


Deezer rolls out high quality audio service beyond Sonos
The Deezer geezers are expanding their high quality audio offering that was previously known as Deezer Elite.

To date the higher quality audio option has only been available for use on Sonos devices, but over the next few months the service - now known as Deezer HiFi - will be rolled out to Sony, Samsung, Yamaha, Bang & Olufsen, Onkyo, Pioneer, AudioPro and Devialet speakers too.

The expansion is part of Deezer's alliance with Google and the tech giant's voice-activated Google Home platform, with Deezer HiFi basically working on any speakers that have Google's Chromecast built in.

As is the industry norm, a subscription to Deezer's hi-def service - offering FLAC rather than MP3 quality audio - is double the price. So £19.99 a month in the UK.

Says Deezer's VP Of Hardware Partnerships Riad Hawa: "With more and more consumers embracing voice activated services and a clear market for high quality audio, it is important that we are in a position to offer both to ensure the best possible experience. Through deepening our relationship with existing partners and expanding our product offering, we believe that we deliver just this".


LG unveils MQA-enabled smartphone for higher quality audio
Talking of high quality audio gubbins, LG Electronics has unveiled a new phone that, it says, will be "the first global MQA-enabled handset" - MQA being the previously reported digital format that combines higher quality audio with smaller file sizes.

The blurb bigging up LG's new V30 smartphone, available worldwide over the next month, notes that "MQA's award-winning technology captures and reproduces the sound of the original studio master in a file that's small enough to stream". It goes on: "The LG V30 handset features integrated MQA playback technology so that master quality sound recordings can be played back via the mobile device".

Speaking for MQA, the firm's CEO Mike Jbara told reporters: "This is a great partnership with LG because MQA's technology - delivering quality audio in a convenient file size - truly comes into its own on the mobile device. The V30 handset raises the bar in terms of offering an all-round premium user experience".


Vevo, ACM, LCD Soundsystem, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Tourism Ireland is teaming up with Vevo to create video guides to Irish cities presented by artists - kicking off in early September with Kodaline guiding people around Dublin.

• The Academy Of Contemporary Music will next month open a brand new recording facility at its Guildford campus, which will be used for lessons and masterclasses, and also be available to ACM students to book in downtime. It includes "a large live room suitable for bands and orchestral set ups, a stone-room offering an alternative resonance and sound, alongside a control room complete with an SSL Duality console".

• Manchester's Off The Record festival, featuring a line-up of 30 emerging acts only announced the day before the event, and a day-time conference for music makers, will return for a second edition on 10 Nov.

• The next edition of the dance music focused Brighton Music Conference will take place from 25-28 Apr 2018, in Brighton, obviously.

Here's a new LCD Soundsystem track called 'Pulse (v.1)'. It pre-empts the release of new album 'American Dream' tomorrow, though doesn't seem to be on that LP's track listing.

• Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile have collaborated on a new album called 'Lotta Sea Lice', which will be released 13 Oct. The first single is 'Over Everything'.

• Want to hear the opening track from the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album? The LP is called 'Luciferian Towers' and is out on 22 Sep. You can listen to the track 'Undoing A Luciferian Towers' on Bandcamp.

• The 2018 BRIT Awards will take place on 21 Feb right there in the middle of the O2 Dome in North Greenwich. It'll air on ITV.


Radio X criticised by media regulator over Russell Brand's sex chat with Elvis impersonator
Media regulator OfCom has ruled that Global's Radio X was in breach of broadcasting rules when it aired a conversation between Russell Brand and an Elvis impersonator on a Sunday morning show earlier this year, which began with the question from Brand "have you ever had sex as Elvis?"

"I've done it without the jumpsuit, but I have kept the cape on", said Elvis tribute act James Burrell. "That's good, that's how to do it", Brand bantered back. "You can't have sex with a jumpsuit on".

"Well the only difficulty with that, is they're studded, you see", Burrell continued, "and they get very spiky and so they can cut you in places that you wouldn't imagine. And if you're on top of somebody, you know!"

Inspired by that chit chat, another guest on the show then mused: "Do you remember that documentary where, I think Elvis came out of a hotel and he said he'd just met a prostitute and he just goes to his friend, he just goes, 'You know that prostitute you showed me? She gives tremendous head, tremendous head'".

So, all good fun for some Sunday morning listening then. But won't somebody think about the children? "Rule 1.3 states that children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them", OfCom stated in its latest Broadcast Bulletin earlier this week.

And, it went on, "Rule 1.5 states that broadcasters must have particular regard to times when children are particularly likely to be listening". Both rules had been breached by the Sunday morning Elvis sex chat, OfCom concluded.

Global argued that Radio X targeted an "alternative" audience and "maintains a distinction from other mainstream stations". It also added that Brand was "a well-known comedian and broadcaster with a loyal following who are familiar with his style of humour". And, probably, are aware of past controversies surrounding his radio output.

But Radio X could have done more, OfCom reckoned, to ensure such content didn't air during the morning, not least because Brand's show was pre-recorded.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins 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 | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited 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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