TODAY'S TOP STORY: Frank Zappa's son Dweezil is planning to ask the US Trademark Office to arbitrate in a dispute with the Frank Zappa Trust over the use of his own name when performing music... [READ MORE]
There has been lots of debate around the music rights data problem in recent years, and a number of initiatives are underway to tackle the issue. Though Spotify's mechanical royalties dispute and the lack of songwriter credits on the streaming platforms shows the problem persists. As Music 4.5 puts the spotlight back on all things data, CMU Trends reviews discussions to date, challenges to be met, and where progress is being made. [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. 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]
TOP STORIES Dweezil Zappa steps up legal battle with siblings over use of his own name
LEGAL $40 million defamation suit over TLC biopic to proceed
Canadian tel co proposes web-block agency
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Investors invited to share in Eminem royalties
MARKETING & PR WildKat PR promotes Olivia Brown
ARTIST NEWS Wild Beasts "coming to an end"
Runrig announce 2018 farewell show
RELEASES Noel Gallagher announces new album and tour dates
ONE LINERS IMPALA, Michael Cera, Bon Iver, more
AND FINALLY... The Darkness lay into Southern Trains on new single
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Dweezil Zappa steps up legal battle with siblings over use of his own name
Frank Zappa's son Dweezil is planning to ask the US Trademark Office to arbitrate in a dispute with the Frank Zappa Trust over the use of his own name when performing music.

"For the past 36 years I have used my own name in the field of live music and entertainment and now two of my siblings claim to own my name and seek to prevent me from using it freely", he says in a lengthy statement published yesterday. "On principle alone, I must defend myself".

This is the latest of several battles over Dweezil's use of the Zappa name, which stretch back to when he began performing his father's music under the name Zappa Plays Zappa in 2006. Shortly after he began touring that show, his mother Gail trademarked the Zappa Plays Zappa, forcing him to licence it from the Trust.

After his mother's death in 2015, Dweezil's siblings Diva and Ahmet took control of the Trust, and seemingly ordered their brother to cease using the Zappa Plays Zappa name until he had negotiated a complicated new set of rights in relation to his live shows.

Refusing, he just changed the name of the project to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa, which the Trust again said infringed its trademarks. Thus, Zappa ultimately ended up on a run of shows titled 'Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants - The Cease And Desist Tour'.

This has resulted in an ongoing legal battle, which Dweezil has partly funded through a campaign on Pledge Music. This, he says, has led to a new claim from the Trust that it not only owns the Zappa name, but also 'Dweezil Zappa', in relation to recorded music.

For its part, the Trust has denied that it is trying to block him from using his own name, although the wording of those statements possibly implies that the Trust simply has no problem with him going about his day-to-day life being called Dweezil Zappa.

If you haven't been keeping up with this case - and, to be honest, it's so much more complicated than this summary suggests, so I can't blame you - all this ongoing acrimony within the Zappa clan might come as a surprise. Because just last week the Frank Zappa Trust announced plans for Frank Zappa to tour as a hologram next year.

The press release for that announcement specifically suggested that Dweezil might get involved. "How radical would it be ... to see Dweezil side by side with our father playing duelling guitar solos", said Ahmet in a statement. "That would be my greatest wish and I look forward to bringing this special celebration of Frank's legacy to a town near you".

However, says Dweezil in this week's statement, not only is he not involved with this hologram tour project, the first he heard of it was from social media after the announcement was published.

Off the back of all the coverage the Zappa hologram project got last week, Dweezil has now boosted his campaign to raise legal funds via Pledge Music with new t-shirts emblazoned 'No fake Frank' and a bundle featuring a new live album and additional merch named the 'I'm Allergic To Holograms Bundle'.

A portion of the funds raised will be donated to earthquake and hurricane relief charities. Once that is done, he plans to use the remaining money to force a decision from the US Trademark Office on the matter of whether or not he is allowed to use the name Dweezil Zappa in relation to entertainment services.

"These ridiculous and inconsistent positions that the ZFT continually take puts me in a position of asking the United States Patent & Trademark Office to resolve this issue once and for all", he writes.

Dweezil estimates that the trademark action could cost him around $30,000. Although, ironically, he says in his statement, as a beneficiary of the Trust, he is also funding the case against him.

The Frank Zappa Trust has not commented.


$40 million defamation suit over TLC biopic to proceed
A defamation dispute between MTV owner Viacom and the former manager of TLC could as yet go before a jury after a judge denied the broadcaster's latest attempt to have to case thrown out of court.

Perri 'Pebbles' Reid sued Viacom over a TLC biopic that aired on its VH1 channel back in 2013 called 'CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story'. Reid claims that the VH1 film - which had input from both surviving TLC members, Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins and Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas - portrayed her in an unfairly negative way and misrepresented various elements of the group's early career, defaming her in the process.

Her rather ambitious defamation lawsuit is seeking $40 million in damages. And why not? Though Viacom has always insisted it need not write a $40 million cheque to Reid, arguing that 'CrazySexyCool' was "a docudrama about the experiences of the members of TLC told from their perspective" that is definitely protected by First Amendment free speech rights.

Viacom's lawyers will gladly present that argument to any future jury, though it would much rather have the whole case thrown out on a bunch of legal technicalities. But this time last year a judge dismissed the broadcaster's bid for summary judgement in its favour, resulting in a 'motion for reconsideration' being filed by Team Viacom.

Last week the judge overseeing the case pretty much denied that motion too. Much of the legal argument to date has centred on whether there was 'actual malice' in Viacom's allegedly defamatory portrayal of Reid, and whether having biased sources who may or may not be pursuing some kind of grudge constitutes malice.

The judge did concede in his latest ruling - published by The Hollywood Reporter - that he had previously erred by considering the grounds for 'actual malice' across the biopic in general (plaintiffs argued that the movie as a whole had "a defamatory gist"), rather than on a case-by-case basis for each of the scenes Reid has taken issue with.

As a result a number of those scenes have been removed from Reid's litigation - which is the second time the number of specified grievances in the defamation suit has been cut down.

However, on the whole the judge said that last year's ruling denying Viacom summary judgement in its favour was solid and should stand. Which doesn't mean there aren't other legal tactics the media firm could still employ to try and kill this case, though for the time being the matter is still on its route to jury trial.


Canadian tel co proposes web-block agency
A Canadian internet service provider has proposed that the country's government set up an independent authority that has the power to order copyright infringing websites be blocked.

Web-blocking, of course, has become a preferred anti-piracy tactic of the entertainment industry in countries where it is an option. Usually web-blocks require an injunction from a court of law, though under a proposal put forward by Bell Canada an independent government agency would have the power to instruct ISPs to block piracy sites.

In most countries, net firms are initially resistant to web-blocking when it is first proposed, though once it's underway they generally accept the practice and adhere to any web-block injunctions that come their way. But it's interesting this proposal, which would make web-blocking even easier, is coming from a telecommunications company.

Though Bell Canada also has a TV business, and generally ISPs that are also in the content game themselves have been more friendly to the music and movie industries in their various attempts to combat online piracy.

According to Torrentfreak, Rob Malcolmson, Bell's SVP Regulatory Affairs, proposed the web-block agency during a committee hearing on the previously reported review of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He said: "We recommend that the government commits to stronger intellectual property enforcement by having an administrative agency dedicated to such enforcement and by prioritising enforcement against digital pirates ... We would like to see measures put in place whereby all internet service providers are required to block consumer access to pirated websites".

He went on: "In our view, it would be an independent agency that would be charged with that task. You certainly would not want the ISPs acting as censors as to what content is pirate content. But, surely, an independent third party agency could be formed, could create a blacklist of pirate sites, and then the ISPs would be required to block [them]".

Malcolmson added that such an agency would go some way to placating American copyright owners who have in the past criticised Canadian law for not doing enough to crack down on online piracy.

Though, of course, web-blocking doesn't currently exist in the US, and proposals to introduce it all the way back in 2011/2 proved very controversial. That said, in more recent years the American movie industry in particular has been trying to get web-blocking back on the agenda there too.


Investors invited to share in Eminem royalties
US-based online royalty marketplace Royalty Exchange has launched a new sister business called Royalty Flow which will "acquire and hold royalties from music catalogues of the world's biggest music artists". And it's seeking investors to back the business, who will ultimately share in the profits made from the royalties it's hoped will flow into the new venture.

To get things going, Royalty Flow has already announced a deal with the Bass Brothers, who have a stake in much of Eminem's sound recordings. Jeff and Mark Bass, sometimes known via their FBT Productions brand, are partly know as the producers who first signed Eminem, and partly as the duo behind a landmark legal battle with Universal Music over how legacy record contracts should be interpreted in the digital age. The brothers won that legal battle, though it didn't set quite the game-changing precedent across all artist record contracts that some hoped.

The producers are making up to 25% of the royalties they earn from Eminem recordings released between 1999 and 2013 available to the new Royalty Flow business. The start-up will also seek similar deals with other major artists, providing said acts with upfront cash in return for some or all of their future royalty income. Royalty Flow is seeking finance itself to fund these deals via a so called 'Regulation A+' public offering of its shares.

Announcing the new business, Royalty Exchange CEO Matthew Smith told reporters: "Royalty Flow gives investors the opportunity to participate in assets that are uncorrelated with public markets, and directly benefit in the music industry's growth. It also gives thousands of artists, producers, labels, songwriters, publishers, and other rightsholders who contribute to the success of the superstars they work with access to on-demand financing options with the kind of flexibility seldom found in the music industry".

Meanwhile the Eminem collaborators' manager Joel Martin added: "We've supported increased transparency for artists our entire career, and Royalty Exchange is no different. They give investors simple, direct access to royalty opportunities that previously were available only to industry insiders. This changes everything".

Royalty Exchange is one of the companies seeking to capitalise on new interest in investment circles in the music rights business on the back of the record industry going back into growth thanks to the streaming boom. Of course, the streaming business itself is still pretty fragile, but some share at least some of the optimism of analysts at Goldman Sachs with regards the near future of the music rights sector.

And with enterprises like Royalty Exchange and Royalty Flow, there are increased opportunities for investors to buy into the royalty streams of successful songs and recordings as well as actually acquiring music copyrights.


WildKat PR promotes Olivia Brown
Classical music PR agency WildKat PR has promoted current Head Of Creative Strategy & Marketing, Olivia Brown, to the role of Director of its London office. Having originally worked for the company during a placement year while at university, before later joining as a permanent member of staff, Brown will now oversee all over the company's UK and Ireland business.

Company founder Kathleen Alder says: "Olivia has always been a dedicated and hardworking member of the WildKat PR team and has displayed a great deal of passion to the field of music and performing arts. She has a proven track record of team leadership and a determination to provide the best possible service for our extensive client roster, and I am excited to see where she will lead the London office in the future".

Adler added: "Olivia's youth, talent and enthusiasm befits the overall company ethos and she will join myself and our Berlin Director Carolin Denz in running the company overall".

Brown herself adds: "It's been an incredibly exciting and rewarding adventure to experience WildKat transform in the past five years, from when I started as an intern to the newly created position that I began last year. I am incredibly grateful to Kat for providing me with the structure and support to confidently lead the company from within, which is often very rare in our industry".

In addition to its existing London and Berlin offices, the company plans to open branches in the US and France in 2018.


Approved: Lokane
Producer Lokane returns on 6 Oct with new EP 'Wings'. His first release since last year's 'Visions' EP, it reveals further blocks of the sound he has been developing since 2015. Plus some of the tracks have vocals this time thanks to the input of rappers Mikey Dollaz and Dai Burger.

Title track 'Wings' is a piece of music dictated by rapid mood swings, twisting and attacking various electronic genre conventions. Meanwhile, on the newly released 'Blocked', Burger locks into the producer's sharply pulsing beats, leaving you hanging by your fingernails.

Listen to 'Blocked' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Wild Beasts "coming to an end"
Wild Beasts have announced that they are to split. The band issued a statement yesterday, in which they said that they have decided that "it is now time to leave this orbit".

In a statement the band said: "Wild Beasts are coming to an end. Our hearts and minds have been devoted to the band since we were teenagers. We've created something quite of our own and built a body of work we stand by as heartfelt and true".

They continued: "The four of us have decided, for our own reasons and in our own ways, that it is now time to leave this orbit. We're caretakers to something precious and don't want to have it diminish as we move forward in our lives".

Before they make the split final, the band have announced that they will head out on a farewell tour in February next year. They will also release an EP of outtakes from last album 'Boy King', titled 'Punk, Drunk And Trembling', on 20 Oct. From that, this is the title track.


Runrig announce 2018 farewell show
Runrig have announced that they are splitting up after 45 years together. The Celtic rock band will close their career with a farewell show in Stirling next August.

"This has been an enormous and difficult decision for us", says founder member Calum Macdonald. "But through the machinations of longevity and circumstance, we feel that the timing is now right for a positive and celebratory conclusion".

Of the farewell show, drummer Iain Bayne adds: "We want to make this a true celebration of the band's career, and the special bond we have with so many people from around the world, although it will be with heavy hearts when we strike the last note".

Billed as 'The Last Dance', the band's 25,000 capacity final show will take place at Stirling City Park on 18 Aug 2018. Tickets will go on sale this Friday at 10am.


Noel Gallagher announces new album and tour dates
Who built the moon? The question we've all been asking may or may not be answered on Noel Gallagher's new solo album, 'Who Built The Moon?'

The third Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds LP will be out on 24 Nov. That's less than two months after his brother Liam's debut solo effort, which adds a new level of competition to this year's musical end-of-year lists.

The new record is released by the Gallagher's own Sour Mash label, with support from Universal Music in many markets. It was produced by David Holmes, who seemingly badgered his collaborator into working differently this time around.

Of the creative process behind almost-title-track 'The Man Who Built The Moon', Gallagher explains: "We took a keyboard riff we liked from an unused track and added chords. A year later we came to deal with it as a song and when we got to the chorus, David kept asking me to write a new one... again and again and again. I was ready to strangle him. The one that you hear is the eighth attempt and, you know what? The annoying thing is he was right".

Holmes meanwhile enthuses: "People are going to be surprised. I think people love Noel and they're desperate for him to make a really big, bold, up-tempo beast of a record - a lot of Noel's music is quite mid-tempo. This one is fun".

How much fun? Well here's a trailer to give you an idea.

As well as the album release, Gallagher has announced tour dates for 2018, which will run as follows:

22 Apr: Brighton Centre
24 Apr: Glasgow, SSE Hydro
25 Apr: Aberdeen, BHGE Arena
27 Apr: London, Wembley Arena
20 Apr: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
1 May: Birmingham Arena
3 May: Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
4 May: Manchester Arena
6 May: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
7 May: Leeds, First Direct Arena
9 May: Belfast, SSE Arena
10 May: Dublin, 3Arena


IMPALA, Michael Cera, Bon Iver, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Pan-European indie label trade group IMPALA has elected a new board at its AGM, which took place at the Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg last week. Kees van Weije of Dutch association STOMP was elected president.

• Jo Charrington has been promoted to Co-President of Universal's Capitol Records UK, reports Music Week. "I am fortunate to love my job", says Charrington.

• Live Nation has hired Lesley Olenik as the new Vice President Of Touring for its US concerts division. She joins from AEG's Goldenvoice.

• Michael Cera of being Michael Cera fame has released a new song, featuring the input of Sharon Van Etten. It is called 'Best I Can', was recorded for new documentary 'Dina', and is here.

• Shopping are back with a new single, 'The Hype'. They've also announced that they'll be touring the UK in November.

• Bon Iver will take up residency for four nights at the Hammersmith Apollo next February.

• The Prodigy will be touring the UK in December, closing things off with a three night run at the Brixton Academy. Tickets will be available on Friday.

• Belle & Sebastian will be touring the British Isles in March next year, including two nights at The Troxy in London. They've also released the video for new single 'We Were Beautiful'.

• Dua Lipa will be touring the UK and Ireland in April next year, finishing up at Alexandra Palace on 20 Apr.

• Jake Bugg has announced that he'll be touring the UK and Ireland in February and March next year, if you can stomach that sort of thing.

• Friendly Fires have announced that they will make their long overdue return at Brixton Academy on 5 Apr next year. Tickets on sale on Friday.

• Bonobo will play a headline show at Alexandra Palace on 1 Jun next year. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

• Jorja Smith has announced UK tour dates for next February, finishing up at the Shepherds Bush Empire on 14 Feb. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


The Darkness lay into Southern Trains on new single
There are those who will tell you that the protest song is dead, with modern artists afraid to step forward and air their true feelings. But those people clearly haven't heard the new Darkness song tearing Southern Trains a new one.

Taken from upcoming new album 'Pinewood Smile', due out on 6 Oct, the track 'Southern Trains' takes everyone's* least favourite railway company to task. The band accuse the company of causing "major delays, cancellations, tedious conversations" with "heaving carriages of indignation".

"This song has genuine realness in it, innit", says the band's Justin Hawkins. "Dan [Hawkins] and I had to endure the Southern Trains 'services' during the making of this album. The only difference between a normal day on Southern Trains and a day when they're all on strike, is that on strike day the arse clownery is deliberate. They are utterly incapable of running a reliable service. Fact. The rest of the world is laughing at us. I hope this song goes some way towards facilitating change".

Imagine if, after everything, this song was actually the thing that tipped the balance and turned Southern Trains into an actual, functioning train company. Imagine if this was all that was required, all along.

Watch the video for the song, created using those Snapchat filters all the kids are talking about, here.

*Actually everyone in the whole world living or dead


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.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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.
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, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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 3CM UnLimited 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
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