TODAY'S TOP STORY: MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom reckons efforts to extradite him to face charges of copyright crimes in the US are all but "over" following a ruling in his favour before New Zealand's Human Rights Tribunal... [READ MORE]
Available to premium subscribers, CMU Trends digs deeper into the inner workings of the music business, explaining how things work and reviewing all the recent trends.
As Spotify finally lists on the New York Stock Exchange, CMU Trends reviews Spotify's business to date, considers what its SEC filing might tell us about its current direction, and speculates what a Spotify of the future might look like. [READ MORE]
As CMU Insights publishes agendas for each of the conferences that it will present at The Great Escape later this year, CMU Trends outlines the background to each theme being explored: music education, AI and the Chinese music market. [READ MORE]
Midem recently published a brand new white paper from our consultancy unit CMU Insights reviewing the potential impact various AI technologies will have on the music industry in the next decade. CMU Trends presents some highlights. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Kim Dotcom says extradition attempt "over" after Human Rights Tribunal ruling
LEGAL Russell Simmons faces another lawsuit over rape allegations
Suge Knight loses yet another lawyer
EDUCATION & EVENTS More speakers and sessions confirmed for Wide Days
ARTIST NEWS Killer Mike apologises for NRA interview
Decapitated announce plans to begin performing live again
ONE LINERS Jimmy Iovine, Post Malone, Tom Waits, more
AND FINALLY... US court moves to seize Martin Shkreli's Wu-Tang album
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CMU Insights will present three full-day confernces as part of The Great Escape's convention programme this May. Get your tickets here.
Wednesday 16 May | Dukes at Komedia, Brighton
This full-day conference will put the spotlight on music education, and discuss how business and entrepreneurial skills could and should be integrated into the music curriculum. [READ MORE]
Thursday 17 May | Dukes at Komedia, Brighton
This full-day conference will look at how big data and AI will impact on music, including audio-recognition, fan-messaging, data-driven recommendations and music composition tools. [READ MORE]
Friday 18 May | Dukes at Komedia, Brighton
The full day conference will provide a beginner's guide to the Chinese music market, looking at copyright, streaming services, media and social media, and the touring circuit. [READ MORE]

Kim Dotcom says extradition attempt "over" after Human Rights Tribunal ruling
MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom reckons efforts to extradite him to face charges of copyright crimes in the US are all but "over" following a ruling in his favour before New Zealand's Human Rights Tribunal.

Dotcom's file-transfer platform MegaUpload was shut down by the US authorities back in 2012, of course, amid accusations from the music and movie industries that the digital firm actively facilitated and encouraged copyright infringement. Dotcom and a number of his then colleagues were based in New Zealand, so efforts began almost immediately to try and extradite the MegaUpload men to America to face various charges in the US courts.

That extradition process is somehow still going through the motions. The New Zealand courts have twice ruled that Dotcom et al can be extradited under the country's extradition treaty with the US, but there are still routes of appeal open to the MegaUpload defendants.

Alongside the extradition case, there have been all sorts of other legal wranglings in New Zealand and elsewhere in relation to the old MegaUpload business. That includes a case being pursued by Dotcom in New Zealand against the country's government over its refusal to share information that ministers had about MegaUpload and its founder.

Dotcom sent an "urgent privacy request" to a plethora of ministers and government departments in New Zealand back in 2015 asking for all and any personal information they had about him.

Most of those requests were forwarded to the country's then Attorney-General Chris Finlayson. He knocked back Dotcom's requests on the grounds that they were "vexatious" and that the MegaUpload man hadn't sufficiently explained the supposed urgency with which he wanted the information.

Dotcom then took Finlayson's decision to NZ's Human Rights Tribunal, which this morning ruled that the Attorney-General broke the law by withholding information. As a result of the ruling, the Tribunal has ordered the country's government to now share the requested documents.

The information requested back in 2015 was directly relevant to his extradition case. Says Dotcom, which is why he has dramatically declared that the Human Rights Tribunal ruling means that that extradition case is now "over".

He tweeted earlier: "What does the Human Rights Tribunal Judgement mean for my extradition case? It is OVER! By unlawfully withholding information that could have helped my case, the former Attorney General of New Zealand has perverted the course of justice".

In a second tweet addressed at New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, he then wrote: "What are you going to do about this? Will you allow the injustice against my family to continue? Or will you do the right thing?"

I've no idea whether today's ruling does have any tangible impact on the US's case for extraditing Dotcom or the strength of his argument against that case. Although it does increasingly feel like the sun will probably have expanded and engulfed the entire planet before this case reaches any sort of conclusion.


Russell Simmons faces another lawsuit over rape allegations
Def Jam co-founder and record industry veteran Russell Simmons is facing another lawsuit in relation to an allegation of rape.

A number of women made allegations of sexual assault against Simmons late last year as the #MeToo movement gained momentum. A lawsuit then followed in January when filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik went legal over allegations Simmons assaulted her at his home in LA after she met him there to discuss a documentary project.

In a new $10 million lawsuit filed in the LA Country Superior Court on Friday, an unnamed woman also accuses Simmons of rape. She claims that she met the hip hop mogul while at a concert with her son. He took the both of them backstage and, after taking her son home, the woman then went out with Simmons for drinks.

The lawsuit alleges that at the end of the night he asked her to accompany him to his hotel room. The legal filing then states: "She was reluctant, but Simmons insisted it was not an invitation to have sexual relations since he was dating a well-known model". But, it is claimed, Simmons then raped the woman in his hotel room.

Simmons has denied all of the allegations made against him to date, and issued another statement on Friday to that effect. The statement, provided to Billboard, said the various accusations and lawsuits "have shocked me to my core as I have never been abusive or violent in any way in my relations with women.

He went on: "I have submitted myself to multiple lie detector tests. I denied forced sex and sexual harassment allegations brought against me in each test; I also answered no to the question, 'Have you ever physically forced any woman to have sexual intercourse?' I passed all of the lie detector tests."


Suge Knight loses yet another lawyer
I know America has an awful lot of lawyers, but it does sometimes feel like all of them will - at some point in their career - work for one time hip hop mogul Suge Knight. His murder trial was postponed again on Friday when yet another lawyer bailed on the case.

And, I mean, who wouldn't want to work for Knight? Especially after he declared last week, during a short ramble about jail conditions and his current legal representation: "Nobody in the world would use these attorneys for a jaywalking ticket!"

Knight is facing murder charges in relation to the death in 2015 of a man called Terry Carter, following an incident that occurred near the set of the NWA biopic 'Straight Outta Compton', which was then in production.

On Friday his fifteenth defence lawyer requested to be excused from the case citing a conflict of interest. Dominique Banos says she believes she is a target in the witness-tampering investigation that has already resulted in charges being filed against two other lawyers who have worked for Knight. Although she denied any wrongdoing, Banos said that she felt this meant she could no longer work on Knight's defence.

Judge Ronald S Coen agreed to allow Banos to stand down and appointed a public defender to take over the case, which Knight accepted on an interim basis, while pledging to hire a new private legal rep. He then complained about a protective order that limits his access to people outside the prison where he is currently incarcerated, adding that that meant the only place he could sound out potential new attorneys was in the jailhouse visiting area.

The latest change in legal representation will again delay the murder trial. Coen said a new schedule will now be set at a court hearing on 23 Apr.

Carter's widow criticised the latest delay in the case, telling the New York Daily News: "I'm so angry, I don't know what to do. It's totally ridiculous. I'll be glad when this whole thing is over. We deserve the right to move on with our lives. Each time we have to come to court, it's something new. It's very difficult".


More speakers and sessions confirmed for Wide Days
Organisers of Edinburgh-based music conference and showcase event Wide Days last week unveiled more details about this year's programme. And with Wide Days 2018 coinciding with this year's Record Store Day, among the confirmed sessions is Kim Bayley, the boss of the Entertainment Retailers Association, in conversation.

CMU's music consultancy CMU Insights will appear at this year's conference presenting a brand new session reviewing the debate about and campaigns against online ticket-touting. The briefing will also include a review of the tactics being employed by industry and government in different countries to limit and regulate secondary ticketing.

Also, CMU's education programme CMU:DIY will also host three sessions aimed at new talent, all supported by EmuBands. That will include a lecture on how streaming works and how different services work out what to pay artists and songwriters each month. There'll also be conversations on how to get more out of gigging, and where labels and publishers fit in.

Wide Days founder Olaf Furniss says: "This year sees us host more panels, presentations and talks than ever before and it is great to be able to add so many topics to the sessions we announced last month. Most topics will be as relevant to industry veterans as they are those starting out in the business, which reflects the constant evolution of our industry".

Lending her support to the event, Scotland's Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop added: "Our music industry provides a significant contribution to Scotland's culture and economy and I commend Wide Days for their work in organising this business convention, enhancing the profile of Scotland's music industry. Wide Days has established itself as a valuable event for those working, or looking to work, in the music and culture sector in Scotland".

Meanwhile CMU's Chris Cooke added: "CMU was set up by three Edinburgh University graduates 20 years ago so it's great to return to the Scottish capital to share our knowledge and insights with the Wide Days audience. And even better that we will be sharing some brand new insights on the secondary ticketing market, as well as CMU:DIY sessions for new artists on streaming, fanbase building and label deals".


Approved: Kerry Devine
Kerry Devine has just announced that she will release her debut album, 'Away From The Mountains', on 11 May. A stunning beautiful record which contains previously released singles 'Work You' and 'Vehicle', on it Devine takes inspiration from the East Anglian Fenlands.

"When you're there and you're still you can hear so many different sounds", explains Devine. "So many different layers, so I wanted to create something that sounded like that, that had the depth and the richness, but [was] also very sparse. This place comforts me, I wanted to create a kind of sound womb that the listener could come into [where they could] be comforted too".

Latest single, the album's title track 'Away From The Mountains', is one of the standouts among a record heavy on standouts. Its simplicity is subverted through gradually building layers, which absolutely captures the feel of the seemingly endless expanse of the Fens.

On 7 Apr, Devine will perform songs from the album out on the Fens, as part of an immersive audio-visual art installation. The event will focus on "the female legacy of the Fens, from the dark past of witch hunts that took place in isolated communities, to the role of women in agriculture and those pushing for change in a conservative rural area". There is more information on that here.

Listen to 'Away From The Mountains' here.

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

Killer Mike apologises for NRA interview
Killer Mike has apologised for an interview he did with America's National Rifle Association, which coincided with this weekend's March For Our Lives against gun violence. In the video, shown on the organisation's digital TV channel NRATV, he appeared to dismiss the value of the march.

Speaking to gun rights activist Colion Noir, the rapper spoke about gun ownership and the US constitution's second amendment. In the video, he appears to speak out against the march and say that he had forbidden his own children from attending. However, he now says that this was not the case.

Following a backlash over the weekend, Killer Mike issued a video statement on Twitter, denying that he was against the march. He said that he had been invited to speak about gun ownership in the black community, but that the interview had been held back and edited to appear as if it was about this weekend's event.

Addressing the organisers of the march, he added: "I'm sorry that an interview I did about a minority - black people in this country - and gun rights was used as a weapon against you guys. That was unfair to you and it was wrong, and it disparaged some very noble work you're doing".

The interview, he went on, "was supposed to be something that continued a conversation or that helped the conversation happen that I felt needed to happen. And that conversation is about African-American gun ownership. It was not in contrast to your march, it was done a week before your march, it should never have been used in contrast to your march and I think it's wrong".

He concluded by encouraging young people in America to continue campaigning for changes to US gun laws, saying: "What I wanna encourage you guys to do is keep organising. Keep organising. Keep organising. Plot, plan, strategise, organise and mobilise. This world was far different 30 years ago when you could buy a machine gun. And it's far different now and it'll be different 30 years from now. We're willing to follow your lead. Lead the way. So I do support the march, and I support black people owning guns. It's possible to do both".

In a separate tweet, he said that the comment seemingly about forbidding his children from going on the march was in fact a joke about an earlier protest, because his son is failing maths and that protest involved skipping school.

In his own statement, El-P strongly disagreed with his Run The Jewels bandmate's comments in the NRA interview. On the March For Our Lives, he said that he was "incredibly blown away by the bravery and emotion of an entire generation of young people standing up and trying to change the world".

He noted that many people had called on him to cut ties with Killer Mike over his comments on guns, but responded: "I don't drop friends from my life because I disagree with them".

"He's a person", he said. "He stumbles and makes bad decisions sometimes and he doesn't always get his messages across or even protect himself and I wanna fuckin strangle him cause it's so stressful to watch when it could have been avoided. But the fact is, Mike is someone I and many of you know consistently and ferociously tried to bring some light and love into this world. You simply can't deny that. So while I'm bummed at the way this unfolded, I will always fuck with him".


Decapitated announce plans to begin performing live again
Death metal band Decapitated have issued a statement saying that they plan to return to live performances soon. Kidnapping and rape charges pursued against the band's members in the US were dropped earlier this year.

The case against the Polish band was halted in January shortly before a trial was set to begin due to the emotional toll it was having on their alleged victim. Prosecutors said that as it "would be a lengthy trial" it was felt that "at this time it's best for her to heal". The band said at the time that they were confident that the evidence would have seen them found innocent had the trial gone ahead.

All four members of the band had been arrested in LA in September, accused of raping the woman on their tour bus following a performance in Spokane, Washington on 31 Aug.

In a new statement on the band's Facebook page, guitarist Wacław 'Vogg' Kiełtyka says: "We are innocent. We are free. We are back home. And we are ready to return with the band. The last few months were one of the most terrible and irrational times in our lives".

"Jail is a horrible place", he adds. "96 days in jail and almost a month outside the jail where we [were] dealing with fear, unbelievable stress, depression, and even violence. It was a really hard time - especially for our families".

He went on to criticise media coverage and online discussion about the case, saying: "In this internet age, it is really easy to ruin someone, their life, their family, their career. Some media and people just jumped on a topic and made their own inconsistent storytelling, taking one piece of information and creating a story they wanted to tell about us around it".

Concluding, he says: "We cannot and we will never accept someone else's narration about who we are. That is why we have chosen to return with the band. We know who we are and we can hold our heads and our music high with that knowledge".


Jimmy Iovine, Post Malone, Tom Waits, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Jimmy Iovine has finally confirmed he is moving into a consulting role with Apple Music after months of speculation that the record industry veteran was standing down from the tech giant's streaming flim flam. "I'm just taking a slight step back", he told the Times.

• Post Malone has released new single 'Psycho', featuring Ty Dollars $ign.

• Tom Waits has put together a playlist for you to listen to. Quite arrogantly, he's only put his own music on it. It is promoting the re-issuing of his first seven albums though, so I'll concede that this might have been the point. Listen on Spotify or Apple Music.

• Sigrid has released the video for new single, 'Raw'.

• Marilyn Manson has released the video for 'Tattooed In Reverse'. Courtney Love and Lisa Marie Presley both featuring in the clip.

• Yung Fume has released new single Never Had', featuring JME.

• Now a duo, following the imprisonment of Akelle Charles last year, WSTRN are back with a new single, 'Love Struck'. It features Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi.

• Denis Jones has released new track 'Eden'. His new album '3333' is out this week.

• Sibille Attar has released new track 'I Don't Have To'. Her new EP, 'Paloma's Hand', is out on 27 Apr.

• Esther Joy's released another track from her upcoming 'The Acid Caves Vol 1'. Here's Day 4 (Landing)'.

• Baloji has released the video for 'Peau De Chagrin/Bleu De Nuit', taken from his latest album, '137 Avenue Kaniama'. He plays Omeara in London this Thursday.

• Ängie has released her latest single, 'Here For My Habits'. Her debut album, 'Suicidal Since 1995', is out on 6 Apr.

• Death Team's Mayka has released her debut solo single, 'Rich'.

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


US court moves to seize Martin Shkreli's Wu-Tang album
The US Department Of Justice has moved to seize cash and assets owned by Martin Shkreli, including his copies of Lil Wayne's unreleased 'Tha Carter V' album and Wu-Tang Clan's single copy album, 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin'.

New York's Eastern District Court last week filed papers listing items is intends to seize in order to recover the $7,360,450 that Shkreli was ordered to pay after being found guilty of fraud. He has also been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The bulk of the money will come from a brokerage account, estimated to contain around $5 million. But making up the shortfall are the Lil Wayne and Wu-Tang albums, plus a painting by Picasso.

In its filing, the court states "its intent to dispose of the forfeited property in such manner as the United States Attorney General may direct". Which does sound a bit like they might just chuck it all in the bin. Clearly that's not the plan. But it would be the funniest thing to do, and would probably help in Shkreli's apparent bid to turn himself into a comic book villain.

Anyone who believes that they also have an interest in any of the forfeited property has 60 days to come forward before the disposal begins. Therefore this would be a fun, if more risky, time for the Wu-Tang Clan and/or Bill Murray to take 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin' back via a "heist or caper", as it was agreed they could in the contract signed with Shkreli when he bought the single copy album.


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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