TODAY'S TOP STORY: The music industry has unsurprisingly welcomed the passing yesterday by the JURI Committee of the European Parliament of article thirteen of the draft European Copyright Directive, which would reform the copyright safe harbour and increase the liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Music industry welcomes copyright directive vote in the European Parliament
LEGAL Prince heirs want Tidal deal reconsidered because of stat-fiddling allegations
Dre insists he came up with Beats concept in royalty court battle
ARTIST NEWS Saul Williams crowdfunding musical film
RELEASES Public Image Ltd 40th anniversary documentary to be screened in UK cinemas
GIGS & FESTIVALS Kojey Radical announced tour dates
ONE LINERS MIA, St Vincent, Halsey, more
AND FINALLY... Revive yourself with coffee vinyl
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Music industry welcomes copyright directive vote in the European Parliament
The music industry has unsurprisingly welcomed the passing yesterday by the JURI Committee of the European Parliament of article thirteen of the draft European Copyright Directive, which would reform the copyright safe harbour and increase the liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube.

A mountain of amendments have been proposed to the original draft of the copyright reforming directive since it was published in September 2016. Article thirteen has proven to be among the most controversial of all the elements of the directive, and in the run up to a series of key votes in Brussels the tech lobby has been campaigning hard against it.

The JURI committee voted on the latest draft of the directive yesterday as compiled by Axel Voss, the German MEP who has been leading on the copyright reforms in Parliament. Along the way they approved the version of article thirteen supported by the music and wider copyright industries.

There are still more votes – and more negotiating and amending – to be done before the directive is passed, but the music industry's lobbyists, who have been pushing for safe harbour reform for years now, saw yesterday's approval by the European Parliament's key JURI Committee as being an important step forward.

The music industry, of course, has long argued that certain user-upload platforms – and especially YouTube – have been exploiting a safe harbour that was intended for internet service providers and server hosting companies, not platforms that take content uploaded by users and repurpose it into what is basically a TV network and on-demand music service.

The safe harbour means protected platforms can't be held financially liable for copyright infringing content uploaded to their services by users, providing they have a system in place via which rights owners can have that content removed.

By claiming safe harbour protection, the music industry argues, companies like YouTube have been able to force record labels, music publishers and collecting societies into accepting licensing deals where they receive much lower royalties. Deals, which – the industry adds – unfairly skews the digital music market by creating a 'value gap'.

Critics argue that article thirteen will have unintended consequences hindering innovation, free speech and the social networking experience, and ultimately "ruining the internet". But, while welcoming yesterday's vote, GESAC – which represents song right collecting societies in Europe – insisted that "the text provides legal safeguards and guarantees for the consumers to continue to post, access and share the content they enjoy on those platforms".

The organisation's President Anders Lassen added: "More than 31,000 creators have signed a petition calling the EU to fix this transfer of value. Freedom of expression is part of the creators' DNA and the report ensures that both the freedom of expression and the independence of creators are safeguarded".

Given the controversial nature of some elements of the copyright directive – including article thirteen – MEPs will demand that the full European Parliament vote on the draft approved by JURI yesterday, before it passes on to the next stage in the process, when the Parliament has to compare notes with the European Commission and EU Council in order to agree a final, final, final, final version of the proposals.

With that in mind Gadi Oron - the boss of CISAC, the global grouping of song right collecting societies - yesterday urged MEPs at large to support the current draft of the directive. He said: "We welcome the vote today at the European Parliament's' JURI Committee on the Copyright Directive, which helps bring more fairness to the creative community in the digital market".

In a rally call to MEPs beyond the JURI Committee, he mused on: "This is an important step forward not just for creators in Europe but all around the world. We encourage the European Parliament to endorse JURI's proposal at the plenary vote and set an example to governments internationally by building a fairer internet for creators".

Speaking for the indie label community, IMPALA likewise welcomed yesterday's vote. Its boss Helen Smith said: "This is a strong and unambiguous message sent by the European Parliament. It clarifies what the music sector has been saying for years: if you are in the business of distributing music or other creative works, you need a licence, clear and simple. It's time for the digital market to catch up with progress".

Noting the recent flurry of campaigning from the tech lobby about article thirteen "ruining the internet", she went on: "Today's vote is a great rebuttal to the relentless scare-mongering and misleading statements made by 'astro-turf' organisations working for some tech giants trying to preserve the status quo. Parliamentarians were able to keep a cool head".

Of course, as noted, the directive is not a done deal yet, with more votes and wrangling to come. Then, of course, the directive will need to be implemented at a national level by EU member states, and the precise impact of the new rules – and the exact nature of the new liabilities created for platforms - may well have to be tested in court. And who knows where the digital music market will be by then. But still, the value gap campaign marches on.


Prince heirs want Tidal deal reconsidered because of stat-fiddling allegations
The bickering between Prince's heirs continues, with three of his siblings now seeking to have the deal done between the late musician's estate and Tidal revoked because of all the recent stat fiddling allegations involving the latter. The estate counters that some rumours in the Norwegian business press are not grounds for reconsidering a court approved deal.

Prince himself, of course, formed a partnership with Jay-Z's Tidal, granting it exclusive access to his final two albums. After his death there was a big disagreement between Tidal and the Prince estate on quite what the musician had agreed with the streaming firm, resulting in litigation. Last month that legal battle was brought to an end, and the estate announced it had agreed to grant Tidal an exclusive of sorts on a planned posthumous release of previously unheard recordings.

That arrangement was approved by the court overseeing the Prince estate. But earlier this week three of Prince's heirs - Sharon Nelson, Norrine Nelson and John R Nelson – asked the court to reconsider that approval, because of the allegations that Tidal artificially increased the stats associated with the Beyonce and Kanye albums to which it had exclusive rights. Fiddling the figures in that way would likely result in other artists and labels getting less money than they were really due from Tidal.

The estate quickly responded to that request, arguing that the court could only reconsider its approval of the Tidal deal if there was an "intervening legal development" or it could be demonstrated that the original court order was "palpably wrong in some respect". Unproven allegations that Tidal strongly refutes are neither of those things, estate reps added.

There have been an assortment of disagreements between Prince's siblings and half-siblings over the management of his estate and the deals said estate has entered into since the musician's death in 2016. Rumour has it a new Sony deal is now in the pipeline, so soon they'll be able to fall out over that too.


Dre insists he came up with Beats concept in royalty court battle
Dr Dre yesterday told a court in California that he came up with the concept and name of his Beats By Dre headphones range.

He said that he first discussed the idea of hiking up the price on mediocre headphones by sticking a celebrity's name on the side (though he possibly didn't outline the concept in quite those terms) to record industry veteran Jimmy Iovine at his Malibu beach property. He later came up with the brand name because "that's what we call what I do - I make beats".

The Beats By Dre business is in court because of long running legal action by another man involved in the enterprise in its earliest years, Steven Lamar.

Contradicting what Dre said yesterday, Lamar claims that it was he who originally pitched the idea of celeb-endorsed headphones to then Universal Music exec Iovine in 2006. He also says that he pulled together the original consortium of companies to work on the design and manufacture of the initial Beats products.

Lamar is suing for $100 million in royalties that he reckons he is due for his part in developing the headphone line. Although who actually had the idea for flogging Dre badged headphones and who came up with Beats brand isn't what really matters in this dispute, which instead centres on a 2007 agreement.

The partnership put together by Lamar to launch the Beats By Dre brand quickly fell apart leading to a legal settlement of which Lamar was a beneficiary. The question is whether the royalty Beats agreed to pay its original business partners relates to only the original incarnation of the headphones, or subsequent new products evolved from the original.

The dispute over that 2007 contract has been ongoing for years. Ultimately an appeals court ruled that the contractual dispute should go before a jury, which is why Dre and Lamar are in court again this week. The latter continues to insist that the Beats headphones range was his idea, telling the court - according to Law 360 - that Dre and Iovine were "just the celebrity endorsement partner for my product".

Although not denying Lamar's involvement, Dre played down his one-time business partner's role in developing the Beats By Dre concept. He also insisted that conversations back then focused on a single Dre-badged headphone product, rather than an entire business empire that might ultimately be sold for billions to a tech giant.

Lamar, meanwhile, continued to insist that his role was bigger than that, stating in a later testimony yesterday that he only agreed to the 2007 settlement because he feared further litigation could scupper the business venture he had conceived. "This was my baby," he told the court. "I wanted to see it come to life".

"I transferred over all my rights in this business and my intellectual property in exchange for a royalty", he added of the contract at the heart of the current dispute. "They got all the press, all the upside", he mused, "I just want my two percent".


Approved: Lotic
Producer Lotic is set to release debut album 'Power' on 13 Jul through Tri-Angle. Following the whispered mantra of lead single 'Hunted' - "brown skin masculine frame head's a target / acting real feminine make 'em vomit" - new track 'Solace' sees Lotic take a bolder step forward over darker beats.

"It originally started as an empowerment album", says Lotic of the LP. "I felt that I needed to offer something outside of myself, as sort of a healing moment. And then I lost my apartment. Mentally, I could only work on music once every three months or something. The question of what would be empowering - the answer to that changed so often over a two-year period. I had to figure out who I was all over again. With this record, I went back and incorporated all of my musical selves".

Of that newly released track 'Solace', the producer adds: "'Solace' is my reminder to myself that no matter how hard things get, trouble don't last always! Hang in there, it's gon be OK! It's my self-reminder that I actually am a fearlesss bitch, and that experiencing pain or hardship is not a weakness but a moment for growth, for strength".

Listen to 'Solace' here.

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

Saul Williams crowdfunding musical film
Saul Williams has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new musical film called 'Neptune Frost'. The movie, and an accompanying graphic novel, will further develop the MartyrLoserKing character from his 2016 album of the same name.

"From an otherworldy village made of recycled computer parts a hacking collective performs the most outrageous hacks in US and world history full of social commentary and gutsy platform takeovers", explains a synopsis of the musical.

"They are the virtual heroes of a world drawn closer and closer to authoritarian rule until they cross the line that takes them from beloved hackers to first-world terrorists" said synopsis continues. "'Neptune Frost' is the love story between an inter-sex runaway and a coltan miner and the virtual marvel born as a result of their union - MartyrLoserKing - the world's number one trend The Authority seeks to end".

Williams adds: "I began working on this project as a graphic novel and a musical. I wanted to centre my writing around the social and global issues flooding my actual and virtual timelines and their countless intersections through a story, character, and project that would allow me to focus all of my observations, insights, rants, and talents under one heading".

Find out more and put some money into the project here.


Public Image Ltd 40th anniversary documentary to be screened in UK cinemas
Public Image Ltd have announced that they will screen a documentary about the band in cinemas around the UK as part of their 40th anniversary celebrations this year. 'The Public Image Is Rotten' was premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year, followed by its first European screening at the Raindance Film Festival in London.

The film looks at the band's history since being formed by John Lydon in 1978, following the break up of the Sex Pistols. It also features interviews with other artists who have been influenced by the band, including Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore.

Full screening dates are available at and here's a trailer.


Kojey Radical announced tour dates
Kojey Radical has announced new UK and Ireland tour dates for November. At the same time he's put out a video for recently released single 'Water'.

Of the tour dates, the musician says: "I've been dreaming of this tour for quite sometime because it gives me the chance to really connect with new supports and take them on this journey with me. I've always said I wanted to retire as one of the greatest live performers of all time. This is a window into that legacy".

Here are the dates:

12 Nov: Dublin, Academy Green Room
14 Nov: Manchester, Gorilla
15 Nov: Birmingham, Academy 2
16 Nov: Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
18 Nov: Bristol, Thekla
20 Nov: London, Koko

The extended video for 'Water' features an opening monologue from previous Kojey Radical collaborator and 'Chewing Gum' writer Michaela Coel. Watch it here.

While you're at it, you should listen to the latest edition of Jon Hillcock's 'A Way From Home' podcast, with Radical talking about his work and influences.


MIA, St Vincent, Halsey, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Get a daily news summary, our latest job ads and more via our Messenger bot. Click here to get started.

• MIA documentary 'Matangi/Maya/MIA' will be released in the UK on 22 Sep.

• Paul McCartney has released a new double A-side single, featuring new songs 'I Don't Know' and 'Come On To Me'. They're the first tracks from a new solo album due out later this year.

• St Vincent has released the video for 'Fast Slow Disco'.

• Halsey has released the video for 'Strangers'.

• Alessia Cara has released the video for new single 'Growing Pains'.

• IAMDDB has released new track 'Drippy'. Her new EP, 'Flight Mode Vol 4', is out this Friday.

• Mellah has released the video for recent single 'Cigarette Lighter'. "The song is about the growing divide between people's political opinions and the way social media seems to be accentuating this", he says. "The video shows an audience attending a performance but not engaging with the performer as they are engrossed in the echo chamber within their phones".

• Agar Agar have announced that they will release new album 'The Dog And The Future' in September. Here's new single, 'Sorry About The Carpet'.

• King has released new track 'Mango'. "In Cuba, a hot guy is often called a 'mango'", she explains. "I've been wanting to make a record that celebrates my Cuban heritage for a while now, so when I hooked up with one of my writers and he played me this melody, the line 'tu eres mi mango' just came into my head and the song wrote itself from there".

• Many Voices Speak will release her debut album, 'Tank Town', on 31 Aug. From it, this is 'Necessaries'.

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


Revive yourself with coffee vinyl
The main reason for vinyl's renewed popularity, as we all know, is that when you buy a record you don't like, you can just smash it against a wall and kick the broken shards across the carpet. You try smashing up and kicking a stream.

But what if you could collect those pieces of vinyl up and turn them into a tasty cup of coffee? Well, wonder no more. That is now a thing that is possible.

Coffee company Peter's Cold Brew has come up with a means of promoting its triple strength pick-me-up by compressing its ground up beans into a working twelve-inch. The 'blacker than black' record features four extreme metal tracks, with titles like 'Ballad For A Dying Unicorn' and 'Swiped Right For Dad'.

When broken up and mixed with water, the record turns into a cup of coffee. If someone had thought of this when people were still complaining all the time about how people gladly pay for overpriced cups of coffee but not for music, I would have been able to bring this report to a much more satisfactory conclusion.

Here's a video.


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
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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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