TODAY'S TOP STORY: There has been renewed scrutiny of the various abuse accusations made against R Kelly following the screening last week by US TV network Lifetime of a six part documentary series called 'Surviving R Kelly'. The show focussed on claims made against the musician by a number of women, including allegations of mental and physical abuse and sex with underage girls... [READ MORE]
CMU Insights is our training and consultancy business providing training courses, conference sessions and research reports for mus
Monday evenings in Feb 2019
These three seminars together provide a user-friendly guide to how music copyright works and how music rights make money, including ownership, licensing and key revenue streams. [READ MORE]
Monday evenings in Mar 2019
These three seminars provide an overview of how to build a fanbase for new artists and new music, reviewing key tools and tactics, and explaining how music marketing is evolving. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES New US documentary puts R Kelly abuse accusations back in the spotlight
LEGAL Ed Sheeran and LMFAO copyright cases will proceed to jury trials
American radio industry and Global Music Rights spar over subpoena in BMI case
DEALS Tori Amos signs Downtown publishing deal
BRANDS & MERCH BTS do doll deal
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Taylor Swift's Swift Life app to shut down
ONE LINERS Universal, Spotify, Giggs, more
AND FINALLY... Axl Rose's first new music for a decade is a collaboration with Bugs Bunny
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060.
A dual role at an artist management company with booking agency and global promo delivery roles (Archangel Management), and the global leader in assisting rightsholders to direct license their live pubic performance rights (PACE Rights Management).

For more information and to apply click here.
Warp are looking for a capable, enthusiastic, music-lover to assist with the day-to-day support we provide to a growing roster of labels such as Duophonic, LuckyMe, Black Focus, On-U Sound, All Saints Records and Fade To Mind, as well as our own imprints.

For more information and to apply click here.
!K7 Music is seeking an experienced Artist Manager to join its growing management department. The successful candidate will have at least three years’ experience in artist management, with demonstrated successes from their rosters past or present.

For more information and to apply click here.
Music specialist communications agency The Rest Is Noise is looking for an experienced Events PR to join our tight knit events team in London, delivering high impact PR campaigns with some management responsibilities.

For more information and to apply click here.
Two left of centre record labels seek an assistant to co-ordinate all aspects of the record release cycle across five sub labels. Training will be provided but twelve months' prior experience in a music company necessary.

For more information and to apply click here.
The Royal Albert Hall is seeking an experienced and motivated Head Of Programming to strategically develop and produce the diverse range of programming at the Hall.

For more information and to apply click here.
Outpost is looking for an exceptional Music PR Account Director with a minimum of three years music PR experience. This role will position you at a senior level at Outpost and give you the opportunity to contribute to the overall business in a significant way.

For more information and to apply click here.
Kobalt is looking for a Digital Marketing Manager to join its recordings division AWAL and work with its growing roster of emerging and already established talent from all over the world.

For more information and to apply click here.
This boutique music publishing company is looking for a motivated and energetic new business person to join on a two/three day a week basis.

For more information and to apply click here.
Ninja Tune is looking for an experienced product manager working across our main imprints Ninja Tune and Counter Records. You will manage record release campaigns from beginning to end working closely with the A&R, production, marketing, digital, social media and international teams.

For more information and to apply click here.

New US documentary puts R Kelly abuse accusations back in the spotlight
There has been renewed scrutiny of the various abuse accusations made against R Kelly following the screening last week by US TV network Lifetime of a six part documentary series called 'Surviving R Kelly'. The show focussed on claims made against the musician by a number of women, including allegations of mental and physical abuse and sex with underage girls.

Although he has made no official comment on the show, a source who spoke to an ongoing supporter of the controversial singer told TMZ that Kelly was "disgusted" by the programme and plans "to sue everybody who had anything to do with [it]".

Many of the accusations made in the show were not new, although this is the lengthiest TV investigation into them so far, and the first made for US TV. The programme already made headlines last month before being aired, when a preview screening attended by many of the women involved was evacuated due to a gun threat.

As well as women who say they were directly abused by Kelly, the family of a woman said to currently be held in his alleged 'sex cult' - Jocelyn Savage - also contributed.

Shortly before the airing of the first episode, The Blast reports that her father, Timothy Savage, called police to report that he and his family were being threatened by Kelly's manager, Don Russell. According to the police report, Russell told Savage in a text message that "it would be best for him and his family if the documentary does not air".

Other contributors to the series included Kelly's younger brother and a former tour manager, while the documentary was also notable for having celebrities speak out against the musician.

Chance The Rapper and John Legend both appeared in order to denounce Kelly. In an extended version of his interview, published by Rolling Stone, Chance expressed regret at working with Kelly in 2014 and 2015, saying: "I made a mistake and I'm happy that those women are getting voices now and I can grow to understand better what my positioning should be or should've been when that opportunity came".

Legend responded to praise for his involvement in the show on Twitter, saying: "To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a fuck about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision".

Yesterday, Facebook deleted a page set up to discredit the women who have made accusations against Kelly. In the few hours it was online, a number of posts were uploaded to the page, including alleged text message conversations between the musician and one of his accusers. In a statement, Facebook said: "The page violated our community standards and has been removed. We do not tolerate bullying or sharing other's private contact information and take action on content that violates our policies as soon as we're aware".

As well as renewed interest in the allegations against Kelly, the broadcast of the documentary has also reportedly resulted in increased streams and sales of his music. A rep for Spotify apparently told The Blast that plays of his tracks increased by 16% after the first episode of the show was broadcast. Kelly, of course, was the key artist targeted by Spotify's subsequently dropped 'hateful conduct' policy last year.

As yet, no new criminal charges have been brought against Kelly, and the one time he did go to court facing accusations of having sex with an underage girl he was acquitted. It remains to be seen if his reported plans to "sue everybody" come to anything.


Ed Sheeran and LMFAO copyright cases will proceed to jury trials
A judge in the US last week declined to dismiss the ongoing song-theft lawsuit that accuses that there Ed Sheeran of ripping off Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'. Sheeran's legal reps had sought a summary judgement in their favour, but the judge said that "material facts are in dispute" and therefore the case should go before a jury.

The heirs of 'Let's Get It On' co-writer Ed Townsend sued Sheeran back in 2016 alleging that the latter's 2014 hit 'Thinking Out Loud' lifts "melody, harmony and rhythm compositions" from the song the former co-wrote with Gaye in the early 1970s.

Lawyers for both sides were last seen arguing over what developments in another notable song-theft legal battle - the one over Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway To Heaven' - meant for their own dispute. In September, a US appeals court overturned an earlier ruling in a legal battle between Led Zepp and the estate of songwriter Randy Wolfe. The latter accused the former of ripping off Wolfe-penned song 'Taurus' on 'Stairway'.

One factor that is important in both the 'Stairway To Heaven' and 'Thinking Out Loud' cases is a principle in American law that says copyright only protects those elements of a song that have been logged with the US Copyright Office and not any extra elements that were added in the studio when the most famous recording of the song was made.

This principle has come up in a number of song-theft cases in recent years where someone is accused of ripping off an older song that was published in an era when you could only log sheet music with the Copyright Office. The person accused of plagiarism usually argues that they simply borrowed a vibe from the earlier work's most famous recording, but didn't actually lift any elements from the song as it was originally represented in the sheet music.

There remains much debate as to how much this principle should be enforced in these cases, if at all. In that other recent high profile song-theft dispute involving a Marvin Gaye record - ie the 'Blurred Lines' case - Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lost despite arguing that this limitation meant they weren't liable for copyright infringement. But in the 'Stairway' case the same limitation helped Led Zep defeat the litigation. Except that case will now have to be heard anew after appeals court judges ruled that the jury had been badly advised.

In the 'Thinking Out Loud' lawsuit the limitation, if applied, aids the Sheeran side. The judge hearing the case didn't reach a conclusion on this particular debate in his recent ruling, instead saying that there were other factors that also required a jury trial. He wrote that: "Regardless of whether the deposit copy or sound recording of 'LGO' defines the scope of the composition's copyright, material facts are in dispute. Accordingly, defendants' motion for summary judgment is denied".

The judge added: "Not only are there substantial similarities between several of the two works' musical elements, but an ordinary observer might experience the aesthetic appeal of both works as the same". Referencing a YouTube video in which Sheeran himself mashes his song together with 'Let's Get It On' during a gig, the judge went on: "[A jury] may be impressed by footage of a Sheeran performance which shows him seamlessly transitioning between 'LGO' and 'TOL'". And so the case continues.

Elsewhere in judges ruling that a complicated copyright case should go before a jury, the judge overseeing the song-theft dispute between Rick Ross and LMFAO has likewise said that that case should now go to jury trial. Though Ross himself will no longer be involved.

Ross sued LMFAO over their 2010 hit 'Party Rock Anthem' and its line "everyday I'm shuffling", which he said ripped off the lyric "everyday I'm hustlin" from his 2006 track 'Hustlin'. Which means the question at the heart of this dispute is whether or not LMFAO using the words "everyday I'm" can possibly constitute copyright infringement.

However, there have been a bunch of technicalities to deal with before that question can be asked. The original technicalities related to screw ups that were made with the registration of 'Hustlin' with the US Copyright office. Those technicalities originally caused the case to be dismissed entirely, but an appeals court then reinstated the lawsuit in 2017.

The next round of technicalities relate to whether Ross and his co-writers Andrew Harr and Jermaine Jackson are actually owners of the copyright in 'Hustlin' or whether the rights are instead owned by corporate entities the three men have links to. The judge concluded that Ross had previously given up his rights in the song and therefore could no longer be involved in the case, but that things are less clear with Harr and Jackson.

To that end, questions over the ownership status of Harr and Jackson's slice of 'Hustlin' should be put to a jury, the judge said. Which means this case will also plod on towards a jury trial. Where, you never know, maybe all the technicalities will finally be resolved and we can instead ask that question as to whether two borrowed words in a lyric can be infringement.


American radio industry and Global Music Rights spar over subpoena in BMI case
Squabbling between the US radio industry and Irving Azoff's boutique collecting society Global Music Rights continues. Though this squabbling relates to an entirely different squabble between the US radio industry and big collecting society BMI. Fun times.

The Radio Music License Committee, which represents a consortium of radio stations Stateside, has been embroiled in a long-running legal battle with GMR, the song rights collecting society Azoff set up in 2013 to represent the performing rights of a small roster of premiere league songwriters.

RMLC wants to force GMR into accepting third party mediation in royalty disputes between the two organisations. The other smaller US collecting society, that being SESAC, is subject to such mediation, instead of being regulated by a big fucking consent decree and the pesky rate courts, like BMI and the other bigger song rights society ASCAP.

Meanwhile, RMLC is also in legal dispute with the aforementioned BMI having gone to that pesky rate court after failing to reach an agreement on future royalty rates.

As part of that dispute, RMLC has subpoenaed GMR, requesting information it says is required to counter arguments being presented by BMI. But GMR argues that that subpoena is RMLC trying to get an "unwarranted sneak peak" at its files, so to aid its legal battle with Azoff's society, which has been subject to a bunch of delays but is nonetheless ongoing.

Not so, counters RMLC. According to Law 360, the radio industry group stated in a recent legal filing that it "is merely pursuing important third-party discovery from GMR that is directly relevant to, and necessary for, RMLC to defend itself in the ongoing BMI litigation - an entirely separate case before a different judge in a different court, in which discovery is actively proceeding".

"There is nothing suspicious or unusual, much less improper", it goes on, "about RMLC seeking relevant and necessary third-party discovery in a litigation that is not stayed and is operating pursuant to a tight discovery schedule merely because RMLC would likely also seek some or all of that discovery in a different case [ie the GMR case]".

RMLC were responding to efforts by GMR to have the subpoena in relation to the BMI case quashed. Squabble, squabble, squabble. Fun times.


Tori Amos signs Downtown publishing deal
Tori Amos has signed a new deal with Downtown Music Publishing which will now administrate her full catalogue of songs globally.

"Tori Amos joining Downtown is an absolute honour for me personally and professionally", says Bea Koramblyum, the firm's VP Of Business Affairs. "Her music has been the soundtrack to my life and the catalyst for my career path".

"She is one of the most influential and beloved women in all of music", Koramblyum goes on, "with an impressive catalogue spanning over thirty years that's not just creative, but inspirational. From her work with RAINN, her connection to her fans, and - most importantly - her deeply moving words, she continues to uplift and encourage listeners. Downtown could not be more proud to be on Team Tori".

"I am so THRILLED to have the Downtown team working with us to look after my song girls", Amos herself chips in. "Downtown's mindset on the future of songs and songwriting is truly unique and I can rest easier knowing the catalogue - and new songs to come - are in the right hands!"

Amos released her last album, 'Native Invader', in 2017. She is also nominated for Self-Producing Artist Of The Year at this year's Music Producers Guild Awards in the UK, alongside Four Tet and Jon Hopkins.


BTS do doll deal
You haven't made it as a boyband until shops are selling doll likenesses of each member. Luckily for BTS, it looks like their time has finally come: the South Korean group have signed a licensing deal with Mattel to create a variety of toys.

"BTS is a pop-culture music phenomenon that transcends age, culture and language, and through this partnership, Mattel will offer a new way for millions across the world to engage with the band", says Sejal Shah Miller, the toy firm's SVP & Global Brand GM. "Partnering with established franchises that have global appeal is a cornerstone of our strategy and, given our creative expertise, we are perfectly suited to create products celebrating BTS".

As well as dolls, there will be collectable figurines, games and other BTS-branded nonsense for you to get your hands on as a result of the new partnership.


Taylor Swift's Swift Life app to shut down
Taylor Swift's game-come-social-network-hybrid-app 'The Swift Life' is coming to the end of its, er, time on this planet.

Launched in late 2017 by mobile game maker Glu, its death was not as swift as some predicted. Since its launch, however, the app has been dogged by complaints, including that Swift herself has not been as active on it as originally promised.

Billed as a place to converse with other fans and Swift herself, the gaming element also allowed the app makers to flog in-app purchases.

Although it seems that the app was not quite the money-maker it had been hoped, an official statement confirming the closure framed the app as being something only ever intended to exist while current album 'Reputation' was being actively promoted.

"Over a year ago, we launched 'The Swift Life' alongside Taylor's critically acclaimed sixth studio album, 'Reputation'", reads the statement. "As the 'Reputation' era comes to an end, our time on 'The Swift Life' will be ending too".

The app is already unavailable to download anew and in-app purchases have been shut off. Users have until 1 Feb to spend any virtual currency they have in it, before the whole thing is switched off completely.

Swift and Glu were sued last year by computer services company SwiftLife, which accused them of trademark infringement and damaging its business by pushing it down the Google search rankings for its own name. It also complained of having to field angry emails from confused Taylor Swift fans who had managed to find its website and then set up accounts on its online life management software in error.

While it may be something of a relief for the SwiftLife company that Swift's app is being shut down, that doesn't necessarily overcome the issues caused by its launch and operation since 2017. The trademark infringement case is still ongoing, with a hearing scheduled next week to decide on the latest move by Swift and Glu's attorneys to have the case dismissed.


Approved: Kokoroko
Gaining ever increasing recognition on the UK jazz scene over the last year, Kokoroko have announced that they will release their debut EP on 8 Mar. The release comes through the ever reliable Brownswood Recordings, which featured the band's debut track, 'Abusey Junction', on last year's 'We Out Here' compilation.

Performing live since 2014, the hours Kokoroko put in before finally hitting the studio is apparent. Not just eight talented musicians, their songwriting skills are finely honed - everyone knowing exactly when to step back and leave space for the music to unfurl.

Like 'Abusey Junction', new track 'Uman' has a pretty laid back feel, but nonetheless ups the tempo and sets a pace more suited to the dancefloor. Listen to 'Uman' here.

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

Universal, Spotify, Giggs, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Universal Music has announced a bunch of new appointments in China. Aaron Wang joins from Sony Pictures to become CFO for Greater China, while Tracy Mu - formerly with Dolby Industries - becomes Finance Director for Universal Music China. Yvonne Yuen is promoted within the business to become SVP Marketing for Greater China.

• Universal has also announced some new appointments for the Asia region in general. Elvin Eng is promoted to the role of CFO for UMG South East Asia, while Ang Kwee Tiang joins from record industry trade body IFPI to become SVP Asia Public Policy.

• Spotify is allowing brands to sponsor the Discovery Weekly personalised playlist service on its free level for the first time. Microsoft is the first brand to participate. "Our new Discover Weekly ad experience positions advertisers for success and ensures that our fans are hearing messages that embody the ethos of discovery", says Spotify's Danielle Lee, cleverly employing the kind of nonsensical word play advertising people dig.

• Giggs has released a trailer to announce that he will release a new album, titled 'Big Bad', on 22 Feb.

• Sleaford Mods have released new track 'Kebab Spider'. The track, says vocalist Jason Williamson, is about "the accumulation of torment for those that refuse to capitalise solely through mediocre channels and as a result are ejected back onto the concrete. Obscure and under the horror as a giant spider crawls out the crown of their small portion of street meat".

• Slaves have released the video for 'Photo Opportunity' from their third album 'Acts Of Fear And Love'.

• Lizzo is back with new single 'Juice'. Hooray for Lizzo.

• Slowthai has released new Mura Masa produced track 'Doorman'.

• Balthazar are back with new single 'I'm Never Gonna Let You Down Again'. The track is taken from their new album 'Fever', out on 25 Jan.

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


Axl Rose's first new music for a decade is a collaboration with Bugs Bunny
It's now more than a decade since Axl Rose released the very-long-time-coming Guns N Roses album 'Chinese Democracy'. A record which you may or may not class as a Rose solo project. However, he's now reunited with original GNR members Slash and Duff McKagan and, word has it, new material is on the way.

Which is exciting news for GNR fans. Though the first new music you'll hear from Rose this year is actually a song he recorded for a cartoon.

Rose provides vocals on a song called 'Rock The Rock' for the first episode of the new series of Looney Tunes reboot 'New Looney Tunes'. He will also appear as a character in the show, helping Bugs Bunny save Earth from being destroyed by an asteroid through the power of rock music. Hence 'Rock The Rock', you see?

Before you ask, we've already checked if Slash and McKagan also appear on the new track. Unfortunately, Bugs Bunny plays guitar and Porky Pig provides bass, so no luck. Check out the song here.


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
CMU supports the music community by providing news, business intelligence, training and education.

CMU Daily covers all the latest news and developments direct by email.

Setlist is a weekly podcast dissecting the biggest music business stories.

CMU Premium gives you access to the weekly CMU Digest and CMU Trends.

CMU Insights provides training and consultancy for music companies.

CMU:DIY provides workshops and resources for future music talent.

© UnLimited Media, a division of 3CM Enterprises Ltd

UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
t: 020 7099 9050 (editorial) 020 7099 9060 (sales)

Send press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

Email advertising queries to ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

Email training and consultancy queries to insights@unlimitedmedia.co.uk

You can read our Privacy & Data Policy here

publishing@unlimitedmedia.co.uk | complaints@unlimitedmedia.co.uk