TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lyrics platform Genius has accused Google of lifting content off its servers without permission in order to plonk lyrics directly into its own 'information boxes' whenever people search for a song... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Genius accuses Google of ripping off its lyrics
LEGAL RIAA's latest anti-piracy push results in two more sites going offline
Universal master tape fire revelations could result in litigation
DEALS Rumer signs deal with Cooking Vinyl
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Music companies prepare for Independent Music Cup charity five-a-side tournament
ARTIST NEWS Liam Gallagher says assault allegations against Debbie Gwyther "blown out of proportion"
ONE LINERS Machine Gun Kelly, Common, Alesso, more
AND FINALLY... Spice Girls finish reunion tour with apology from Geri and tears from Adele
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Genius accuses Google of ripping off its lyrics
Lyrics platform Genius has accused Google of lifting content off its servers without permission in order to plonk lyrics directly into its own 'information boxes' whenever people search for a song.

For websites like Genius, Google providing lyrics upfront in its search engine is somewhat annoying, as it makes people much less likely to click through, even if your site provides extra context and functionality about the songs people are interesting in.

So, presumably Genius was already a bit annoyed with Google once it started adding lyrics to its own site. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, the lyrics company became all the more annoyed once it became convinced that some of the lyrics appearing on the Google search engine were coming from its own database.

How can Genius be so certain? After all, lyrics are lyrics, right? Well, Genius started employing a specific combination of straight and curly apostrophes in some of the lyrics it publishes in order to identify those which have come from its website, and it reckons some of those specific combinations showed up in Google's information boxes.

Genius has told the WSJ that it first alerted Google to this issue in 2017, following up with another complaint back in April this year. The company's Chief Strategy Officer Ben Gross says "over the last two years, we've shown Google irrefutable evidence again and again that they are displaying lyrics copied from Genius".

Google insists that it buys in the lyrics that appear in its information boxes from reputable partners and never just scrapes other websites for lyrical content. It told the WSJ: "We take data quality and creator rights very seriously and hold our licensing partners accountable to the terms of our agreement".

However, after the Journal's article on Genius's Google griping was published, the web giant said that it is now investigating the issues raised by the lyrics site. The search engine added that it would terminate any agreements with the companies that provide it with lyrics if it found they were just nicking their content off another website.

A key partner for Google when it comes to lyrics is LyricFind, which has deals with an assortment of music publishers, aggregating and distributing those partners' lyrics to businesses that need them. It has already issued a statement saying that all the lyrics in its system are created by its own team, and "we do not source lyrics from Genius".

Of course, neither Genius nor Google, nor LyricFind for that matter, actually own the copyright in any of the lyrics they distribute and publish, all of them utilising - directly or indirectly - licensing deals from the music publishers. However, each party is understandably protective of its own database and will seek to stop other people from tapping said data without permission.

It's not the first bust up between Google and Genius. Although last time it was the former doing the griping over what was then called RapGenius. Google said that RapGenius had breached its rules on incentivised reciprocal links and, as a result, it temporarily banished the lyrics site from its search engine.

Given some music publishers were still dissing Genius at the time for not having yet got all its licences in place, it was interesting that Google could banish the site because its marketing rules had been breached, but often argued that de-listing entire websites from its search engine on copyright infringement grounds was unfeasible.


RIAA's latest anti-piracy push results in two more sites going offline
Two more websites accused of facilitating copyright infringement have gone offline, seemingly as a result of recent efforts by the Recording Industry Association Of America to force more piracy operations off the internet.

The US record industry trade group has been particularly busy of late securing court orders that force domain registrars and internet companies like Cloudflare to reveal the identities of the people behind websites that it believes are liable for infringement.

Since those court orders have been secured, a number of websites named in them have subsequently shut down. Some have voluntarily ceased operations when faced with the threat of legal action by the record industry, while others seem to have had their domain names seized or disabled.

The latter method has seemingly resulted in file-hosting service going offline. Its domain registrar is Namecheap, which has recently been on the receiving end of various RIAA subpoenas seeking contact information about alleged piracy operations.

Torrentfreak reckons that it's Namecheap itself that is responsible for the file-hosting site being no longer accessible. The registrar has reportedly applied a "serverHold" to the domain, something usually done as a result of a legal dispute.

Another website named in an RIAA subpoena against Namecheap was Mixstep, a platform used by DJs and producers to share mixes. The operator of that site seemingly chose to voluntarily take it offline as soon as it looked likely that legal action was looming.

Speaking to Torrentfreak, Mixstep's owner said that he had been working hard to remove any copyright infringing content uploaded to his site and to ban users who repeatedly infringed.

Such activity may well have meant that Mixstep could rely on safe harbour protection if and when it was sued by the record industry, because the infringement was actually being undertaken by its users and it had systems in place to deal with both infringement and infringers.

However, running that system was already proving pretty taxing for what was always intended as a not-for-profit website, and possible litigation on top of all that seems to have motivated the voluntary shutdown.

Of course, not all websites accused of copyright infringement immediately give up. Some - especially those based outside the US - sometimes put up a fight. For example, the RIAA's attempts to force Russian stream-ripping sites and offline have so far been unsuccessful.

However, the trade body's recent push has nevertheless had some successes, with the likes of RapGodFathers and joining and Mixstep on the list of sites targeted by the RIAA that are now not operating.


Universal master tape fire revelations could result in litigation
That recent report in the New York Times that Universal Music massively underplayed the significance of a fire at one of its storage facilities back in 2008 might result in legal action because, well, of course it might.

Citing internal memos, the Times said that a fire at Universal Studios Hollywood more than a decade ago could have destroyed up to 500,000 master recordings owned by the Universal record companies.

At the time of the blaze more media attention fell on what impact it had had on assets owned by the Universal film business. Meanwhile, Universal Music - a separate company to the film studio by that point - insisted that, while it did still store things at the Hollywood site, the fire had had a nominal impact on its recordings archive.

Reps for the music major denied many of the allegations in the new Times report, saying that the article contained "numerous inaccuracies, misleading statements, contradictions and fundamental misunderstandings of the scope of the incident and affected assets".

However, with recordings from a long list of legendary artists alleged to have been lost in the fire, lawyers in LA are now investigating whether litigation should follow.

Prominent entertainment lawyer Howard King told the LA Times last week: "We have many very concerned clients. This has a potentially huge impact on their future, coupled with the rather disturbing fact that no one ever told them that their intellectual property may have been destroyed. There is a significant amount of discussion going on, and there will be formal action taken".

Even if the total number of master tapes lost was anywhere near the 500,000 figure, many of the recordings contained on those tapes may well exist elsewhere, including in digital form.

The Times conceded this point in its article, though pointed out that the original tapes may contain higher quality recordings than other copies, and that while music that had been commercially released probably did exist elsewhere, the tapes may well have also contained unreleased tracks that might now never be heard by anyone.

Universal declined to comment on the threat of litigation over the big fire allegations.


Rumer signs deal with Cooking Vinyl
Rumer has signed a new worldwide record deal with Cooking Vinyl. She will work with the label on the release of a new album that she is currently recording in Nashville.

"I am really excited that Cooking Vinyl trusted my vision for this project and working with an independent label has been a very pleasant change", she says. "I'm looking forward to continuing that relationship".

Cooking Vinyl MD Rob Collins adds: "When we first started speaking I knew within the first two minutes that Rumer had this incredible vision and passion for making a very special record. Having just come back from Nashville I can happily say that she is delivering it and some!"

Work on the new album is expected to be completed in August and she will be back in the UK to perform at the Rye Jazz Festival on 24 Aug.


Music companies prepare for Independent Music Cup charity five-a-side tournament
The annual Independent Music Cup five-a-side football tournament has announced that 32 music companies will take part in this year's competition. As well as competing to be named the very, very best at football (albeit only within the UK independent music industry), each team will also be raising money for War Child.

"It's brilliant to see the positive power of football being harnessed for good, not only in War Child's programmes to help [young people] build resilience and overcome the experiences of war, but also with the War Child team playing as War Child FC", says Lejla Damon, War Child Youth Advocate and captain of the charity's own team in the competition.

The full list of teams competing this year is as follows: 4AD, Anjuna Beats, Barbican, BBC Music Introducing, Bella Union, Big Dada, Boiler Room, Coda Agency, CR2 Records, Dazed, Deezer, Dice FM, DJ Mag, Domino, Earth Agency, Heavenly, Mixmag, Ninja Tune, NTS Radio, [PIAS], Pioneer, PRS, Ransom Note, Resident Advisor, Romance FC, Rough Trade Shops, Spitfire Audio, The Royal Albert Hall, War Child, Warp Records, Worldwide FM and Young Turks/XL Recordings.

The competition will take place at Battersea Powerleague on 27 Jul. There will then be an afterparty hosted by Boiler Room at Tola in Peckham. Find out more about the event here.


Setlist: FTC, Universal, DJ Khaled
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last seven days, including the FTC's all-day session on the American ticketing market and the new proposals in US Congress that followed, allegations about how many Universal masters were actually lost in a big fire a decade ago, and DJ Khaled's beef with the Billboard charts.

Listen to this episode of Setlist as soon as it goes live here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

Acast | Apple Podcasts | audioBoom | CastBox | Deezer | Google Play | iHeart | Mixcloud | RSS | SoundCloud | Spotify | Spreaker | Stitcher | TuneIn

Liam Gallagher says assault allegations against Debbie Gwyther "blown out of proportion"
Liam Gallagher has said that claims he assaulted girlfriend Debbie Gwyther at a restaurant last year were "blown out of fucking proportion". He spoke about the incident, which saw him questioned by police, in a new interview with the Sunday Times, where he chatted to the newspaper alongside his three eldest children.

"What happened there that night, it got way blown out of fucking proportion as far as I was concerned", says Gallagher. "The next day I apologised to [my children]. Not because there was anything malicious in it, but because it was all in the press. [I was] going, 'Look, it wasn't like what they're saying'. I apologised to Debbie's parents and my mam and the kids, cos it's just bullshit".

Asked for his version of what did in fact happen, he went on: "Well, nothing happened. We just had a disagreement, there was drinks involved, it was all blown out of proportion and it was all sorted the next day".

The claims that Gallagher assaulted Gwyther were made by The Sun last August, based on video footage which the newspaper also published. On the back of that video, Gallagher was questioned by police, although he was never charged. "We went to the police station - and that was another load of bollocks too, they all looked starstruck", he says.

Gallagher and Gwyther both denied The Sun's version of events last year. Gwyther criticised the paper - and others in the media - for expressing concern for her in their articles, but then approaching Gallagher rather than her for comment. She also said that the report was "a pack of lies" and that she was considering legal action.



Machine Gun Kelly has released new single 'I Think I'm OK', featuring Travis Barker and Yungblud.

Common has released new single 'Her Love', featuring Daniel Caesar and Dwele.

Alesso has released new single 'Sad Song', featuring Tini.

Reverend And The Makers will release a best of compilation on 20 Sep, with tour dates in support of it set for October.

Maxi Priest has released new single 'I'm Alright', featuring Shaggy. Priest's new album, 'It All Comes Back To Love', is out on 23 Aug.

Ramz has released the video for 'Don't You Play With Me', featuring LD, taken from his 'Blockbuster' EP.

Dodie has released new single 'Guiltless'.

Team Me have released new single 'Does Anyone Know How to Get To The Heart Of This'. "'DAKHTGTTHOT' teleports us back into the post-apocalyptic world", says band leader Marius Drogås Hagen. "A future where our cyborg heroes are fighting a losing battle. A battle for love, lost in a sea of flames". I'll get the popcorn.

Thandii have released another new track, 'Tides'. Their new EP, 'Serious Town', is out on 5 Jul.



Clutch have announced a short UK tour in December this year, including a show at the Roundhouse in London on 18 Dec. Tickets go on general sale on Wednesday.

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


Spice Girls finish reunion tour with apology from Geri and tears from Adele
The Spice Girls finished their UK reunion tour at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night, during which Geri Horner apologised for leaving the group back in 1998.

Before the group performed 'Goodbye', the song the band released as a quartet shortly after Horner's departure, she said: "I need to say something I should have said a long time ago. I'm sorry. I'm sorry I left. I was just being a brat. It is so good to be back with the girls that I love".

It's not the first time she's been back on stage with them, of course. Only this time they're back to performing the song as a quartet again, with Victoria Beckham not taking part in this tour. But anyway, it's always good to clear the air after more than two decades.

Beckham may not have been there, but the pop star quota was kept up by Adele, who was in the audience watching the show. Her presence was announced by the group, at which point they dropped into a performance of her song, 'Someone Like You' - taking Adele by surprise.

She later revealed on Instagram that she had not only been at the show, but had also "got drunk with the girls" backstage.

"Last time I saw the Spice Girls at Wembley was 21 years ago", she wrote. "Tonight with my nearest and dearest I cried, laughed, screamed, danced, reminisced and fell back in love with my ten year old self. It's no secret how much I love them, how much they inspired me to run for my life and never look back. I finally got to meet Ginger, I got drunk with the girls and quite frankly I can't believe how far I've come. Thank you for the madness I get to live, I couldn't have got here without you five British legends! I love you!"

If that's enthused you to go and see the 2019 version of the Spice Girls perform - after a tour otherwise dogged with complaints about sound quality - you're too late. The tour's finished. I already told you that. You'll just have to find something else to inspire you to become the next Adele.


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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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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