FRIDAY 29 JANUARY 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: US internet service provider Cox Communications has asked the court where it lost its big copyright legal battle with the major record companies for permission to hold off handing over the billion dollars in damages now due to Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music pending the outcome of its appeal. The majors have countered that a billion dollars in cash sounds like much more fun than the promise of a billion dollars in cash... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Cox Communications requests delay on handing over a billion dollars to the majors, pending appeal of copyright battle
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LEGAL British songwriters who accuse The Weeknd of song-theft take dispute to the Ninth Circuit appeals court
Rita Ora party restaurant may lose licence

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DEALS Primary Wave acquires Sun Records
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS DistroKid launches new A&R service, Upstream
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Dissecting The Streaming Inquiry #05: User-centric royalty distribution
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ONE LINERS Fredo, Rag N Bone Man, 2 Chainz, more
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AND FINALLY... Beastie Boys' Mike D selling off awards for charity
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Artist And Songwriter Rights In Ten Steps
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Music Rights Data In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to music rights data, data standards and databases
Music Industry Basics In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to all the different strands of the modern music industry
Streaming Challenges In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the challenges facing the streaming business in 2020
Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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Cox Communications requests delay on handing over a billion dollars to the majors, pending appeal of copyright battle
US internet service provider Cox Communications has asked the court where it lost its big copyright legal battle with the major record companies for permission to hold off handing over the billion dollars in damages now due to Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music pending the outcome of its appeal. The majors have countered that a billion dollars in cash sounds like much more fun than the promise of a billion dollars in cash.

Cox, of course, was the first American ISP to be successfully sued over its repeat infringer policy. Internet companies are obliged to have such policies in place if they want safe harbour protection under copyright law, so that they cannot be held liable for copyright infringement if and when their customers use their networks or servers to access or distribute copyright-protected content without licence.

The company did have a policy to deal with repeat infringers among its userbase, but BMG showed in court that the internet firm deliberately implemented that policy in a shoddy way, so as not to have to actually sanction or cut off any copyright infringing customers. As such, it lost safe harbour protection and was liable for its customers' infringement.

Based on the precedent set in the BMG case, the majors sued various American ISPs over their repeat infringer policies, including Cox. In that case, a jury again concluded that, because of its shoddy repeat infringer policy, Cox was liable for the copyright infringement of its users. Therefore, it was ordered to pay damages to the major music companies for the 10,017 songs and recordings specifically identified in the labels' lawsuit as having been infringed by Cox customers.

The jury then decided that Cox should pay statutory damages of $99,830.29 for each of the 10,017 infringed copyrights. That is how we ended up with the neat billion dollar damages bill. Cox has dubbed those damages as "shockingly excessive and unlawfully punitive" and "wholly divorced from any possible injury to plaintiffs, any benefit to Cox, or any conceivable deterrent purpose".

The ISP initially sought to have the judge who oversaw the case to amend the jury's judgement, or order a retrial, or at least slash the damages bill.

For a while it looked like the latter might be possible, based on the argument that there was a crossover between some of the 10,017 songs and recordings listed in the label's lawsuit, ie some of the songs were contained in some of the recordings. And while those songs and recordings are distinct separate copyrights, for damages purposes where were a song and a recording come together in one track that should only be counted as a single infringement.

The judge basically agreed with that principle, but ultimately said that Cox should have presented that argument - alongside the maths regarding how many crossovers there were - to the jury in the original hearing. The maths, he added, couldn't be changed in hindsight.

And so, having exhausted all options to overturn or cut back the billion dollar judgment against it in the lower court, Cox is now taking the whole case to the Fourth Circuit appeals court. Which means the precedents set in this and the BMG case will be tested one more time before some appeal judges.

In the meantime, however, what about that billion dollars? Universal, Sony and Warner quite like the idea of getting that cash and having a big party. I mean, a really big party. But Cox, understandably, would rather not pay up just yet, in the hope it prevails - or at least cuts back the damages bill - on appeal.

In the US, Cox needs court approval to delay paying its damages pending appeal. With the majors not willing to voluntarily wait for payment, the ISP has asked the court to approve a 'stay of execution' on the damages payment. To achieve that, it's proposing it set up a so called supersedeas bond, basically setting aside the billion dollars and another $2 million to cover the interest that will likely accrue in the two years an appeal could take.

The ISP concludes: "Cox respectfully asks the court to promptly approve the form of bond and enter the stay of execution pending resolution of Cox's appellate remedies. Upon receipt of such approval, Cox will lodge the fully executed bond with the court".

It remains to be seen how the judge rules on this. But the majors may have to postpone their billion dollar damages party for a while. Not that you could have much of a party at the moment anyway. I mean, how do you spend a billion on a Zoom pub quiz?

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British songwriters who accuse The Weeknd of song-theft take dispute to the Ninth Circuit appeals court
British songwriters Brian Clover and Scott McCulloch have asked the good old Ninth Circuit - everyone's favourite circuit, surely - to revive their song-theft lawsuit against that notable - although only alleged - song thief The Weeknd. Californian judge Percy Anderson was wrong to dismiss their copyright infringement litigation last year, Clover and McCulloch argue.

The two songwriters claim that The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, ripped off a song they wrote, called 'I Need To Love', on his track 'A Lonely Night' from 2016 album 'Starboy''

They, and a third collaborator called Billy Smith, argued that Tesfaye must have had access to their song while creating 'A Lonely Night', likely through Universal Music Publishing.

That was partly based on the fact that the three British songwriters had been signed to a deal with the publishing wing of London management firm Big Life, which was then bought by Universal in 2008. Meanwhile, a co-writer on 'A Lonely Night', Jason Quenneville, has links to Universal Music Publishing via a Canadian music firm he works with.

But Tesfaye denies having heard 'I Need To Love' before writing his song.

In a motion to dismiss in the lower court, his lawyers argued that Quenneville's co-write credit actually stemmed from a verse he'd written for an earlier unfinished song that Tesfaye then used in 'A Lonely Night'. And that earlier unfinished song was written before Quenneville had any connections with Universal.

Tesfaye's team also argued that 'I Need To Love' and 'A Lonely Night' were not as similar as Clover, McCulloch and Smith claimed, citing recent precedent on similarity in song-theft cases of this kind set in the headline-grabbing 'Stairway To Heaven' litigation.

Those arguments proved successful and Anderson dismissed the case.

However, in a new filing with the Ninth Circuit appeals court, legal reps for Clover and McCulloch claim the lower court judge was wrong to grant summary judgement in favour of Tesfaye. They argue that the two songwriters presented sufficient evidence regarding how the defendants might have accessed their song - and regarding the similarities between the two works - for the case to proceed to a jury trial.

"A plaintiff can ... prove access using circumstantial evidence of either (1) a 'chain of events' between the plaintiff's work and the defendant's access to that work (such as through dealings with a publisher or record company), or (2) 'widespread dissemination' of the plaintiff's work". Clover and McCulloch, the new legal filing states, "presented evidence of both".

Not only that, but "the melody in the chorus of 'A Lonely Night' is, according to [musicologist Alexander] Stewart, 'literally' the same as the main melody in 'I Need To Love', which one would not expect to arise if the two works had been created independently".

"This type of striking similarity is sufficient to show that the similarities between the two works are due to copying rather than coincidence, independent creation, or prior common source", it goes on. "In other words, that the melodies are identical is more than sufficient to create a presumption of copying".

"Between the striking similarity of the two songs and the evidence of access", the legal filing concludes, "[Clover and McCulloch introduced enough evidence of defendants' reasonable opportunity to copy 'I Need To Love' to survive summary judgment".

As for the disagreement over whether or not there is, in act, a sufficiently "striking similarity" between the two songs to constitute copyright infringement, Clover and McCulloch restate the conclusions of the aforementioned Stewart, and argue that it wasn't for the lower court judge to decide whose musicologists were most compelling.

"Stewart performed the required 'analytical dissection' of both songs and concluded that 'A Lonely Night' is substantially similar to the protected elements of 'I Need To Love'", the new legal papers say. "Stewart also analysed the elements of prior works that defendants assert constitute the non-protectable elements of 'I Need To Love' that appear in 'A Lonely Night' and concluded that the prior works are not similar to either 'I Need To Love' or 'A Lonely Night'".

Clover and McCulloch's lawyers conclude: "The District Court erred by weighing the credibility of the parties' experts - a task obviously reserved for the jury - and granting summary judgment to defendants on the sole basis that it found their expert's report more persuasive".

Given last year saw the US courts - and the Ninth Circuit in particular - seemingly raise the bar when it comes to pursuing song-theft lawsuits of this kind, it will be interesting to see if the appeals judges agree to hear these arguments.

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Rita Ora party restaurant may lose licence
Rita Ora's team offered London restaurant Casa Cruz £5000 to breach COVID-19 regulations in order to hold her 30th birthday party there last year. This has emerged during a hearing to decide whether to revoke the venue's licence.

The party was held on 28 Nov, at a time when COVID restrictions meant meeting people from different households indoors was not allowed. In a statement made in the days following the party, Ora said that the decision to attend the "small gathering ... was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK".

It later emerged that, at the time of the event, Ora should also have been in the middle of isolating for two weeks, having just returned from Egypt, where she had played a private performance.

At yesterday's hearing, Casa Cruz general manager Scottie Bhattarai said that he had been contacted about holding the party on the day it took place. The committee hearing was told that he had been offered £5000.

In a statement to police, Bhattarai said that despite knowing hosting such an event would be against the rules, he had agreed to the deal "because he was greedy".

At its peak, there were said to have been between fifteen and 20 people at the event. The police added that they attended Casa Cruz at 9pm, about two hours after the party started, but "were not afforded access". They also say that, two days later, they found that CCTV footage from the venue had been deleted.

Casa Cruz is accused of breaching its licensing agreement by refusing police entry and failing to provide CCTV footage. It is also alleged that fire exits had been blocked during the party, which is a breach of health and safety regulations.

A decision on whether or not to revoke the restaurant's licence is yet to be made. Its owners said that they fired Bhattarai following the party, and had upgraded the CCTV system to prevent tampering.

Ora has not commented on the hearing.

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Primary Wave acquires Sun Records
Primary Wave Music has acquired legendary rock n roll label Sun Records, in a deal with Sun Entertainment Corporation - the company that bought the label from founder Sam Phillips in 1969.

Under the deal, Primary Wave will gain ownership of all Sun records, with the exception of those made by Elvis Presley, which are owned by Sony Music. Those include Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' and Jerry Lewis's 'Great Balls Of Fire'.

"Sun is as iconic a record label as there is", says Primary Wave founder Larry Mestel. "Its legacy needs to be nurtured".

Speaking to the New York Times, Sun Entertainment Group owner Shelby Singleton said that, now aged 80, he wanted to sell Sun because there isn't "a succession in the family" for him to pass it on to after he dies.

He also said that he wanted to do a deal before the current boom in catalogue acquisitions went into decline, saying: "It's one of those bubbles that might eventually burst. So we thought, well, let's get in before that happens".

Singleton will continue to work as a consultant on the Sun Records catalogue for Primary Wave.

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DistroKid launches new A&R service, Upstream
DIY music distributor DistroKid has launched a new service called Upstream, which allows artists to get their music heard by labels. You know, if they want it to be heard by labels. And why wouldn't they? Yeah, OK, maybe you're right. But whatever. Who cares? At launch, Upstream-ed artists can specifically get their music heard by Universal's Republic Records.

"Millions of artists rely on DistroKid and often ask for help getting noticed by record labels", says the distributor's CEO Philip Kaplan. "And record labels have approached us about finding efficient ways to identify talent in the DistroKid community. With demand on both sides, it made sense to play matchmaker. And by forming relationships with the industry's leading labels, DistroKid artists are able to identify potential partners who can accelerate their careers".

Upstream will be headed up by former Warner A&R and COO of Kanye West's GOOD Music, Ché Pope, who says: "Philip and his team have built DistroKid into a phenomenon that more than two million unsigned artists rely on, with thousands more joining every day".

"For those artists who want to be noticed", he goes on, "Upstream provides a powerful way to connect with record labels. For labels, Upstream opens a window into a cache of data that can help identify promising artists early in their career. I believe this will be a game-changer for both artists and record labels and I couldn't be happier that a world-class label like Republic Records will be our inaugural partner".

Over at world-class label Republic Records, apparently, President Avery Lipman says: "Upstream provides us with artist insights we can combine with existing sources of data and insights to cast an even wider net with respect to identifying great emerging talent".

"However", he adds, "data only gets you so far and our success has been based on our unique ability to identify passion and translate that into worldwide creative and commercial success for our artists. We look forward to working with Philip, Ché, and the team at DistroKid to identify a new vanguard of superstars together".

The service is free for artists signed up to DistroKid to use, and the company does not require artists to give up any rights or income. There is also no obligation to use the service if, you know, well, maybe you really want to stay super independent and you're scared that a label will offer you a massive advance you can't refuse.

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Dissecting The Streaming Inquiry #05: User-centric royalty distribution
We are currently reviewing and dissecting submissions made to the UK Parliament's ongoing inquiry into the economics of streaming.

Based on the five years of research CMU Insights has undertaken with the Music Managers Forum as part of the 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' project, we explain the background to the key debates, helping you navigate and understand each issue and the proposed solutions.

Our review of the submissions to date has focused on the digital pie debate - how streaming monies are shared out between the services themselves and each stakeholder in the music industry, including artists, songwriters, session musicians, labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies.

Streaming is a revenue share business. Labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies all have revenue share deals with the services. And artists then have revenue share arrangements with the labels and distributors, and songwriters with the publishers and societies. The digital pie debate centres on whether those revenue share arrangements are fair.

However, there is a different debate over how streaming monies are shared out. That second debate focuses not on the revenue share deals that have been put in place, but how monies are allocated to individual songs and recordings each month based on usage.

Streaming is actually a revenue share based on consumption share model.

Under the current system, a service like Spotify begins the monthly royalty payment process by identifying how much money it made selling subscriptions in any one market in that time period and how many streams were delivered in total to all those subscribers over that month.

It then identifies what percentage of all the streams delivered were streams of any one track. After that, it allocates that percentage of revenue to that track. So if there was £1,000,000 of revenue and one track accounted for 0.1% of total streams, the track would be allocated £1000.

Once a track has a revenue allocation the revenue share deals kick in. If a track is allocated £1000, the label or distributor that controls the track will receive 50-55% of that money, so as much as £550. Whichever publishers or societies control the song contained in the track will then get 10-15% of that allocation, so up to £150. The service then keeps the £300 that is left on the table.

That's the current system. However, an alternative approach has been proposed. It would still be a revenue share based on consumption share model, but the maths would be done for each individual subscriber rather than the total subscriber base. And that's user-centric royalty distribution.

Under that system, allocations would be made separately for each subscriber. So if you're a Spotify premium subscriber in the UK you pay about £8.33 into the system each month (once VAT is removed). If 1% of all your listening was one track, then 1% of the £8.33 would be allocated to that track, so 8.3p. That would then be shared with the label/distributor that controls the track and the publisher/society that controls the song as above.

Some people argue that the user-centric approach is a fairer way of distributing the money and more in line with what most subscribers probably assume happens to their subscription money anyway.

Certainly, under the current system, artists whose fans are higher users of streaming services - so they stream a lot of music every month - are basically being subsidised by artists whose fans are low users of steaming services - so they stream relatively few tracks per month.

Deezer, of course, is a supporter of user-centric royalty distributions and has been busy trying to persuade the record industry to allow it to start making payments that way on the recordings side in its home market of France.

There is plenty of support for shifting to user-centric within the music community, but not universal support. As is seen in the submissions made to the select committee.

In its submission, the Hipgnosis Songs Fund states: "A more user-centric model that divided the royalties proportion of a user's monthly subscription between the rightsholders of the artists listened to by the user would be fairer".

Meanwhile, in its submission, BMG says of a shift to user-centric, "we acknowledge that the impact overall on artists' incomes may not be significant, but we believe its greatest value would be in strengthening the bond between artist and fan, increasing the transparency of the streaming ecosystem and, above all, satisfying a desire among musicians for fairness".

"Too often the status quo gives the impression it was designed for the convenience of industry players, rather than with a view to the perceptions of artists and fans", it adds.

In its submission, the Musicians Union says that a recommendation by the committee that the record industry should seriously consider user-centric would be useful.

Under the current system, it notes, "90% of a user's payment could go to tracks they did not listen to". That current approach "could favour major labels and their artists over independent labels and artists with a niche but dedicated following. We believe [user-centric] is a model that should be examined more closely by platforms with a view to make the economics of streaming fairer for artists and consumers".

However, there are also criticisms of the user-centric approach within the submissions. Former PRS and Spotify economist Will Page, in his submission, raises logistical concerns about shifting to user-centric, while also cautioning against the assumption it would significantly redistribute monies from majors and superstars to indies and grassroots artists.

"[User-centric] arguably increases administrative and operational costs for the numerous intermediaries, not least due to the hugely-increased complexity introduced by the variance of the value of each individual stream", he writes.

The impact of increased administrative and operational costs would likely have a bigger impact on the songs side of the business, and therefore the songwriter community who already say that streaming isn't working for them. This is because, for various reasons, on the songs side the rights owners play a bigger role in royalty processing and therefore incur more admin costs.

Page goes on: "Another common misapprehension is that the user-centric system would make the rich worse off and the poor better through progressive redistribution of wealth. On the contrary: industry analysis suggests that [user-centric] would have only a minor impact on the allocation of net distributable revenue among different tiers of artists. Under [user-centric], a subscriber who listens solely to a blockbuster artist's new album would make that artist even richer".

"What would increase, however, is the cost - to streaming services, labels, publishers and [collecting societies] - of developing and deploying new accounting and IT systems to implement a user-centric model", he adds, returning to the logistical concerns. "Moreover, the sunk costs and marginal costs of this would disadvantage smaller players in the value chain who lack economies of scale".

The Association Of Independent Music also raises concerns about user-centric. It states in its submission: "In our analysis, we are concerned that [user-centric] prejudices new artists and independent artists and would create a market in which discovery is devalued with a knock-on negative impact on the democratisation of the market".

"New artists and independent artists tend to be discovered by streaming platform users that listen to the highest number of tracks in any month", it goes on. "They are keen listeners and actively seek out the next great artist. Therefore each of their individual streams under [user-centric] would be worth much less than say an un-engaged music listener who listens to one album or a handful of tracks per month. Trials run by platforms illustrate these outcomes".

AIM also hones in on the costs associated with shifting over to user-centric. Noting that research to date on who the winners and losers of any shift to user-centric would be has not been conclusive, the trade group adds that what "we do know [is] that the costs for implementation would be high and would ultimately be borne by the artists".

Some of those supporting user-centric do concede that research to date on the impact of shifting to such as system hasn't been conclusive, sometimes adding that not everybody in the music community has even got to see the results of the more extensive studies. And some of those people support further research on user-centric more than an immediate shift to the alternative approach.

Such research has actually been underway for a while now in France commissioned by the country's National Music Centre and it's just published its first set of findings. Those initial results do seem to confirm the narrative that user-centric would see less money going to the biggest artists and more to lower-level artists. However, in real terms, the financial boost to many of those more grassroots acts would be nominal - like, a few euros extra a year.

That said, some user-centric supporters echo BMG's remarks, ie that the actual impact might be nominal, but user-centric just seems fairer. In its submission Hipgnosis quotes the founder of French label Because Music, Emmanuel de Buretel, who said in an interview in 2019 "some services may like to say [user-centric] won't make too much difference, but that does not matter as much as being able to tell artists 'this system is fair, and this is how it works'".

Another argument in favour of user-centric is that it would stop certain stream manipulation scams. Currently, scammers can upload their own music, buy a load of premium subscriptions, set up machines listening to their own music 24/7, and get more out in royalties than they paid in through subscriptions. Under user-centric, they'd lose money if only their own accounts were listening to their music.

AIM admits that that would be a benefit, though cautions that other scams exist or will exist and that the answer to stream manipulation schemes is for the streaming services to put more systems in place to spot and stop them.

"Whilst some types of fraud might be mitigated using [a user-centric] approach", it writes, "by no means all are and, as with any system, new loopholes will be found in due course. The platforms must be incentivised to invest further in anti-manipulation systems and to ensure the streaming economy is protected from abuse, but there is as yet no compelling evidence that [user-centric] would eliminate fraud or manipulation in the streaming market".

Elsewhere, in a supplementary submission, AIM makes a very interesting alternative proposal to both the current system and user-centric - what it calls the 'artist growth model'.

Both the current and user-centric models, it says, "singularly fail to solve the main problem with streaming - that new, emerging and niche artists find it increasingly difficult to get to scale on the platforms and that that digital market has become an increasingly 'winner takes all' proposition. We believe an 'artist growth model' would solve this fundamental issue".

That model, it then explains, "proposes a so-called 'degressive' or 'log' scale approach to the value of streams. That is to say that the first tier of streams should be the most valuable, and that the more streams achieved by an artist, the less valuable each stream would become incrementally. This is not dissimilar to the way we view fairness for income tax - the more pounds you earn, the less each pound becomes worth to you net of tax, incrementally as you pass various thresholds".

"We believe that this approach would foster a fairer market by diluting the earnings of the biggest players, in order to distribute the wealth more broadly to the long tail of early-stage and niche artists who struggle to achieve scale", it goes on. "This approach would ensure better chances of success for mid-tier artists with solid fanbases, whilst also rewarding investment in higher-risk projects, which would ensure ongoing cultural diversity".

"Whilst the major labels might argue that this would decrease their profitability on the most successful 1% of releases", it concludes, "it would in fact reward them proportionately for risk they take in newer artists, and encourage more adventurous signings".

Interesting stuff. But what do the streaming services - beyond Deezer - think about all this? Given that neither the user-centric approach nor the artist growth model would result in the services handing over any more money to the music industry, on one level the services are agnostic. Senior execs at the services are sometimes informally heard saying something along the lines of "the industry can split up its 70% however it likes".

However, in its submission, the Entertainment Retailers Association - speaking for the platforms - echos some of the concerns expressed by AIM and Page. "ERA members are open to providing data to enable the industry to analyse the effects of adopting user-centric [royalty distribution]", it writes, "although test data suggests the impact varies service by service dependent upon the nature of their users".

And, it adds, "a number of streaming services feel there is considerable complexity in producing royalty statements on a user-centric basis which could hamper transparency as well as increase processing and supply chain costs".

That said, ERA also says "it is ultimately for record labels and music publishers to decide how they divide the pot they receive with artists and songwriters".

You can follow all our full coverage of the Parliamentary inquiry into the economics of streaming via this CMU timeline here.

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CMU Insights: Get to grips with all the big streaming debates
If you've been trying to follow all the debates around the economics of streaming going on in Parliament of late - or you just want to be fully up to speed with everything happening in the digital music market - then CMU's Streaming Explained webinar series is for you.

Kicking off next week, this series consists of three one-hour webinars taking place over three Tuesdays.

Over those three sessions you get an introduction to the digital music market in 2021, an overview of how streaming services are licensed by the music industry, and a user-friendly explanation of how streaming income is shared out across the music community each month. And also why some people argue that the way that income is shared out isn't fair.

This series consists of the following three sessions: The Digital Market In 2021 | 2 Feb How Digital Licensing Works | 9 Feb How Digital Money Gets Shared | 16 Feb

Each webinar is delivered live at 2.30pm London time, with a recording available for a month after the live session. A place on the full series costs just £60 per person including VAT and booking fee - click here for info.

You can also book into individual webinars - and a whole host of other upcoming training sessions - via this page here.

 

DEALS

Concord Music Publishings' Boosey & Hawkes division is now the key service provider for Schott Music's US rental and licensing business, which is called the European American Music Distributors Company. "We are THRILLED that the EAMDC team will be joining us to maintain and extend their well-earned reputation for excellence in the performance world", says John Minch, President of Concord International Publishing.

Hania Rani has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Wise Music Group's Bosworth Music, covering existing and future works. "I feel extremely happy and excited about joining the publishing family of Wise Music", she says. "It's an honour to see my name amongst so many great artists, whose musical ideas I have observed and admired for years".

Downtown has acquired digital marketing platform Found.ee, in which its CD Baby subsidiary was already an investor. "The technology, tools, and access Found.ee offers creators and their teams is yet another example of how the music industry continues to evolve", says Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz. "Our acquisition of Found.ee, its technology, and unique expertise in both the digital advertising and music industry ecosystems, is an ideal complement to Downtown's existing portfolio of artist and label services".

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APPOINTMENTS

Alen Torosyan has been appointed to the new role of VP Operations Emerging Markets at Warner Music. "I'm so pleased to have been asked to step-up into this new role", he says. "Helping pioneer Warner Music's expansion into new markets has been a dream job for me over the last few years and I can't wait to take on this extra responsibility".

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RELEASES

Fredo has released the video for 'Money Talks', featuring Dave. The track is taken from his new album 'Money Can't Buy Happiness', which is out today.

Rag N Bone Man has announced that he will release his new album, 'Life By Misadventure', on 23 Apr. New single, 'All You Ever Wanted', is out now. "We had quite a time to live with the songs this time around", he says of the process on this album. "Too often, how I'd done things before, was that we'd written a song and I had to sing it the same day, and that was the version we'd use on the album. This way, it was far easier to get real emotion into the music".

2 Chainz has released the video for 'Grey Area', from his 'So Help Me God' album.

Royal Blood have released the video for new single 'Typhoons'.

Sophie has put 2015 track 'Unisil' onto the streaming platforms - it was previously only available on the limited edition physical version of her 'Product' album.

Is Tropical have released new single 'Hummingbird'. They also have a rescheduled date at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington, which will now take place on 1 Jul. Possibly.

The Chills will release new album 'Scatterbrain' on 1 May. Here's new single, 'Monolith'.

Fable has released new single 'Orbiting'. The song, she says, "is quite literally and metaphorically, an observation of the earth from far away. It takes a great big step back and sees that everything is intertwined on this little marble hurtling through infinite space. In a world that's more connected than ever digitally, I can't help but feel we have been segregated in every other sense".

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GIGS & TOURS

You can now watch Riz Ahmed's 'The Long Goodbye performance on demand until 1 Mar, via the Manchester International Festival website.

Caro Emerald will play a free livestream show tomorrow, 30 Jan. "We've missed playing live so much that we thought it was about time to get together and play some music", she says. "It doesn't replace a real live show, but it sure is interesting that people from all over the world can watch at the same time. It's a different dynamic and we're super excited!" You'll be able to watch on YouTube here.

Artists including Douglas Dare, Gallops and Penelope Trappes will perform as part of the Forgotten Futures arts festival later this year. It will be streaming from Leicester's Attenborough Arts Centre on 1 May. More info and tickets here.

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

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Beastie Boys' Mike D selling off awards for charity
Beastie Boys' Mike D has announced that he is selling off a load of awards and other memorabilia so that he doesn't have to look at it all anymore. And also for charity.

The collection, which is up for sale at Sotheby's, includes various gold and platinum discs, two MTV VMA trophies, and a set of limited edition Beastie Boys action figures. Money raised will be donated to Good Eats, which provides meals to school-aged children at the weekend.

"I was never comfortable holding onto or looking at these awards/accolades that we got through the years", says Mike D in a post on Instagram. "Don't get me wrong - I'm appreciative of them, it's just not something I need to look at".

"Anyway", he goes on, "I would give them to my mom whenever they came in and she was really happy to have them. Sadly, she died this last year. She was an amazing woman, but that's a whole other story. Sooooo we are selling some of the stuff that she had".

"I know the shit is pricey", he then notes. And he's not wrong. Bids for all items are in the thousands of dollars, with both MTV awards set to go for more than $10,000 each. But do remember, it's all for a good cause.

You can look through all the items on offer here. Bids will close at 9.40pm UK time tonight.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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