TODAY'S TOP STORY: Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music won't be collectively getting a billion dollars cash from Cox Communications anytime soon. So, sorry guys, the big safe harbour party is on hold... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Majors can't access their billion dollar damages from the Cox case just yet
DEALS Universal announces new TikTok deal
Bucks Music signs Erland Cooper

DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES MelodyVR and Napster to properly merge, combined company to rebrand under Napster name
MEDIA Capital Xtra Reloaded in breach of broadcasting rules on offensive language
GIGS & FESTIVALS Little Mix postpone UK tour dates to 2022
ONE LINERS Balming Tiger, Lil Yachty, Tom Jones, more
AND FINALLY... The Cribs turned down MySpace Records signing after Tom said he'd make everyone friends with them
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Majors can't access their billion dollar damages from the Cox case just yet
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music won't be collectively getting a billion dollars cash from Cox Communications anytime soon. So, sorry guys, the big safe harbour party is on hold.

Though the US internet service provider has had to post a billion dollar bond, so should its appeals fail, the money is ready and waiting for the majors to cleverly invest in the very latest new musical talent / responsibly share with their existing artists / dividend up to their sinister shareholders / piss away on a massive piss up. You know, delete as applicable.

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. Such protection means 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 net firm had a repeat infringer policy, but - in a lawsuit pursued by BMG - it was successfully argued that it didn't properly enforce that policy, because shouting at copyright infringing customers is a right big hassle. After BMG's success in court, the majors sued a bunch of ISPs over the same issue, including Cox. Like BMG before them, the majors won the Cox lawsuit and were then awarded the crazy billion dollars in damages.

Various efforts by Cox to have that judgement set aside or the damages bill cut back in the original court that heard the case have failed. But now the more formal appeals process is underway. The whole dispute is heading to America's Fourth Circuit court of appeal.

Under US law, Cox was technically obliged to pay up the damages to the successful plaintiffs even though it's only at the start of its appeals journey. However, last month the ISP asked for a 'stay of execution' on the lower court's judgement.

It said it was happy to set aside the billion dollars - and another $2 million in potential interest - as a bond, but that it didn't want the pesky majors to get their hands on the money just yet.

The judge in that lower court, Liam O'Grady, has now agreed to accept the bond and grant a stay of execution. In a ruling on Friday, he stated: "No execution shall issue on the court's judgment, nor shall proceedings be taken for enforcement, while any appeal or petition is pending".

That ruling will apply even if the case ends up going beyond the Fourth Circuit all the way to the US Supreme Court. We now await to see how this particular dispute testing the often controversial copyright safe harbour proceeds as it goes through the appeals process.

Given the size of the damages bill - and the fact other ISPs have been sued by the majors on the same issue - both copyright owners and net firms will be following it closely.


Universal announces new TikTok deal
Conveniently timed to coincide with its big bust up with Triller, Universal Music has announced a new long-term licensing deal with TikTok, covering all its recordings and some of its song catalogues too. And, in case you wondered, it's a deal that both "delivers equitable compensation for recording artists and songwriters" and "significantly expands and enhances the companies' existing relationship". Fuck yeah!

But how does it expand and enhance that relationship? Good question, my friend. Though think about it for a second. It's obvious really. Yeah, of course! You knew it. Everyone knew it. By "promoting the development of new innovative experiences and the ability to forge deeper bonds between fans and the artists and music they love". See, obvious. In fact, I take it back. It was a stupid question. Stop asking stupid questions.

But what does this mean for TikTok users? Good question, my friend. Though think about it for a second. It's obvious really. Yeah, of course! You knew it. Everyone knew it. They'll be "more empowered than ever to express themselves through music, soundtrack their video creations with songs about which they are passionate, and build communities around artists and music-centred culture". See, obvious. In fact, I take it back. It was a stupid question. Stop asking fucking stupid questions.

But have the two companies pledged to do anything else together? Good question, my friend. Though think about it for a second. It's obvious really. Yeah, of course! You knew it. Everyone knew it. The two companies have "additionally pledged to experiment with exciting new features". See, obvious. In fact, I take it back. It was a stupid question. Stop asking mother-fucking stupid questions.

Anyway, this all got unnecessarily sweary didn't it? I apologise profusely. And to make up for it, as a very special treat, here are some words of wisdom about this new deal from the fuckers at TikTok and the Universal Music Group.

"We are excited to enter this new era with UMG to continue supporting artists and songwriters, by working together to help reach music fans on TikTok", says the video-sharing app's music chief Ole Obermann. "Our platform has been a driver in creating chart hits and licensing the world's biggest catalogue of tracks will continue to inspire our community. In turn, we are proud to partner with UMG to be a source to help new talent emerge and to re-introduce legacy acts to a new audience".

"UMG and TikTok will now work more closely than ever to promote ambitious experimentation, innovation and collaboration - with the shared objective of developing new music experiences and features", adds Universal's digital strategy dude Michael Nash. "Driving new and deeper connections with fans, this agreement delivers equitable compensation to our recording artists and songwriters, as well as a commitment to develop industry-leading tools, A&R insights and models necessary to advance their careers".

Lovely stuff. I'm probably meant to mention here that the majors already had short-term deals with TikTok but have been negotiating longer term partnerships, with Sony announcing its new deal last November. But I mean, everyone stops reading when we get to the official quotes, so what's the point?


Bucks Music signs Erland Cooper
Bucks Music has signed your old mate Erland Cooper to one of those exclusive worldwide publishing deals that all the cool kids keep talking about.

The independent publisher has previously worked with the multi-instrumentalist - including brokering co-writes and sync deals - via its partnership with the Full Time Hobby label, but he will now be formally on the company's roster.

Confirming the deal, Bucks A&R Director Sarah Liversedge Platz says: "Erland is such a wonderful, creative artist and it has been a pleasure to work with him over a number of years now. This new direct deal will strengthen our relationship further and enable us to play an even greater role in propelling Erland's career to the next level. We have big ambitions for him in the media world as well as helping him develop his various artist projects".

Cooper himself adds: "I believe there is a great richness and value in developing long term relationships in this industry and I'm THRILLED to work with such a supportive and creative team of kind-hearted people".


MelodyVR and Napster to properly merge, combined company to rebrand under Napster name
MelodyVR and Napster will properly merge later this month and rebrand under the Napster name, meaning the combined VR and streaming business will be officially known as "Napster, no, not that Napster". Like Melody VR, the joined up business will be listed on London's Alternative Investment Market.

The music VR start-up announced it was buying the often forgotten Napster streaming service last August. Although still most associated with the infamous file-sharing network that first used the name, the Napster brand has been employed by a legitimate digital music platform since 2003.

What began as a subscription download service very much overshadowed by iTunes subsequently morphed into a subscription streaming service very much overshadowed by Spotify.

Having merged with the Real Network's owned Rhapsody streaming service in 2011, Napster scored some decent mobile partnerships and launched a B2B side to its operations, though generally retained its title as the streaming service most people forgot about.

According to The Guardian, MelodyVR is raising up to £10 million to expand its streaming service, with a relaunch planned for later this year.

The London-based MelodyVR and Seattle-based Napster have continued to operate as standalone businesses since the former bought the latter last summer, but they will now properly merge. The rebrand of the whole business under the Napster name will officially happen after a general meeting of the company later this month.

MelodyVR boss Anthony Matchett is quoted as saying: "We are looking forward to rebranding as Napster. [The new] funding will support the development of our new Napster music service throughout the course of 2021".


Capital Xtra Reloaded in breach of broadcasting rules on offensive language
UK media regulator Ofcom has found Global's Capital Xtra Reloaded radio station in breach of its broadcasting code, after airing a track featuring racially offensive language on a Monday morning.

The offshoot of Capital's Xtra station, which plays contemporary grime, hip hop and R&B, Capital Xtra Reloaded offers up hip hop, dance, garage, R&B and grime classics from the 1990s and 2000s. On 7 Sep last year, at around 10am, it was filling that remit by playing Luniz's 1995 track 'I Got Five On It'.

One listener complained, due to the line in the track, "Bomb will make a niggy go delirious, like Eddie Murphy" - the word 'niggy' generally being perceived as a derivation of the 'n' word.

Global responded by saying that the appearance of the word in question had been the result of human error. It said that the word was "not easily identifiable when listening to the song", not least because it was "a derivation of the full 'n' word, not the word itself".

It apologised for any offence caused, but also noted that the use of the word was not meant to be derogatory "as the songwriters and artists are predominantly African American".

The media firm also said that it had now removed the song from its database and reminded staff of "the importance of mandatory language checks". It added that it would check all the songs in the database to ensure that they adhere to "strict standards on language and decency".

Ofcom noted that the word used in the Luniz track did not actually feature in its 2016 research on the phrases that people find most offensive. However, it is a derivative of a word that "is considered by audiences to be among the most unacceptable words".

The regulator accepted that rules on broadcasting offensive content to children had not been breached, given that the track had been played in the middle of the morning during term time. However, it said that "regardless of intent", no "contextual justification" was given for the broadcast of the word, and therefore there had been a breach of rules on minimising offence.


Little Mix postpone UK tour dates to 2022
Little Mix have announced that they are pushing back their 2021 UK tour dates by twelve whole months, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally set to begin in April this year, running into May, the shows will now be pushed back to the same months (but not the same specific dates) in 2022.

"You know how much we love being on the road and performing every night for you all", say the band. "However, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we must prioritise the safety of our fans and crew and help to stop the spread. Therefore we're so sad to say that the 'Confetti' tour will be postponed to April 2022".

All tickets for the original dates will remain valid.



Balming Tiger have signed to Sony's Columbia Records UK, and will release new double A-side single 'Just Fun!/Loop?' on 18 Feb. Here's a little teaser for the 'Just Fun!' video.

Warner Music Australia has launched a new joint venture label with producers Matt Corby and Alex Henriksson, called Rainbow Valley Records. "I'm pumped", says Corby. "I am excited", says Henriksson. "I am THRILLED", says Warner Music Australasia President Dan Rosen.



Downtown Music Publishing has promoted Bea Koramblyum to Global Head Of Business Affairs. In addition to this, Corey Roberts will expand his role to lead A&R research globally, and Carla Downs has been promoted to VP Film & Television Music.

Jon Ollier's One Fiinix Live booking agency, which launched late last year, has announced its first agent hire. Jess Kinn joins from livestreaming company LIVENow, and was previously an agent at Paradigm. "Jess is everything we are looking for as we build our new business. She is an exciting and forward-thinking talent with a fantastic reputation, and we are really THRILLED to have her join us", says Ollier.



Record industry trade body BPI has announced the 20 record labels and music companies that will receive a year's free membership as part of its Membership Inclusion Programme. The 20 companies are either owned or run by individuals from underrepresented groups. And they are: 23 Formation, 2Funky Arts, Brief Records, Come Play With Me, Damnably, From Here Records, Harbourside Artist Management, IBA Records, JN Records, Just Entertainment, Kingdom Business Records, LP Recordings, M23 Entertainment, Outtallectuals, Prophets Of Rock, Rhythm Labs, Saffron Music, Silent Cult, TCU Records and The Portfolio Music.

Music publisher Palm Bay Music has announced a series of paid songwriting camps starting in June this year. Young writers, producers and artists aged 18-25 will be paid a fee to write, be mentored, network and receive feedback from established industry professionals. There will be a particular focus on supporting those who are LGBTQIA+, non-binary, women, non-graduates, from less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds and of diverse ethnic heritage. Find out more and apply here.



The Music Managers Forum has revealed the 22 upcoming music managers taking part in this year's Accelerator Programme. Each will receive a grant of up to £15,000 and professional development training with the aim of helping them to develop long-term sustainable businesses. They are: Adam Daly, Adetokunbo T Oyelola, Ben Price, Danny Desai, Demonie Wilson, Despa Robinson, Ella-Bonai Gordon, Feedy Frizzi, Jamie Ibe, Joseph Peach, Josh Cohen, Lauren Roth De Wolf, Lu Whiting, Michael Lambert, Nigel Munjoma, Phoebe Gold, Sarah M., Shikayla Kay, Taisha Johnson and Thomas Bellhouse.



Lil Yachty has released new track 'Royal Rumble', featuring KrispyLife Kidd, RMC Mike, Babyface Ray, Rio Da Yung OG, Dc2Trill and Icewear Vezzo.

Tom Jones has released the video for new single 'No Hole In My Head'. "This song is powerful at any age", says Jones. "It's about having confidence in who you are. Particularly during this time of a pervasive, boundless media that can wield so much influence, it's more important than ever to know and be strong in your own self". His new album, 'Surrounded By Time', is out on 23 Apr.

Flo Milli has released the video for recent single 'Roaring 20s'.

Gabrielle has announced that she will release new album 'Do It Again' on 5 Mar through BMG. Here's new single 'Stop Right Now'.

The still inexplicably monikered Ritt Momney has released new single 'Not Around'.

Fucked Up have released new nineteen minute single 'Year Of The Horse - Act One', from their upcoming album 'Year Of The Horse'.



Laura Mvula will play her first live show for three years in a livestream on 24 Feb. Titled 'Under a Pink Moon', the performance will take place on 24 Feb at 8pm. Tickets here. In addition to this, Mvula is currently working on her first album for Warners' Atlantic Records.

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


The Cribs turned down MySpace Records signing after Tom said he'd make everyone friends with them
Tom from MySpace once tried to sign The Cribs. Which, if nothing else, is a reminder that MySpace once had a spin-off record label. A label that was previously most famous for not closing down in 2010. And is now most famous for not signing The Cribs.

The band's bassist Gary Jarman tells the NME: "Tom from MySpace was a massive Cribs fan and tried to sign us. He flew us to Los Angeles and made a huge pitch - it was global takeover stuff. And he wanted Ryan to teach him [the band's 2004 debut single] 'Another Number' on guitar, so we have a covert video of that!"

Then came the clincher: "He said to us: 'If you sign to MySpace, I'll make it so that everybody who signs up is automatically friends with Tom and The Cribs'".

Younger readers may not really remember MySpace. It was the Facebook of its day, before Facebook came along with a properly functioning website and took all of its users. Facebook, by the way, was the Instagram of its day. Oh, and Instagram was the TikTok of its day.

Anyway, when you signed up for a MySpace account, the company's co-founder Tom Anderson was automatically everyone's first friend and placed at number one in their top eight friends list.

Basically, imagine if when you signed up for Facebook, the first thing that happened was that it told everyone you were in a relationship with Mark Zuckerberg. It was sort of like that. It became as much of an internet joke as you'd expect.

So that's basically why The Cribs didn't sign to MySpace Records. The thought of every MySpace user being forced to be their friends. Ryan Jarman recalls: "We thought: That's an awful idea! That's a way to make people hate you!"

Whether they actually said that to Anderson isn't clear. You probably can't say it straight to the face of someone who has done exactly that, can you? Anyway, Tom left MySpace in 2009, after selling the company to Rupert Murdoch, who then watched its value rapidly tank. And that was quite fun.

A couple of years ago, we recorded a special episode of our Setlist podcast looking back at the rise and fall of MySpace and its impact on the music industry. Back then, we were amazed that the site was still online. Even more amazingly now though, it is STILL online. Take a look at The Cribs' profile here.


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.
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