TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK government's Intellectual Property Office and CMU Insights will next week launch a new guide to music rights that will help everyone in the music community better understand the ins and outs of music copyright, music licensing and how music rights make money. The free guide will be available online or to download as a PDF from next Monday. CMU will also present a series of free webinars and panel discussions following the launch... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Intellectual Property Office and CMU to launch new free copyright guide for the music community next week
LEGAL Ticketmaster successfully forces another COVID refunds dispute to arbitration
Judge frees WME from legal dispute with Virgin Fest LA over COVID cancellation

New organisation launched in Germany to allow web-blocking without court orders

RIAA increasingly targeting content on legit streaming services with takedowns

MEDIA 6 Music Festival to go ahead without live audience
AWARDS Socially distanced Grammy Awards take place in LA
AND FINALLY... Kid Cudi "not flattered" by TikTok meme but urges fans to "keep doin your thing"
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Tuesday 16 Mar 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Artists and songwriters often assign the copyrights they create to business partners: labels, publishers and collecting societies. But music-makers have rights over their music even when they no longer own the copyright. What are those and how do they work? Find out in this webinar.
Tuesday 23 Mar 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
As the legitimate digital music market has evolved so has online music piracy. This webinar looks at the piracy challenge over the last 20 years, how the music industry has sought to tackle the problem, and which anti-piracy tactics actually work today.
Tuesday 30 Mar 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
While there are some basic principles that join up all the copyright systems around the world, there are also some key differences from country to country. And with American copyright law, some things are just plain weird. This webinar gives you a guide to five significant ways in which copyright in the US is different to the UK and Continental Europe.
Tuesday 6 Apr 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The global record industry continues to grow on the back of the streaming boom, though challenges remain in the streaming business. We outline and explain all the key challenges, and suggest what solutions may be employed by the services and the music industry.
Tuesday 13 Apr 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Markets like China, India, Russia, South Korea and Brazil have played a key role in the revival of the record industry's fortunes, while markets in Africa are set to become increasingly important in the years ahead. Which services and what models dominate in these countries?
Tuesday 20 Apr 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The music industry went to war with YouTube over safe harbour and the value gap. What does that even mean? And who is winning the battle? We look at 2019's controversial European Copyright Directive and what impact it will - or will not - have, and whether those reforms can - or will - be adopted by the US. Plot twist: maybe YouTube wasn't even the real problem.
Navigate and understand the music business with guides and reports from CMU...
Artist And Songwriter Rights In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the rights artists and songwriters enjoy over their music
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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Intellectual Property Office and CMU to launch new free copyright guide for the music community next week
The UK government's Intellectual Property Office and CMU Insights will next week launch a new guide to music rights that will help everyone in the music community better understand the ins and outs of music copyright, music licensing and how music rights make money. The free guide will be available online or to download as a PDF from next Monday. CMU will also present a series of free webinars and panel discussions following the launch.

The IPO is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property rights including copyright. With the shift to digital making it so much easier to record and share music, the IPO recognises that it's more important than ever for all music-makers and other online creators to understand the basics of music copyright and music licensing. That's why it commissioned CMU to create 'Music Copyright Explained'.

Among other things, the easy-to-follow guide explains how copyright gives music-makers control over the songs and recordings they create. It also talks through how music-makers and the music industry generate income out of their music rights, and outlines all the key things music-makers and other creators need to know about music copyright and licensing.

The guide will be available online and as a PDF download from next Monday, 22 Mar. Three editions of the free 'Music Copyright Explained' webinar will take place in the week of launch, with a series of accompanying panels then taking place in early April.

Those will review the key copyright debates in the music community in 2021, explore the challenges for businesses looking to license music, and will consider how music educators can make sure students and early-career music-makers get the copyright knowledge they need.

Anyone making or using music can sign up to receive a free PDF copy of the guide as soon as it is published right now. They can also sign up for places at the free webinars next week, or the panel discussions in April. Check out all the information at


Ticketmaster successfully forces another COVID refunds dispute to arbitration
Live Nation's Ticketmaster in the US has again successfully forced a dispute over its COVID refund polices to arbitration.

American Ticketmaster customer John Tezak went legal last year as the COVID shutdown began and ticketing firms started to deal with the unprecedented number of postponed and cancelled shows.

He argued that the ticketing giant was classifying cancelled shows as postponed in order to avoid offering automatic refunds. This, he alleged, was Ticketmaster, having failed to properly prepare for something like the COVID pandemic, sitting on its customers' money that should have been refunded to provide free cash flow.

As with previous lawsuits over its COVID refund policies, Ticketmaster argued that the case should go to arbitration. That was on the basis that the terms and conditions Tezak signed up to when buying tickets for a postponed (possibly cancelled) Blake Shelton show in Illinois last year clearly stated that any disputes should go to arbitration, rather than being fought out in a court of law.

In a previous case, one ticket-buyer unsuccessfully argued that that arbitration obligation was buried deep within Ticketmaster's terms and conditions and that he hadn't really agreed to be bound by it. But in his case, Tezak argued that the Ticketmaster terms relating to arbitration were ambiguous, in particular because of a mention of the Illinois Ticket Sale And Resale Act.

However, the court hearing the case has ruled that the reference to that legislation only applies to touted tickets bought via Ticketmaster's secondary ticketing sites, not official tickets bought via its primary ticketing service. Therefore there were no ambiguities regarding Tezak's obligation to take his dispute with the Live Nation company to arbitration.

The court ruled last week: "Tezak and defendants chose to delegate questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator. Tezak's arguments based on Illinois' resale statute and the similar terms of use language that contain Illinois-specific terms do not change this analysis or create an ambiguity because these provisions are not relevant under the circumstances".


Judge frees WME from legal dispute with Virgin Fest LA over COVID cancellation
A judge in California last week freed talent agency WME from a legal battle with the Virgin Group's festivals division over a COVID cancellation. Although litigation continues against the touring companies of WME's clients Lizzo and Ellie Goulding.

VFLA Eventco LLC sued WME and the touring companies of Lizzo and Goulding last year after it was forced to cancel the debut edition of a new Virgin Fest event in LA.

The promoter argued that because the festival was cancelled as a result of COVID restrictions, the artists were obliged to return monies they had been advanced when they were booked to play. However, Lizzo, Goulding and their agents argued that they could keep those payments because they were still "ready, willing and able to perform", despite the big show being called off.

WME sought to have itself removed from the legal battle on the basis that its agreement with the promoter said that it could not be sued as part of any dispute that was basically between the festival organiser and an artist. And the court last week agreed that that was the case here. Although it also said that VFLA could refile its litigation if it believed it had a claim against the agency not covered by that contractual exclusion.

The judgement stated: "The court agrees with plaintiff that the contract does not protect WME from liability for its own wrongs. It only protects WME from being sued for what is essentially a dispute between the artists and the promoter. But that is essentially what is at issue here".

WME objected to VFLA being given the option to re-file, arguing that that would just be a waste of everyone's time and money. But the judge said that, while he understood the defendants' frustrations, it was nevertheless appropriate to give the festival company "leave to amend" in this scenario.

Meanwhile, VFLA's lawsuit against the artists' touring companies was allowed to proceed.


New organisation launched in Germany to allow web-blocking without court orders
A new organisation was formally launched in Germany last week that will make it easier for copyright owners to get piracy websites blocked by internet service providers in the country.

Dubbed a "clearing house for copyright on the internet", the new set up, called CUII, is a joint venture between the biggest German ISPs and the country's copyright industries. It means that web-blocks can be instigated against piracy sites without court action being required.

Web-blocking, of course, has become an anti-piracy tactic of choice in those counties where such blockades are an option for copyright owners. The process usually means getting a court to issue an injunction ordering ISPs to block access to copyright-infringing websites. Though in some countries government agencies, or similar, are empowered to directly issue web-blocking orders.

Although the CUII circumvents the need for court action, a committee - including retired judges with knowledge of German copyright law - will review each complaint submitted by a copyright owner. Germany's telecommunications regulator BNetzA will also review each complaint to confirm that any one web-block does not breach the European Union's net neutrality rules.

The new body will issue web-blocking orders against websites that are "structurally infringing". That is defined as a website where mass infringement is key to its business model, and where - by providing access to infringing material - it is causing significant economic harm to the creative sectors.

Specific examples given of sites that would fall under that definition include the good old Pirate Bay, which is often one of the first to be subject to web-blocking whenever it is introduced in any one country.

Although the first site to be put on the CUII blocking list, according to BNetzA, is TV streaming set-up - which is already blocked by some ISPs in Germany and has a nice guide to circumventing the blockades at the top of its home page as a result.


RIAA increasingly targeting content on legit streaming services with takedowns
The US record companies are issuing an increased number of takedown requests relating to allegedly copyright infringing content on legitimate streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, according to a new report from Torrentfreak.

The music industry issues a constant flood of copyright notices, of course, requesting that content or links be removed from an assortment of websites and digital platforms.

That includes outright piracy sites, as well as otherwise legitimate social media and content-sharing platforms where users regularly upload videos containing other people's music. Another stack of takedowns are then sent to search engines that index and list pirated content.

Those websites and digital platforms are obliged to respond to any takedowns if they want to avoid liability for copyright infringement on the back of the copyright safe harbour. Most piracy sites ignore them, obviously, which is why search engines linking to those piracy sites are also a top target.

Torrentfreak has been monitoring the database of takedown notices managed by Lumen, a Harvard University project that is focused on takedowns and other cease-and-desist letters issued in relation to online content.

"Takedown requests are generally aimed at pirate sites and stream-rippers, but in recent weeks the [Recording Industry Association Of America] went after legitimate streaming services as well - apparently Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Tidal and Apple Music host 'copyright infringing' content too", it notes.

Some of that definitely relates to podcasts. As the streaming services have been pushing podcast content ever more prolifically, the spotlight has fallen on the fact that most music podcasts are not properly licensed, mainly because it's really hard to license music for podcast programmes.

Crucially, the music licences of Spotify et al do not cover music within any standard podcasts that appear on those platforms, which means technically they shouldn't be on there. As a result, said platforms have filters that try to stop such content getting through. However, in some cases, fans have actually managed to use podcast feeds to add tracks not officially available on Spotify to the service, which suggests that those filters are not always very effective.

Not all podcasts containing music on the streaming services are infringing. The platforms' own podcasts will have secured licences, of course, and Spotify is developing a tool to allow podcasters to pull in tracks from its licensed music library. But many third-party music-based podcasts that do appear on those streaming service are very likely not properly licensed. And some of those were targets of some of the recent takedowns against Spotify.

But, Torrentfreak points out, some of the takedowns relate to individual tracks on the music side of the service, rather than podcasts. That includes some remixes and karaoke versions of songs, but also some original recordings.

Those could have been uploaded via podcast feeds, as noted. Although the presence of allegedly infringing tracks on the streaming services possibly relates to another debate that has rumbled on in recent years. Which is, to what extent people are uploading other people's music via DIY distribution platforms, and what efforts those platforms and the streaming services themselves are going to in order to spot and block such uploads.

According to Torrentfreak, although those takedowns have been sent to Google so that links to the podcasts or tracks can be removed from its search engine, the web giant doesn't seem to have acted on those notices. Very possibly because it reckons the streaming services are in a better position to assess if that content is indeed infringing and, if so, to actually remove it. Certainly, some of the identified podcasts and tracks are no longer available on Spotify.


6 Music Festival to go ahead without live audience
This year's BBC 6 Music Festival will go ahead later this month, it has been announced. Although with a distanced audience. Distanced as in sitting in their houses listening to it all on the radio.

Nine new audience-free performances have been recorded: Bicep, Michael Kiwanuka and Laura Marling playing at Alexandra Palace in London; and Poppy Ajudha, Black Country New Road, Dry Cleaning, Nubya Garcia, Shame and Working Men's Club getting on stage at the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House.

Samantha Moy, Head Of BBC Radio 6 Music, says: "With venues closed across the UK, we are determined to celebrate live music, as we know 6 Music listeners are missing gigs as much as we are. So, we've raided the 6 Music Festival archives and moved heaven and earth to record some new performances, to ensure that the festival will go on!"

Commenting on his performance, Kiwanuka - who had to cancel his set last year due to laryngitis - says: "It feels great to be playing the 6 Music Festival this year, especially because I missed last year - I was so sad and gutted not to perform. This year is a special year because there are very few opportunities to get to play live, with the situation we're in in the world. So it's great to be able to express myself the way I know how and with the 6 Music family. It means a lot".

BBC Radio 6 Music will broadcast all the new performances, along with eighteen classic sets from festivals past, from 26-28 Mar. Highlights from Bicep, Kiwanuka and Marling's sets will also be shown on BBC Four on 26 Mar, while BBC iPlayer will also present an eight hour stream of back to back new and old sets from 2pm to 10pm on 28 Mar.


Setlist: The music business year so far
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from 2021 so far, including UK parliament's inquiry into the economics of streaming, the debate around user-centric streaming royalties, and the issues facing UK musicians who want to tour Europe post-Brexit.

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

| Amazon Music | Apple Podcasts | audioBoom | CastBox | Deezer | Google Podcasts | iHeart | Mixcloud | RSS | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Socially distanced Grammy Awards take place in LA
The 63rd Grammy Awards took place last night with a stripped back, outdoor ceremony. This year's big winner was Beyonce. She not only took away four trophies - two thanks to her feature on Megan Thee Stallion's 'Savage' - but she also became the most awarded woman in the event's history having now received 28 prizes across her career.

The sparsely-attended event was set up outside the Staples Center in LA, with spaced out tables each populated by one or two masked celebrities, to ensure COVID safety. Performances were pre-recorded, allowing artists to get more creative than usual. Lil Baby in particular went all out, with a large-scale production protesting police brutality. For his performance of 'The Bigger Picture', he was also joined by Killer Mike, who rapped a section of Run The Jewels' 'Walking In The Snow'.

As well as winning for her contribution to 'Savage' - which won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance - Beyonce took home Best R&B Performance for 'Black Parade' and Best Music Video for 'Brown Skin Girl'. She now ties with Quincy Jones in second place for the winner of the most Grammy trophies ever. They both trail conductor Georg Solti, who has 31.

It was also notable that all of the big artist awards this year were taken by women. Megan Thee Stallion added to her haul with Best New Artist; Billie Eilish took Record Of The Year with 'Everything I Wanted; Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' won Album Of The Year; and HER took Song Of The Year with 'I Can't Breathe'.

Fiona Apple took away two awards too, her first wins in 23 years, despite consistent nominations throughout her career. She won Best Rock Performance for 'Shameika' and Best Alternative Music Album for 'Fetch The Bolt Cutters'. Her last win before that was Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for 'Criminal' in 1998.

Apple did not attend the ceremony, saying in a video message before the event: "I don't wanna be on national television. I'm just not made for that stuff anymore. I wanna stay sober and I can't do that sober. It doesn't feel safe to me to be in that exposure/scrutiny/comparison to people".

What about British artists though? Did any of them win anything? I'm glad you asked. Harry Styles won Best Pop Solo Artist for 'Watermelon Sugar'; Dua Lipa won Best Pop Vocal Album for 'Future Nostalgia'; and Jacob Collier won Best Arrangement, Instrument And Vocals for 'He Won't Hold You'.

And if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned Best Immersive Audio Album yet, that's because, remember, "due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic", the 2020 nominations for that category will not be announced until next year. Happy to clear that up for you.

Anyway, below are some of the key winners from this year's ceremony. For the full (still very long, despite everything) list, have a look here.

Record Of The Year: Billie Eilish - Everything I Wanted

Album Of The Year: Taylor Swift - Folklore

Song Of The Year: HER - I Can't Breathe

Best New Artist: Megan Thee Stallion

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical: Andrew Wyatt

Best Music Video: Beyonce, Blue Ivy & WizKid - Brown Skin Girl

Best Pop Solo Performance: Harry Style - Watermelon Sugar

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande - Rain On Me

Best Pop Vocal Album: Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia

Best Rap Performance: Megan Thee Stallion feat Beyonce - Savage

Best Rap Song: Megan Thee Stallion feat Beyonce - Savage

Best Rap Album: Nas - King's Disease

Best R&B Performance: Beyonce - Black Parade

Best R&B Song: Robert Glasper featuring HER and Meshell Ndegeocello - Better Than I Imagined

Best R&B Album: John Legend - Bigger Love

Best Dance Recording: Kaytranda feat Kali Uchis - 10%

Best Dance/Electronic Album: Kaytranada - Bubba

Best Rock Performance: Fiona Apple - Shameika

Best Rock Song: Brittany Howard - Stay High

Best Rock Album: The Strokes - The New Abnormal

Best Metal Performance: Body Count - Bum-Rush

Best Alternative Music Album: Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters

Best Progressive R&B Album: Thundercat - It Is What It Is

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Kanye West - Jesus Is King

Best Song Written For Visual Media: Billie Eilish - No Time To Die


Kid Cudi "not flattered" by TikTok meme but urges fans to "keep doin your thing"
TikTok has now become such a key driver in music discovery and music marketing that some artists are writing songs with virality on the social media platform in mind. But not everyone loves it when the pesky TikTokers pick up on one of their tracks. Over the weekend, Kid Cudi announced that he's "not flattered" at all that his song 'Day N Nite' has become a meme.

It's not the first time one of his tracks has become popular on TikTok, but on this occasion he's not especially happy that the way the track being used. The meme takes a line from the song, but cuts out lyrics dealing with the death of his uncle and feelings of regret at not patching up differences before he passed away.

In the TikTok trend, users are seen mouthing the line "now look at this", before cutting away to a clip of something funny. And it's that which the rapper finds a little bit jarring - it being so far removed from the original intent behind his words.

"I don't fuck with what they did to my song on TikTok, takin out the lyrics", he wrote on Twitter. "We live in a strange time. I'm not flattered".

When one fan said he shouldn't be concerned about something that wasn't "that deep", he added: "I don't think I'm makin it 'deep' by tweetin how I feel. Now, if I was ranting, that's another thing. Nothing wrong with me stating I don't approve. Plus, if you are such a fan, you know my lyrics are most important to me. I'm passionate about my shit so [I don't care] who has a problem with that".

Although this latest TikTok trend is not his favourite thing to ever happen, last night he stressed that he wasn't actually "angry" about it, seemingly recognising that artists generally have little control over how others see their music once it's out in the world.

"I am not 'pissed' or 'angry'", he said, in reference to several media reports on his tweets. "I don't have a problem with TikTok at all and what kids do on there. When 'Memories' and 'The Scotts' went viral, I thought it was pretty cool. When I made 'Day N Nite', I wanted it to help people. I never imagined it would be used in a jokin manner. It threw me off a lil bit. As long as the song is still helpin you guys and the lyrics aren't forgotten, keep doin your thing".

With all that in mind, and for people with long enough attention spans, here is the full track.


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. (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. (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. 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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