TODAY'S TOP STORY: Iron Maiden have hit back at a lawsuit filed by US-based e-commerce platform Viral Style that accuses one of the metal band's companies of grabbing $200,000 from its PayPal account without permission in an act that was, it alleged, "akin to a high-tech and sophisticated bank robbery". Legal reps for the metal band argue that the litigation should not have been filed with a court in Florida, and that Viral Style has failed "to state a claim for which relief may be granted"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Iron Maiden hit back at e-commerce firm accusing them of "misappropriating" $200,000
LEGAL Settlement reached in Fyre Festival ticketholder class action
DEALS Cooking Vinyl Publishing signs Jacob Attwooll
LIVE BUSINESS New guide for festivals operating under COVID restrictions published
New venue to open in Birmingham this summer

DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Warner and Spotify announce podcast deal
ONE LINERS DMX, Saweetie, Megan Thee Stallion, more
AND FINALLY... Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl launch Eazy Sleazy NFT in aid of grassroots venues
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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.
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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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Iron Maiden hit back at e-commerce firm accusing them of "misappropriating" $200,000
Iron Maiden have hit back at a lawsuit filed by US-based e-commerce platform Viral Style that accuses one of the metal band's companies of grabbing $200,000 from its PayPal account without permission in an act that was, it alleged, "akin to a high-tech and sophisticated bank robbery". Legal reps for the metal band argue that the litigation should not have been filed with a court in Florida, and that Viral Style has failed "to state a claim for which relief may be granted".

Viral Style got itself caught up in legal action pursued by Iron Maiden through the courts in Illinois against a plethora of merch and clothing companies that were accused of infringing the band's intellectual property, because two of the firms targeted by that litigation used its platform to sell their products. However, it managed to get itself removed as a defendant in those lawsuits by successfully arguing that it was not actively involved in the production or distribution of any allegedly IP infringing merchandise, and as a passive platform had safe harbour liability for any IP infringement.

However, before being removed from Iron Maiden's lawsuits, Viral Style had its PayPal account frozen. And then, later, after the band won a default judgement against the e-commerce outfit's two clients - Beatee and 89artshirt - Iron Maiden and their lawyers at AMS Law allegedly "misappropriated $200,000.00 from Viral Style's PayPal account". That was based on the claim that Viral Style shared a PayPal account with its two clients, something it strongly denies.

In a lawsuit filed in February, Viral Style stated: "Iron Maiden and AMS Law misappropriated these funds with full knowledge that Viral Style: (a) was dismissed from the Illinois lawsuit, (b) was only named as a defendant in the Illinois lawsuit by mistake, (c) was not bound by the final judgment order, (d) was an online service provider e-commerce platform and/or marketplace that did not infringe on Iron Maiden's intellectual property, and (e) did not share its PayPal account with Beatee or 89artshirt".

In their formal response, calling for the Viral Style lawsuit to be dismissed, Iron Maiden and AMS Law say that the e-commerce firm's lawsuit is "riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions". In particular, evidence submitted to the court by Viral Style contradicts its own allegations, they argue.

Giving one example, Maiden and their lawyers state: "Plaintiff alleges that 'following Viral Style's dismissal from the Illinois Lawsuit, Viral Style's PayPal account was unfrozen. No holds were placed on the PayPal account either, as was previously threatened by [AMS]'".

"Such allegation is directly contradicted by Exhibit E to the amended complaint", they go on, "which is composed of multiple correspondence including emails expressly stating that the subject $200,000.00 is being held. Indeed, an email dated 1 Oct 2020, from [AMS to Viral Style's attorney] states: 'We just spoke with PayPal and authorised the release of the account with the caveat that they withhold $200,000, to protect our client's interest'".

Beyond the alleged "inconsistencies and contradictions", Maiden also argue that the courts in Florida do not have jurisdiction over the dispute. The band and their companies are based in the UK, and while some directors and shareholders of Iron Maiden Holdings do own property in Florida, the company itself has no interests and operations in the state, beyond the band having played some shows there. Meanwhile AMS Law and the litigation that kick started this legal battle are both based in Illinois.

It now remains to be seen if the Florida court dismisses the case on either jurisdiction or other grounds.


Settlement reached in Fyre Festival ticketholder class action
A settlement has been reached in one of the big Fyre Festival lawsuits, with 277 people who had tickets for the disastrous event set to receive damages. A filing made with the US bankruptcy courts in New York earlier this week confirmed the settlement, which was reached with the trustee overseeing the assets of the former Fyre company.

There was a flurry of lawsuits after the Fyre Festival collapsed just as it was getting started back in April 2017. As ticketholders began to arrive on the island in the Bahamas were the event was due to take place, it became clear organisers hadn't put in place the infrastructure for even a basic festival, let alone the luxury experience that had been promised.

The Fyre companies quickly went under, while the man behind the whole debacle, Billy McFarland, was charged and later convicted with and jailed for fraud. With the companies bankrupt and McFarland in prison, it wasn't clear where the money would come from to pay damages to the investors, suppliers and ticketholders who had gone legal.

Although, that said, the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy process has successfully negotiated back some of the upfront fees that were paid to artists who were due to play the festival, and the social media influencers who helped promote it.

The settlement reached in the class action led by the law firm Geragos & Geragos is worth $2 million, which would equate to around $7,220 per class member, although it's still to be confirmed quite how much each person will actually receive. But, nevertheless, as a result of the settlement some of the monies secured through the bankruptcy process will be set aside for ticketholders.

Welcoming the settlement deal, Ben Meiselas, a partner at Geragos & Geragos, told Billboard: "It's a small but significant step for ticketholders who were defrauded and had their lives up-ended as a result of the fraudulent conduct by McFarland".


Cooking Vinyl Publishing signs Jacob Attwooll
Cooking Vinyl Publishing has signed songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Attwooll, in a deal that covers his output since leaving previous publisher BMG as well as future works.

That includes his recent collaborations with Island Records signed Emily Burns, including singles 'Hello', 'Press Pause' and 'Terrified'. Other artists Attwooll has worked with in recent years include Dua Lipa, Raye, ZieZie, Aitch, Tre-Jean Marie, Plested, TMS, Lostboy, Romans, MNEK, Linnea Sodahl and Caroline Ailin.

Confirming the deal, Cooking Vinyl Publishing's MD Ryan Farley says: "I'm delighted to welcome Jacob to CV Publishing. He is a fantastic and versatile talent who is capable of creating timeless, evergreen songs and huge pop records alike. His stature and reputation within the UK are already well established and he is making impressive in-roads in the US and Asian markets".

"Jacob's career development will be a real focus for us in the years ahead", Farley adds, "[highlighting] our approach to building a core roster of non-performing songwriting talent to complement the exciting recent signings we've been making such as Avelino, July Jones, Blanco, The Orb, Marie Dahlstrom, The Waterboys and Raf Riley".

For his part, Jacob says of the new deal: "I'm feeling the most confident and creative I've ever felt in my career right now, so it felt like the perfect time to partner up again. I can't wait to start this new chapter with a great team who understand my vision and share my aspirations. Exciting things on the horizon!"


New guide for festivals operating under COVID restrictions published
A new guide for UK festival organisers planning to put on events over the summer has been launched, building on previous COVID-related guidance published on the Purple Guide website last year.

Developed by the Association Of Independent Festivals, the Association Of Festival Organisers, the Events Industry Forum and Attitude Is Everything, the guide offers interim advice for promoters while the UK government's Events Research Programme investigates best practice for getting higher capacity shows safely back in operation as COVID restrictions slowly lift.

"Having lost almost all of the industry's 2020 events, festival organisers are very keen to stage whatever is safely possible over the remainder of this year's season", says Steve Heap, General Secretary of the Association Of Festival Organisers. "To do that, clear guidance is needed. The publication of this document, free to all on the Purple Guide website, provides that guidance, written by experienced festival managers with the leadership of AIF".

The AIF is also planning to host a webinar with various people involved in the creation of the guide - details of which are still to be announced. You can download the guide for free from the Purple Guide website here.


New venue to open in Birmingham this summer
More details have been revealed about a new venue called the Forum Birmingham. It's in Birmingham. In case you wondered. And it is set to open this summer.

Occupying a building formerly known as The Ballroom, which has been dormant for a decade, the venue has been fully renovated and updated. Its owners say that they already have shows booked in with promoters including AEG Presents, Goldenvoice, Kilimanjaro Live and Cream, and that they are ready to open their doors when COVID lockdown restrictions are lifted in June.

"Prior to the pandemic, a quarter of a million people in the West Midlands worked in the culture, media and night time industries and the relaunch of this historic venue in Birmingham will help to refuel this damaged part of our local economy", says Billy Chauhan of Global Venues. "We're also extremely passionate about preserving Birmingham's musical heritage and our work culminates with Forum Birmingham".

Welcoming the new venue, Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill adds: "The club scene is a huge part of British culture and heritage spanning decades. We need to preserve it so that future generations can share the experience and pursue careers and opportunities within this sector for years to come. At the moment our clubs are fighting to survive during the pandemic so it's really inspirational that Forum Birmingham will re-open saving a cultural institution in the city and giving the local industry a much needed shot of confidence".

The full line-up of events scheduled at the venue is set to be announced on 22 Apr. For now, it is offering tickets for a Don Letts book reading on 17 Jun this year, and a Slowthai show on 26 Mar 2022, which has been moved from the Birmingham Institute.


Warner and Spotify announce podcast deal
Warner Music and Spotify have announced a new "innovative" podcast development deal. What's so innovative about it? Well, it involves podcasts that will tell the stories behind some of the hit songs released by the music company and the artists who wrote them. So very innovative.

"The most impactful podcasts share with music the key component of storytelling and personal experience", says Spotify's VP Global Studios & Business, Courtney Holt. "In partnership with Warner Music Group, we look to develop stories leveraging their unique artists and catalogue. We look forward to helping them leverage the power of podcasting to forge a deeper connection with fans".

Warner's Chief Digital Offer Oana Ruxandra adds: "We're excited to take this step forward with Spotify as we strengthen and deepen our existing partnership. Podcasts provide an opportunity to unlock value for artists and songwriters by delivering fresh and unique stories to music fans across the globe. We look forward to working with Spotify to experiment and drive growth in podcasting".

Warner already makes numerous podcasts presented by or about artists signed to the label. Those ones aren't innovative though.


CMU Insights: Safe harbour webinar and white paper
With the deadline for implementing the 2019 European Copyright Directive looming, the copyright safe harbour is likely to be newsworthy again in the next couple of months.

To help you get your head around what exactly the safe harbour is all about - and why it has proven controversial - we have a webinar and a white paper for you!

The next CMU Insights weekly webinar puts the spotlight on the music industry's campaign to reform the safe harbour. It explains how the principle works, and why the music community argued that user-upload platforms exploiting safe harbour had created a 'value gap' in the digital music market.

You can book into this and other CMU webinars here.

Meanwhile, the first edition in a series of 'Building Trust' white papers being published by CMU Insights and content and platform security firm Friend MTS also explains the ins and outs of the safe harbour debate.

You can access the white paper for free here.

You can also read two recent blog posts from CMU's Chris Cooke related to the white paper, one explaining why the safe harbour has proven to be controversial, and the other looking at the ongoing debate regarding article seventeen of the aforementioned EU directive.


Record industry collecting society PPL has donated another £75,000 to Stagehand's COVID-19 Crew Relief Fund. "The pandemic has been an incredibly tough time for many, but it has also shown our industry at its best", says PPL CEO Peter Leatham. "Stagehand, as well as other hardship funds, has brought the music community together to help those facing financial difficulties. PPL is proud to continue to support these funds. We hope this latest contribution to Stagehand will help crew and production workers while the live industry plans its return".



Nine new independent artists have been chosen for the sixth year of Gilles Peterson's Future Bubblers talent development scheme. They are: Victoria Jane, Ceeow, Nowsm, Seigfried Komidashi, Tadi The Great, Plumm, Jericho Noguera, Shirkers and Zenel. Find out more here.



A new DMX track has been released, a week after his death. 'Been To War' is set to feature in new TV series 'Godfather Of Harlem' and also features Swizz Beatz and French Montana.

Saweetie has released new track 'Risky', featuring Drakeo The Ruler. The track is taken from her 'Pretty Summer Playlist: Season 1' EP, which is also out today.

Megan Thee Stallion has released the video for 'Movie' from her 'Good News' album.

Redman has released new track '80 Barz'.

Alanis Morissette has released new song 'I Miss The Band', alongside a fundraising campaign for Backline. "Life in this industry can be incredibly isolating and difficult", she says. "Backline provides a safe, private, and immediate place to go for help. Available for free to artists, managers, agents, crew, producers, labels, and their families, Backline programmes offer case management, support groups, and wellness programmes to meet the needs of this unique community".

Pendulum have released new single 'Come Alive'.

Feat Factory have released new singe 'Disprutor'. The track is taken from upcoming album 'Aggression Continuum', the long-in-production album that features vocals from Burton C Bell, despite him quitting the band last year.

KO has released new track 'What We Do'.

Daniel Avery has announced that he will release new album 'Together In Static'. Here's the first track from it, 'Endless Hours'.

CupcakKe has released new single 'Mosh Pit'.

Chet Faker has announced that he will release his first album for seven years, 'Hotel Surrender', on 16 Jul. "I think I used to see it as this plight, like I was on a crusade or this creative odyssey", he says of his decision to revive the project. "Now I see that it's more shamanistic. You've got to find some light - or sometimes dark, whatever's right - and share it. I realised that was the heart of the Chet Faker project. And I felt like the world was hurting, so I thought, 'I can do a small something to give people some joy'". Here's new single, 'Whatever Tomorrow'.

Man On Man have released new single 'It's So Fun (To Be Gay)'.

Baby Queen has released new single 'Dover Beach'. "I actually wrote the melody and lyrics of this song while I was sitting on the beach", she says. "It's about being infatuated with somebody and seeing them everywhere you look. I was kind of pissed that I went to look at the beach, all I could think about was this person, hence the lyric 'you stole the view of Dover Beach'".

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


Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl launch Eazy Sleazy NFT in aid of grassroots venues
Following the release of their collaborative single 'Eazy Sleazy' earlier this week, Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl have launched an NFT auction for ownership of an exclusive piece of digital artwork related to the record. Money raised from that auction will go to supporting grassroots live music venues in the UK and US.

Jagger described the post-lockdown anthem as a piece of "much-needed optimism". Reviewers have variously described it as "the kind of silliness ... bands routinely knock about in rehearsals - before they get down to business" and "a tune that is as funny as it is ridiculous", while also using the release as a reason to call for a "moratorium on culture that directly references Zoom". A future classic 'Eazy Sleazy' is not, then, but of the moment it surely is.

And if you're going to do something of the moment at the moment, then you need to sell an NFT as part of the project, obviously. If you're still struggling to get your head around NFTs and what they are, I'll try to explain it to you in simple terms: NFTs - or non-fungible tokens - are a massive load of meaningless bullshit. Right, now you're up to speed. But, and I guess this is the important bit, they're meaningless bullshit that you can make a lot of money out of. For now, at least.

Based on the same idea as crypto-currency, rather than representing money, NFTs represent a digital object. Or, more accurately, the ownership of that object. Unlike when you buy a piece of physical art, you don't actually have the one copy of that object in your possession, but there is a thing on the internet that says you own it. And you can sell on that certificate of ownership to someone else. So that's great. Meanwhile, the thing you apparently own is probably still online for everyone else to enjoy.

There's a whole verse in 'Eazy Sleazy' that mocks conspiracy theorists and climate change deniers. So it's slightly ironic that this NFT sale is happening, given how bad such blockchain transactions are for the environment. Thanks to all the energy used up when computing such transactions on the blockchain, buying one is a great way to rapidly increase your carbon footprint.

Anyway, this is all for a good cause, so maybe I should stop being so down on it. The auction will be live for 24 hours. In fact, as we publish this there are less than eight hours left, with the top bid over $10,000.

Profits from the sale will be split between the Music Venue Trust in the UK, the National Independent Venue Association in the US, and the Back Up charity, which supports technical professionals working in live events, theatre, TV and film. "A percentage", the announcement for all this adds, "will also be going to environmental causes". So maybe it's all going to be alright.


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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