TODAY'S TOP STORY: Rule number seventeen of the music industry: as soon as the labels get all excited about the marketing potential of the latest super popular online platform, the copyright infringement lawsuits can't be too far behind. The US National Music Publishers Association yesterday confirmed that a consortium of its members is suing super popular online gaming platform Roblox. And about time too... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Music publishers sue Roblox for $200 million, pile more pressure on Twitch
LEGAL Viagogo argues against class action status for lawsuit over its COVID cancellations policy
Frontier Communications latest US ISP to be sued by the major labels

Song-theft claim against Offset allowed to proceed, even though everyone's confused

MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Snoop Dogg appoints wife Shante Broadus as new manager
ARTIST NEWS New documentary to capture Lewis Capaldi's rise to fame and the writing of his second album
ONE LINERS Healthy Touring, Madison Beer, Deafheaven, more
AND FINALLY... 24 hour Noel Gallagher radio station to go live this Friday
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Music publishers sue Roblox for $200 million, pile more pressure on Twitch
Rule number seventeen of the music industry: as soon as the labels get all excited about the marketing potential of the latest super popular online platform, the copyright infringement lawsuits can't be too far behind. The US National Music Publishers Association yesterday confirmed that a consortium of its members is suing super popular online gaming platform Roblox. And about time too.

The latest copyright litigation against an online operator was confirmed at the Annual General Meeting of the NMPA yesterday. CEO David Israelite said of the Roblox Corporation, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March: "They've made hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring users to pay every time they upload music onto the platform – taking advantage of young people's lack of understanding about copyright – and then they take virtually no action to prevent repeat infringement or alert users to the risks they are taking".

Maybe the NMPA could have a quiet word with some of the people who invested in the Roblox company ahead of the stock market listing. Like, you know, maybe the Warner Music Group. Unsurprisingly, Warner Chappell is not listed among the publishers participating in this new lawsuit. Though Universal Music Publishing is, alongside independent publishers and rights-owners like Kobalt, Downtown, Peermusic, Reservoir, Spirit, Hipgnosis and Pulse. Oh, and Deadmau5 in his own right. For some reason.

The litigation is seeking "no less than $200 million for Roblox's unabashed exploitation of music without proper licences", the trade group added. "The lawsuit will ensure songwriters are fully paid for their works on the platform and that Roblox takes seriously its obligations to those who have made its service so popular and profitable. Songs recorded by artists including Ariana Grande, Imagine Dragons, Deadmau5, Ed Sheeran and the Rolling Stones are all being utilised without compensating their writers and copyright holders".

Israelite also used his speech at the NMPA AGM to further ramp up the pressure on Amazon's Twitch. The livestreaming platform has been increasingly criticised of late for how few music licences it has secured, despite all the music that appears in streams on the platform, and the fact the company has been actively courting musicians to join its community of creators.

The big record labels and music publishers have got more proactive in issuing takedown notices against Twitch in the last year as livestreaming has become a much bigger talking point in the music community.

And it's fair to say that the Amazon company has been struggling to deal with those notices, which it has to properly respond to in order to avoid liability for the infringing content on its platform.

Another flurry of takedowns in the last couple of weeks has led to lots more frustration among the Twitch creator community. Alluding to that frustration, the NMPA said in a statement yesterday: "Twitch's users have paid the price for the platform's failure to license music, and until they do, NMPA will continue removing music which Amazon refuses to pay for".

Israelite meanwhile, added: "Twitch should serve its users by fully licensing music which would allow the platform to flourish and copyright owners to be properly compensated".


Viagogo argues against class action status for lawsuit over its COVID cancellations policy
Viagogo is trying to stop a lawsuit filed over its COVID cancellation policies in Florida from being granted US-wide class action status.

There have been a number of lawsuits regarding ticket refunds during the COVID pandemic, of course. Disputes usually arise when events are significantly postponed - as they have been over the last fifteen months - and relate to whether or not ticket buyers are due refunds, even if an event hasn't been officially cancelled. The actual legal obligations of promoters and ticket agents vary from country to country.

Though, whatever the rules say, things are always more complicated when ticket touts and secondary ticketing websites are involved, because there are more entities sitting between the event promoter and the actual ticket buyer.

Viagogo was sued last year by Lauren Shiflett, who had bought tickets for a COVID-affected Tool show via the site. Her lawsuit stated: "Even though many thousands of events have been cancelled, Viagogo wrongly refuses to classify events as 'cancelled' allowing it to maintain dominion and control over … funds which it has no legal right to possess or use for its own business purposes".

The lawsuit accused Viagogo of breach of contract and unjust enrichment, as well as violations under Florida's Deceptive And Unfair Trade Practices Act. It also sought class action status within the state of Florida.

According to Law360, the secondary ticketing company previously but unsuccessfully tried to have the lawsuit dismissed or at least its class action status within Florida denied.

Then last month Shiflett sought to extend her litigation so to represent a class of Viagogo customers from all over the US. In a new legal filing, Viagogo presents an assortment of arguments as to why the court should deny that request.

That includes the fact that Viagogo customers with tickets to COVID-affected events have often been offered a voucher worth 125% of the original ticket purchase, and the court would need to identify which class members would prefer to take the voucher than a cash refund. And also that Shiflett has not, it reckons, provided sufficient analysis of the impact different state laws around the US could have on the claims of any nationwide class.

"This court must perform a 'rigorous analysis' to determine whether plaintiff met her evidentiary burden in demonstrating that class treatment is appropriate", the ticket resale firm says in its new legal filing, before boldly stating: "Plaintiff fails this rigorous analysis".


Frontier Communications latest US ISP to be sued by the major labels
Good news for fans of copyright lawsuits against US internet service providers - we've got another one for you! Frontier Communications is the latest net firm to be sued by the major labels who argue the ISP did not do enough to deal with infringement and infringers on its networks, and therefore should be held liable for that infringement.

It's the latest in a flurry of lawsuits against US internet companies that followed BMG's successful litigation against Cox Communications. In that case, BMG successfully argued that Cox had a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers among its customer base and therefore should not qualify for protection under the copyright safe harbour, which allows internet companies that inadvertently and unknowingly facilitate infringement to avoid liability.

On the back of the BMG case, the majors also sued Cox, winning a billion dollars in damages in the process. Other litigation has also been pursued against Charter Communications, Grande Communications, RCN and now, of course, Frontier Communications. Because, I mean, if billion dollar damages are a possibility, why wouldn't you?

"Frontier knew that its subscribers were using its high-speed network to illegally download and distribute plaintiffs' sound recordings on Frontier's network", says the new lawsuit. "Frontier has received hundreds of thousands of copyright infringement notices from copyright owners, including plaintiffs, but chose not to act on those notices and address the rampant infringement on its network".

"Frontier failed to adequately respond to these notices", it goes on. "It deliberately refused to take reasonable measures to curb its subscribers from using its service to infringe on the copyrights of others, including plaintiffs, despite having direct knowledge of particular subscribers engaging in specific, repeated acts of infringement".

It adds: "Through the provision of its services to known infringers, Frontier knowingly contributed to, and reaped substantial profits from, massive copyright infringement committed by thousands of its subscribers, causing great harm to plaintiffs, their recording artists, and others whose livelihoods depend upon the lawful sale and distribution of music".

"Frontier's contribution to its subscribers' infringement is both wilful and material, and renders Frontier liable for its subscribers' infringing activity", it then concludes.

Frontier will presumably now gather up all the counter arguments previously presented by Cox, Charter, Grande and RCN, and see if it can have any more success defending itself with said arguments. That will almost certainly involve dissing the way the majors issued their takedown notices, basically arguing that those takedowns couldn't be trusted, so can't be used as evidence that the ISP deliberately failed to respond to known infringement on its networks.

In its recent appeal of the billion dollar judgement against it, Cox argued that - even if its deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers means it can't rely on the copyright safe harbour for protection - the labels still didn't prove it was liable for contributory infringement. Obviously the jury in the original case did not agree, but in the appeal Cox presented various arguments as to why the jury's conclusion was wrong.

In its filing with the Fourth Circuit appeals court, Cox Communications also said that if the billion dollar judgement against it stands, "the consequences will be devastating".

That was an opinion echoed by various groups that submitted to the court a so called amici curiae in support of Cox earlier this month, including campaign organisations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge. The ruling in the Cox case, they wrote, "lowers the threshold for a finding of secondary liability for copyright infringement and increases the likelihood of secondary liability posing an existential threat to all but the largest ISPs".

"The consequence of that decision, if upheld, would be the loss of internet access for an untold number of internet users regardless of whether they had engaged in any infringing activity", they then added, ramping up the drama somewhat. "Neither copyright precedent nor any legitimate interest of copyright holders or the public justifies this result".

Frontier will presumably be hoping that Cox and its allies have some success with their arguments. Meanwhile the music industry, which has had most of the wins in this domain in recent years, will be hoping the precedent in Cox prevails, resulting in similar big money wins against the other targeted ISPs, including good old Frontier.


Song-theft claim against Offset allowed to proceed, even though everyone's confused
A judge in Georgia has allowed a song theft case against Offset and his label Quality Control Music to proceed, even though everyone seems a bit confused as to exactly what specific claims are being made by the song theft accuser.

We do know that Atlanta-based singer Barbara Norwood reckons that Offset's 2019 track 'How Did I Get Here' rips off her earlier work 'Martian'. The rip off, her lawsuit claimed, followed her uploading tracks to Quality Control's website after the label invited such uploads from artists looking to "be discovered".

However, lawyers for Quality Control have argued, Norwood's original legal filing had none of the information you'd normally expect in a song-theft lawsuit of this kind.

On that basis, they filed a motion for dismissal of the case, though Norwood's team didn't formally respond to that motion in writing, apparently assuming that they could simply respond in court at yesterday's scheduled hearing.

Nevertheless, Quality Control continues to argue, more information is still necessary for it to be able to properly respond to the litigation. According to Law360, the label's lawyer Hayden R Pace told the court yesterday that although Norwood claims that 'Martian' and 'How Did I Get Here' are "substantially similar", her legal team "don't actually identify how any of it is similar - they haven't identified the lyrics or a particular hook".

As a result, Pace added, "we don't know what kind of case we're defending against", meaning that, when trying to form a response to the lawsuit, "we felt like, frankly, we were flying blind".

At the same court hearing, Norwood's legal rep Dorey Cole tried to expand on what his client is claiming, although he seemingly only added to the confusion. At times it appeared that Cole was saying Offset had actually sampled Norwood's track, but then the legal claim also talks about the beats and rhythms of the two tracks being "substantially similar", suggesting they copied the composition of 'Martian' rather than the actual recording.

Given the ongoing confusion, Pace said: "I need it to be properly pled in a complaint ... so I can file yet another motion to dismiss".

With that in mind, the judge hearing the case gave Cole ten days to file an amended complaint, telling the lawyer that the new claims made in yesterday's hearing should be included in the new filing, and that he better make sure everything is covered this time because: "I doubt there'll be another opportunity to amend".


Snoop Dogg appoints wife Shante Broadus as new manager
Snoop Dogg has appointed his wife, Shante Broadus, as his new manager. The head of Boss Lady Entertainment made her start in the entertainment industry overseeing the early part of her husband's career.

"Shante has been guiding my career behind the scenes from day one", says the rapper. "She has always been my final gut check with all my decisions, and I wouldn't be where I am today without her. I am grateful to have her as my official manager, helping to build the Snoop Dogg empire together".

Broadus herself adds: "The industry at large is seeing a major shift in more representation of black women in key executive roles. I am excited to enter this official position, helping to further expand Snoop's wide-ranging empire. I have been by Snoop's side for over two [decades], so - together with the rest of the team - our goal is to strengthen Snoop's legacy as a brand, with the loyalty and trust of our guidance that has made Snoop who he is today".

In her new role, Broadus will oversee her husband's array of business interests, including partnerships spanning cannabis, alcoholic drinks, advertising, film and TV, and, of course, music and touring. She will also head up his gaming and animation company diGGital doGG.

In addition to this, she is set to publish her own autobiography, 'Paid The Cost To Be The Boss Lady', and will continue to run LA studio complex The Compound, her own drinks company Indoggo Spirits, and produce film and TV projects.

Snoop Dogg, meanwhile, also took on a new job this week, as a strategic and creative consultant for Universal Music's Def Jam Recordings.


Approved: Hélène Vogelsinger
Back at the beginning of 2019, musician Hélène Vogelsinger began to experiment with modular synths. Quickly finding that she had a flair for creating broad and emotive soundcapes, she also quickly hit upon the idea of taking her equipment out of the usual studio setting.

To date, she's created new pieces of electronic music in places as diverse as an abandoned factory and a derelict hospital, on the banks of a river and between the densely packed trees of a forest. These sessions have so far been collected into two album releases, 2020's 'Contemplation', and 'Reminiscence', which came out last month.

Continuing the series, she's now released her latest track, 'Reappearance', which was recorded on rocks looking out to sea. As ever, in this unlikely setting she presides over a bank of wires that would give most people a migraine trying to work out their numerous functions, but which she expertly turns into a vast electronic orchestra, pouring with the kind of humanity and passion that many a 'traditional' musician could only dream of.

Watch 'Reappearance' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

New documentary to capture Lewis Capaldi's rise to fame and the writing of his second album
BMG has partnered with production companies Pulse Films and Quickfire Films to make a new feature-length documentary about your good friend, your old mate, the one, the only, that bloke they insist on calling Lewis Capaldi.

The film focusses on Capaldi as he writes his second album, living back at his parents house in Scotland following his rapid rise to fame. After being the first ever artist to sell out an arena before releasing a debut album - an album that then proved to be hugely popular worldwide - returning to what was previously normal life in an effort to replicate or surpass that level of success was seemingly something of a mindfuck.

"If the immense pressure of writing and recording a second album that has to live up to the expectations of so many people I've never met - while also attempting to eclipse the commercial success of my previous album - wasn't enough, I decided to film the process in its entirety for your viewing pleasure", says Capaldi.

"I'm very excited to potentially capture the making of the best album of all time or, more likely, to permanently document the scorching of my dreams as years of my life's work is received like a pile of flaming shite", he goes on. "Either way it's going to be lots of fun and [it] will be lovely to have people along for the ride".

So, fine whatever happens. And it should be a good film. Directed by Joe Pearlman - who helmed Bros documentary 'When The Screaming Stops' - Pulse Films also produced the 'Beastie Boys Story' and Beyonce's 'Lemonade'.

Head Of Music Film at Pulse Films, Sam Bridger, says of the project: "At Pulse Films we have always worked collaboratively and openly with artists to create films that reveal the emotion and psychology that underpins great artists. Lewis Capaldi is a singular pop star and character. A raw, emotionally honest and unapologetically real artist in an over mediated and PR trained industry, Lewis is a breath of fresh air. We are hugely excited about the opportunity to be creating a film that takes audiences deep into his personal world at this pivotal moment in his life".

The film continues BMG's increasing move into the audio-visual domain, following documentaries about David Crosby, Joan Jett, Trojan Records and the Montreaux Jazz Festival, among others.

BMG UK President Repertoire & Marketing, Alistair Norbury, comments: "We are delighted to help bring this project to life with Lewis and of course Pulse and Quickfire Films. As well as a great songwriter and musician, Lewis is a compelling character who has a genuine and deep connection with fans. This release further demonstrates our commitment to support artists across every service area from records to publishing, film to books, neighbouring rights and increasingly artist management and live too".

The film will get its first airing at the upcoming Cannes Virtual Film Market later this month.



Tour manager Suzi Green, through her Healthy Touring initiative, has announced three free workshops on resilience for people who work in the live industry. "Everyone in the music industry is going back into an intense, fast paced environment after having so much time off", she says. "Whilst this is exciting for the industry, it will be a shock to the system and may create some tension and anxiety. In these environments it is important to have trained skills to help manage energy, regulate emotions and decompress at the end of the day". Find out more and book places here.



Kobalt has signed Madison Beer to a global publishing deal. "I'm so happy to partner with the Kobalt family", she says. "The whole team is so passionate and aligned with my vision as an artist and my creative process. I am very excited for this relationship to grow with this new part of my team in place".

Indie label Perfect Havoc has signed producer Pink Panda to a three single deal. The first will arrive in August this year, and follows the Universal/Island released 'People (Get Together)' and a string of remixes for artists including Dua Lipa and Kesha. "We are excited to be working with Pink Panda as we have been personal fans of their music for a while and looking forward to bringing them into the Perfect Havoc family", says the label's Robert Davies.



Deafheaven will release new album 'Infinite Granite' on 20 Aug. Here's new single 'Great Mass Of Color'.

Belly and Moneybagg Yo have released the video for new single 'Zero-Love'.

José González has released new single 'Head On'. His new album, 'Lonely Valley', is out on 17 Sep.

Lion Babe have released the video for their latest single 'Signs'. "The song is about being aware of how signs show up in your life whether it is through people, patterns or life experiences, and how that can guide or warn you", they say.

DJ Seinfeld has announced that he will release new album 'Mirrors' on 3 Sep through Ninja Tune. New single, 'U Already Know', is out now.

Orla Gartland will release her debut album, 'Woman On The Internet', on 20 Aug. "Although this album was made in 2020 it isn't laced with lockdown blues", she says. "It feels more like the soundtrack of new time to me; a sunnier time, a more hopeful time. I'm so proud of this record and beyond excited for everyone to hear it!" Here's new single 'Do You Mind?'

Anaiis has released new single 'Reverie'. The song "explores the attachment to my lifelong dreams of being an artist, the expectations and disappointments I had on that path", she says. "It's recognition that my ambitions may not manifest in exactly the ways I may have imagined, but that there is still so much to love and celebrate about who I am in that process".

Walt Disco have released new single 'Selfish Lover' - their first for Lucky Number. They say of the track: "Last year we got creative with thinking about old experiences - who can't relate to having a relationship where they were with a selfish lover? The monotony of writing songs in our pyjamas made us want to think about the fun and chaotic times of the past and give ourselves the feeling of a party in our bedrooms".



Entries are now open for this year's UK Music Video Awards. Find out more and submit work here. A live awards ceremony is planned for November.

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


24 hour Noel Gallagher radio station to go live this Friday
Absolute Radio has announced the launch of pop-up radio station Absolute Radio Noel. Bit early for Christmas songs, isn't it? Yeah, it is. And get this: Not only is it launching tomorrow, but it's only going to be on air for one week! Absolute madness. Or indeed, it would be if this was a Christmas radio station. In fact, it is a definitely not bizarre station that will exclusively play songs by the recording artist Noel Gallagher.

Yeah, now you're interested. So interested. Who wouldn't be interested in a radio station that - for 24 hours a day - plays nothing but songs by the revered songwriter and guitarist from the legendary Oasis... turned guy who's in some band (is it a band?) and says funny things in interviews sometimes.

Speaking of which, I lied when I said this radio station would be playing nothing but songs by Noel Gallagher, because there will be breaks for some old interviews with the man himself, in which he will say a funny thing or two, plus a brand new interview, in which he will hopefully say a minimum of one funny thing.

"One man, one station, one week", says Absolute Radio Content Director Paul Sylvester dramatically. "Noel's been a great friend to Absolute Radio and so we thought he deserved to have his own station where fans can hear non-stop Noel with a mixture of new and exclusive content alongside archive performances and interviews from through the years".

Oh yeah, new stuff. Exclusive stuff.

This is all in aid of the new best of compilation from that band (I think it's a band) he's in now, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, called 'Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021)', which is also out tomorrow. As well as playing tracks from that, there'll be new session tracks, live performances from the Ritz in Manchester, and - to perk things up a bit - some classic Oasis songs.

Absolute Radio Noel will be live from 10am tomorrow, 11 Jun, until midnight on 18 Jun via the Absolute Radio website. Has Noel Gallagher ever even written a Christmas song?


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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