FRIDAY 23 JULY 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: A lawyer who represents John Lydon yesterday said that he'd been working for the musician for four years before even being aware of any 1988 band agreement between members of the Sex Pistols that allows for licensing deals to be done if a majority of said members agree. His client, he added, has never been able to find a copy of the agreement in his files... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES John Lydon lawyer says he wasn't aware of 1988 band agreement until a previous licensing dispute
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LEGAL RCN has another go at accusing the majors of issuing takedown notices in an unlawful way
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DEALS Warner Chappell signs Travis Barker
Reservoir invests in Outdustry

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MEDIA BBC to air BTS TV special as group appear on Radio 1's Live Lounge
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Sleaford Mods replace Fontaines DC at Latitude following positive COVID test
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ONE LINERS Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Coldplay, more
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AND FINALLY... Kanye hosts listening party for 42,000 fans
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John Lydon lawyer says he wasn't aware of 1988 band agreement until a previous licensing dispute
A lawyer who represents John Lydon yesterday said that he'd been working for the musician for four years before even being aware of any 1988 band agreement between members of the Sex Pistols that allows for licensing deals to be done if a majority of said members agree. His client, he added, has never been able to find a copy of the agreement in his files.

Lydon's former bandmates Steve Jones and Paul Cook are now seeking to enforce that agreement, of course, in order to issue a sync licence that would allow the band's music to be used in a new TV series based on Jones' memoir 'Lonely Boy: Tales Of A Sex Pistol'. They say that only Lydon is currently blocking that sync deal, but that under the terms of the 1988 agreement he doesn't actually have a veto.

According to Law360, Lydon's lawyer Alexis Grower - a consultant with SSB - told the court yesterday that there was no mention of the band agreement when he first started working for the musician in 2010. He first became aware of it in 2014 when there was a dispute over a deal to allow T-Mobile to use footage of the band as part of a marketing campaign.

It was Clintons lawyer Peter Button - in his role as a trustee of the Sid Vicious estate - who made him aware of the agreement. Grower says that he responded by stressing that the Sex Pistols had always made licensing decisions on a consensus basis, citing examples of previous situations in which one or another member of the band had blocked a licensing request.

He then informed Button that Lydon would likely take the matter to court if the Sid Vicious estate sought to enforce the 1988 agreement in relation to the T-Mobile deal. During his testimony, Grower added that Lydon had tried to find a copy of the agreement in his files but without success.

The fact that the agreement has not been enforced in the past has already come up during the court hearing on the big Sex Pistols sync deal bust up. Cook told the court that the other members of the band had never forced the matter before because they suspected it would result in conflict with Lydon. He added: "Maybe Steve and I have been too nice to John over the years in trying to maintain good relations and … we should have been tougher".

Jones and Cook's representative in court, Edmund Cullen, yesterday stressed that, while his clients had never enforced the agreement, Lydon's team had never formally challenged it either, even once Grower had made them aware of it in 2014.

For his part, Lydon told the court earlier this week that he has no memory of signing the 1988 agreement, that legal documents terrify him, and that he clearly didn't know what he was doing when he did sign the document.

Counter to that claim, in their original lawsuit Jones and Cook said that the agreement was actually instigated by Lydon. Basically, he wanted to sell his North American publishing interests and the majority rule commitment was a quid pro quo for the rest of the band agreeing to that.

The case continues.

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RCN has another go at accusing the majors of issuing takedown notices in an unlawful way
US internet service provider RCN is having another go at defeating the lawsuit pursued against it by the major record companies, filing an amended response and counterclaim with the court earlier this week. It again criticises the approach of the labels' anti-piracy agent Rightscorp, while also throwing in the extra claim that said agent is acting as a private investigator without the appropriate licences.

RCN is one of a number of American ISPs that have been sued by the record industry over the copyright infringement of their users. The labels argue that because the internet companies have deliberately shoddy systems for dealing with infringement and repeat infringers on their networks, they shouldn't enjoy protection under the copyright safe harbour, meaning they can be held liable when their customers infringe copyright.

Charter Communications, Bright House Networks and RCN's sister company Grande Communications have all also been targeted with litigation in the wake of BMG - and then the majors - successfully suing Cox Communications on this issue.

All the targeted ISPs have at some point criticised the way the record labels and their anti-piracy agents submit copyright takedown notices to internet companies, generally arguing that the record industry takes a slack approach meaning those notices cannot be trusted and are therefore not solid proof that any one customer has been infringing copyright.

RCN previously accused the majors and Rightscorp of "unfair and fraudulent" practices - and of breaching the California Business & Professions Code - by flooding them with so many copyright notices that it creates "an environment in which ISPs, including RCN, have no choice but to indiscriminately terminate the internet access of every customer accused of copyright infringement, or face the wrath of the record labels and the Recording Industry Association Of America".

However, the judge overseeing the case recently dismissed the ISP's counterclaim, mainly on the basis that the net firm had failed to demonstrate that the way the labels and Rightscorp issue takedown notices caused the company "cognisable economic injury" under California's Unfair Competition Law. However, the ISP was told that it could file an amended complaint.

And that's what it did earlier this week. The new filing covers quite a lot of the same ground as the previous one, in particular criticising Rightscorp for deleting data in relation to any allegedly copyright infringing conduct it discovers among RCN's userbase.

"Rightscorp claims to obtain data enabling it to identify music files being shared over BitTorrent that are copies of [a major label owned track] and to identify BitTorrent users who are sharing those files on a particular ISP’s network", the amended complaints says.

"But after identifying the potential infringers", it goes on, "Rightscorp deletes all of the data so that no one can ever question how Rightscorp actually determined that the alleged copy was in fact a copy - if it made that effort at all - or how it identified potential infringers on the ISP's network".

"Then, Rightscorp says that it connects with the potential infringers over BitTorrent and receives data demonstrating that they actually possess the target music file and are offering to share it with others", it continues. "Rightscorp deletes all of that data too, even though it is the actual evidence of copyright infringement (according to its own theory of infringement)".

With that data deleted, RCN adds, when Rightscorp emails a takedown notice to an ISP, it doesn't have any proof of the alleged infringement.

Says the ISP: "Although Rightscorp has sent millions of these emails to RCN, not a single one included any actual evidence of copyright infringement. Rightscorp could not even be bothered to digitally sign its emails to verify its identity, even though RCN expressly requires digital signatures and has repeatedly attempted to notify Rightscorp of its noncompliance".

None of these gripes are new, so it remains to be seen if the amended complaint is sufficiently different to the previous one to convince the judge that RCN has a legitimate complaint against the majors and Rightscorp.

Either way, RCN's legal filing insists that Rightscorp's "intentional destruction of evidence that supports or contradicts millions of conclusory and unsupported accusations of copyright infringement against users of RCN's network, and their scheme to wield that evidence against RCN and others solely for monetary gain, significantly harms competition, is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, and substantially injurious to consumers and competition".

And, in more straight legal terms, RCN claims "these business practices are in violation of the California Business & Professions Code".

Talking of violating the California Business & Professions Code, the new RCN filing also argues that "Rightscorp's collection of evidence for use in court proceedings is an unlawful business practice because, on information and belief, Rightscorp and its representatives have been acting as private investigators without a licence, in violation of California and New Jersey law".

"And on information and belief", it continues, "the RIAA and record labels hired Rightscorp in order to benefit from its unlawful business practices despite knowing that Rightscorp and its representatives are unlicensed. These unlawful business practices are in violation of the California Business & Professions Code".

The labels previously dubbed RCN's original counterclaim "legally baseless", arguing that it was just a distraction tactic designed to "deflect attention from RCN's manifest liability" for copyright infringement. They will presumably argue that same about this amended counterclaim.

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Warner Chappell signs Travis Barker
Warner Chappell has signed a worldwide administrative deal with Travis Barker, best known - of course - as the drummer in Blink 182.

Aside from work with his own bands, Barker has also written and/or produced songs for the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Dirty Heads, Frank Carter and James Arthur. Most recently he has been collaborating with another Warner Chappell songwriter Jxdn, who is signed on the recordings side to DTA Records, a joint venture between Barker and Warner Music.

Confirming the new deal, Warner Chappell SVPs of A&R - Greg Sowders and Katy Wolaver - say in a joint statement: "Travis's authenticity has paved the way for him to continue to grow and endure as one of punk rock's most charismatic and influential figures".

"Not only did his music define an entire era", they add, "but his innovative, ongoing contributions to the contemporary musical landscape continue to shape culture. Travis has always found a way to infuse the DIY spirit of punk into every possible genre with amazing results. We're so proud to welcome him into the fold at Warner Chappell and support his incredible work".

For his part, Barker says: "Stoked to be working with everyone from Warner Chappell. Looking forward to a long and successful relationship".

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Reservoir invests in Outdustry
Reservoir has announced that it is expanding its partnership with - and investing in - Outdustry, the agency best known for representing music rights and music companies in the Chinese market.

In more recent years Outdustry has also been helping global music companies navigate the Indian market and - with Reservoir investing as a minority partner - the plan is to now expand into other emerging markets too. The two companies have also formed a joint venture to sign and develop Chinese artists and songwriters, and acquire local music catalogues.

Outdustry already has a sub-publishing deal with Reservoir within China which, they say, has resulted in "triple-digit percentage increases in collections from the territory" for the Reservoir songs catalogue.

For its part, Reservoir says that its investment in Outdustry "underscores its belief in the growth potential of these territories and augments its 2020 entrance into emerging markets via a joint venture with leading Middle East and North Africa music publisher PopArabia".

Says Reservoir CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi: "We are confident that expanding our partnership with Outdustry will build on our incredible success together to date and deepen our presence in emerging markets".

Meanwhile the firm's EVP of International & Emerging Markets Hussain 'Spek' Yoosuf - who is also the founder of PopArabia - adds: "Outdustry joins PopArabia as one of our trusted partners on the ground in these emerging markets, expanding our footprint ahead of what is projected to be exponential growth".

From the Outdustry side, CEO Ed Peto says: "At Outdustry we have always prided ourselves on our independence, our artist-first approach, and our belief in a better music industry no matter where we are in the world. Reservoir has exemplified all these things for over a decade, making this partnership a perfect alignment, while allowing Outdustry to take the next steps on our ambitious journey".

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BBC to air BTS TV special as group appear on Radio 1's Live Lounge
The BBC will next week broadcast a TV special all about the phenomenon that is BTS, basically documenting the K-pop outfit's relationship with Radio 1, from their first airplay in 2017 through to a stint on the station's 'Live Lounge' programme, which will also take place next week.

In the programme, Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts will, and I quote, "delve into the culture and industry that made one of the world's biggest pop bands". Roberts will revisit the first time BTS were played on Radio 1, and then - perhaps more importantly - "her trip to Seoul in 2018 where she met BTS's choreographer, the minister for K-pop and the incredible fanbase known as the Army".

But will there be some new stuff too? Oh yes, there will be some new stuff too. "Adele will also reconnect with the band in an exclusive interview ahead of their debut in the iconic Radio 1 'Live Lounge'", says the official announcement.

And, in case you wondered, the group will be covering the Police-sampling Puff Daddy and Faith Evans track 'I'll Be Missing You' during their 'Live Lounge' appearance.

"I am so happy for BTS fans worldwide especially our very own UK Army", says Roberts. "They have been so passionate, so supportive and have hoped for a Radio 1 'Live Lounge' since the first time we played the band. Four years later, BTS have broken records, barriers and boundaries. That dream is now going to be a reality. I'm beyond excited for us to finally be hosting the biggest boy band in the world!"

BTS will appear on the 'Live Lounge' on Radio 1 on Tuesday at midday, with the TV show 'BTS @ Radio 1' airing on BBC One on Wednesday, 28 Jul, at 10.35pm. The telly show will then be on the BBC iPlayer, while the 'Live Lounge' performance will be posted to Radio 1's YouTube channel.

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Playlists: Brand New On CMU and CMU Approved
As well as rounding up all manner of exciting new music every day in the CMU Daily and on our website, we also curate all the music we cover into playlists on Spotify. You can see the full range on offer on our profile page on the streaming service, but here are the two key playlists that we update weekly…

Brand New On CMU
Every Friday, we take all the new music we've covered over the course of that week and put it all in this playlist. Always an eclectic mix, it brings in the latest from a broad range of genres, and is a great way to stay up to date with what's happening in contemporary music. This week's playlist includes Kanye West, Lil Nas X, Camila Cabello, Coldplay, James Blake, Zeal & Ardor, Lorde, Khalid, Childish Gambino, The War On Drugs and more. Listen here.

CMU Approved
Every Tuesday and Thursday we publish our new music column CMU Approved, introducing a new or emerging artist who we think you should know about. In this accompanying playlist, you can keep track of all the latest acts that have been approved - including this week's artists, July Jones and Indigo De Souza. You can delve way back into the archives too, with the playlist stretching all the way back to 2014. Listen here.
 

Sleaford Mods replace Fontaines DC at Latitude following positive COVID test
Fontaines DC have pulled out of this weekend's Latitude Festival after a band member tested positive for COVID-19. Sleaford Mods have been drafted in as a last minute replacement.

"We regret to announce that during routine testing, a band member tested positive for COVID-19 this morning", said Fontaines DC in a statement. "Band and crew are now self-isolating. Therefore we sadly have to cancel ... our appearance at Latitude Festival this Saturday. We were really looking forward to it but we will see you all again soon".

The band also had to cancel a warm-up show in Lincoln last night.

Announcing their late in the day addition to the festival, Sleaford Mods tweeted: "Mad announcement. We're headlining the BBC Sounds stage at Latitude Festival this Saturday night. You need to come witness the male models as we step out for the first time in eighteen months. Fuckin yeeeesssss".

"On a more sombre note", they added, "we're stepping in for Fontaines DC who unfortunately can't make it. We wish them a speedy return. Good people. In a good band".

Kicking off today, Latitude is the first major UK festival to take place since pandemic restrictions were lifted on Monday. The event will be headlined by Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Wolf Alice and The Chemical Brothers.

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DEALS

ATC Management has announced a new partnership with Spitfire Audio, the London-based tech company that works with music-makers to create virtual instruments and sound libraries. Under the deal the management company's roster of songwriters and composers will get access to Spitfire's studios, software, tools and services, as well as the opportunity to collaborate on new products and initiatives with Spitfire’s team of developers. "Our composers and Spitfire are true innovators in the world of composition and our artists have used their products for a long time", says ATC's Toy Donnelly. "This partnership feels like a logical next step in pursuing our shared goal of challenging preconceived notions of who can be a composer and what constitutes a great score".

Canadian management firm The Core Entertainment and Universal Music have announced a new partnership, which will see former bring the latter artists to consider signing to a record deal. In fact, they've already signed one, singer-songwriter Steven Lee Olsen. "This partnership is an opportunity to work with people we admire, to do what we love - supporting a wide-range of artists in lockstep with a formidable management team", say Universal Music Canada CEO Jeffrey Remedios, before adding: "Steven Lee Olsen is a prolific songwriter with a voice that demands to be heard".

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APPOINTMENTS

Alice Beal has been promoted to Managing Director of Sony Music's Insanity Records. "I can't wait to continue nurturing and developing our brilliant team, and also the exceptional talent we are lucky enough to work with", she says. "With new music from Joy Crookes, Dan D'lion and Aida Lae, as well as the continued rise of Tom Grennan, the next phase of our story is set to be an exciting one".

Kobalt has hired Stéphane Berlow as Managing Director of its French business. He joins from BMG France, where he was CEO. "We are THRILLED to have Stéphane on board", says Jeannette Perez, Kobalt's Chief Experience Officer. "This is a big win for Kobalt's international growth. His entrepreneurial mindset and ability to foster talent, both internally and externally, will undoubtedly enable us to fast track our expansion in this key market".

Content management, analytics, delivery and distribution platform AudioSalad has hired Tom Deakin to lead the company's expansion in to the UK and Europe. He was formerly Director of Global Member Relations at Merlin. "Having worked closely with Tom during his successful tenure at Merlin, we saw first hand that he is a true champion of independent music", says CEO Iain Catling. "Combined with his experience and great knowledge of the digital music marketplace, Tom is the ideal person to lead AudioSalad into this exciting next chapter of our growth abroad".

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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES

Spotify and Giphy have teamed up to link music to artist-based gifs. "When users click the GIF on the verified Giphy artists' pages, they'll be taken directly to the featured artist's Spotify page for a listening session", explains Spotify. Was that the sort of GIF/music link you were hoping for? Probably not. Whatever, you can read more about it here.

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RELEASES

Billie Eilish will perform her new album, 'Happier Than Ever', in full in a concert film coming to Disney+ on 3 Sep. Here's a trailer. The album itself is out next week.

Lil Nas X has released new Kanye West-produced single 'Industry Baby'.

Camila Cabello has released 'Don't Go Yet', the first single from her upcoming second solo album, 'Familia'.

Coldplay have released new track 'Coloratura'. It's not their BTS collaboration, if that's what you were hoping for.

James Blake will release new album 'Friends That Break Your Heart' on 10 Sep. Here's new single 'Say What You Will'. "The song is about finding peace with who you are and where you're at regardless of how well other people seem to be doing", he says. "Comparison really is the thief of joy".

Big Red Machine have released new single 'Phoenix', featuring Anaïs Mitchell and Fleet Foxes' Robin Pecknold.

Zeal & Ardor have released new single 'Erase'. "We would like to surprise you again with this one", says frontman Manuel Gagneux. "'Erase' aims to confuse you in the most pleasant way possible". The band have also announced that they will support Meshuggah in the UK in May and June next year.

Tommy Genesis has announced that she will release her new album, 'Goldilocks X', on 10 Sep. Here's first single 'A Woman Is God'.

Illuminati Hotties has released new single 'UVVP', featuring Big Thief's Buck Meek. "The road toward fulfilment is lonesome and dusty for a rambling ranger like yourself", she says. "For when you need a deputy's hand, a sling of something sweet, or just a breather in paradise, there's 'UVVP'. I brought along my pal Buck Meek to remind you to say something about how special your beau may be to you, even if you’re too shy to muster up the courage". Her new album, 'Let Me Do One More', is out on 1 Oct.

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

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Kanye hosts listening party for 42,000 fans
Yeah, so you remember how a week ago you were all like, "There's no way Kanye West will release a new album any time soon"? Well now he's got a new album out. So I bet you feel silly. You didn't even predict that he'd stand silently in the centre of a big old sports stadium while 42,000 fans sat and listened to it for the first time. Must be embarrassing to be you right now.

The album - named 'Donda' after the rapper's late mother - was originally supposed to come out in July last year. But then he got all distracted with a label feud, presidential campaign and divorce. And - what with everything that's gone on in the last year - when the new album never arrived people mostly forgot about it. But then last week Justin Laboy claimed on Twitter that West had played the record to him and that it would be out within days.

It was subsequently confirmed that the album would arrive this Friday - aka today - and that it would be preceded by a public listening event. And as listening events go, it was a pretty memorable one.

Artists often say that sitting in a room with people who are listening to their music for the first time is painfully uncomfortable. Not for Kanye West, apparently. With a sell out crowd filling all the seats in the Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, just one single person stood in the centre of the standing area of the venue: West.

In my head, he played the album holding a ghetto blaster over his head, like John Cusack in 'Say Anything'. He didn't, but I'm holding onto that image anyway. He just stood alone and silent for 48 minutes while the record played over the venue's sound system. Then he silently walked away and everyone went home.

It wasn't just the more than 40,000 people there to hear the record in person listening in, either. The whole event was also livestreamed on Apple Music.

If you want to watch that livestream now, well, firstly: Why? Second, you can't, you really did have to be there at the time. But you can listen to 'Donda' via all the usual digital means. That being what the whole thing last night aimed to draw your attention to. Kanye West has finally released his next album. It's called 'Donda'. That's the news.

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