TODAY'S TOP STORY: Universal Music has sued New York-based online investment platform Republic over its recent launch of a music investments set-up, via which fans can invest in new recordings from their favourite artists and earn a share of future royalties. The problem? Well, there's already an entity called Republic that invests in new recordings from your favourite artists and then earns a share of future royalties. And that's Universal Music owned Republic Records... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Universal Music goes legal over investment platform Republic moving into music
LEGAL Harris County launches investigation into safety and security at Astroworld venue
DEALS Snapchat announces Sony Music deal for Sounds and AR good times
LIVE BUSINESS Face Down announces changes to security arrangements at The Scala following Wargasm assault
UTA announces appointment of Scott Clayton as Co-Head of music

INDUSTRY PEOPLE Keith Harris presented with IMPALA's Outstanding Contribution Award
ONE LINERS Justin Bieber, Post Malone & The Weeknd, Bravado, more
AND FINALLY... Big Boi says he's recorded an "incredible" collaboration with Kate Bush
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Universal Music goes legal over investment platform Republic moving into music
Universal Music has sued New York-based online investment platform Republic over its recent launch of a music investments set-up, via which fans can invest in new recordings from their favourite artists and earn a share of future royalties. The problem? Well, there's already an entity called Republic that invests in new recordings from your favourite artists and then earns a share of future royalties. And that's Universal Music owned Republic Records.

Republic - the investment platform, not the label - has moved into music via a partnership with Opulous, the music-centric fin-tech and NFTs company launched by the founders of Ditto Music. That partnership was announced last month and got under way earlier this month by allowing fans to buy into the rights and royalties of a new track by Lil Pump and Soulja Boy. The next artist set to use Republic's music service is Kshmr.

Universal would likely get pissed off if any company called Republic starting dabbling in music, given Republic Records launched in 1995 and became part of the major music group in 2000. However, it's probably particularly pissed off here, given that some people spin ventures like that being developed by Republic and Opulous as being a sneaky way for artists to pursue successful recording careers without having to sully themselves by working with old-school record labels.

Of course, people also said that when the original fan-funding start-ups launched in the 2000s, and that never really happened, most failing to gain traction, and those that did morphing more into direct-to-fan services than investment vehicles to rival labels. However, with added blockchain and NFT goodness, and with more ways for artists to access distribution and marketing services, and with more managers able to lead marketing campaigns, maybe this time fan-funding really is a threat to labels.

In its pitch to investors and fans wanting to buy into new recordings by the likes of Lil Pump and Kshmr, the Republic investment platform - as well as talking up how investors will get a cut of future royalties and some other nifty perks - also assures those spending with the service that, by directly funding artists, they are helping to "fix [a record] industry that pays creators only 12% of the revenues they generate".

In the trademark infringement lawsuit it filed on Friday, Universal Music says that it sent a cease and desist to the Republic investment platform as soon as its partnership with Opulous was announced last month. Initially, it says, lawyers repping the investment firm seemed keen to reach a settlement. But then they bailed on settlement talks.

"Plaintiff brings this action to stop defendant's wanton effort to usurp plaintiff's Republic name and trademarks for itself in connection with new music-related services that defendant recently launched under the names Republic and/or Republic Music", says that lawsuit.

"According to defendant, its new Republic-branded services allow fans to 'invest in [their] favourite artists' songs and earn returns from streaming royalties' for those songs", it goes on.

"This 'investment' in turn also gives fans access to music, tickets, artist merchandise, and other special events - all things that are typically associated with a record label. Indeed, defendant advertises its new Republic-branded music services as the record label of the future, promising artists that 'the fans are your new record label'".

"If defendant delivers on this promise", it argues, "then the artists, labels, managers, agents, and fans who currently know of only plaintiff's Republic label would be presented with two different companies offering identical services under identical names in the same industry. Confusion is inevitable".

In fact, it adds, "in the short time since defendant announced the launch of its music-related services offered under defendant's Republic marks, there have already been instances of actual confusion among members of the public and industry professionals who mistakenly believed that there is an association between plaintiff and defendant. If defendant's use is not stopped, there will no doubt be further instances of actual confusion".

And if Republic the investment platform tries to say, "hey, we're nothing like a label, nothing at all, we're all about the NFTs baby!", well, that's still confusing, reckons Universal. Because, you know, Republic Records is all about the NFTs too. This being 2021 and it being a major record label.

"Universal Music Group is also expanding into the non-fungible token space", it adds. "The company is in talks with leading innovators in the NFT space to sell unique artwork, music, and content associated with all of the labels under the Universal Music Group umbrella - including Republic".

With all that in mind, Universal would like a court order stopping Republic the investment vehicle from using the Republic brand in the music space. And, of course, some lovely damages.

Maybe Republic and Opulous could raise monies to fight this case by selling some NFTs, allowing music fans everywhere to get involved in a good old fashioned music industry legal battle. To be honest, that sounds more fun than a Lil Pump record.


Harris County launches investigation into safety and security at Astroworld venue
The Harris County Commissioner's Court has announced a review of security and safety plans at Houston's NRG Park - which is ultimately owned by the county - in the wake of the tragedy at this month's Astroworld festival. However, a fully independent investigation into that tragedy has not been instigated.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured after a crowd surge occurred during Travis Scott's headline set at the latest edition of the Astroworld event that he founded, which was staged in the NRG Park complex. A criminal investigation is currently underway led by the Houston Police Department seeking to identify what led to the crowd surge, and to what extent poor planning or bad decision making on the ground contributed to the tragedy.

Some have called for a fully independent investigation into what happened at Astroworld, in no small part because Houston PD itself was involved in policing the event. However, police chief Troy Finner has insisted no such independent investigation is required at this time, telling reporters: "We investigate ourselves all the time".

One person who indicated that she supported some kind of independent investigation last week was the elected country judge of Harris County - the county in which Houston sits - Lina Hidalgo. To that end, yesterday she proposed that the county auditor be asked to select an outside firm to undertake such an investigation.

According to Houston Public Media, at a meeting at the Harris County Commissioner's Court she argued that an independent investigation of that kind would not interfere with the police's criminal investigation or the stack of lawsuits that have been filed in relation to the Astroworld tragedy. Instead, it would "look at the broader picture of events to help determine how organisations involved can improve".

However, concerns were raised by other elected officials that an independent investigation could open the county up to legal liabilities. After a private meeting to discuss the possible legal ramifications, an alternative proposal was presented and then approved, which is that County Administrator David Berry undertake a review of "security, fire and safety plans of all scheduled outdoor concerts on NRG Park property".

That review will be conducted in coordination with the Houston mayor's office and other necessary departments, and will also support the ongoing Houston PD investigation. Hidalgo backed the alternative proposal, but stated: "I continue to reiterate my ask that the outcome be objective, that it be actionable, productive. I think we owe that to the victims".

Elsewhere in Astroworld related news, Nike has announced that it is postponing the launch of its latest collaboration with Scott. Nike said in a short statement: "Out of respect for everyone impacted by the tragic events at the Astroworld festival, we are postponing the launch of the Air Max 1 x Cactus Jack". It's thought those shoes were due to be launched in early 2022. It's not clear when they will now go on sale.

We discuss the legal fall out from the Astroworld tragedy further in this week's episode of our Setlist podcast.


Snapchat announces Sony Music deal for Sounds and AR good times
Did you know that "Snapchat is helping change the way Gen Z listens to and discovers new music"? Yeah, I thought that was TikTok too, but apparently not. There you were filling your marketing meetings with endless tedious TikTok chatter and all along it was Snapchat that was changing the way Gen Z listens to and discovers music.

Let's cancel every marketing plan and sort out a proper SnapChat strategy! Using Snap's AR tools, obviously. I mean, you haven't really released a record unless there's some AR nonsense going on.

How do I know that "Snapchat is helping change the way Gen Z listens to and discovers new music". Well, Snapchat told me. Why? Because the Snapchat team were super excited about having signed up Sony Music to their Sounds music library. Making it simpler and legaler - which is definitely a word - for Snapchatters to use Sony controlled music in their posts on the platform.

Snapchat launched its in-built music library last year, making it easier for users to integrate music into their posts. It launched with deals in place with Warner Music and Merlin on the recordings side, and a bunch of publishers on the songs side. Distrokid joined the party in March, and then Universal Music signed its labels up in June. The new Sony deal, of course, further expands the range of music available via the Sounds library.

But it's not just Sony tracks arriving in the Sounds library that is getting the Snapchat team excited. Oh no, there's other new fangled developments too.

"With over 200 million Snapchatters engaging with augmented reality every day, we know they love using our Lenses to express themselves", the company said yesterday. "So we're expanding the music experience on Snapchat by adding Sounds into our AR Lenses available in the Lens Carousel and experimenting with new formats".

What does that mean? Well, "rolling out soon, we'll feature Sound Lenses with a pre-selected song embedded into the Lens, a Lens that transforms pictures of anyone to appear as if they are singing a song, and Cameo Sound Lenses that apply visual effects to put you and a friend as the stars of your own animated music video. These new Sound Lenses will make for a more immersive music experience, and open a proven and powerful way for artists to share music on Snapchat".

Super exciting right? Right? Well, even if you don't care, Sony Music is excited about all this AR gubbins. In fact, Snapchat reminds us, "Sony Music has leveraged Snap's powerful AR capabilities over the past few years to share new music with Snapchatters around the globe, and those experiences have had incredible reach".

So that's all fun, isn't it? And if you're still not excited about any of this, just wait till you read the quotes...

Says Sony Music's President of Global Digital Business, Dennis Kooker: "We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Snap to develop new commercial opportunities for our artists around short form video and augmented reality experiences. Through this agreement, our artists have more ways to connect with fans and enhance engagement in their music by enabling their songs to be part of the Lens and Sounds tools that support communication and creative expression among Snapchat's users".

Says Snap's VP Of Content And Partnerships Ben Schwerin: "Our new deal with Sony Music marks a major milestone as Snap now has partnerships with all the major labels, in addition to networks of independent labels and emerging artists. We're excited to further integrate Sounds into our AR Lenses to provide artists a proven and powerful way to share their music, and create immersive new experiences for our community".


Face Down announces changes to security arrangements at The Scala following Wargasm assault
The promoters of the Face Down club night have announced a number of new measures that they and London's Scala venue are introducing in response to the assault of Wargasm's Sam Matlock by three security guards following a performance at the venue earlier this month.

Writing about that incident on social media, Wargasm explained that - while loading out after performing at Face Down - "a bouncer was verbally aggressive to our female tour manager, leading to Sam having to step in". Amid the resulting altercation, "three bouncers then dragged Sam into the backstage toilets, where two of them slammed his head against the toilet seat and held his head in the toilet bowl while the third bouncer held the door closed with his foot".

The organisers of Face Down quickly responded with their own statement on Twitter, stating: "We are aware of an incident with the security at Scala involving Wargasm. Firstly, we would like to extend our sincere apologies to them for this. While we do not employ the security at our events, as this is the venue's responsibility, we do not appreciate people being manhandled in this way, be it someone in the crowd or backstage. This has been communicated to the venue and we await their response".

Since then, additional statements have been issued by the band, Face Down and The Scala, as well the security company that provided the personnel involved in the altercation, Saber Security. The Scala said that, after an investigation, it had banned the three security guards from working at the venue, while Saber added that it had "suspended the services of the security operatives concerned, pending a full and thorough investigation".

Both Wargasm and Face Down welcomed those developments. Though the club night's promoters also noted on social media that "we still believe that more can be done" to ensure that no incidents like that involving Wargasm can ever happen again.

With that in mind, Face Down's promoters posted another update yesterday. They said: "Over the last week, we have had intense one to one meetings with Scala. The venue has been home to Face Down for the last twelve years and in that time we've hosted many hugely successful nights of which we all have great memories".

Following the assault against Matlock earlier this month, they added, "the easiest thing for both sides to do would be to walk away". However, "we decided it is only right to address these issues head on and forge forward with positive change. The three security involved have been fired but there's more that needed to be done".

With that in mind, Face Down says that it will now feedback to The Scala on a monthly basis about any concerns regarding safety and security at the venue, while also allowing club-goers to share their own concerns via a Google form. The promoters will also "ensure we work closer with any and all artists during load out/in to the venue and [that] one of us is there to escort them as well as security". They will also "check on artists at their dressing room more frequently to ensure things are going OK for them".

Meanwhile, management at The Scala has committed to overhaul and change the venue's security team, to modify searches at the door, to respond to feedback from the monthly catch ups, to provide a safe space for women and people suffering with anxiety or stress in the venue, and to generally ensure it has "security that appreciate our community and music".

The Face Down team conclude: "We would like to thank everyone that came forward and told us about your experiences with the security and venue, without you we would not have been able to make sure these changes happen. Scala is a great venue that has a long-standing partnership with us and both teams are 100% committed to these changes for the better. We are of course totally open to any suggestions to make visiting and playing at Scala more enjoyable not just for us and our clients but also for everyone else".

You can read the full Face Down statement here.


UTA announces appointment of Scott Clayton as Co-Head of music
Talent agency UTA in the US has announced that Scott Clayton is joining the company as Co-Head of its Global Music Division. He joins from rival agency WME.

Nashville-based Clayton will work alongside UTA's other Co-Heads of music - Sam Kirby Yoh in New York and David Zedeck in LA - who, the agency says, will "together create a powerhouse leadership trio spanning UTA's New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville music hubs and further solidify the agency’s reach across all music genres".

Commenting on the agency's new hire, UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer says: "Scott is the epitome of what we look for in a leader at UTA: he is a strong advocate for artists and has a long history of supporting and mentoring colleagues. Sam and David have done a great job building a world-class team and we are very excited for Scott to join us as we continue to grow our music practice".

Meanwhile, Kirby Yoh and Zedeck add in a joint statement: "We are excited to have Scott join us as a Co-Head of the music group. He is a relentless champion for his clients, and we know that he will bring that same energy to UTA. He is a dedicated leader who has played a significant role in building so many people's careers and we look forward to collaborating with him as we continue to build our team and do great work for our clients".

And Clayton himself chips in: "Over the past few years, I have witnessed the incredible job UTA has done to expand and elevate the music department. Sam, David and the team have shown true innovation and leadership during this unprecedented time and have really delivered for their artists across all genres. I am very excited to be joining a company that has built a culture that is grounded in transparency with colleagues and in service to clients".


Keith Harris presented with IMPALA's Outstanding Contribution Award
The pan-European organisation for the independent music community, IMPALA, has announced that its Outstanding Contribution Award has this year been presented to Keith Harris, recognising his impressive career in music and continued advocacy for change in the industry.

"I am delighted and very flattered to be acknowledged with this award", says Harris. "But the push for equality is obviously about much more than awards for individuals, and what delights me even more is to see the efforts that are being made throughout the industry to bring about fairness and equality right across the board".

Harris began his career at indie label Transatlantic Records in the mid-1970s, before moving to EMI, where he became General Manager. After that he worked for Motown, before relocating to LA in the late 70s to become Operations Manager of Stevie Wonder's companies.

He returned to the UK in 1982 to launch his own artist management company, representing artists including Omar and Lynden David Hall, as well as continuing to work with Wonder.

Along the way, Harris has also held roles at MMF, PPL, MusicTank and UK Music, as well as working as a consultant for a range of music organisations, including IMPALA. His work over the last decade has been particularly focussed on improving diversity in the music industry.

Commenting on the Outstanding Contribution Award, IMPALA Chair Helen Smith says: "This award honours Keith's career, both as an incredibly successful music executive and as an advocate for equity. His work as advisor to IMPALA's inclusion and diversity task force has proved invaluable. Keith's advice will help the European independent music sector move towards a more balanced future".


Approved: Yoasobi
Having established themselves in their native Japan with their debut album 'The Book' - released in January - Yaosobi have now set their sights on the wider world with their new English-language album 'E-Side'.

"We want to reach more people", multi-instrumentalist Ayase tells Paper. "We don't want to change anything. We just want to give the essence of Yoasobi to new fans in a new language. But it should be very similar at its core".

Ayase - who also composes music for virtual pop stars using Vocaloid software - and vocalist Ikura - who also releases music under the name Ikura Rira - teamed up in 2019, creating frantic J-pop with lyrics based on novels and short stories. They scored their first hit later the same year with 'Yoru Ni Kakeru'. An English version of the song, titled 'Into The Night', features on 'E-Side'.

Another Japanese-language album - 'The Book 2' - is set for release next month, with the duo's work rate showing no signs of slowing just yet. But right now, you can listen to 'Into The Night' here.

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


Universal Music has appointed Matt Young as President of its merch company Bravado. "I'm stoked to lead Bravado at this pivotal time and to build on the company's reputation as the leader in our industry", he says.



Post Malone and The Weeknd have released the video for their single 'One Right Now'.

D-Block Europe have released new single 'Chrome Hearts', featuring Offset. The track is taken from their new mixtape, 'Home Alone 2', which is out this Friday.

RA (fka Real Artillery) has released new single 'Rewind 07', using Dot Rotten's 'Original Real Talk' beat. His new EP, 'Parabellum', is out soon.

Norwegian doom metallers Funeral have released new single 'Erindring I - Hovmod'. Their new album, 'Praesentialis In Aeternum', is out on 10 Dec.

Empath have released new single 'Diamond Eyelids', produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jake Portrait. Their new album, 'Visitor', is out on 11 Feb.



Justin Bieber has announced that he will be touring the UK in February... 2023. He has dates scheduled in Glasgow, Aberdeen, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

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


Big Boi says he's recorded an "incredible" collaboration with Kate Bush
Outkast's Big Boi has revealed that he has realised his lifelong dream of recording a song with Kate Bush, her first new music since 2011 album, '50 Words For Snow'.

Speaking to Mark Ronson on The Fader's Uncovered podcast, Big Boi says: "I have a monster hit with Kate Bush that I'm just holding. It's a dream come true and the people are going to fucking love it. It's fucking incredible".

The rapper has made no secret of his love for Kate Bush over the years and this collaboration has been talked about for a long time now. Back in 2012, he tweeted: "Just got off the phone with Kate Bush! Stay tuned… ooooowwww!"

No amount of howling seemed to make a collaboration actually come to fruition, however. But what you should never underestimate is what can be achieved with pester power. And also getting drunk in a village pub.

In the interview, Big Boi explains that he first properly met Bush backstage in London at one of her 'Before The Dawn' shows in 2014: "I get invited backstage, we have some wine and we talk", he says. "And her kid is there, he's about the same age as my kids, which is cool. And she signs an album for me and gives me her number".

He goes on: "So after that, about a year or so passes, and I told her I was coming back [to the UK], I just said, 'Hey, when can we do a song?' I just send her a text every now and then. I talked to her on the phone, 'Hello. Hello. So lovely'. And so I came back and she's like, 'Let's go to dinner'. So we went and she took me to dinner to this cool little pub place where I had almond cognac. And we was both throwing them back. It was the coolest experience".

"So we had dinner and then we're like, 'OK'. Her son was going off to college and she was just like, 'OK, I'm going to try to get to something when I get my studio set back up'. And so my manager - being the great, great manager he is - he reached out to her manager a couple years ago and was like, 'Hey, we need to make this happen'".

"And I just so happened to have the right song that is fucking phenomenal, and sent it to her", he adds. "And it had the words on there and she just had to sing the words. And then I wrote my verse and my boy Go Dreamer wrote her parts and wrote the hook. And it is incredible. It's incredible".

So, anyone looking to collaborate with Kate Bush, there's a step-by-step guide for you. You just need to bang on about her in interviews for years; meet her and get her to give you her phone number; ask and ask and ask and ask and ask; get drunk with her; get someone else to ask too; then make it so easy for her that she can't really refuse. It's that simple!


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