TODAY'S TOP STORY: Epic Games has filed a brief with the US Ninth Circuit appeals court as part of its ongoing battle against Apple's App Store rules. A lower court got it wrong when considering the competition law implications of those rules, Epic reckons. Except in regards to that one aspect where the lower court judge agreed with the gaming company, of course... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Epic files appeal in its big battle over Apple's App Store rules
LEGAL Abba settle lawsuit with Abba Mania
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sony launches Second Songs with Caroline Elleray and Mark Gale
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL Taylor Swift named Record Store Day ambassador
ARTIST NEWS Meat Loaf dies
RELEASES Bodega release new single, Thrown
Melody's Echo Chamber returns with new album, Emotional Eternal

ONE LINERS Adele, Christina Aguilera, Shenseea & Megan Thee Stallion, more
AND FINALLY... Every Time I Die bassist comments on split
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Epic files appeal in its big battle over Apple's App Store rules
Epic Games has filed a brief with the US Ninth Circuit appeals court as part of its ongoing battle against Apple's App Store rules. A lower court got it wrong when considering the competition law implications of those rules, Epic reckons. Except in regards to that one aspect where the lower court judge agreed with the gaming company, of course.

Epic - like many app makers, not least Spotify - has long criticised Apple's App Store rules, which it argues are anti-competitive. It has various grievances with the way Apple restricts app activity on its iOS devices. Though, like Spotify, one of its biggest complaints is that app makers are obliged to take in-app payments via Apple's commission-charging transactions platform, and are not allowed to sign-post alternative payment options elsewhere on the internet.

Spotify has mainly pursued its beef with Apple over the App Store rules via a formal complaint it made with the European Commission. Meanwhile, Epic has gone the litigation route in multiple countries, with the highest profile lawsuit filed in California.

However, in that case the judge mainly rejected arguments that Apple's App Store rules violate American competition law, aka antitrust law, mainly in relation to the US Sherman Act. Although the judge did conclude that the so called anti-steering rule - ie stopping apps from sign-posting alternative payment options - violated Californian unfair competition law. Epic is now appealing the main judgement, while Apple is trying to over-turn the ruling in relation to the anti-steering rule.

In the filing it made with the Ninth Circuit yesterday, Epic provides a pretty concise summary of its App Store grievances.

Noting how iPhone apps are great for "accessing social media, purchasing goods, playing games, watching movies, listening to music, ordering food, banking, reading the news, tracking exercise [and] hailing cars", it then boldly states that: "Apps enable these activities under a dark cloud: contractual and technological restrictions that Apple imposes to maintain its monopoly position and restrain competition".

"Apple has made itself the exclusive distributor for all apps by prohibiting distribution of apps outside Apple's proprietary App Store", it goes on, "deploying software that blocks any other apps, and threatening to evict developers that fail to comply. Additionally, Apple requires developers to use Apple's payment solution to sell digital content through their apps, and charges a 30% commission on each sale".

"These restrictions are unnecessary to further any legitimate pro-competitive purpose", it argues, adding: "Apple does not even impose them on its Mac computers. Rather, Apple documents show it made a 'policy decision' to increase its own profits by restricting app distribution and payment solutions for iPhones".

"Absent these restrictions", it says, "iPhone users and app developers could use alternative app stores, and users could get apps directly from developers. Developers could procure payment mechanisms with additional features and lower costs for their apps".

Turning to its legal arguments, Epic reckons that: "The district court's factual findings make clear that Apple's conduct is precisely what the antitrust laws prohibit".

Specifically, "the court found that Apple's contracts and policies have allowed it to collect many billions of dollars in 'supracompetitive' profits from developers and consumers. Apple has 'increased prices', 'reduced innovation', 'reduced quality' and 'foreclosed competition'".

Plus, "the challenged restrictions 'unreasonably restrain competition and harm consumers' and 'Apple employs these policies so that it can extract supracompetitive commissions'. But the court nonetheless found no Sherman Act violation".

Epic then runs through all its antitrust arguments in much more detail - the filing is 91 pages long - before concluding: "The district court's judgment on Epic's Sherman Act claims should be reversed and judgment of liability entered in Epic's favour with a remand to determine the appropriate injunctive remedy. [Or] if ... the court agrees with Epic that the district court erred but believes further analysis is required, the court should vacate and remand with instructions".

And so the battle continues. Apple, meanwhile, will fight for the lower court ruling to be upheld, minus the decision on the anti-steering rule. An injunction forcing Apple to allow all app makers to start sign-posting alternative payment options was meant to come into force late last year, but Apple managed to get the Ninth Circuit to pause that injunction pending the outcome of this appeal.

It remains to be seen if it can get that injunction cancelled permanently. Although - as a result of regulator intervention elsewhere in the world - Apple is already making some concessions regarding the anti-steering rule. But not a big enough concession to help Epic, so the gaming firm will be keen to keep that aspect of the original ruling in place.


Abba settle lawsuit with Abba Mania
Abba have settled a lawsuit they filed last month against the producers of a tribute show called Abba Mania. Terms of the settlement are not known, although a legal rep for the band told Billboard that the owners of Abba Mania will now rebrand their show.

The Abba Mania shows - run by UK firm Handshake - have been staged since 2000, including an eighteen week West End run in 2002. It's not entirely clear why Abba decided to go legal after such a long time, though the band launching their own concerts - albeit with the Abba stars themselves appearing in holographic form - was a likely motivation.

Abba's lawsuit was filed in the US, where a tour of Abba Mania shows took place last autumn. The legal filing accused the Abba Mania producers of trademark infringement, arguing that the show's name and the way it was marketed suggested some kind of "association, affiliation or sponsorship" with or from the band themselves.

The Abba Mania website does currently include a disclaimer stating that the shows are in no way linked to or endorsed by the group, and that statement is much more prominent on pages relating to US performances. However, Abba seemingly wanted clearer communications to safeguard against consumer confusion.

The lawsuit stated that, last October, Abba reps approached the Abba Mania producers and "in an attempt to amicably resolve this dispute, explained how defendants could properly use the phrase 'Abba Tribute' in a non-confusing manner to describe their tribute act so long as the actual name of the tribute act did not include the word Abba. But defendants refused to comply and cease use of the name Abba Mania".

That approach didn't work, but the lawsuit seemingly has. A new filing with the court confirms a settlement has now been reached. It's not clear how quickly Abba Mania will rebrand, and whether that commitment applies globally, although presumably that's what the band would have insisted on, given their plans for the hologram shows.


Sony launches Second Songs with Caroline Elleray and Mark Gale
Sony Music Publishing UK has announced a new joint venture with former Universal Music Publishing execs Caroline Elleray and Mark Gale. Called Second Songs, the new company's first signing is songwriter and producer Steph Marziano.

"Caroline and Mark's reputations speak for themselves, but what is most exciting and inspiring about Second Songs is the prospect of them bringing all of their experience, energy, know-how and talent into a venture of their own design", says Sony Music Publishing UK's co-MD Tim Major. "They are passionate and caring executives who live and breathe music and relentlessly support the careers of the people that they work with".

"Their ethos for the Second Songs publishing venture chimes beautifully with our own", he adds. "From creating an environment where the songwriter is always put first to helping to nurture young talent into the industry - and we are THRILLED to be partnering with them".

Elleray comments: "We are incredibly excited to be launching this partnership and have been immensely impressed by the people we have met at Sony Music Publishing. Their approach ... is inspiring. Mark and I have always advocated for and championed the songwriters and artists we have signed with passion and unwavering belief. We hope to continue to foster this culture with Second Songs and are humbled by the support SMP has shown us".

Meanwhile, Gale says: "Steph is a wonderful person and hugely talented. We share similar music taste and the same ethics and ethos, which is essential to us as we grow our business into a modern, forward thinking music company".


Taylor Swift named Record Store Day ambassador
Taylor Swift has been announced as the global ambassador for this year's Record Store Day.

"I'm very proud to be this year's ambassador for Record Store Day", she says. "The places where we go to browse and explore and discover music new and old have always been sacred to me. Record stores are so important because they help to perpetuate and foster music-loving as a passion. They create settings for live events. They employ people who adore music thoroughly and purely".

"Those people and shops have had a rough few years and we need to support these small businesses more now than ever to make sure they can stay alive, stay eccentric, and stay individual", she goes on. "It's been a true joy for me to watch vinyl sales grow in the past few years and we, the artists, have the fans to thank for this pleasant surprise. Happy Record Store Day, everyone! Stay safe out there".

RSD co-founder Carrie Colliton adds: "The role of RSD ambassador is, of course, something we take seriously, in the sense that it helps us do our job of shining a light on these special places. We're pretty picky about the people we invite to 'wear the sash', and we always want to make sure those ambassadors genuinely love record stores and are creative about ways to celebrate them".

"But mostly it's a title we want people to have fun with", she adds. "And we know that our RSD 2022 ambassador loves having fun, loves music, and loves record stores. For our fifteenth Record Store Day, and for our first global ambassador, we're teaming up with a woman who does all that and just happens to be one of the biggest artists on the planet".

Record Store Day, if you were wondering - and you probably were because its ambassador didn't even bother to tell you - takes place this year on 23 Apr.


CMU:DIY: Artist:Entrepreneur Day tomorrow
The first Artist:Entrepreneur Day of 2022 from FAC and CMU takes place tomorrow with a special Electronic Music Edition, supported by Arts Council England and PPL.

This is the artist-led education programme that provides important information and practical advice to help early-stage artists build a long-term career and sustainable business around their music.

Kicking off at midday tomorrow, this edition will be hosted by three FAC artist entrepreneurs - Aaron Horn, Jay Chakravorty and Katy Pickles (Pillars) - who will each let you inside their individual artist businesses.

They will be joined by CMU's Chris Cooke and a team of music industry experts, including Leo O'Brien from PPL, Ashley Howard from PRS For Music, Ben Start from Higher Ground, Owyn Sidwell from SidexSide, Isla Fabinyi from Sentric Music, and Raffaella De Santis from Harbottle & Lewis.

Find out more and book free tickets here.

Meat Loaf dies
Meaf Loaf has died, aged 74. No cause of death has been announced, although he is known to have been in ill health in recent years.

In a statement posted on Facebook, his family said: "Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda, and close friends".

"We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man", they concluded. "We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time. From his heart to your souls… don't ever stop rocking!"

Meat Loaf was born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas in 1947. Although he told numerous stories of how he came to be known as Meat Loaf, the most plausible is that he was known as Meat and later Meat Loaf as a child due to his large size.

However, he also claimed that he once lost a bet over whether or not his head would 'turn into meat loaf' if run over by a car, and that he was involved in a plane crash and when he woke up in hospital the only word he could say was "meat". In 2003, he admitted that questions about his name bored him so much that he would "continually lie".

He formed his first band, Meat Loaf Soul, in LA in 1968. Later becoming known as Floating Circus, they had some success, but the real turning point in Meat Loaf's career was when he joined the LA cast of the musical 'Hair'. Off the back of the success of that show, he was offered a record deal by Motown and teamed up with singer Shaun 'Stoney' Murphy.

They released one album together, 'Stoney & Meat Loaf', in 1971, but due to disputes with the label he subsequently returned to musical theatre, including joining that cast of 'Hair' on Broadway and the original US cast of 'The Rocky Horror Show' back in LA, later appearing in the film version of the latter, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'.

It was at an audition for a theatrical show that Meat Loaf first met composer Jim Steinman. The pair began working on an album together - 'Bat Out Of Hell' - in 1972, but failed to gain interest from record labels. Eventually they performed some songs for Todd Rundgren, who offered to produce the album. But, once recorded, they still struggled to impress record labels with it.

Eventually they signed to newly founded indie label Cleveland International Records and released the album in 1977. It went on to be one of the best-selling albums of all time, selling more than 40 million copies worldwide.

Meat Loaf did not release another album until 1981, having been unable to record what was supposed to be the follow-up - Steinman's 'Bad For Good' - after losing his voice. However, he and Steinman eventually teamed up again for 'Dead Ringer', which was another success - although not critically acclaimed - spawning singles including UK top five single 'Dead Ringer For Love', featuring Cher.

Throughout the 80s subsequent albums were less successful - his recording career not aided by a falling out with Steinman. However, they later reunited and released 'Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell' in 1993. That album sold more than fifteen million copies and included the massive hit single 'I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That).

A third 'Bat Out Of Hell' album was released in 2006, following a legal battle between Meat Loaf and Steinman, related to Steinman registering the title phrase as a trademark in the mid-90s. They eventually reached a settlement and - although Steinman didn't produce the third 'Bat Out Of Hell' record - he did write half of the songs on it, including 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now', which was a hit in the UK. However, the album itself did not match the success of its predecessors.

In total, Meat Loaf released twelve albums during his career, most recently 'Braver Than We Are' in 2016 - his last collaboration with Steinman, who died in 2021. In November last year, he said that he would be returning to the studio this month to begin recording his next LP. Those sessions were scheduled to begin on 4 Jan, although it is not clear if any recording ever took place.

As well as recording and performing as a musician, Meat Loaf had a concurrent career as an actor, appearing in films including 'Fight Club', 'Wayne's World' and 'Spice World', as well as the aforementioned 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'.


Bodega release new single, Thrown
Bodega have released new single 'Thrown', taken from their new album 'Broken Equipment', which is out in March.

"'Thrown' was an attempt at a self-portrait track", says the band's Ben Hoize. "The older I get the less I trust my own thoughts and perceptions of self. I realise most of my values and judgments come from the records, films, books, and advertisements I have consumed my whole life".

"Recognising this 'thrown-ness'", he goes on, "while slightly disturbing, has been a source of inspiration for my creative mind. If the mind can only output what has been presented, provide it with the proper input. You can remake yourself entirely at the drop of a (top) hat".

The 'inputs' for the lyrics on this song, he then reveals, were James Joyce and Bob Dylan. "The music, to me", he adds, "a synthesis of many of the stylistic motifs our group has developed over the past few years: syncopated bass over a slow-shifting sea of guitar harmonics, violent guitar spams with machine influenced but human-played drums; plus male [and] female vocals alternating between spoken text raps and melody".

'Broken Equipment' is out on 11 Mar. Watch the video for 'Thrown' here.


Melody's Echo Chamber returns with new album, Emotional Eternal
Melody's Echo Chamber is back with a new album, titled 'Emotional Eternal', set for release this spring. New single 'Looking Backward' is out now.

"I hope the record has that uplifting quality", says Melody. "I wanted to be more grounded and mindful through the process. I guided the sessions with simplicity - a contrast with the maximalism of [2018 album] 'Bon Voyage' and the wilderness of my delusions. I made some big and impactful decisions and changes to my life. It took me to where it is peaceful, and I think the record reflects this. It's more direct".

Of the new single, she says: "'Looking Backward' is a vivid, nonchalant, poetic march to the unknown. I wrote the lyrics on my way to Stockholm, in transit at the airport, there was a man creating light reflections with his watch and playing with light on the floors and walls. It felt like an act coming from a source of pure creativity, it made me happy to catch it and inspired me to write the song".

'Emotional Eternal' is out on 29 Apr. Watch the video for 'Looking Backward' here.



DIY distributor DistroKid has named Matthew Ogle its new VP Product. "Matt has more than 20 years experience building products that strengthen connections between people", says COO Phil Bauer. "We're THRILLED to have him at DistroKid where he will focus on adding tools that help artists with promotion, content creation and audience engagement".

Songtrust has announced a load of new executive hires and promotions. Virginie Berger joins as SVP Global Publishing & Society Relations, John Levy joins as SVP Technology, and Darren Briggs has been promoted to EVP Rights Management, Product, & Technology.

Exceleration Music has announced five new hires. Mike Gillespie joins as Head of Global Sales & Retail Marketing, Bela Zecker as Label Manager, Andy Lewis as Commercial Partnerships Manager, Emma Walker as Accounting & Administrative Assistant, and David Piechota as Revenue & Royalty Administrative Assistant.



Sony Music has taken complete ownership of US dance label Ultra, the major having first invested in the company back in 2013. Ultra founder Patrick Moxey has also stood down from his role at the label, with A&R head David Waxman taking over as its new President.

US-based music publishing administrator Regard Music has joined digital rights consortium IMPEL for pan-European licensing of its catalogue. "IMPEL is the right fit for Regard and its clients because of their expertise and independence in the European marketplace", says CEO Sean O'Malley. "Working together, we can achieve our collective goals of clearer reporting and better returns for our writer and publisher clients without the restraints of politics and daily inertia plaguing the larger industry".



Christina Aguilera has released new EP 'La Fuerza', and from it new single 'Santo', featuring Ozuna.

Shenseea and Megan Thee Stallion have released new collaboration 'Lick'.

Lana Del Rey has released new song 'Watercolour Eyes', which is set to appear in the new series of HBO show 'Euphoria'.

Griff and Sigrid have teamed up for new single 'Head On Fire'. "I've looked up to Sigrid so much, especially as a young girl who broke through making powerful, credible pop music", says Griff. "So I was excited to hear she wanted to write. We hung out and made 'Head On Fire', this really fun, feel-good song, and I'm excited for the world to finally hear us on a track together".

Fred Again has collaborated with Haai and The xx's Romy on new track 'Lights Out'. "I started this song on my laptop on a train up to the Scottish Highlands and immediately sent it to Romy and [Haai] because it felt super special to me", says Fred. "Romy's lyrics and voice are just like a hug from a rave angel".

B Live has released the video for 'Don't Know About You', his collaboration with Becky Hill and JME.

Alto Arc - aka Deafheaven's George Clark, Isamaya Ffrench, Hundred Waters' Trayer Tryon and Danny L Harle - have announced that they will release their eponymous debut EP on 11 Feb. Here's new single 'Bordello'.

FKA Twigs has released the video for 'Meta Angel' from her new 'Caprisongs' mixtape.

Ghost have announced that they will release new album 'Impera' on 11 Mar. Here's first single 'Call Me Little Sunshine'.

Arca has remixed Laurie Anderson's classic single 'Big Science'.

Tove Styrke has released new single 'Show Me Love'. "I wrote it for someone I was madly in love with", she says. "Every word went directly from emotional parts of me, that I usually keep hidden, straight into the mic. It's rare for me to write without any hesitation like that".

Girlpool have released new single 'Lie Love Lullaby'. Their new album, 'Forgiveness', is out on 29 Apr.

Deaf Havana have released new single 'Going Clear', and announced that they will release their new album 'The Present Is A Foreign Land' on 15 Jul.

Scuti has released new track 'How We Do' from her new EP 'Intoxication', which is also out today.



Adele has announced that she is postponing the start of her Las Vegas residency, which was set to begin today. Tearfully apologising to fans, she said that delays and staff shortages due to COVID-19 meant that the show is not ready.

South Korean composer Park Jiha has announced UK shows in March. She will play two shows at Cafe Oto in London on 28-29 Mar, and then the Counterflows festival in Glasgow on 31 Mar. Her new album 'The Gleam' is out on 25 Feb.

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


Every Time I Die bassist comments on split
As the fallout from Every Time I Die's split earlier this week continues, bassist Stephen Micciche has given his side of the story, filling in some gaps left in frontman Keith Buckley's version of events.

The band, of course, officially came to an end at the beginning of this week, after Michiche, guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams, and drummer Clayton Holyoak released a statement saying that they had all left the group. This followed Keith Buckley claiming in December that he had learned that the band were plotting behind his back to replace him.

In a lengthy statement on Wednesday, Keith Buckley said that much of what has happened in recent days and weeks came as a surprise to him. He then suggested that he was forced out of the band after making changes to his lifestyle during lockdown, including stopping drinking alcohol. He also said that his bandmates had refused to communicate with him directly (something they had accused him of in an earlier statement) and that he had become concerned about business decisions being taken about the band after their manager "unexpectedly quit" in mid-December.

In a long series of tweets, Micciche speaks of tensions in the band going back to last summer, saying that Keith Buckley had repeatedly tried to force his brother Jordan out of the outfit. He also claims that their manager's decision to quit was as a result of Keith's treatment of her, and denies that the rest of the band had any issue with Keith quitting drinking, insisting that there was almost no drinking at recent shows by any of the band's members.

As for Keith Buckley's claims that he overheard his brother saying that the band were planning to find a new vocalist before a show on 3 Dec - after which he announced he would not complete the band's current tour - Micciche says: "I have zero clue what Keith claims to have heard. But there was zero conversation, I mean, zero, about replacing Keith as the singer of ETID. Keith knows that cause I've told him that personally and via text numerous times recently and over the years. He stormed off the stage after the show and refused to talk to Andy and myself".

In his comments on the split, Keith Buckley has cited legal letters from his bandmates calling for an agreement on how to end the band. Addressing this, Micciche says: "Guess what? I know some people don't want the fairytale ruined, but the band is a business. And the four of us, rightfully so, were setting boundaries and protecting our interests. That's it. That's all that is. And for this to have even gotten to where it is is soooo sad".

"I have nothing to lose band-wise by posting this other than to stick up for a band member undeservingly slandered and ourselves", he goes on. "The band was already ripped away. I hope everyone understands how much this hurts every single one of us. Our manager quit management completely because of this. Take a guess why".

It remains to be seen if there is yet more to come from this story. Keith Buckley said in his statement that he would not comment further. However, he has a series of on-stage interviews lined up around the UK next month where it seems likely that the topic will come up.


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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