TODAY'S TOP STORY: Cardi B has won her defamation action against YouTuber Latasha Kebe. This isn't surprising given that Kebe basically admitted in court that she didn't fact check the allegations she made against the rapper and that she suspected the woman behind many of those claims was a liar. She posted all those allegations anyway, she admitted, because they generated traffic to her YouTube channel and therefore revenue... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Cardi B wins defamation case against YouTuber
LEGAL Irish appeals court considers the ongoing dispute between the country's label and performer collecting societies
Think tank hits out at proposed app store regulations supported by Spotify and Epic

DEALS Sony Music fully acquires Bob Dylan's entire recordings catalogue
RELEASES Anna releases new EP, Journey To The Underworld
Babeheaven announce new album, Sink Into Me

ONE LINERS Au/Ra, Ingrooves, Stabbing Westward, more
AND FINALLY... TaP Music announces it has a (secret) shortlist for the UK's Eurovision entry
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Cardi B wins defamation case against YouTuber
Cardi B has won her defamation action against YouTuber Latasha Kebe. This isn't surprising given that Kebe basically admitted in court that she didn't fact check the allegations she made against the rapper and that she suspected the woman behind many of those claims was a liar. She posted all those allegations anyway, she admitted, because they generated traffic to her YouTube channel and therefore revenue.

Cardi B - real name Belcalis Almanzar - sued Kebe back in March 2019 in relation to various videos the YouTuber posted to her unWinewithTashaK channel which, the rapper claimed, included defamatory statements. Among other things, Kebe said Almanzar "was a prostitute ... was a user of cocaine ... had and still has herpes ... had and still has HPV ... engaged in a debasing act with a beer bottle and ... committed infidelity".

When fighting efforts by Almanzar to get a summary judgement in her favour, Kebe successfully argued that there was a "genuine dispute of material fact" as to whether the allegations she had made about the rapper were, in fact, "false and defamatory". That was in part due to comments previously made by Almanzar herself that possibly suggested some of the claims were true.

The YouTuber's lawyers again presented that argument once the case was before a jury this month, with one legal rep noting in her concluding statement last week that "the plaintiff has built her entire career using the persona of an extremely promiscuous person".

Kebe's team also stressed that other women had made allegations against Almanzar - including that the rapper had herpes - before their client talked about such things on her YouTube channel. Plus the YouTuber, they added, had investigated the claims, believed them to be true, and hadn't acted with malice when sharing the allegations with her YouTube audience.

According to Law360, Kebe's legal rep also questioned the extent to which rumours spread by the YouTuber had really impacted on Almanzar's mental health. That followed testimony from Almanzar herself, in which she said that widespread speculation about her life and health fuelled by Kebe's allegations had made her depressed and suicidal.

However, Kebe herself admitted in court that she didn't seek to confirm rumours about the rapper before publishing them, and that she would make claims about the rapper in her videos even when presented with evidence that disputed those claims, because doing so drove up views and therefore advertising revenue.

And although in court Kebe basically admitted that she wasn't in the business of fact-checking - and that her claims about Almanzar were usually opinions not facts - that's not what she told her audience on YouTube. Indeed, the rapper's team noted how Kebe had once declared "my word is a fact" on her channel.

Summing up last week, Almanzar's legal rep told the jury, again according to Law360: "For years the defendants have knowingly and intentionally published defamatory statements for profit and to torture [Cardi B] out of spite. While Latasha calls herself a journalist, she admitted that she frequently tells viewers lies about various issues, including about whether she has receipts to back up her stories."

Referencing one video where Kebe admitted that another woman who had made allegations against Almanzar was liable of "straight fucking defamation", the rapper's attorney went on: "Excuse my language, [this] is straight fucking defamation. All the posts and videos are still up. That's the epitome of actual malice. She thinks my client should have left it alone. Until when? Until Cardi killed herself? Until she left her children motherless?"

"If this isn't defamation, it doesn't exist", the rapper's lawyer concluded. And the jury hearing the case yesterday concurred with that viewpoint.

Jurors have already awarded the rapper $1 million in general damages as well as $250,000 in medical expenses. They will now return to court later today to consider additional punitive damages and legal costs, which could significantly increase the total damages due.


Irish appeals court considers the ongoing dispute between the country's label and performer collecting societies
The Irish appeals court last week rejected an appeal pursued by PPI - the collecting society that represents labels in Ireland - as part of its ongoing dispute with RAAP - the collecting society that represents performers in Ireland.

At the heart of that dispute are complexities related to how rights and royalties flow around the world when recorded music is broadcast or played in public.

In those scenarios, both labels and performers are usually due payment. That money is administered by the collecting societies set up by the record industry in each country, which collect the cash and pass it on to their members.

But what if the music broadcast or played is performed and released by artists and labels in other countries? When that happens, the local societies will usually pass any money they collect onto the societies in whichever country those artists and labels are based.

So rights and royalties constantly flow around the world via a global network of collecting societies. Good times.

However, each country's copyright laws are slightly different, and in a small number of countries - including the US - no royalties are actually due when recordings are broadcast or played in public. So, should countries where royalties are due still pass that money onto labels and performers in countries where no royalties are collected?

Quite how that works varies from country to country. Sometimes royalties are still passed over to countries like the US, even though no monies are flowing back from the broadcast and public performance of music in those markets.

But sometimes payments are not made to countries like the US - possibly for both labels and performers - or sometimes just for performers. The latter system - known as the "reciprocity" approach - is how things have traditionally worked in Ireland.

So, normally PPI collects monies from users of music and then passes the performers' share of that money onto RAAP, which pays its members. However, PPI hasn't traditionally handed over any money where its American performers on a record, because of the "reciprocity" approach.

As part of legal dispute between the two societies, RAAP argued that the "reciprocity" approach wasn't actually allowed under European copyright law, and therefore PPI should be paying it royalties due to American artists.

As the dispute progressed that question about European copyright law was passed up to the EU courts, which - in a 2020 ruling - ultimately sided with RAAP, basically saying the "reciprocity" approach was not allowed under the relevant EU directive.

Actually, the relevant EU directive doesn't explicitly say anything about the "reciprocity" approach, so previously it was assumed that meant that EU countries could employ said approach if they wanted to. The ruling in this case ended that assumption. Though critics of the ruling are campaigning for EU law to be amended so to clarify that previous assumption, ie that the "reciprocity" approach is just fine. But that hasn't happened yet.

Meanwhile, back in Ireland, the Irish courts have had to figure out what the ruling in the EU courts means for the dispute between PPI and RAAP, including what it means regarding PPI employing the "reciprocity" approach, and to what extent the real problem is the Irish government not properly implementing the relevant EU directive into Irish law. There is also the tricky issue of whether PPI or RAAP should cover the other's legal costs.

The Irish high court made a ruling on all that in February last year, which basically went in RAAP's favour. PPI then appealed that ruling with a load of complex arguments about European law, the Irish Copyright Act, the distinction between it and the Irish government in terms of the the EU court's ruling, and its 2002 contract with RAAP, which is actually what this whole legal dispute is technically about.

The appeals court has basically rejected PPI's arguments, upholding the high court's decision. It remains to be seen if the society now chooses to take the matter further.


Think tank hits out at proposed app store regulations supported by Spotify and Epic
An organisation called the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation has written to the US senators behind the proposed Open App Markets Act, insisting that those proposals will achieve the opposite to the Congress members' stated aims.

The Open App Markets Act seeks to regulate app stores - in particular the Apple and Google app stores - and deals with various gripes expressed by app makers including Spotify and Fortnite maker Epic Games.

In particular, it would force Apple and Google to allow app-makers to use and sign-post alternative payment platforms within their apps, making it easier to circumvent Apple and Google's own commission charging transaction systems.

Spotify, Epic and many other app makers have accused Google and especially Apple of forcing anti-competitive rules on companies that make apps for use on Android and iOS devices.

One of the Senators behind the Open App Markets Act, Richard Blumenthal, said last year that the proposed new laws would "tear down coercive anti-competitive walls in the app economy, giving consumers more choices and smaller start-up tech companies a fighting chance".

He added: "For years Apple and Google have squashed competitors and kept consumers in the dark - pocketing hefty windfalls while acting as supposedly benevolent gatekeepers of this multi-billion dollar market. I'm proud to partner with senators [Marsha] Blackburn and [Amy] Klobuchar in this breakthrough blow against big tech bullying. This bipartisan bill will help break these tech giants' ironclad grip, open the app economy to new competitors, and give mobile users more control over their own devices".

But the Act will actually "damage the app economy, decrease choice, decrease quality and increase costs for consumers", reckons the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a think tank led by academics and tech giants which says its mission is to "formulate, evaluate, and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress".

In an open letter to the senators, the ITIF disputes the premise that the app market is uncompetitive, noting that while Google and Apple may basically have a duopoly when it comes to apps in the US, a duopoly is not a monopoly.

Plus, on a global basis, there are other app stores in the market place, many of them run by Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba. Of course, that kind of ignores the fact that, for an iPhone owner, Apple does enjoy an app monopoly, but the argument goes that any iPhone-owning app buyer pissed off by that should just buy a different phone.

"By targeting Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store", the ITIF writes, "the Open App Markets Act will damage a vibrant app economy that currently benefits app developers and consumers and stands as one of America's flagship digital innovations - only to offer unregulated Chinese app stores a comparative advantage over US-based app stores. Senators should not try to fix an app economy that is not broken".

Elsewhere the letter argues that there's plenty of choice in the marketplace, first because there are millions of apps to choose from, and - when it comes to app stores - Google and Apple have slightly different policies regarding to extent to which they control the app experience on their respective devices.

Therefore customers have a choice when it comes to choosing between an Android or iOS phone. And under the Open App Markets Act, Apple would have to adopt policies more like Google, thus reducing competition. Yeah, whatever.

"By ensuring users can only install approved apps from its app store, Apple prioritises user privacy and security", the letter reckons. "In contrast, by allowing users to install any apps on their devices, even ones not approved for the Google Play Store, Google prioritises user customisation. Unfortunately, the bill will provide lower choices for app developers and consumers as the forced openness will align Apple's approach to Google's".

So far so pretty unconvincing. Perhaps with that in mind, the letter also hones in on Apple's main argument in favour of its strict App Store rules, ie that it's standing up for user privacy and security.

"Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the bill", the letter adds, "is that it will lead to lower-quality apps: As the bill imposes a wide range of preemptive obligations precluding app stores from policing scams malware, and other poor-quality apps, consumers will download apps that are, at best, not providing satisfactory quality of service, and at worst giving them viruses, among other harms".

The letter concludes: "The Open App Markets Act attempts to reach a state of perfect competition in the app economy against the inevitable network effects that characterise, and generate value to, app stores. This attempt would fall short of achieving the bill's stated objectives and instead would decrease the overall efficiency of the app economy, leaving everybody worse off - consumers, app developers, digital ecosystems, and US leadership in digital innovation. A much more reasonable approach is warranted".


Sony Music fully acquires Bob Dylan's entire recordings catalogue
Sony Music yesterday announced that it has fully acquired Bob Dylan's entire recordings catalogue in a deal that was actually concluded last July.

Dylan has had a career long relationship with Sony's Columbia label, so the big deal expands his existing partnership with the major. Specifics of the transaction are not known though - as with the deal he did with Universal around his songs catalogue - it likely gives Sony complete ownership and control of all the rights and royalties linked to his music - but in this case his recordings - in return for a mega-bucks upfront payment.

In its announcement, Sony also confirmed that it would continue working with Dylan on catalogue releases, including future editions in his long-running 'Bootleg Series' of albums, and that the deal also provides it with "the opportunity ... to partner with Dylan on additional projects".

Confirming the deal, Sony Music boss Rob Stringer said: "Columbia Records has had a special relationship with Bob Dylan from the beginning of his career and we are tremendously proud and excited to be continuing to grow and evolve our ongoing 60 year partnership".

"Bob is one of music's greatest icons and an artist of unrivalled genius", he added. "The essential impact he and his recordings continue to have on popular culture is second to none and we're THRILLED he will now be a permanent member of the Sony Music family. We are excited to work with Bob and his team to find new ways to make his music available to his many fans today and to future generations".

Meanwhile, Dylan himself mused: "Columbia Records and Rob Stringer have been nothing but good to me for many, many years and a whole lot of records. I'm glad that all my recordings can stay where they belong".


Approved: Tara Nome Doyle
Set to release her second album, 'Værmin', this Friday, singer-songwriter Tara Nome Doyle has unveiled the video for her latest single 'Caterpillar'.

The video matches the cinematic feel of the song, with intertwining stories reflecting its themes. The song itself is built of slow moving chords on an organ and frantic drums, bedding in a slightly unsettling feeling and leaving Doyle's voice to do the heavy lifting in terms of melody. Through this relative simplicity, she creates a song that seems both grand and enclosed at the same time - like a butterfly still held in its cocoon, perhaps.

The video's director, Oliver Mohr, says: "It is the warm voice of seduction that tries to gently pull us into the abyss in Tara's 'Caterpillar'. All songs on the album are named after insects and deal with topics that are often neglected in society. In public as well as in private".

"The 'Caterpillar' video tells of three characters in dangerous social addictions", he adds. "Off-screen hands give things to the characters. Presumed gifts, which only reinforce the characters in their dependency. While we observe them in their situations, the space around the characters narrows in the course of the story to a gentle cocoon of loneliness. Together they dream of breaking free from their fate and flying away".

Watch the video for 'Caterpillar' here.

Anna releases new EP, Journey To The Underworld
Techno producer Anna has released new EP 'Journey To The Underworld', which sees her expanding her sound outwards from her solely dancefloor-focussed earlier work, while still keeping the club at its core.

"'Journey To The Underworld' is a very special project to me, I am so excited to finally share it with the world", she tells Mixmag. "Since March 2020 I am making music without the pressure - that only I put on myself - of creating something that will have a strong reaction on the dance-floor, and this made me relax and experiment with different sounds and styles. This process opened me up to parts of myself that I didn't know I had".

"I created some ambient music and I also have been studying sound healing", she goes on. "This helped me to use frequencies more consciously and for specific purposes. I have learned how to combine frequencies, music and intention to induce states of expansion, love, joy, contemplation, and this gave a whole new purpose to my work. This whole process got me through these very difficult times".

The new EP, she concludes, "is a mix of this new side that flourished in the last two years, of these new explorations, and my more club, energetic and techno [music] that you guys know very well already".

Listen to 'Journey To The Underworld' here.


Babeheaven announce new album, Sink Into Me
Babeheaven have announced that they will release their second album, 'Sink Into Me', in March. They've also released new single 'Make Me Wanna', featuring rapper Navy Blue.

"The verses and chorus from this song were taken from two really old demos", says vocalist Nancy Andersen of the new single. "Listening to it now I was obviously really heartbroken but I find it hard to be direct with my lyrics".

"The synth swells in this song really pull at my heartstrings and when we were writing the track for this it reminded me of those lyrics and how I felt at that time", she adds. "I reached out to Navy to see if he wanted to be part of the album and he wrote a verse for this song, it really feels like a direct and concise version of what I was trying to say in that moment".

As for the sound of the new album, the band's Jamie Travis says: "It was a conscious decision to move away from being a trip-hop bedroom-pop band. We did that on the last album [2020's 'Here For Now']; now it was time to try something different".

'Sink Into Me' will be out on 18 Mar. You'll also be able to catch the band live in London on 12 Apr at Troxy.

Listen to 'Make Me Wanna' here.



Universal Music owned label services business Ingrooves has acquired Icelandic label and distributor Alda. For the time being, Alda will continue to operate as a standalone company, and remain led by CEO Sölvi Blönda. "Iceland has always played a substantial role in global music culture", says Ingrooves CEO Bob Roback. "We are looking forward to working closely with [Alda] as we invest in the local music community and expand opportunities for artists both within Iceland and around the world".

Wise Music Group has acquired Italian publisher Baby Angel Music. "All the songs in the BAM catalogue have been like children to me", says Baby Angel founder Max Moroldo. "I've seen them grow over time and today I couldn't be more happy and proud to see them join the global family of Wise Music, with whom we are building something significant and important".

Reservoir has acquired the recording and publishing catalogues of country singer-songwriter Travis Tritt. "Travis is a pillar of the 90s country movement, and his influence continues to impact the genre and its chart resurgence today", says Reservoir EVP Creative John Ozier. "The Reservoir team is so happy to be supporting both his publishing and master recordings, and building on our foundation of country catalogue classics with more of the genre's biggest songs".



AWAL in the US has promoted Jenn Hovick to the position of VP Artist And Label Development. "We are THRILLED to have Jenn elevated to this position within our North America artist development team", says SVP Artist Development, North America, Chris Hardy. "Her track record of working with independent labels and artists throughout her career is exemplary and has been achieved by building productive relationships and always doing what's best for our label and artist partners".

Crispin Hunt has announced that he is stepping down as Chair of the Ivors Academy. "After five incredible years as Chair of the Ivors Academy, it is high time to let the future lead the future", he says. He will continue to work with the UK songwriter organisation as a board director.



Warner Music has launched a new label called EH Brasil, focussed specifically on the country's northeast region. President of Warner Music Brazil, Sérgio Affonso Fernandes, says: "Brazil's northeast region is the birthplace of unparalleled talent and it deserves special attention from scouts, entrepreneurs and record labels. With that in mind, we've created the new EH Brasil label to discover and support artists from these very special genres who have the potential to become stars across the country and beyond".

The UK Music Publishers Association's Futures Group has launched a new podcast, called, perhaps unsurprisingly, the MPA Futures Group Podcast. It will provide various insights and information on the music publishing business. Episode one features an interview with Reservoir Reverb Publishing's Charlie Pinder and singer-songwriter Alfie Jackson on the writer-publisher relationship. Listen here.



Au/Ra has released new single 'Plz Don't Waste My Youth'.

Stabbing Westward have released 'Ghost', the latest single from their upcoming new album 'Chasing Ghosts' - their first LP for 20 years - which is out on 18 Mar.

Zeal & Ardor have released new single 'Church Burns'. If you're wondering what that title means, here's frontman Manuel Gagneux to explain: "There's a church. Guess what? It burns".

Ibaraki - featuring Tribium frontman Matt Heafy - have released their first single 'Tamashii No Houkai'.

Bloodywood have released new single 'Aaj'.

Team Me have released new single 'High Street'. Their new album, 'Something In The Making', is out on 11 Mar.

Your Planet Is Next will release new album 'Mr Music' on 25 Feb. Here's new single 'Jack Your Body'.

FEMM have released new album 'Tokyo Ex Machina'. From it, this is 'We Got Each Other'.



Boyzlife will be heading out on a UK tour in September and October, following the release of new album, 'Old School', in May.

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


TaP Music announces it has a (secret) shortlist for the UK's Eurovision entry
TaP Music has announced that it has drawn up a shortlist of acts vying to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The artist management firm is staying tight lipped about who is on that list, but says that it features both new and established acts.

It was announced in October that TaP Music would take over the Eurovision song selection job for the UK, after BMG made a right pig's ear of it and got us sent home with not one, not two, but absolutely fuck all points.

"We're getting really close to making our final decision, we have lots of options and have been pleasantly surprised by how many wonderful artists, both new and more established, want to be part of this process with us", says TaP co-founder Ben Mawson.

"Like us, they recognise that Eurovision is the biggest music TV opportunity in the world. It's a tough decision with so many strong contenders, many with existing European fanbases, which is exciting. When we decide on the act, we will put an incredible team around the chosen act and look forward to sharing news shortly".

Confirming that he and his colleagues are employing slightly different criteria in finding a Eurovision entrant, Mawson adds: "It's been fantastic to work so closely with the BBC on this project so far, in particular Radio 1 and Scott Mills - who's offered incredible insight and has been a major part of the team".

"Radio 1 - the voice of youth culture - is vital to the Eurovision audience which, as we know, is skewing younger every year", he adds. "It's really important to us that this year's Eurovision has the feel good factor, we want everyone to get behind the act, enjoy the show and hopefully celebrate a great UK performance on the night".

TaP's other co-founder, Ed Millett, says: "The challenge has been finding a talent that has both an incredible voice - because live vocals to 200 million people is no easy feat - as well as having incredible stage presence and an unforgettable song - it is the Song Contest after all. The reason we want to do this, whether our act tops the leader board or not, is to do something special on stage that the UK can be proud of".

The company is not bad at selecting top pop acts to work with, of course, counting the likes of Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey and Leigh-Anne Pinnock among its roster of management clients. Are they on the shortlist? Probably not.

In a statement last year welcoming TaP's involvement in finding a UK Eurovision entrant, Dua Lipa heavily implied that she would not be willing to take part. And now both Pinnock and Del Rey have got in on that too.

"I love the fact that my managers are involved in finding this year's act to represent the UK", says Pinnock. "I know they will choose an act that will make the UK proud. European fans have always given Little Mix so much love, so I'm calling on all mixers to get behind the UK at Eurovision this year!"

Del Rey adds: "Ben and Ed have always liked a challenge, proud of them for taking this on and I'll be wishing them and the UK the best of luck on the night. The UK was my home in the early days of meeting Ben and Ed so [I] have a special affinity".

There's no word on when the final act will be announced, so this really is just confirmation that they're getting on with the job and that Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey and Leigh-Anne Pinnock have no interest in taking part.

Who will it be though? I hope it's someone good. Imagine if we sent a good song by a good performer to Eurovision. It would certainly be an interesting shift in strategy for the UK.


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.
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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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