TODAY'S TOP STORY: The operator of stream-ripping sites FLVTO and 2Conv has confirmed that he is appealing the $83 million judgement that was made against him in the US courts last month at the end of a legal battle with the American record industry. His lawyer has insisted that the main aim of the appeal is to "shed light on a legal process that has gone off the rails"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Stream-ripper appeals $83 million judgement in labels dispute to expose "legal process that has gone off the rails"
LEGAL Apple sets out appeal arguments in ongoing Epic battle over its App Store rules
DEALS Warner Music announces partnership with Patrick Moxey's new dance label
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify paid $7 billion to the music industry last year - and other fun stat brags
MEDIA UK government confirms Michael Grade as preferred candidate to chair media regulator OfCom
ARTIST NEWS Ukrainian band currently fighting Russian invasion in Kyiv ask to join UK fundraising concert
ONE LINERS Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kid Cudi, Chance The Rapper, more
AND FINALLY... Grimes claims responsibility for Hipster Runoff hack
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Stream-ripper appeals $83 million judgement in labels dispute to expose "legal process that has gone off the rails"
The operator of stream-ripping sites FLVTO and 2Conv has confirmed that he is appealing the $83 million judgement that was made against him in the US courts last month at the end of a legal battle with the American record industry. His lawyer has insisted that the main aim of the appeal is to "shed light on a legal process that has gone off the rails".

The major record companies first went legal against Russia-based Tofig Kurbanov through the US courts back in 2018. They argued that his two websites - which allow people to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams - were liable for copyright infringement, and were also violating rules in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act that prohibit the circumvention of copyright protection measures, like those used by YouTube to stop stream-ripping.

Despite living 5000 miles away from the court in Virginia where the labels went legal, Kurbanov decided to fight the lawsuit, initially arguing that - because he and his websites were based 5000 miles away - the Virginian court didn't have jurisdiction.

That argument initially worked, but not for long. Which meant the legal battle went into the discovery phase during which the majors demanded a load of data from Kurbanov. At that point he bailed on the case and stopped responding to the labels' arguments.

As a result, the court found in the record industry's favour by default. Following that ruling, the labels asked for $82.9 million in damages, on the basis their lawsuit identified 1618 specific copyrights that had been infringed with the assistance of Kurbanov's websites, and they should get $51,250 in damages per infringed work.

Despite having bailed on the case, legal reps for Kurbanov did formally object to that damages demand, arguing that the labels hadn't actually proven that any of their recordings were ripped via his websites within the US. Of course, had Kurbanov not bailed on the case, the labels would have been required to bring such proof to court. But because they ended up winning by default, that requirement never came up.

However, Kurbanov's legal reps argued, even though the labels had won the case by default without having to show any proof of infringement, they should still be required to provide that proof in order to pursue a damages claim. However, the two judges that considered that mega-bucks claim - magistrate judge Theresa Buchanan and later Claude M Hilton - both sided with the labels.

Ultimate decision maker Hilton ruled: "It appears to the court that the magistrate judge's report and recommendation [supporting the labels' claim] is neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law and it is hereby ordered that the plaintiffs are awarded statutory damages for violations of the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the amount of $82,922,500".

But both Buchanan and Hilton got it wrong, reckon Kurbanov and his legal team - which is why they are now taking the case to the Fourth Circuit appeals court.

Defence lawyer Val Gurvits confirmed that the appeal is now underway to Torrentfreak, adding: "At this point, Mr Kurbanov is doing this less for himself and more to shed light on a legal process that has gone off the rails. If the record companies can really get multi-million dollar judgments without having to prove a single instance of infringement within the United States, then no one who operates a website is safe".

"And it is the American consumer that will suffer the most as websites simply decide that it's just easier to block visitors from the US", Gurvits added. "That doesn't benefit anyone... other than the record companies, of course".

So, here we go with round two of the record industry versus FLVTO and 2Conv!


Apple sets out appeal arguments in ongoing Epic battle over its App Store rules
Apple made a lengthy filing with the US Ninth Circuit appeals court yesterday setting out in detail why the appeal judges should uphold the lower court ruling in its big old legal battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games over its App Store rules. Except, of course, the one part of that lower court ruling that sided with Epic. That's obviously bullshit and should be reversed.

Epic sued Apple in 2020 arguing that the tech giant's App Store rules are anti-competitive. The main rules that Epic - like many app makers, including Spotify - don't like are those that say that all in-app payments on iOS devices must be processed via Apple's commission charging transactions system, and that no other payment platforms elsewhere on the internet can be sign-posted within an app.

While Spotify has mainly gone the regulatory route to fight those rules - in particular via the European Commission - Epic has sued Apple in multiple countries (as well as Google, over it's similar app rules). Though the Epic v Apple legal battle in California has received by far the most attention.

In that battle, the lower court pretty much sided with Apple, concluding that its App Store rules don't violate US competition law - or antitrust law if you prefer. However, the lower court judge did decide that prohibiting the sign-posting of alternative payment options was a violation of Californian law.

To that end, said judge issued an injunction ordering Apple to delete that rule and allow such sign-posting, although the Ninth Circuit then put that order on hold pending the wider appeal of the Epic v Apple case.

Both sides in the dispute are appealing. Epic still reckons Apple's App Store rules violate competition law and wants the Ninth Circuit to say so. Apple, meanwhile, is appealing the decision regarding sign-posting alternative payment options.

In its 135 page filing with the appeals court yesterday Apple was keen to distinguish its appeal from that of its rival. Epic's appeal, it reckons, is all about matters of fact, while its appeal is clearly about a matter of law. This is important because appeals courts generally intervene over matters of law not matters of fact.

"Epic did not lose the trial due to any legal error", Apple's legal filing begins. "Epic lost because it 'overreached' by asserting claims on the 'frontier edges of antitrust law'. Epic's accusations of anticompetitive conduct were not just unprecedented but unfounded. Epic built its case on witnesses who 'lacked credibility' and were 'unreliable', whose testimony was 'wholly lacking in an evidentiary basis' and who were 'willing to stretch the truth in support of [Epic's] desired outcome'".

"In this court", it goes on, targeting Epic's appeal arguments, "Epic tries to change the narrative because it can show no clear error in the [original] decision ... Epic caricatures the court's 180-page opinion and reduces the robust evidentiary record to a handful of misleading and out-of-context quotations".

"Epic ignores the deferential standard of review applicable to the court's factual findings, on which every one of its antitrust theories foundered", it continues. "Epic also refuses to acknowledge that the court applied settled precedent from the Supreme Court and this court on every material point. On the facts and the law, the court correctly decided every issue presented in Epic's appeal".

The legal filing then argues that "Epic had the burden to prove, among other things, that the challenged [App Store] limitations were unreasonable restraints of trade under a framework the parties agreed on before trial began. After a sixteen day bench trial, the district court found that Epic had failed to carry its burden of proof on every one of its antitrust claims".

"That should not surprise", it reckons, "throughout the history of the App Store, it is undisputed that prices have only gone down, while output has exploded. Those are the hallmarks of competition, not monopolisation. To reverse, this court would have to depart from settled law and ignore the district court's detailed findings of fact".

By contrast, it then says, its appeal of the ruling on the alternative payment sign-posting "raises pure legal issues and does not ask the court to second-guess any factual finding based on the trial evidence".

Noting that the Ninth Circuit has already paused the injunction forcing Apple to abandon the alternative payment sign-posting rule, it says: "This court already recognised that Apple is likely to succeed on the principal issue - whether conduct that does not violate the antitrust statutes can be enjoined as 'unfair' under California law - in staying the injunction pending appeal".

"Reversal on this point", it argues, "would confirm that the rules Apple adopted more than a decade before this suit was filed are lawful under settled precedent".

Apple's new legal filing also deals with submissions to the Ninth Circuit by the US Department Of Justice, attorneys general from 35 US states, Microsoft and three other app makers which, like Epic, are members of the Coalition For App Fairness. Those so called amicus briefs either outright support Epic in this dispute - or at least raise concerns about how the lower court judge interpreted American competition law when reaching her conclusions.

But the Ninth Circuit should ignore all that, Apple says. "Epic's amici are ... litigating a different case on appeal than the one Epic tried, and lost, in the district court", they argue. "Essentially ignoring the extensive factual record, they ask this court to change the law".

"The Department Of Justice and state attorneys general advocate new legal positions that, if accepted, would make it easier for them to win antitrust lawsuits. Microsoft is pursuing a self-interested business strategy of distinguishing itself from other platforms even while making 'hundreds of millions of dollars' from its partnership with Epic".

"And the three developer amici are members of the Coalition For App Fairness", it goes on, "a front group created by Epic for purposes of this litigation; this court has already rejected one amicus brief from them. Each of Epic's amici is advancing its own agenda rather than providing objective legal analysis for the court".

Even if the interventions from all those other parties don't help Epic in the Ninth Circuit, they do demonstrate that there is widespread concern about Apple's App Store rules not only across the wider app-making community, but also within government and the political community.

All of which makes you think, even if Apple does win this appeal, it will still be forced to further relax its App Store rules in the years ahead.

Because, of course, that process is already underway around the world. Apple is already going to allow certain apps to sign-post alternative payments options as part of a deal it reached with a regulator in Japan.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, the law has already been changed to force both Apple and Google to allow alternative payment options within any one app. Plus, regulators in Europe seem to be erring towards intervening in this domain as well.

And back in the US, Apple might be right to say that Epic's amici are basically asking the Ninth Circuit to "change the law" in overturning the lower court ruling, something that should make the appeals court side with Apple.

However, there is already a movement in US Congress proposing to actually change the law to deal with the concerns being expressed by the DoJ and attorneys general in their amicus briefs. All of which presumably explains why Google at least is now looking to compromise over alternative payment options, beginning with the pilot project with Spotify that was announced yesterday.


Warner Music announces partnership with Patrick Moxey's new dance label
Warner Music has announced a new partnership with Ultra Music founder Patrick Moxey which will see the major work with his new label Helix Records and his existing hip hop label Payday Records.

Moxey previously had a partnership with Sony Music, of course, which first invested into his Ultra Music dance label back in 2013. But that partnership ended earlier this year with Sony taking complete ownership of the Ultra label and Moxey stepping down from his role there.

He kept the Ultra music publishing company though, which then announced a new deal with Warner Chappell earlier this month. Which perhaps makes it unsurprising that Moxey's new partner on the recordings side is also Warner.

Moxey originally founded Payday Records in 1992 a few years before Ultra Music, later relaunching it in 2017. Meanwhile, new dance label Helix Records was officially launched this week at Miami Music Week with an initial roster including Snakehips, AR/CO, Marshall Jefferson and DJ Susan.

Warner's label services business ADA will handled the global digital distribution for the two labels, plus there are plans for other tie-ups between Moxey's labels and Warner's labels, including co-signing talent, licensing each other's music in certain territories, and collaborations between artists signed to the two companies' rosters.

Moxey says the Warner partnership "heralds an exciting new phase for our recording activities. With a brand new label Helix Records, which will be a multi-territory independent home for the world's best new electronic dance music from day one, alongside Payday Records, which is celebrating three decades as the leading independent hip hop label, we are in great shape to move forward with our next adventures".

"This new alliance with the team at Warner", he adds "will ensure our labels and the artists we represent get the best global distribution and opportunities available and we are also looking forward to pooling our strengths and collaborating on signings, remixes, and more".

Meanwhile, the boss of Warner's recorded music business, Max Lousada, says: "At Warner, we provide an environment where creative originals, maverick thinkers and independent spirits can thrive and break new ground".

"Patrick and his team have built some of dance music's most influential brands", he goes on. "They've discovered diverse, distinctive talents, and taken a bold, entrepreneurial approach to developing their careers. We're very happy he's chosen to partner with us to begin Payday's next chapter as well as create a dynamic new identity with Helix".


Spotify paid $7 billion to the music industry last year - and other fun stat brags
In a big week for digital music stats, Spotify followed the publication of the IFPI's 'Global Music Report' on Tuesday by yesterday updating its Loud & Clear website with a bucket load of juicy facts and figures that simultaneously counter and empower the market leading streaming service's critics.

Spotify launched Loud & Clear a year ago as the whole economics of streaming debate was reaching a peak, especially in the UK with the good old Parliamentary inquiry, but in the US too with the artist-led Justice At Spotify campaign and the controversial song royalty rate reviews in front of the Copyright Royalty Board.

And, for that matter, in many other countries around the world as well, where groups repping artists, songwriters and/or managers have raised various issues with how the streaming business works.

Via the Loud & Clear website Spotify seeks to explain the somewhat complex way in which it interacts with and pays the music industry, as well as directly responding to some of the more common criticisms made about the streaming firm.

In part it does that by answering questions like: "I heard Spotify pays a fraction of a penny per stream - is that true?"; "Why does the 'per stream rate' appear lower for Spotify that some other streaming services?"; "Would the user-centric model be more fair?"; and "Spotify is spending millions on podcasts - why isn't the music industry seeing that money instead?"

Elsewhere, the Spotify site also seeks to counter the narrative that prevails in some quarters that streaming fucked everything up for the music industry and the artist community.

Of course, the IFPI's 'Global Music Report' does a good job of countering that narrative too. After all, it confirms that the record industry has been in growth for seven years now following fifteen years of decline between 2000 and 2015.

And that has been very much powered by premium streaming, which now accounts for 47.3% of global recorded music revenues. And Spotify, of course, was a pioneer of the premium streaming business model, spending billions to get it off the ground in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

But just in case anyone missed that memo, the Loud & Clear site tries to hammer home the fact that - far from fucking everything up - premium streaming was the one business model that turned around the fortunes of a record industry in decline, bringing on the good times.

Among the new stats added this week to back that up are that "in 2021, Spotify paid out $7 billion to the music industry - more than any other service - and set the record for the highest annual payment from any single retailer in history".

Oh, and "in 2021, streaming revenue alone exceeded total industry revenue in each year from 2009 to 2016", which means that "major record labels earned over $4 billion in profit in 2021, driven by streaming".

Of course, there's another narrative that Spotify is also keen to counter. That's the narrative that goes: OK, yes, it was premium streaming that took a declining record industry back into growth - but all that growth has only benefited major record companies and superstar recording artists, because the majors and Spotify conspired to build the business that way. Meanwhile, most artists and songwriters are going broke in the streaming age.

In fact, Spotify is keen to stress in its latest stats, more artists are succeeding in the streaming age than ever before. So - not only did more than 1000 artists see their music generate over $1 million on Spotify last year - but over 50,000 artists saw their tracks earn at least $10,000 in Spotify royalties.

Plus, on the songs side, over a billion dollars was paid out last year to music publishers and songwriter collecting societies. And as a result of all that, the music industry is actually less dominated by the superstars in 2022 - or, to quote Spotify, "the industry at the height of the CD era favoured superstars twice as much as today".

Of course, just because an artist's music is generating millions - or a more modest $10,000 - doesn't mean that's what the artist is getting in their bank account. Artists on conventional record deals are usually only seeing 20-25% of that money, even if they have recouped past advances. And where it's old music by heritage acts receiving the Spotify payments, the artist is often seeing an even smaller cut.

But, while that may be true in many cases, Spotify insists that "over 28% of artists who generated over $10,000 self-distribute to Spotify", meaning those artists are likely getting the majority - probably the vast majority - of the money.

But, even where an artist is banking that $10,000 entirely - and they're a solo act so they're not having to share it with bandmates - that's still not a living. Except, of course, Spotify is only one revenue stream for an artist.

And it's at this point in the back and forth with its critics that Spotify - a bit like the major record companies - has to balance the bragging about being the biggest and the best and the most successful, with the concurrent claim that it's a relatively small cog in a big machine - artists, after all, have so many revenue streams to tap and so many business partners to choose from in the streaming age. Both positions are actually accurate, but they do seem a bit contradictory.

It's with that particular balancing act in mind that Spotify's latest stats also include the claim that - for the artists earning at least $10,000 from Spotify each year - there's probably another $30,000 of recorded music income coming in from other channels, digital and otherwise. And even if that $40,000 has to be shared between a band of four, let's not forget all the other music revenue streams beyond recorded music!

Of course, now is both the best time and the worst time to be a music-maker - because it's so much easier to get your music to market, but as a result there is so much more competition.

Spotify last year said that it had eight million creators on its platform. That figure likely includes podcasters. But, hey, if you're a musician on Spotify, podcasters are also your rivals now, because they are also seeking to build and monetise a fanbase.

And, however you look at it, Spotify has had a role in both making it the best time and the worst time to be making music. Though on balance, the positives probably do out-weigh the negatives. Which isn't to say there aren't legitimate concerns aplenty with the way the streaming business works. There definitely are. And Spotify can't pass the buck back to the music industry on every one of those issues

That said, many of the criticisms made against the streaming service aren't entirely fair and much of the push back by Spotify on its Loud & Clear website - both within the stats and the FAQs - is valid. Nevertheless, in isolation, most of the stats can also be used to back up the criticism - including all the unfair criticisms - which is why its critics are simultaneously countered and empowered by the site and its stats.

This is also why the Loud & Clear venture, although admirable, doesn't necessarily achieve its objective of fixing Spotify's tarnished reputation. Though, in the wake of the Joe Rogan debacle, the mega-bucks FC Barcelona deal and the ongoing Copyright Royalty Board hearings, fixing that tarnished reputation would probably be a tall order anyway.

Meanwhile, stat fans, go and enjoy Spotify's latest round of stat bragging, and decide for yourself if the all important message that "Spotify isn't as evil as they say" is actually being made loud and clear.


UK government confirms Michael Grade as preferred candidate to chair media regulator OfCom
The UK government has announced that TV industry veteran Michael Grade is its choice to chair the country's media regulator OfCom. The announcement follows a long-drawn out and at times controversial search for a new chair, with the latest OfCom overseer being appointed just as the regulator is set to gain new powers over digital platforms as part of the Online Safety Bill.

Grade - who has previously held top jobs at the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 - is not as controversial an appointment as a previous frontrunner for the job, former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre. Though that's not to say he's a completely uncontroversial choice.

Despite his previous senior roles at state owned broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4, he has more recently been critical of the former while also backing the proposed privatisation of the latter.

Plus, he is a member of the House Of Lords allied to the Conservative Party, which makes him feel like somewhat of a political appointment at a regulator which, among many other things, is meant to ensure the political impartiality of broadcast media in the UK. Though, once appointed into the OfCom chair job, Grade would become a so called cross-bencher in the House Of Lords, not formally allied to any party.

Nevertheless, all those points are sure to be brought up when Grade is questioned by Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media And Sport Select Committee, which will now scrutinise the proposed appointment at a date still to be confirmed.

Announcing that Grade is the government's preferred candidate for the OfCom chair role, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said yesterday: "I am delighted to announce that Lord Grade is the government's preferred candidate to be the new chair of OfCom. Lord Grade's experience at the highest level of a number of broadcasters and his expert knowledge of the British media landscape makes him an ideal candidate for this role".

"Going forward", she added, "OfCom has an even more important role to play as the UK's communications regulator. The introduction of the Online Safety Bill will give it new responsibilities and resources to ensure digital platforms tackle illegal and abusive material online. I am confident that under Lord Grade's leadership OfCom will rise to the challenge with great success".

Grade himself added: "OfCom is respected across the globe as a first rate communications regulator so I am privileged to be asked to become its chair. The role of OfCom in British life has never been more important with new responsibilities on the horizon regulating online safety, on top of the ever changing broadcasting landscape. I look forward to my appearance in front of the DCMS Select Committee to outline what I can bring to this role and how I can help ensure OfCom is fit for the future".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, opposition parties were critical of the proposed appointment. Labour's shadow media minister Chris Elmore MP said the process of recruiting a new chair for the media regulator had been a "chaotic and quite frankly embarrassing example of Tory cronyism and ineptitude", while Grade is "a Conservative peer who is completely out of touch with the British public".

"With Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine showing the importance of robust, independent journalism and OfCom poised to be handed more power to govern online platforms", Elmore added, "the UK's reputation as a world-leading regulator is being put at risk by the government appointing another party insider".

Meanwhile, Jamie Stone MP of the Liberal Democrats said: "In the midst of the Ukraine crisis and the past years of pandemic, the chair of OfCom should be a strong independent voice defending the integrity of our iconic public broadcasters - not a card-carrying Conservative critic hurling abuse from the sidelines".


Check out the CMU Library
If you ever find yourself struggling to navigate and understand all the complexities of the music business, well, we're here to help! Make sure you check out the CMU Library.

That's the online educational resource for the music industry that makes it easier to access all the guides, reports, slides and other resources that are available from CMU, our consultancy unit CMU Insights, and our new talent programme CMU:DIY.

The Library is split into eight sections covering different aspects of the music business including music copyright, the record industry, the music publishing sector, the streaming business, the live music sector, the direct-to-fan business, music marketing, and an overview of the wider music industry.

For each section there is a super-concise overview and then links to where you can access and download the guides, reports, slides and other resources. Check out the CMU Library here.

Ukrainian band currently fighting Russian invasion in Kyiv ask to join UK fundraising concert
A Ukrainian band has posted a video to social media asking to be included in the Concert For Ukraine being staged by ITV and STV later this month.

The video posted by Antytila addressed Ed Sheeran, who has been confirmed as one of the acts to play the upcoming concert, which will raise monies for the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Their message to Sheeran was recorded on the streets of Kyiv where the band members - wearing combat gear in the video - are part of the army fighting against the Russian invasion.

They stated: "Hello Ed, greetings from Kyiv! We are Ukrainian musicians of the Ukrainian band Antytila - one of the most popular Ukrainian bands with a lot of fans in Ukraine and all over the world. In peacetime, our concerts gather at stadiums. The war has changed our lives and now we are fighting with weapons against the Russian occupiers. We thank you, and all the British people, for their support. Believe me, we are grateful, and we will always remember this".

"Today we learned about your charity concert for Ukraine, which will take place in Birmingham", they added. "And we offer to make a live broadcast between Kyiv and Birmingham with Antytila temporarily joining the gig remotely. Our band will play our music in Kyiv, a city that has not surrendered and will never surrender to the Russian occupiers".

"You will play in Birmingham", they went on. "We are not afraid to play under the bombs. Through music, we want to show the world that Ukraine is strong and unconquered. We will fight and sing for victory in front of the whole world that supports us".

Responding with his own video, Sheeran first told all Ukrainians "I love you - I stand with you - and I'm so proud to be playing this fundraising event next week" - before addressing Antytila directly by adding: "I can't wait to check your music out, guys, and I'm sending you lots of love".



The UK trade group for the independent music community, AIM, has hired Esta Rae as its new Senior Events Manager. "Events are a major part of entertainment so being appointed in this role, I want to push the boundaries in terms of how events are delivered, visualised and captured by the onlooker and those involved", she says.



The electronic and dance music focused International Music Summit in Ibiza has announced the first batch of speakers for this year's event, including Lyor Cohen, Brian Eno, Deadmau5, Beatport's Robb McDaniels, TikTok's Ole Obermann and Laurent Garnier. The event takes place from 27-29 Apr. More info here.



Red Hot Chili Peppers have released another new single, 'Not The One'. Their new album, 'Unlimited Love', is out on 1 Apr.

Kid Cudi has released new single 'Stars In The Sky', taken from the soundtrack of 'Sonic The Hedgehog 2'.

Chance The Rapper has released the video for new single 'Child Of God', featuring Moses Sumney. The track accompanies an exhibition at Chicago's Museum Of Contemporary Art, which runs until 29 Mar.

Blossoms have released new single 'The Sulking Poet'. Their new album, 'Ribbon Around The Bomb', is out on 29 Apr.

Kurt Vile has released new single 'Mount Airy Hill (Gone Away)'. His new album, 'Watch My Moves', is out on 15 Apr.

Bree Runway is back with new single 'Somebody Like You'.

Meshuggah have released new single 'I Am That Thirst', taken from their new album 'Immutable', which is out on 1 Apr.

Perfume Genius has announced that he will release new album 'Ugly Season' on 17 Jun. He's also released two tracks from it: 'Pop Song' and 'Eye In The Wall'.

Let's Eat Grandma have released new single 'Levitation', taken from their new album 'Two Ribbons', which is out on 29 Apr. They've also announced UK tour dates in October.

Fable is back with new single 'Shame'. She's announced that she will release her debut album - also called 'Shame' - on 20 May. "'Shame' masquerades as a sleek pop song, but when you unpack the themes it's uneasy in its skin", she says of the new track. "It's about the feeling of impending pressure in the modern world being met with ever increasing resistance to do anything differently".

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


Grimes claims responsibility for Hipster Runoff hack
Grimes has claimed that it was she who hacked music blog Hipster Runoff in 2012 and then "basically blackmailed" its owner. Specifically, she says, she wanted a photograph of her kissing another woman on a night out taken down.

The revelation comes in a new video posted by Vanity Fair, as a bit of bonus content attached to its recent magazine interview with the musician. In it, she is asked to comment on a series of images from throughout her career, of which the offending picture is one.

"This one's funny, I've always wanted to tell the story about this one", she says. "Back in the day, before the 'woke' era, I actually got cancelled for this, which is so crazy. I was just at a party with my friends, someone took this photo, and it got leaked to this website called Hipster Runoff. And he ran this story".

"I was trying to be all integrity, and you know, start my career, and it was like 'Grimes Gone Wild' or something, and it was just this super wack mean story, and it was this meme which was going all over the internet", she adds.

If you don't remember Hipster Runoff, it was a blog that satirised indie music culture, which operated from 2007 to 2013. Run by anonymous writer 'Carles', it had a very specific tone of voice and - depending on your view - was either "funny" or "mean spirited". It is credited with coining the genre name 'chillwave' and often claimed to be fighting the "Corrupt Indie Machine".

As she came to prominence, Grimes became a particular target for HRO's gossip blog style content, and - it seems - eventually she'd had enough of it.

She now admits that she got a friend to help her with hacking the website by launching a DDoS - or distributed denial of service - attack to take the website offline in order to force the removal of the offending photo.

"We were actually able to DDoS Hipster Runoff and basically blackmail them", she says. "We were like, 'We're not going to let you put your site back up until you take the story down'. And he did, in fact, take the story down. It was my coolest hacker moment".

Speaking to Vice's Motherboard blog amid the 2012 hacking incident, Carles explained: "I can't really name names, but I know that my site is frowned down upon in the indie community. All of the other sites hate me, and many artists and labels do not support my site. I am paying a price for not being part of the Corrupt Indie Machine".

The site did come back online soon afterwards, but Carles stopped posting in 2013 and two years later sold the site and its social media handles for just over $20,000.

Whether the hacking attack was to blame for the site's ultimate demise is debatable. Many were already claiming that the site was past its prime in 2012 - something Carles noted in his Motherboard interview.

But, whatever, it probably didn't help. And now Grimes has basically admitted to an actual crime. So that's fun. Maybe the site could be revived to write about it.


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.
CMU helps people to navigate and understand the music business.

We do this through our media, our training and our research, and at a range of music industry events.

CMU Daily covers all the latest news and developments direct by email.

Setlist is a weekly podcast dissecting the biggest music business stories.

CMU Premium gives you access to the CMU Digest and CMU Trends.

CMU Insights is our music business consultancy: supporting the industry.

CMU:DIY is our future talent programme: supporting new music talent.

Pathways Into Music is our foundation supporting music educators.

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