TODAY'S TOP STORY: An LA court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former member of the Beach Boys which took issue with the way Universal Music accounts and reports artist royalties for streams in markets other than the US... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES LA court dismisses foreign royalties lawsuit filed against Universal by former Beach Boy
DEALS BMG announces deal to administrate George Harrison catalogue
Sentric Music signs Boston Manor
MEDIA BBC adds twelve new thematic strands to its Sounds app
ARTIST NEWS Pink Floyd reform to release new track in support of Ukraine
RELEASES War Child releases four of its all-star albums on vinyl
ONE LINERS WME, Anna Calvia, Pusha T, more
AND FINALLY... Geezer Butler invites fan input on name for his autobiography
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LA court dismisses foreign royalties lawsuit filed against Universal by former Beach Boy
An LA court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former member of the Beach Boys which took issue with the way Universal Music accounts and reports artist royalties for streams in markets other than the US.

David Marks was originally a member of the Beach Boys in 1962 and 1963, and rejoined the band for a couple of other short stints in the 1990s and 2010s. Universal Music, meanwhile, acquired the band's 1960s catalogue when it bought EMI and its Capitol Records label back in 2012.

The lawsuit filed by Marks centred on a common gripe among many heritage artists over the deductions that are made by local subsidiaries of the major labels when music is streamed in countries other than the one in which those artists were signed. The question is, is the artist royalty - a percentage of income, of course - calculated before or after the local subsidiary's deduction?

In the physical era, international deductions were commonly applied before the artist royalty was calculated, but many artists argue that - while that may have been justifiable in the physical era, where the local subsidiary had to do some heavy lifting to get discs to market - it's not acceptable in the digital age, where the home market label uploads the music to the streaming service.

And that's especially so with catalogue music, where the local subsidiary isn't even doing any proactive marketing to justify taking a cut of the money.

With new record deals, an artist's royalty on streaming income is usually calculated based on 'at source' income, thus ensuring any international deductions don't affect what the artist earns (although the actual royalty might be slightly lower in some markets). However, with heritage artists whose record contracts only talk about physical income, there is often a lack of transparency about what deductions are being made as money flows through the system.

Marks' lawsuit accused Universal of wrong-doing in this domain, with the musician specifically suing for fraud and breach of contract. His lawsuit also sought class action status so that - if successful - other artists with similar record deals with the major could claim allegedly unpaid royalties.

The legal filing, submitted with the courts last year, stated: "Defendants failed to disclose and omitted material facts regarding the total foreign streaming revenues collected by its foreign affiliates as detailed herein and instead only disclosed amounts remaining after imposing an intercompany charge between defendants and their foreign affiliates".

"Further", it went on, "defendants failed to indicate the true royalty rate being paid to plaintiff and class members. Defendants' omissions of material fact were intentional and made with knowledge as to the total foreign streaming revenues generated by their foreign affiliates. Defendants' omissions were material because class members are unable to determine the total foreign streaming revenues generated abroad absent undertaking a lengthy and expensive audit".

It then reaffirmed: "Defendants actively concealed the total foreign streaming revenues generated by its foreign affiliates from plaintiff and class members".

The court dealing with the dispute previously dismissed Marks' lawsuit, stating: "Plaintiff included no particularised facts that would allow the court to determine what fraud occurred, when, and through what instrument". And, regarding the breach of contract allegation: "Plaintiff failed to identify a bargained-for provision requiring UMG to pay plaintiff his claimed royalties".

However Marks and his team were given the option to file an amended lawsuit, which they did. But, the judge ruled this week, the issues he previously raised with the litigation have not been addressed in the amended complaint.

In the latest ruling, which also quoted his earlier decision, the judge wrote: "Plaintiff once again 'includes no particularised facts that would allow the court to determine what fraud occurred, when, and through what instrument' ... Plaintiff attaches no contract or fraudulent royalty statement to the [amended lawsuit], and once again plaintiff makes no effort to narrow his serious fraud accusations to a reasonably discrete period or individual such that UMG can meaningfully respond".

And the issues with the breach of contract claim weren't addressed either. "Plaintiff still has not pleaded a bargained-for agreement that defendants breached", the judge wrote. "Plaintiff does not present the material terms and conditions of the contract in writing or in substance. Plaintiff only presents excerpts of past contracts that do not mention digital streaming. The breach of contract claim fails for this reason".

Neither Universal nor Marks have as yet commented on the decision.


BMG announces deal to administrate George Harrison catalogue
BMG has entered into one of those global publishing agreements with the George Harrison estate which will see the music firm administer the catalogue of the late Beatle's publishing company Harrisongs, which includes songs he wrote with The Beatles and Traveling Wilburys as well as music from his solo career.

The deal around Harrison's songs catalogue builds on BMG's existing partnership with Dark Horse Records, the label Harrison founded in 1974 to release his own music and recordings by other artists, and which is now run by his son Dhani and artist manager David Zonshine.

Commenting on the new deal, Dhani Harrison says: "I'm delighted to announce that my father's song catalogue will be joining BMG/Dark Horse Records. We have had a longstanding and successful partnership with BMG over the years and we look forward to continuing to expand our relationship well into the future".

Meanwhile BMG boss Hartwig Masuch adds: "George Harrison stands at the pinnacle of what it means to be an influential and successful artist and humanitarian. It is telling that of the 188 original songs released by the Beatles during their career, it's George's 'Here Comes The Sun' which is by far the most played on Spotify".

"It is an honour for all of us here at BMG now to be representing the Harrisongs catalogue", he goes on. "The Harrison estate is rightly fiercely protective of George's legacy and we will do our best to reward their faith in us".


Sentric Music signs Boston Manor
Sentric Music has signed one of those publishing deals with the band Boston Manor covering their back catalogue and a number of future works. How do I know this? Well, the band's manager Stuart Gili-Ross says so.

"We are delighted to announce this partnership with Sentric", says he. "With each record that Boston Manor creates, the band continue to evolve and push the boundaries of British rock music, never opting to simply play it safe. Joining forces with a forward-thinking publisher like Sentric, who understand the creative process and are engaged with the artists, feels like the perfect fit for all involved".

The new deal builds on Sentric's existing relationship with Boston Manor. How do I know this? Well, Sentric's Simon Pursehouse says so.

"We've been working with Boston Manor since 2014 and have been fans in the office since day one", says he. "It's been an utter joy to watch them mature as songwriters and grow as performers. The most exciting thing is the fact that there's still so much more to come. Their upcoming material is undeniable and I'm outrageously chuffed to be solidifying our relationship with them, taking it to the next level. Boston Manor are, quite simply, as we say here in Liverpool, 'boss'".


BBC adds twelve new thematic strands to its Sounds app
The BBC has added a number of new thematic strands to its Sounds app that allow people to navigate the broadcaster's audio content by theme. Under the Back To Back Sounds banner, each of these strands curates several hours of relevant programmes from BBC radio stations, music mixes from within the Sounds app itself, and some original content.

But what are the themes, you ask? Well, aren't you demanding. I mean there's twelve of these new strands, do you want me to go through them all? Every one of them? I'm busy you know. And while they all have names, half of those names don't really tell what they're about, so I can't just list them. But OK, because you asked nicely, and you're an all round fine person, I'll explain all the fucking themes for. Here we go. Take a deep breath.

So, there's The Reset, that features "dulcet tones, poetry and soundscapes"; and Amplified, with indie and rock; and Radio 2 90s, that is presumably self explanatory; and Rap Unlocked, which unlocks some rap, presumably; and Total Rewind, which only actually rewinds as far as 2000 for its R&B and rap tracks; and Artist Icons, which celebrates the music of iconic artists, which is a wide remit if you go with a pretty loose definition of 'iconic', which I think they will, certainly quite a few current artists are being deemed sufficiently iconic to be featured.

And then there's Pre-Party, with also chooses 2000 as its cut off as it delves into the pop archives; and Pop Right Now, which should technically only cover pop released in the last few minutes but apparently will also include 'modern classics', whatever they are; Charged Up, which is mainly charged up with dance and pop hits; Soothing Sleep, which will send you to sleep; Radio 1 Anthems, which promises "massive throwbacks and future classics", but again not older than 2000; and Radio 1 Happy, which is promising "joy throughout the day", which seems like an ambitious remit to me.

"There's a huge appetite for on-demand music, with more people streaming music than ever before, and we want to better serve those who want their perfect, long listen soundtrack at their fingertips", says Jonathan Wall, Controller of BBC Sounds.

"Built with the expertise of our brilliant specialist teams and big names in music", he goes on, "Back To Back Sounds will bring listeners the best of the BBC so they can enjoy hours of uninterrupted music on BBC Sounds, discovering new artists and tracks as well as hearing their favourites".

Lovely stuff. Of course, part of the remit of BBC Sounds is to engage younger audiences who don't necessarily tune in to much AM/FM radio - and don't necessarily have much affinity to linear radio brands like Radio 1 or 6 Music - which makes re-organsing BBC content in this way a logical thing to do. And also is why several of the Back To Back Sounds strands prioritise music from the last 20 years, rather than the 20th Century, because young people hate old music, as you all know.

Though, of course, the commercial radio sector is already pissed off that the BBC is using the Sounds app to launch new thematic channels and brands, avoiding the kind of scrutiny a new BBC radio station would be subject to because they are online only and mainly repurpose existing content. Which means innovations like this will no doubt garner more criticism from the Corporation's commercial rivals, and their supporters in the political community.

For the music industry, on one level it's good if the BBC engages younger audiences to which it can then champion and promote new music and new talent. Although it also increasingly puts the Beeb more in competition with the likes of Spotify, which pump a lot more money into the music industry than traditional broadcasters. And that could lead to more debate about how the music industry is licensing services like BBC Sounds.

So while these innovations may be popular with users, they could create some future challenges for BBC bosses. But hey, if any of that gets them down, they can always tune in to Radio 1 Happy for day-long joy.


CMU+TGE Update: TGE Elevate Sessions
Yesterday we published the full schedules for all the core strands at this year's Great Escape Conference, including for all three days of the CMU+TGE Sessions on 11, 12 and 13 May, and for the TGE Elevate Sessions that take place on the Saturday of the festival, 14 May.

TGE Elevate is the Great Escape's professional development programme for early-career music business executives and entrepreneurs, and aspiring music-makers, made possible by the kind support of Arts Council England.

There are two main parts to the programme. First, 30 early career music business people become Elevate super-delegates, getting a free, enhanced and curated delegate experience at the festival and conference. And second, the TGE Elevate Sessions are a day of seminars and panels aimed at those early on in their music careers, whether on or off stage.

This year's Elevate panels will look at how artists make money; the fanbase building process; the live side of an artist's career; how to go about successfully releasing new music; the direct-to-fan opportunity; and the business partners artists work with along the way. Details of all the artists and industry experts who will be sharing advice, tips and insights will be revealed next week.

Alongside the panels, CMU's Chris Cooke will present five super speedy seminars explaining music copyright, music streaming, music data, record deals and the big streaming debate. Each of those will feature a 20 minute five step guide plus five minutes of Q&A.

The TGE Elevate programme is open to all TGE delegates, plus a delegation of students from music and further education colleges will also be invited to attend for free thanks to the Arts Council support. Find out more about this year's TGE Elevate Sessions here.

Pink Floyd reform to release new track in support of Ukraine
Pink Floyd have come back together and released a new track in order to raise funds for Ukraine Humanitarian Relief. The track is called 'Hey, Hey, Rise Up' and features a sample of Andriy Khlyvnyuk, singer with the Ukrainian band Boombox.

From the classic Pink Floyd line-up, David Gilmour and Nick Mason are both involved in the new recording. They are joined on the track by bassist Guy Pratt - who, of course, has collaborated with Gilmour, Mason and Pink Floyd since the late 1980s - and, on keyboards, by Nitin Sawheny.

Gilmour performed live with BoomBox in 2015 at a benefit gig in aid of the Belarus Free Theatre in London. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Khlyvnyuk called off a US tour in order to join the military defence of his country.

The impetus for 'Hey, Hey, Rise Up' came when Gilmour saw a video on social media in which Khlyvnyuk - wearing military fatigues and standing in front of Kyiv's St Sofia Cathedral - sang the patriotic Ukrainian song 'Oh, The Red Viburnum In The Meadow'.

According to The Guardian, Gilmour explains: "I thought: that is pretty magical and maybe I can do something with this. I've got a big platform that [Pink Floyd] have worked on for all these years. It's a really difficult and frustrating thing to see this extraordinarily crazy, unjust attack by a major power on an independent, peaceful, democratic nation. The frustration of seeing that and thinking 'what the fuck can I do?' is sort of unbearable".

On his decision to release the track as Pink Floyd, he adds: "I rang Nick up and said: 'listen, I want to do this thing for Ukraine. I'd be really happy if you played on it and I'd also be really happy if you'd agree to us putting it out as Pink Floyd'. And he was absolutely on for that. It's Pink Floyd if it's me and Nick, and that is the biggest promotional vehicle; that is, as I said, the platform that I've been working on for my whole adult life, since I was 21".

"I wouldn't do this with many more things", he goes on, "but it's so vitally, vitally important that people understand what's going on there and do everything within their power to change that situation. And the thought, also, that mine and Pink Floyd's support of the Ukrainians could help boost morale in those areas: they need to know the whole world supports them".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it took Gilmour several attempts to get in touch with Khlyvnyuk to discuss the project. "When I spoke to Andriy", he says, "he was telling me about the things he'd seen, and I said to him, 'you know this has been on the BBC here in England, and on television around the world? Everyone is seeing these terrible things that are happening'".

"And he said, 'Oh really? I didn't know'. I don't think that most people there have got such great communication and they don't really understand that actually, the things they are going through are being shown to the world".

You can see the video for the new track here.


War Child releases four of its all-star albums on vinyl
The charity War Child has announced that it is releasing limited edition vinyl versions of four albums it put together in the 2000s, which between them include music from the likes of Muse, Stereophonics, Oasis, George Michael, Avril Lavigne, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Coldplay, Radiohead, Gorillaz, Manic Street Preachers, Beck, Keane, Lily Allen, Elbow and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

War Child, of course, has had a long partnership with the music community as part of its fund-raising efforts, beginning with the release of 'The Help Album' in 1995. It has released a number of other records since then, each featuring music donated by an eclectic mix of artists.

The albums being released on vinyl today are '1 Love', originally released in 2002 in partnership with the NME; 'Hope', the result of a tie-up with the Daily Mirror in 2003; 'Help! A Day In The Life', recorded on one day and released the next in 2005, to mark the tenth anniversary of 'The Help Album'; and 'Heroes' from 2009, in which music legends were invited to nominate a newer act to cover one of their songs.

Profits from the sale of the vinyl version of these records will fund War Child projects around the world, including in Ukraine. The official statement accompanying the new releases outlines the work the charity has been doing in and around that country since the Russian invasion.

"When conflict broke out in Ukraine, War Child were quick to respond", it explains. "Their teams are already on the ground working to understand the impact on children and supporting local volunteers and non-governmental organisations who operate in the border regions to Ukraine to get children vital aid and psychological care - fast".

"Here, millions of children and families are seeking refuge", it goes on, "arriving with little more than the clothes on their backs, and little access to food, water and shelter. By purchasing these classic albums fans are supporting War Child to reach children in Ukraine and conflict zones around the world and give them the vital protection, education and psychosocial support they require".

On the re-release of the four albums, Rich Clarke, who heads up the charity's own label, says: "We are delighted to make this fantastic collection of music available to a new generation of fans and get these incredible songs, donated through the generosity of the artist community, raising vital funds for War Child's life saving work again".

"There are some amazing tracks that haven't been heard for decades, like George Michael's cover of Don McLean's 'The Grave' or Lily Allen covering 'Straight To Hell' with Mick Jones on guitar and backing vocals", he adds. "We're incredibly proud to put these important albums out on vinyl for the first time with limited black, yellow and red releases".

"The need for War Child's work has never been greater", he goes on. "10.7 million children in Ukraine are living in a terrifying crisis, and millions more across the world are still in need of critical support because of conflict. By purchasing one of these limited edition vinyl releases you can help make a difference".

You can buy the vinyl versions of these albums from the War Child Records store here.



Talent agency WME has announced a stack of promotions in its music division, including the promotion of seven agents across its LA, Nashville, New York and Sydney offices to the position of partner, they being: Cristina Baxter, Michael Coughlin, Ryan Jones, Richard Lom, Ben Schiffer, Peter Schwartz and Sam Wald.



Anna Calvi has announced a new 'Peaky Blinders' themed EP called 'Tommy', having written and performed the score for series six of the TV show, which concluded last weekend. The EP features two tracks written specifically for the programme - 'Ain't No Grave' and 'Burning Down' - plus covers of two other songs that appeared in the show: Bob Dylan's 'All The Tired Horses' and theme song 'Red Right Hand' by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. It's out on 6 May, listen to 'Ain't No Grave' here.

Melody's Echo Chamber has released 'Alma', taken from her forthcoming third studio album 'Emotional Eternal', out on Domino on 29 Apr.

Oh Wonder has posted new track 'Fuck It, I Love You' from upcoming album '22 Make', which is due on 22 Jul via Republic Records.

Pusha T released new single 'Neck & Wrist' earlier this week, featuring Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams.

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


Geezer Butler invites fan input on name for his autobiography
Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has finished the first draft of an autobiography, though he can't quite decide what to call it. There are currently five options and, on Twitter earlier this week, he invited fans to let him know which of those five they prefer.

Talking about the autobiography in an interview with last year, Butler said: "I started out because, when my parents died, I always wished I'd asked them a lot more things... I don't really know much about my mum and dad, because they were always just there. So, I started writing a memoir for my grandkids to read, and that's been fun going through stuff - old times and growing up in Birmingham and all that. I'm right in the middle of doing that at the moment".

On Twitter earlier this week he posted: "Just turned in the first draft of my book so I'm now thinking of titles. So far, I have: 'Into the Void', 'Basses Loaded', 'Past Forward', 'What The Butler Did', 'Bassic Instinct'. Feel free to send me which of those you think would suit my #autobiography".


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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