TUESDAY 12 APRIL 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lawyers for Post Malone yesterday cited recent song-theft cases involving Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry - as well as the ruling in a 1990s dispute over the authorship of the film 'Malcolm X' - in a bid to get dismissed the lawsuit filed by a former collaborator of the rapper in relation to his 2019 hit 'Circles'... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Post Malone's lawyer cites 'Malcolm X' copyright battle in bid to dismiss lawsuit over 'Circles' authorship
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DEALS Warner Music partners with Jjust Music in India
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS IMPALA launches carbon calculator to help indie music companies become more environmentally sustainable
Universal launches another Mercury Records, this time as part of Republic
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BRANDS & MERCH Backstreet launches new hub in Berlin to help tackle Brexit merch challenges
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EDUCATION & EVENTS Universal Music signs up to support Help Musicians mentoring programme
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ONE LINERS shesaid.so, Chase & Status, Zero 7, more
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AND FINALLY... Kurt Cobain's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' guitar up for auction
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BIMM LONDON, EVENTS MANAGER (LONDON)
BIMM London is looking for an Events manager who will play a significant role as part of a dynamic team who provide a wide range of career development and extracurricular opportunities to students studying across all courses and taking place throughout the academic year.

For more information and to apply click here.

   

O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
The O2 Academy Brixton is seeking an Assistant General Manager, responsible for a variety of duties that contribute to the effective management and smooth running of O2 Academy Brixton and lead exceptional delivery of our core business objectives and commercial targets.

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SJM CONCERTS - MARKETING CAMPAIGNS MANAGER (MANCHESTER)
SJM Concerts is looking for a Marketing Campaigns Manager to work as a part of our busy marketing team and to implement and manage marketing campaigns to generate sales for new tours and events via various platforms including digital, press, radio, TV, outdoor and print.

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MATERIAL - PRODUCT MANAGER (HYBRID)
Material is focused on building outstanding artists and music brands, in the electronic space. To aid in the expansion of our growing roster of artists and brands we are seeking an exceptional Product Manager to manage the day-to-day record label activity, campaigns as well as expand new products.

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DOMINO RECORDING COMPANY - DIGITAL ACCOUNTS COORDINATOR (LONDON)
We are seeking a full-time digital accounts coordinator to join our global marketing team. Based in our London office, the role will report to the Head of Streaming and will be responsible for the coordination of the label's streaming strategy and execution worldwide excluding North America.

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PRS FOR MUSIC - CONTENT EDITOR, COMMUNICATIONS & PUBLIC AFFAIRS (LONDON)
We have an exciting opportunity for a Content Editor to join our Communications & Public Affairs team on a permanent basis. The role will be based across our offices in London Bridge and Streatham and remotely as we operate a hybrid model of working.

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THE COLUMBO GROUP - GRAPHIC DESIGNER & VIDEO EDITOR (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is looking for a full-time Graphic Designer and Video Editor. Working predominantly across The Blues Kitchen and The Old Queens Head, but also on additional events and festivals.

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MRG GROUP - DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (TORONTO/VANCOUVER)
The MRG Group is looking for a motivated, energetic and experienced Digital Marketing Manager to join our team and help us achieve our goal of serving the right offer, to the right person, at the right time.

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ADELPHOI MUSIC - PRODUCER/MUSIC SUPERVISOR (LONDON)
Adelphoi Music is looking for someone to help us build on our legacy of thirty years of creative and critically-recognised work in the advertising industry, and to play a part in the company's future.

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ADESSO MUSIC - EVENTS MANAGER (REMOTE)
Adesso Music is seeking an Events Manager to oversee the strategy and execution for both local and international live events. Must be able to travel and have a valid passport. Remote working but with ability to make occasional meetings in both London and Brussels.

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THE MUSIC INDUSTRY MUSIC COPYRIGHT
THE RECORD INDUSTRY THE MUSIC PUBLISHING SECTOR
THE STREAMING BUSINESS THE LIVE MUSIC SECTOR
THE DIRECT-TO-FAN BUSINESS MUSIC MARKETING

Post Malone's lawyer cites 'Malcolm X' copyright battle in bid to dismiss lawsuit over 'Circles' authorship
Lawyers for Post Malone yesterday cited recent song-theft cases involving Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry - as well as the ruling in a 1990s dispute over the authorship of the film 'Malcolm X' - in a bid to get dismissed the lawsuit filed by a former collaborator of the rapper in relation to his 2019 hit 'Circles'.

Tyler Armes - a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and member of Canadian rap-rock outfit Down With Webster - joined Malone and producer Frank Dukes for an all-night jamming session in August 2018. He claims that during that session he contributed to the song that become 'Circles'.

After 'Circles' was released, Armes contacted Malone's manager who allegedly conceded that the writer/ producer had indeed co-written the track, offering him 5% of the copyright.

But when Armes pushed for a better deal, his request was rejected, and he was subsequently denied both a credit on and share in the song. Having failed to negotiate a cut of the hit, Armes sued Malone, Dukes and Universal Music.

Since the whole thing went legal, Malone hasn't denied that the 2018 jamming session happened, but has sought to play down the contribution made by Armes, insisting that it wasn't sufficient for him to claim co-authorship of the song, and therefore co-ownership of the song copyright.

The rapper filed a motion to dismiss Armes' lawsuit last month, and a hearing occurred before the judge yesterday to discuss that motion. The Malone side have two main arguments in favour of dismissal.

First, that Armes' main contribution during the jamming session was a simple chord progression that is pretty commonplace in pop music. And that can't be protected by copyright in isolation.

The copyright status of short musical segments has come up quite a lot recently in the various headline-grabbing song-theft cases that have ended up in American courts. If a new song shares a distinctive short musical segment with an older song, is there a case for saying the new song infringes the copyright in the older song, even if the bulk of the two songs are actually different?

When those big song-theft cases that have been filed in the Californian courts have ended up before the Ninth Circuit appeals court, appeal judges have generally been nervous about extending copyright protection to short musical segments in isolation.

According to Law360, the lawyer repping Malone at yesterday's hearing, Christine Lepera, stressed that the musical segment contributed by Armes back in 2018 was an "exceedingly commonplace" chord pattern known as "one, four, five".

And, citing the Ninth Circuit decisions in the song-theft cases, the lawyer added: "You don't get to have copyright in a commonplace, unprotectable expression".

But, of course, this dispute isn't a song-theft case, so although the precedents set in things like the 'Stairway To Heaven' and 'Dark Horse' legal battles are relevant, they aren't necessarily slam-dunk relevant.

Which brings us to the other argument in Malone's motion for dismissal, which was also expanded on by Lepera yesterday. How do we decide who qualifies as an actual co-author of a copyright protected work when various people have been close to the creative process?

It's regarding that question that Lepera cited the 1990s dispute over the copyright in the screenplay to 'Malcolm X', and another ruling in the Ninth Circuit, in 2000, in relation to that dispute.

In the Malcolm X case, plaintiff Jefri Aalmuhammed claimed to have made contributions to Spike Lee's screenplay and argued that he should therefore be treated as a co-author in copyright terms. However, Aalmuhammed's arguments failed because, although he may have made some creative contributions, he didn't have 'superintendence' or 'control' over the full screenplay.

The same principle should apply her, Lepera argued yesterday. "It's analogous", she told the judge, insisting that a key question to consider was "whether Mr Armes had control over what the composition became and what was released on Mr Malone's album, and what was ultimately included". And he did not. "He had no control. He made suggestions. He made ideas".

Whether any of this will be enough to secure dismissal of Armes' lawsuit remains to be seen. Law360 reports that the judge didn't seem especially convinced by the latter argument, in particular. If not, the dispute should head to trial in May. Armes is pushing for a jury trial, while the Malone side reckons the dispute should be heard by just the judge.

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Warner Music partners with Jjust Music in India
Warner Music India and Jjust Music announced one of those strategic partnerships yesterday, with the two companies now all lined up to - and I quote - "create the next generation of Indian music stars". Although the first release under the new JV sees the two companies work with an existing star, albeit one generally better known for his acting, that being Indian actor Tiger Shroff.

Jjust Music was launched in 2019 by actor and film producer Jackky Bhangnani, and - by allying with the company - Warner Music India is, the major says, "making its first foray into marquee Bollywood releases". Meanwhile, the partnership also means "Jjust Music's artists will benefit from being plugged into Warner Music's global network".

Says Bhagnani: "Jjust Music emerged from an ambition to create pathbreaking music and provide independent Indian artists with a platform, while supporting them with our experience, expertise and resources. I am THRILLED to bring to life my vision for Indian music through this unique collaboration with Warner Music India. Giving Indian music and artists the same exposure, support and opportunities as international music, this collaboration will only boost the confidence of our artists and enhance the quality of their music".

And Jay Mehta, MD of Warner Music India, adds: "We're absolutely delighted to partner with Jackky Bhagnani and Jjust Music. This collaboration will help us add value to our artists' careers by offering support in a huge range of areas from live shows to brand partnerships. We're eager to get into the Bollywood scene, but just as motivated to give a platform to talented and interesting artists performing non-film music".

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IMPALA launches carbon calculator to help indie music companies become more environmentally sustainable
IMPALA - the pan-European organisation for the independent music community - and sustainability charity Julie's Bicycle have launched a bespoke carbon calculator to help independent music companies measure the environmental impact of their businesses, and to identify and achieve their climate goals.

Both IMPALA and Julie's Bicycle confirmed they were working on building the calculator last October. The tool is now available to IMPALA members, going live just ahead of a special week of events next week organised by campaign group Music Declares Emergency, which will put the spotlight on the various ways that the music industry can become more sustainable, and play a more proactive role in the wider world to help tackle climate-based challenges.

IMPALA explains that the calculator tool has been "tailored to the needs of independent record companies" with "a customised layout as well as a help desk to facilitate carbon accounting". The aim, the trade group adds, "is to make it easy for the sector to start measuring their impact and ensure no country or company gets left behind".

Commenting on the calculator, Julie's Bicycle CEO Alison Tickell says: "Having a custom-made calculator and a standardised framework for the recorded sector is a big step towards taking full responsibility. We are happy to be supporting IMPALA members on their mission to reach carbon neutrality".

A number of the indie music companies actively involved in the creation of the calculator - including !K7 and Beggars - have started publishing their own sustainability reports which set out their objectives for making their businesses more sustainable, and then monitor their progress and achievements. Tools like this are designed to help a wider range of independent music companies undertake that kind of activity.

!K7 CEO Horst Weidenmüller - who also chairs IMPALA's Sustainability Task Force - says: "Having published our own report, we want to make carbon accounting as simple as possible and accessible to all companies across Europe, and this tool will help us achieve that. This is what will really make the difference".

Meanwhile Will Hutton, Head of Sustainability at Beggars Group, adds: "This is the start of the sector being able to report in a standardised way. This is very important to Beggars. We have started working on our own footprint and having information aligned across the sector is key".

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Universal launches another Mercury Records, this time as part of Republic
Universal Music in the US has had a good old rummage around its big bag of brands and pulled out the 'Mercury' card, prompting the launch of a new imprint of its Republic Records division to be known as Mercury Records. And why the hell not?

The new imprint will be headed up by Republic A&Rs Tyler Arnold and Ben Adelson, and will feature some of their big previous signings to the Republic label on its roster, in particular Post Malone and James Bay. The new Mercury chiefs will report into Republic co-founders Monte and Avery Lipman.

"We're very grateful to Monte and Avery for entrusting us with such a legendary label and brand", says Arnold. "I am so proud of our incredible roster and am excited to represent some of the most talented, influential and creative artists in music today. It is Mercury's priority to lead as a creative company, putting our artists first and taking an energetic, entrepreneurial approach to A&R and marketing. We are building Mercury to become the modern music label".

Meanwhile the Monte of the Lipmans adds: "Tyler and Ben's accomplishments speak volumes as top A&R executives over the past few years, and the legacy of Mercury Records will be in perfect hands. Their competitive spirit, drive and determination will lead a new vanguard of creative artists into uncharted waters".

The original Mercury Records was founded in Chicago in 1945, later being acquired by the old Polygram major record company, which then merged with Universal in the late 1990s.

Since then various labels and imprints within the Universal Music Group have used the Mercury brand, although the mainstream frontline Mercury labels in the US and the UK were ultimately merged into other divisions of the major.

However, in addition to the all new Mercury Records as part of Republic Records in the US, a number of other Universal units also still utilise the Mercury name, including the major's Nashville division, plus the UK-based quirky classical label Mercury NX and media unit Mercury Studios.

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Backstreet launches new hub in Berlin to help tackle Brexit merch challenges
While the debate around the impact of Brexit on British musicians has mainly focused on the permits, carnets and other paperwork that artists may now need as they, their crew and their kit enter different EU countries, there are other bureaucratic challenges to meet too, including around merchandise.

With that in mind, London-based merch company Backstreet International has opened a new European hub in Berlin which will provide the same services at its UK base, but will help remove some of the barriers artists now face when selling merchandise to European fans, especially when they are touring in EU markets.

The merch firm explains that its new German operation "has been created to alleviate the significant trade issues created by Brexit and will provide artists touring in Europe with local production giving a faster turnaround, no VAT restrictions, no customs challenges, lower shipping rates, faster delivery times, lower carbon emissions and chart registration in multiple EU countries".

The company's founder Andy Allen adds: "Our new office in Berlin reflects what we have built in the UK and US over the last three decades and is a continuation of the options we provide our clients from a sustainable range of products wherever they are in the world".

"The trade issues surrounding Brexit have caused chaos to artists touring in mainland Europe", he goes on, "and our mission is to help alleviate those problems while providing that badge of honour that a fan can wear to demonstrate a strong connection with artists who have real meaning for them. The clients we work with now have an experienced team on the ground in Germany who they can deal with directly and it's an exciting new phase for our company".

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Universal Music signs up to support Help Musicians mentoring programme
Universal Music has formally confirmed its support of a musicians mentoring programme being run by music charity Help Musicians. That programme - called Co-Pilot: The Musicians' Mentoring Network - was trialled with the Ivors Academy in 2020 and is now being expanded.

As a supporter of the programme, Universal will make its staff available to mentor and support music-makers, helping those music-makers develop their skills, networks and profiles over a six month period. Help Musicians explains that "every pairing in the network is carefully matched, factoring in the musician's specific objectives and their mentor's area of expertise".

Commenting on the programme, Help Musicians CEO James Ainscough says: "Mentoring has been proven to be an incredibly powerful tool in many industries but is rarely available to freelance musicians. Their career paths are as unique as their creative output, so one-to-one mentoring can be invaluable".

On Universal's support, he adds: "The expertise offered by Universal Music Group staff will greatly empower musicians in the Co-Pilot network to navigate towards their goals with added confidence. We're so pleased to be partnered with both Universal Music Group and The Ivors Academy for this impactful collaboration of ambition, skills and guidance".

Meanwhile Janie Orr, who heads up Universal's own music education charity the Sound Foundation, adds: "Mentorship can be a powerful part of any musician's career, from those just starting out to the more established. That's why we're delighted to team up with Help Musicians on this Co-Pilot initiative. There's a real buzz at Universal Music about the programme which has already seen colleagues partnered with musicians from across the UK - with more matches still to come".

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Approved: Ethel Cain
Ethel Cain has released the latest track from her upcoming debut album 'Preacher's Daughter', which is out next month. 'Strangers' follows recent single 'Gibson Girl' and also serves as the album's closing track.

"This is the second song I wrote for this record, without the intention that it would become the ending", she says. "Looking back, I can't imagine a more perfect resolution to this lineage".

"I think, subconsciously, this song was always the end of the road", she adds. "It's the realisation that some things cannot be avoided, only accepted, and that just because it isn't a happy ending, doesn't mean it's a bad one".

"There is an ending in every beginning, and all things come back around in one strange way or another", she goes on. "You can't change your past, nor anyone else's, and the only real strength you have in this lifetime is your forgiveness".

'Preacher's Daughter' is out on 12 May. Listen to 'Strangers' here.

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

APPOINTMENTS

shesaid.so - the global networking platform that champions gender equality in the music industry - has announced music executive Christine Osazuwa, currently Strategy Director at Pollen, as its new UK Director. The network's CEO Andreea Magdalina is "elated that she is joining the team in such a crucial role within the organisation, especially as the UK continues to prove its importance in pushing boundaries in an ever-evolving music industry ecosystem".

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RELEASES

Chase & Status will release their sixth studio album - 'What Came Before' - on 10 Jun. Here's new single 'Mixed Emotions'.

That Jack Johnson will release a new album called 'Meet The Moonlight' on 24 Jun and I don't think there's anything you can do about it. So, maybe just accept this reality and listen to lead single 'One Step Ahead'.

Benny Bizzie has a new single called 'Forever'. You should check it out.

How about a nineteenth full-length studio album from The Brian Jonestown Massacre? Yes, nineteenth! It's called 'Fire Doesn't Grow On Trees' and will be released on 24 Jun. Here's single 'The Real'.

Zero 7's fourth album 'Yeah Ghost' has been reissued with new bonus tracks - plus it's available on vinyl for the first time. Listen here. Or, if you prefer, buy on vinyl here.

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

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Kurt Cobain's 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' guitar up for auction
Want to own the guitar that Kurt Cobain played in the video to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'? Got $800,000 burning a big old hole in your pocket? Then read on my friend.

The left-handed 1969 Fender Mustang that appeared in said video is among the musical items being auctioned off next month during a three day event called Music Icons being run in New York by Julien's Auctions.

The auction company's CEO, Darren Julien, reckons that the guitar is "one of the most culturally significant and historically important guitars not only of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana's legacy but in all of rock music history".

And, he adds, "rarely do personally owned items from Kurt Cobain, with this incredible and unprecedented provenance of his life and career, become available for public sale".

Bids for the guitar are expected to start somewhere between $600,000 and $800,000. Although given Julien's Auctions has jumped on the NFTs bandwagon of late, you'd think they'd have attached an NFT to this sale too, wouldn't you?

Then bidding would probably start somewhere between $6 million and $8 million. After all, owning an iconic guitar is one thing, but having your ownership logged on a blockchain somewhere, now that's the really good stuff people!

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