TODAY'S TOP STORY: As a documentary about last year's Astroworld tragedy started being screened in more cinemas around Texas last week, a member of Travis Scott's team dubbed the film a "propaganda piece", a “profit play” and a “publicity stunt" created by a "trauma pornographer"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Travis Scott reps dub Astroworld documentary a "propaganda piece"
LEGAL Bandcamp joins parent company Epic in going legal over Google's app store rules
New York piracy ruling may set precedent for web-blocking
DEALS Glass Animals' Dave Bayley signs to Universal Music Publishing
Yeah Yeah Yeahs sign to Secretly Canadian

RELEASES Ukrainian band Antytila feature on new Ed Sheeran remix
ONE LINERS FKA Twigs, Juicy J, Fallujah, more
AND FINALLY... Vans gets injunction against Tyga and MSCHF's Wavy Baby trainers
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Travis Scott reps dub Astroworld documentary a "propaganda piece"
As a documentary about last year's Astroworld tragedy started being screened in more cinemas around Texas last week, a member of Travis Scott's team dubbed the film a "propaganda piece", a "profit play" and a "publicity stunt" created by a "trauma pornographer".

'Concert Crush' puts the spotlight on the fatal crowd surge that occurred during Travis Scott's headline set at the festival he founded in his home town of Houston. Ten people died and hundreds more were injured during the crowd surge, which has resulted in hundreds of lawsuits being filed.

The film has been put together by Charlie Minn, who refers to himself as a "victim-driven" documentary filmmaker. One of its co-producers, meanwhile, is a lawyer working on some of the Astroworld lawsuits, Ricardo Ramos.

Having heard about Minn's film - and plans for a couple of premiere screenings last month before the roll out to more cinemas around Texas - Astroworld promoter Live Nation wrote to the judge overseeing all the lawsuits to express concerns that the documentary could taint the jury pool if and when some of those cases go to full trial.

Noting the involvement of Ramos as a co-producer - and that other lawyers working on Astroworld cases were interviewed in the film - Live Nation's letter to judge Kristen Hawkins stated: "The involvement of plaintiffs' lawyers in the film, and the publicity the filmmakers and producers are trying to generate for it, raise significant issues about efforts to taint the jury pool".

A rep for Scott himself, speaking about the film last week, was much more damning than Live Nation's lawyers, or at least so says TMZ. It quotes the rep as describing 'Concert Crush' as a "farce financed by and containing content from members of the plaintiffs' legal teams, who, weeks after a tragedy, sought to exploit and benefit financially from it, with the clear goals of making money and swaying future juries and public opinion".

Insisting that the documentary was nothing more than a "propaganda piece", the rep reportedly added: "It's a profit play and a publicity stunt, with no support from the film industry, no distribution, and from a director with no respect from his field who has been termed a 'trauma pornographer'".

For his part, Minn has been just as forthright when talking about Scott in interviews alongside the release of his film. According to Page Six, he said: "Travis Scott to me is a punk. In my opinion, he is a criminal. Ten people died. How do we get around that?"

A key question in all the lawsuits, of course, is who specifically, if anyone, was responsible for the crowd surge that occurred during Astroworld 2021.

Promoter Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary - as well as local law enforcement and licensing officials - are likely to come under criticism over the planning of the event and the response on the ground on the night as the crowd surge occurred.

Scott is also a defendant in the lawsuits. He's been criticised for having a history of encouraging his audiences to behave in a dangerous way, and for continuing to perform for half an hour after police had declared a mass casualty event during his Astroworld set.

Though Scott's supporters have pointed out that it is not the artist's responsibility to ensure crowd safety at festivals they are involved in or to halt a show when a major incident occurs. Plus, they add, Scott did pause his Astroworld performance a few times, including once when he saw an audience member had passed out, and once when he saw an ambulance trying to move through the audience.

However, reckons Minn, those events should have made it clear to Scott that there was a major problem occurring. "The reason he deserves criticism and jail time, he knew there was a problem", the director added in his interview. "He acknowledged an ambulance in the crowd. He noticed people passed out and stopped the show on three occasions. I'm not saying he knew people were dead, but he knew there was a problem. An ambulance is not an ice cream truck".

As for his motivation for making 'Concert Crush', Minn said that he was trying to give the victims a voice, while also seeking to ensure that "every concert organiser and promoter uses Astroworld as a model [of] what not to do. I don't want to see another person get hurt at a concert again. Last time I checked you are supposed to go for fun and not to fight for your life".

Another Scott rep that spoke to Page Six said that the rapper had not seen the film, but that his team consider it to be a "blatant piece of propaganda", adding: "This movie is not a serious investigative piece".

As well as the screenings in Texas, 'Concert Crush' is also streaming on Vimeo.


Bandcamp joins parent company Epic in going legal over Google's app store rules
Bandcamp last week filed legal papers with the courts in California seeking an injunction ordering Google to ensure that the direct-to-fan company's app remains available within its Play app store even if it does not comply with an upcoming rule change around payments. It's the latest legal battle against the app store rules of the tech giants, the most prominent of which to date have been fought by Bandcamp's new parent company, Epic Games.

The rules instigated by Google and Apple over any apps available on the Android and iOS systems respectively have proven increasingly controversial over the years, and especially those that relate to payments. For certain categories of apps, any in-app payments must be taken using Google or Apple's proprietary commission-charging transactions systems. Many app owners argue those rules are anti-competitive, especially where Google and Apple themselves offer rival services.

Because, for example, Spotify - which has a profit margin of around 30% - can't afford to swallow a Google or Apple commission of 30%. Which means, to take in-app payments, it would have to pass on the 30% app store commissions to the customer. Which would then make its subscription prices seem like they are more expensive than the music services operated by Google and Apple.

Although Google and Apple deny that their app store rules are anti-competitive, there have been some recent changes to those rules, mainly as a result of pressure stemming from litigation and regulator interventions.

Apple, for example, is relaxing a rule that says that - not only must apps take in-app payments using the Apple transactions system - but the app maker cannot sign-post alternative payment methods outside the app that circumvent the Apple system. As a result of a deal done with a competition regulator in Japan, Apple will allow so called reader apps - which include Spotify - to start sign-posting alternative payment options.

For its part, Google seems willing to go even further, albeit initially via a pilot project. In March, Google announced that it would allow Spotify to take in-app payments on Android devices using its own transactions system, providing the option is also offered to pay through the Google transactions system as well. That seems like a major win for Spotify in this domain, although the specifics of how that will work - and how quickly it will role out to other apps - are not yet clear.

Despite that pilot removing one unpopular Android rule, for Spotify at least, another change to Google's terms and conditions for app makers is actually extending the same unpopular rule to more apps. Hence the the new beef with Bandcamp.

Previously, on Android - unlike iOS - apps were not forced to use the Google transactions system when selling digital content that was consumed outside the app, such as a music download.

However, a rule change first announced in 2020 means that, as of last month, the sale of such content does have to use the Google transactions system, and apps which have not switched to the Google payment method by the start of next month will be removed from the Google Play store.

In its legal filing last week, Bandcamp said that it wasn't initially clear if the rule change would indeed effect its Android app. Once it became clear last summer that it would, the company entered into talks with Google, which ultimately said it would offer the direct-to-fan service a special commission rate of 10%.

However, Bandcamp co-founder Ethan Diamond wrote in the legal filing, that still doesn't work. "Google's policy change does not work for our community or our business", he stated. "Even at a revenue share rate of 10%, we would have to either pass those fees on to consumers (making Android a less attractive platform for music fans), pass those fees on to artists, or run our Android business at a long-term loss".

Not only that, the legal filing went on, but shifting over to the Google payment system would likely slow down how quickly artists would receive their payments, from the current 48 hours to up to 45 days. Google Play billing also can't handle the sale of physical products - which is also a key part of the Bandcamp business - so they'd need to operate two billing systems, one for digital products and one for physical products.

To avoid all this, Bandcamp could just stop taking payments for digital content through its Android app, which is already the case on its iOS app, because Apple rules have always forced the use of its transactions system for this kind of sale.

Explaining how things currently work on its iOS app in the legal filing, Bandcamp said: "If a user attempts to purchase a digital album or song within the iOS Bandcamp app, they see a message that the content is 'not available for purchase on this device'. Instead, the user can add the digital content to their 'wishlist', which prompts an email from Bandcamp to the user with information on how to purchase the digital content on Bandcamp's website".

But that approach would be far from ideal, of course. Not only would it be annoying for all Android using Bandcamp customers, with younger users in particular, it would probably stop a sale from going ahead. "If there is no way for these [younger] consumers to purchase digital music directly in the Bandcamp app", Diamond's statement went on, "I expect that some of them will not purchase digital music from Bandcamp at all".

"Moreover", it added, "if there is no way to purchase digital music in any version of the Bandcamp app, I expect that some artists will become less engaged with Bandcamp or leave the service altogether, making Bandcamp less attractive for fans and artists alike. Thus, removing digital sales in the Android version of the Bandcamp app may hinder our ability to keep fans and artists engaged and to continue to grow Bandcamp".

With all that in mind, Bandcamp would like an injunction prohibiting Google from "removing, de-listing, refusing to list or otherwise making unavailable the app Bandcamp, including rejecting or refusing to distribute any update of such app, from the Google Play Store on the basis that Bandcamp offers in-app payments through means other than Google Play Billing".

By going legal against Google over its app store rules, Bandcamp is presumably benefiting from the expertise of its new parent company, which has filed multiple lawsuits in multiple countries against both Apple and Google regarding in-app payments.

Google noted that when responding to the Bandcamp legal filing last week. "This is yet another meritless claim by Epic, which is now using its newly acquired app Bandcamp to continue its effort to avoid paying for the value that Google Play provides", a spokesperson declared.

On the specifics of the Bandcamp beef, the spokesperson insisted that Google's flexibility meant that its app store rule change is not damaging for the direct-to-fan company in the ways it claims in its lawsuit.

"We've been transparent about Play's payment policy for more than eighteen months and, as Epic knows, Bandcamp is eligible for a service fee of just 10% through Play's Media Experience Program - far less than the fees they charge on their own platforms", they added.

"Despite their claims, Android's openness means that Bandcamp has multiple ways of distributing their app to Android users, including through other app stores, directly to users via their website or as a consumption-only app as they do on iOS".


New York piracy ruling may set precedent for web-blocking
New rulings in three related piracy cases in the New York courts include a pretty wide-ranging web-blocking order, possibly setting a precedent that web-blocks are now an anti-piracy tactic available to copyright owners in the US.

Web-blocking - where internet service providers are ordered to block their users from accessing piracy sites - has become a preferred anti-piracy tactic of the music and movie industries in those countries were such blocking orders are available through the courts.

In some countries, specific new copyright laws set in place a system via which copyright owners could secure web-blocks. Meanwhile, in other countries, like the UK, the courts simply decided that blocking orders were possible under existing copyright rules.

However, in the US, web-blocking has generally not been an option for copyright owners. That's because proposals ten years ago to introduce a specific web-blocking system into US copyright law - known as SOPA and PIPA - proved very controversial indeed and were ultimately abandoned.

Web-blocking has come up since in some US legal cases against piracy sites - and some internet companies have voluntary agreed to instigate some web-blocks when settling lawsuits.

For example, that's happened with some of the legal action pursued by the consortium of movie producers led by Millennium Media, and in particular when settling legal action against virtual private networks or VPNs.

But following the SOPA/PIPA controversies ten years ago, music and movie companies in the US have not been able to secure web-blocks against a big long list of piracy operations, unlike their counterparts elsewhere in the world, and especially in the UK.

That could be about to change though. Last week the New York courts issued judgements in three lawsuits filed by a number of Israeli movie and media companies against websites that make available unlicensed video content aimed at an Israeli audience, including Israelis living in the US.

The defendants - Israel-tv.com, Israel.tv and Sdarot.tv - failed to respond to the lawsuits, meaning the plaintiffs won by default, getting themselves some lovely damages, and an injunction ordering the three sites to stop infringing the plaintiffs' copyrights.

However, getting damages and enforcing that injunction may prove tricky because, last week's judgement notes, "defendants have gone to great lengths to conceal themselves and their ill-gotten proceeds from plaintiffs' and this court's detection, including by using multiple false identities and addresses associated with their operations and purposely-deceptive contact information for the infringing website[s]".

So you know what the plaintiff's really need here? A web-blocking order against US ISPs. And that's what they got. "It is further ordered that all ISPs ... providing services in the United States shall block access to the website[s] at any domain address known today ... or to be used in the future by the defendants ... by any technological means available on the ISPs' systems. The domain addresses ... shall be channeled in such a way that users will be unable to connect and/or use the website, and will be diverted by the ISPs' DNS servers to a landing page operated and controlled by plaintiffs".

In those countries where web-blocking orders against ISPs in relation to piracy sites are now pretty standard, the debate has shifted on to whether other internet companies should also block piracy websites and/or withdraw services from such sites. That includes the aforementioned VPNs as well as DNS resolvers, both of which can be used to circumvent web-blocks put in place by ISPs.

Well, last week's court order covers all that as well, ordering pretty much any kind of internet company - as well as payment processors - to stop allowing the three piracy sites from using or being accessed via their networks and platforms.

It remains to be seen if any of the internet companies affected by this order oppose it in court. When web-blocks are first introduced in any one country, affected internet companies do usually object, before ultimately falling in line. Given the significant precedent arguably set by these judgements, some sort of opposition seems likely, though we shall see.


Glass Animals' Dave Bayley signs to Universal Music Publishing
Universal Music Publishing has signed Dave Bayley of Glass Animals to a global publishing deal.

"There's so much I want to learn and so much music I want to make in so many different areas - from Glass Animals records, to pop songwriting, to experimental sound design, to scoring", says Bayley.

"When it came time to re-sign my publishing, there were so many wonderful people, ideas and opportunities around that I began to feel a bit lost", he adds, "but Universal Music Publishing and the incredible team of people there had drawn a long and clear path for me through those ideas… it just felt like a journey I wanted to take. I can't wait to see what the future holds!"

Universal Music Publishing CEO Jody Gerson says: "I am a Glass Animals fan and I am especially delighted to work closely with UMPG's global creative teams to amplify Dave Bayley's talents as a writer and producer, not only for his band but also for other artists who inspire and excite him".

Meanwhile, Mike McCormack, Managing Director of UMPG UK, also comments: "Best part of this job is when you get the opportunity to work with a world-class original talent like Dave Bayley. I'd been a fan of his for many years, so personally and professionally, it's an honour that he and [Glass Animals manager] Amy [Morgan of September Management] chose UMPG as their publishing partner going forward".

Glass Animals are currently finishing the European leg of their world tour, before heading to the US. They are also set to play Glastonbury and the Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK this summer.


Yeah Yeah Yeahs sign to Secretly Canadian
Yeah Yeah Yeahs have signed a new record deal with Secretly Canadian ahead of the release of new music later this year. This follows the announcement of live shows in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

"It's with true life affirming pleasure to announce our two headline shows in our two hometowns NYC and LA, supported by two wildly gifted bands, Japanese Breakfast and The Linda Lindas at the Hollywood Bowl, with The Linda Lindas supporting in Forest Hills and our other support TBA soon", says frontwoman Karen O. "Representin a few generations yo! Cannot wait to see you there! New music! New era! And new home with Secretly Canadian! Much to celebrate!"

The band are also set to play the Manchester Apollo on 5 Jun, followed by two nights at Brixton Academy in London on 7-8 Jun. They also have dates lined up in Spain, Australia and Canada.

New music is set for release in the autumn. Until then, you'll just have to make do with this brief teaser video.


CMU+TGE Update: Follow a new track on its data journey at The Great Escape
The Great Escape 2022 is nearly here, kicking off next Wednesday, 11 May. And each day in the CMU Daily we are providing a guide to the CMU+TGE Sessions taking place there this year - including the MUSIC+DATA strand on Thursday 12 May, presented in association with the BPI.

The first half of MUSIC+DATA will be focused on track and rights data, and will explain how this data helps artists and songwriters get their music played and their royalties paid.

It will also look at the data standards, systems and platforms used by record labels, music distributors, music publishers, collecting societies and streaming services, and the role everyone plays in making sure the data flows.

But what does all that mean in practical terms? Well, join us as we follow a brand new track on its data journey. What's that track? Well, it's the Setlist theme tuned reimagined, because we all know that Setlist listeners have been desperate to include that theme tune in their personal playlists.

We'll watch what data is required and created as the track is distributed to the streaming services, and then pushed into the collecting society databases, in the UK and beyond.

What other databases do we need to know about? What databases are linked to what revenue streams in what countries? What data is required when music is broadcast or played in clubs? What about to secure sync deals? Where does music recognition technology fit in?

Who creates the data? Who manages the data? What are the biggest challenges? What new technologies and initiatives are being employed to meet those challenges? And what role do managers, labels and publishers play along the way?

We'll hear from loads of music data experts, including people working in management and at labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies. That includes TuneCore's Sarah Wilson, who will talk through the data created as a track is distributed.

PPL's Stuart Fitzsimon will talk about the record industry initiatives to make it easier to get rights data into collecting society databases worldwide; while Sessions' David Campbell and Family In Music's Kevin Bacon will discuss the data tools their respective companies provide.

Elsewhere, Audoo's Ryan Edwards, and Chris Lewis and Damon Rickard from PRS For Music, will discuss the role of music recognition technology; and rights expert Becky Brook will be among those considering some of the key data challenges and solutions.

Find out more about the MUSIC + DATA strand at TGE here. And to access all this - get yourself a delegate pass here.

Ukrainian band Antytila feature on new Ed Sheeran remix
Ed Sheeran has released another remix of '2Step', this time in collaboration with Ukrainian band Antytila. Proceeds from the new track will go to the Ukrainian Association Of Music Events' Music Saves UA campaign, raising money for humanitarian efforts in the country.

Antytila first contacted Sheeran last month, asking to be included in ITV's Concert For Ukraine. Organisers of that event, however, refused the request, as the band are currently fighting in the Ukrainian army, and the fundraising show would "only be able to focus on the humanitarian situation, not the politics or the military conflict".

Sheeran nonetheless reacted positively to the band getting in touch with him and promised to listen to their music. Last week, it emerged that they had now worked together on a track, with Antytila sharing a screengrab of a text conversation with Sheeran on their Instagram profile.

Earlier this month, Sheeran released a remix of '2Step' featuring Lil Baby, the video for which he filmed in Ukraine prior to Russia's invasion of the country. Revenues from that version of the track are going to the Disasters Emergency Committee's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. The new remix with Antytila has, of course, been created as fighting continues.

In the conversation shared by Antytila, Sheeran says: "It's incredible you write lyrics like that considering all that's going on. I really appreciate it. Amazing".

Antytila vocalist Taras Topolia adds in a statement: "Ed's suggestion to work together is a manifestation of the genuine support for Ukraine, shown by the people of Great Britain during this war. Millions of people, not only in words but in concrete deeds, show how it really is to stand up for their principles, democracy and freedom, and to give a hand to those who really need it. It seems like just a joint song, but how symbolic it is in fact".

The video for the latest version of '2Step' was directed by Dmytro Shmurak in Ukraine and features Topolia performing his new vocals on the track.

Watch the video here.



A trial start date for FKA Twigs' physical and mental abuse case against actor Shia LaBeouf has been set for 17 Apr 2023, according to Rolling Stone.



Sony Music Publishing has signed Kal Lavelle - co-writer of Ed Sheeran's 'Shivers' - to a global publishing deal. "I am very blessed to be part of the Sony Publishing family", says Lavelle. "And that's exactly how it feels, like a family. I've been shown incredible support and belief since signing. Authenticity in my dealings with people and the creation of great art is important to me and I'm delighted that Sony shares this vision".



Indian streaming service JioSaavn has hired Amazon Music India boss Sahas Malhotra as its new CEO. He replaces Rishi Malhotra, who stepped down in November last year.



Juicy J has released new single 'Step Back', featuring Duke Deuce.

Fallujah have announced that they will release new album 'Empyrean' on 9 Sep. They've also released new single 'Radiant Ascension'. "'Empyrean' is truly a return to form because we are doing what comes naturally to us, but with an intensity that we haven't achieved in the past", says guitarist Scott Carstairs. "We set out to create something that represents the band and its history in its purest form while also pushing our technical abilities further than we have ever gone".



Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougal's The Waeve have announced a second show at The Lexington in London on 6 May to launch the new project. They will also release their first single, 'Something Pretty', between the two performances. The first show on 4 May is sold out.

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


Vans gets injunction against Tyga and MSCHF's Wavy Baby trainers
A New York court has issued a temporary restraining order stopping Tyga and MSCHF from selling and promoting their Wavy Baby trainers following legal action filed by shoe maker Vans.

MSCHF is also the company behind Lil Nas X's Satan Shoes which resulted in a similar legal run in with Nike last year, the Satan Shoes actually being Nike trainers that had been meddled with.

That particular dispute was settled after MSCHF agreed to recall all the Satan Shoes it had sold. But the legal bust up ensured that the already controversial collaboration with Lil Nas X was an even bigger news story, and it also provided the rapper with an entire marketing concept for his next single release campaign.

The Wavy Baby project with Tyga is more ambitious in terms of the shoe itself. Although clearly influenced by Vans' products, they have been designed to look digitally warped and, I guess, a bit wavy.

Responding, Vans said in a legal filing last month that the latest MSCHF shoes "blatantly and unmistakably incorporate Vans' iconic trademarks" and that both the company and Tyga had "shamelessly marketed the Wavy Baby shoe in a direct effort to confuse consumers".

For its part MSCHF insisted that the Wavy Baby trainers were a statement about the nature of the sports shoes business and should therefore be protected by its free speech rights. "Standard shoe practice is: steal a sole, steal an upper, change a symbol", it said. "What a boring use of cultural material. Wavy Baby is a complete distortion of an entire object that is itself a symbol".

MSCHF was also keen to stress that its shoe wasn't identical to any Vans product, because - you know - it's all wavy, and therefore the idea that its latest shoe project would confuse consumers into thinking it was an official Vans-endorsed venture wasn't credible.

However, the judge hearing the case did not agree. He said that in trademark infringement cases like this, marks need not be identical in order for there to be a case for consumer confusion. Indeed, he added, "independent sources" had reported that consumer confusion had actually occurred regarding the latest MSCHF shoes and their possible link to Vans.

As for the free speech element, while the wider project might constitute parody, the judge said, "the Wavy Baby shoes and packaging in and of themselves fail to convey the satirical message".

With all that in mind, the judge issued the preliminary injunction Vans had requested stopping MSCHF and Tyga from selling and promoting the shoes.

Responding, legal reps for MSCHF told Law360 that the court had "failed to recognise MSCHF's First Amendment rights to artistic expression, regardless of the particular medium or form of that expression, and omits any discussion of Rogers v Grimaldi, the seminal Second Circuit case protecting artistic expression".

As a result "MSCHF will continue to litigate this case". Partly to stand up for those free speech arguments, presumably. Although maybe also to keep the story in the news - because all that extra attention is good for MSCHF and Tyga, of course. But will any of this legal wrangling form the narrative of Tyga's next music video? We shall see.


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.
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