WEDNESDAY 4 MAY 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Kanye West has been sued by a Texas-based pastor who claims that a track on the rapper's 'Donda' album samples one of his sermons without licence. That copyright infringement, the pastor's lawsuit stresses, has resulted in a "considerable influx of ill-gotten financial gains and other benefits" for West and his label... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Kanye West sued over sermon sample on Donda
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LEGAL US judge rejects RCN's latest round of Rightscorp dissing
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DEALS SoundCloud buys Musiio
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EDUCATION & EVENTS Billie Eilish to host climate change conference before London O2 Arena shows
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RELEASES Tove Lo releases first single on her own label
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Coldplay launch tour app to help fans reduce carbon footprints while travelling to shows
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ONE LINERS Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Rammstein, more
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AND FINALLY... Sex Pistols to celebrate Queen's platinum jubilee with God Save The Queen re-issues
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Kanye West sued over sermon sample on Donda
Kanye West has been sued by a Texas-based pastor who claims that a track on the rapper's 'Donda' album samples one of his sermons without licence. That copyright infringement, the pastor's lawsuit stresses, has resulted in a "considerable influx of ill-gotten financial gains and other benefits" for West and his label.

Presumably God approves when West includes religious samples within his music, because - you know - it's free promo, and we all know how much God loves free promo. But then again, we also know how annoying it is when people think "free promo" is a justification for "no royalties".

God himself probably isn't so bothered about the royalty payments, but some members of God's team would definitely prefer the cheque to the marketing boost. That includes Bishop David Paul Moten, whose sermon is sampled in the 'Donda' track 'Come To Life'. He's definitely not happy with just the free exposure.

"'Come To Life' is approximately five minutes and ten seconds in length", says the pastor's lawsuit. "Approximately one minute and ten seconds of this sound recording is sampled directly from plaintiff's sermon and appears to run on a loop underscoring the pre-chorus and chorus throughout the song in question. Consequently [at least] 20% of the entire sound recording 'Come To Life' is comprised of unauthorised, unlicensed samples of the sermon".

"Defendants wilfully and without the permission or consent of plaintiff extensively sampled portions of the sermon", the lawsuit goes on. "Over the span of several years, defendants have demonstrated an alarming pattern and practice of wilfully and egregiously sampling sound recordings of others without consent or permission".

That latter point is possibly referencing the last time a religious sample got West in trouble. The rapper was previously sued over a short segment that appears at the start of 'Ultralight Beam' on his 'Life Of Pablo' album. That sample - which was taken from an Instagram post - features a child reciting a prayer. The child's guardians claimed that West had not got formal approval to use that religious snippet either.

That case was ultimately settled in late 2020. As for this latest religious sample dispute, Moten reckons that: "Defendants have seen a considerable influx of ill-gotten financial gains and other benefits as a direct consequence of their wrongful use of plaintiff's sound recording and production, and other violations of plaintiff's rights".

"Consequently", his lawsuit adds, "defendants therefore hold money which in equity and good conscience belongs to the plaintiff. Plaintiff has also suffered substantial damages because of defendants' wrongful acts and omissions ... based on the foregoing, plaintiff requests an award of the disgorged profits of the defendants, compensatory, consequential and incidental damages in an amount to be determined by the trier of fact, plus costs, interest and expenses".

Given that God's approval is not generally acknowledged as grounds for using copyright material without licence - and assuming the facts as described by Moten are correct, I mean, a man of God wouldn't lie, would he? - then West will likely need to settle this dispute too, presumably by putting a fistful of dollars in the collection plate.

West is yet to respond.

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US judge rejects RCN's latest round of Rightscorp dissing
A US judge last week again knocked back a counterclaim made by one of the internet service providers sued by the record industry for not doing enough to combat copyright infringement on its networks.

RCN - like various other ISPs - has been sued by the major labels over allegations that it did not, in the past, have an effective policy in place to deal with repeat copyright infringers among its user base. That's important because such a policy is required if an internet company wants to qualify for safe harbour protection under US copyright law, so that it can't be held liable for the copyright infringement of its users.

The big test cases in this domain were against Cox Communications, initially via a lawsuit filed by BMG, and then a subsequent lawsuit filed by the majors. In both cases it was ruled that Cox had a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers, and therefore couldn't rely on safe harbour protection, and was therefore liable for its users' copyright infringement.

Given that Cox was then ordered to pay the majors a billion dollars in damages, it's understandable that the other ISPs targeted with lawsuits of this kind are desperately trying to find any legal argument they can in order to counter the copyright claims made by the record companies.

A common tactic - although one that hasn't generally worked in court - is to accuse the labels and the anti-piracy agencies they employ of bad conduct when it comes to the monitoring of copyright infringement on any one ISP's networks, and the issuing of copyright notices to the net firms when infringement is spotted.

In the RCN case, the anti-piracy agency employed by the labels is Rightscorp. The ISP has repeatedly accused Rightscorp of employing "unfair and fraudulent" practices - and of breaching the California Business & Professions Code - by flooding them with so many copyright notices that it creates "an environment in which ISPs, including RCN, have no choice but to indiscriminately terminate the internet access of every customer accused of copyright infringement, or face the wrath of the record labels and the Recording Industry Association Of America".

RCN initially made those allegations in a counterclaim filed with the courts in October 2020. The judge overseeing the ISP's dispute with the majors subsequently dismissed the counterclaim, but said that the net firm could file an amended complaint, which it did in July last year.

However, that amended complaint has now also been dismissed. The judge basically said that RCN's beef is not actually with Rightscorp and how it goes about monitoring and reporting copyright infringement, but with the safe harbour provisions in US copyright law, and how it instructs copyright owners to do that monitoring and reporting. Or, more to the point, how it doesn't instruct them.

Wrote the judge last week: "Internet providers [actually] take issue with Congress's statutory regime concerning service provider liability for copyright infringement. Their desire for companies like Rightscorp to tailor infringement notifications in certain ways to save internet providers money is understandable but, as it stands, no such requirement is obligated by law. So any costs derived from internet providers' preferences are theirs to bear alone".

And so, with that specific defence tactic from RCN dismissed, the record industry's copyright lawsuit against the ISP continues.

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SoundCloud buys Musiio
SoundCloud has acquired Musiio, a music-centric AI start-up that focuses on the automated tagging of tracks and playlisting tools. The deal, says SoundCloud, will allow it to "amplify" its "existing music intelligence capabilities and allow the company to further leverage its vast data to identify what's next in music trends and talent".

Adds SoundCloud President Eliah Seton: "SoundCloud hosts more music from more creators than any platform on the planet. Acquiring Musiio accelerates our strategy to better understand how that music is moving in a proprietary way, which is critical to our success. We are honoured to partner with Hazel and Aron and welcome the absolutely brilliant team of innovators at Musiio to the SoundCloud family".

But who are Hazel and Aron you might now be wondering. Well, Musiio founders Hazel Savage and Aron Pettersson, obviously! They were previously CEO and CTO of Musiio respectively, but will now become SoundCloud's VP Of Music Intelligence and VP Of AI And Machine Learning.

Says Savage: "SoundCloud is not only a legendary household name but also an artist forward business that I believe is the future of the new, holistic music industry. I am incredibly proud that after four years of building Musiio we are now part of SoundCloud".

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Billie Eilish to host climate change conference before London O2 Arena shows
Billie Eilish has announced a climate change conference, called Overheated, which is basically a series of events that will take place at the O2 Arena in London in June to coincide with her tour dates at the venue.

While specific sessions will vary across the dates, all will include screenings of a new documentary, also called 'Overheated', in which Eilish, Vivienne Westwood, Emily Eavis, Girl In Red, Yungblud and others feature.

The first day, billed as 'Overheated Live', will take place on 10 Jun, kicking off with an introduction from Eilish and her brother Finneas. There will then be a keynote from a yet-to-be-announced speaker, plus other talks from Earthrise, Isaias Hernandez, Tori Tsui, Vanessa Nakate and more.

After that, 16 Jun has been billed the 'Music Climate Session', featuring talks from Earth/Percent, Chiara Badiali and Dominique Palmer, among others, as well as performances by Sigrid and Love Ssega.

There will also be other smaller events on 10-12, 16 and 26 Jun. Tickets and information are available at imoverheated.com.

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CMU+TGE Update: Fan and marketing data in the spotlight
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.

After lunch on the Thursday, the MUSIC+DATA strand will put the spotlight on fan and marketing data. Music marketing, of course, is increasingly digital marketing - and digital marketing is powered by data. But what data? And how can we ensure that everyone involved in an artist's business has access to the data they need - and the legal right to use it?

We'll be joined by Tom Burris from Prime Element and Matt Cheetham from Motive Unknown to talk through the key categories of fan and marketing data, and discuss how artists, labels, managers and promoters can get the most from that data.

Along the way we'll discuss the importance of long term data and communications planning; how an artist's different business partners can better integrate their use of data and marketing activity; and how data protection law and the privacy policies of companies like Apple impact on what is possible.

We'll also put the spotlight on the latest developments in ticketing - and how the live side of the business is generating ever more sophisticated fan data. How are promoters and the artists they work with capitalising on these innovations? Andrew Parsons from Ticketmaster UK and Sophia Burn from Live Nation will discuss.

Plus, how does fan data power and inform the direct-to-fan opportunity? How can artists and their teams effectively use data to map and manage the journey from potential fan to casual fan to committed fan to super-fan? And with direct-to-fan increasingly about premium digital content and experiences, how is data unlocking the new D2F opportunities?

Direct-to-fan experts Jessie Scoullar from Wicksteed Works and Kaiya Milan from The Floor will provide their insights and expertise.

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

Tove Lo releases first single on her own label
Tove Lo has released new single 'No One Dies From Love', the first release on her own label, Pretty Swede Records. She has also announced UK tour dates in November.

"When you're with someone for a long time and it ends all of a sudden, it's like a part of you has died", Lo says of the new single. "This person is now a stranger to you. All of the memories are tainted. For the first part of the breakup, you believe you're not supposed to feel good about anything you had together. What I believe I do best is 'heartbreak you can dance to'. The song is that".

Watch the video for 'No One Dies From Love' here.

The new record label - through which she will also release her forthcoming new album - is a partnership with US artist development company mtheory.

"It's amazing", Lo says of that partnership. "I have a lot of freedom, and it's been fun to work with mtheory. I'm a pop girl, but I like to make things weird and be in full control of the whole vision. This is the perfect way to put out exactly what I want".

Lo's UK and Ireland tour dates later this year will kick off in Dublin on 29 Oct. Here's the full schedule:

29 Oct: Dublin, 3Olympia Theatre
1 Nov: Glasgow, SWG3 Galvanizers
2 Nov: Manchester, Academy
3 Nov: Birmingham, Institute
5 Nov: London, Roundhouse

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Coldplay launch tour app to help fans reduce carbon footprints while travelling to shows
Coldplay have launched the 'Music Of The Spheres' World Tour app, promised last year as part of their efforts to make the live dates as environmentally sustainable as possible.

The app will allow the band to measure and offset the carbon emissions of fans as they travel to the venue, and offer merch discounts to those who choose to travel to any one show via low-carbon means. It also provides information for fans on how to travel in ways that are better for the planet.

"We're really proud of the 'Music Of The Spheres' World Tour app", say Coldplay. "For the past few years, we've been figuring out how to put sustainability at the heart of our tour. The app is a big part of that".

"You can use the app to figure out the cleanest and greenest ways to get to and from the concert", they add. "It also allows us to see how people have travelled to and from the shows so that we can drawdown all those emissions. You can also get right to the heart of the tour with exclusive photos, performances and behind-the-scenes access".

The CEO of the software company that built the app, SAP's Christian Klein, adds: "With our technology and solutions, we empower organisations worldwide to drive sustainable change. Coldplay and SAP share a common and profound commitment to sustainability, and we are THRILLED to join forces to make their tour as environmentally friendly as possible".

The app was first trialed at the band's Latin American shows in March and April. They say that those audience members who used it cut their carbon emissions on their journeys by around 50%, compared to fans attending shows on the band's last tour.

As well as offering fans attending shows eco-friendly information, support and incentives, Coldplay will also be livestreaming the audio from one of their European shows through the app.

Download the tour app here.

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EDUCATION & EVENTS

The Association Of Independent Music's Future Independents online conference will take place on 8 Jun with a keynote from artist and songwriter Kamille. "With this year's Future Independents we want to build on the success of last year, reaching an even wider audience of creators and entrepreneurs and helping them to learn the rules of the game", says AIM's Senior Events Manager Esta Rae. "Improving access to industry knowledge and networking opportunities is essential to building a fairer, more diverse, and thriving independent music scene".

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ARTIST NEWS

Wanna see Daniel Radcliffe playing 'Weird' Al Yankovich? Well, now you can. The first trailer for new biopic 'Weird: The Al Yankovich Story' is out now.

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RELEASES

Lady Gaga has released new single 'Hold My Hand', taken from upcoming movie 'Top Gun: Maverick'.

UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell And Astro have released new single 'We'll Never Find Another Love'. It features on the forthcoming album 'Unprecedented', Astro's final collaboration with Campbell before his death last November.

Ahead of the release of her new album, 'Loner', on Friday, Alison Wonderland has released new single 'Something Real'.

Surprise! Chai have released a new single. Called 'Surprise'. "We all have that precious 'something' that we can't express in words", say the band. "But sometimes those things happen to make it out as words, and we want to feel and love that 'surprise'. Those become the surprises of our lives, and I become a brand new me".

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GIGS & TOURS

Harry Styles will play a one-off show in London on 24 May to celebrate the release of his new album, 'Harry's House', which is out on 20 May. Tickets will go on general sale on 11 May.

Rammstein have announced UK shows for June 2023. They will play Belfast's Ormeau Park on 12 Jun, Glasgow's Hampden Park on 16 Jun and Wembley Stadium in London on 21 Jun. Just remember that's 2023.

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

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Sex Pistols to celebrate Queen's platinum jubilee with God Save The Queen re-issues
The Sex Pistols' official social media accounts have announced a reissue of the band's second single, 'God Save The Queen', with two limited edition recreations of the original vinyl releases being made available to mark Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee.

Back in 1977, releasing 'God Save The Queen' to coincide with the monarch's silver jubilee seemed so dangerous that some retailers refused to stock the record and some versions of that week's official chart blanked out the track's title. Yet putting it out again 45 years later to coincide with the latest anniversary of the Queen taking the throne almost makes it feel like the record is part of the official celebrations.

The single will be re-pressed so to recreate the original releases as pressed by both A&M and Virgin. Almost all copies of the original A&M version were destroyed after the label dropped the band just six days after signing them. The new version of it will be limited to 1977 copies. Meanwhile, the re-press of the Virgin release, which propelled the Sex Pistols to number two on the jubilee week chart back in 1977, will be limited to 4000 copies.

It's not actually clear how much involvement with this the band themselves have had in all this. When Universal announced in April that it would be releasing a new Sex Pistols compilation, 'The Original Recordings', on 27 May (the same day that the 'God Save The Queen' singles will come out), John Lydon put out a statement saying that he "does not endorse or support it" and considers it "substandard compared to previous Universal releases".

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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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