|FRIDAY 1 JULY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Kanye West has been sued over an allegedly uncleared sample in a track on his recent 'Donda 2' album. According to the publisher of the sampled song, West's track 'Flowers' repeats the uncleared sample at least 22 times... [READ MORE]|
Kanye West sued over uncleared sample on Donda 2
The sampled track is 'Move Your Body' by Marshall Jefferson, which is published by plaintiff Ultra International Music Publishing. And the use of the uncleared sample is, Ultra says in its lawsuit, "an unambiguous infringement of the copyright" in the song its controls.
Ultra's legal filing also notes ramblings by West in recent years to the effect that he is a champion of artist rights. However, it then says, "contrary to his claimed interest in the proper compensation and fair treatment of all artists", the rapper has not properly treated or compensated Jefferson, "whose work he sampled and exploited without authorisation or compensation in the creation of 'Donda 2'".
"Specifically", it goes on, "West's song 'Flowers' - reportedly written about his estranged wife, Kim Kardashian - directly samples an iconic song written by ... Marshall Jefferson in 1986. That song, titled 'Move Your Body' and known as 'the house music anthem', is instantly recognisable; the unauthorised sample taken by West is repeated at least 22 times throughout 'Flowers'".
"West's unauthorised use of 'Move Your Body' constitutes an unambiguous infringement of the copyright in the musical composition 'Move Your Body'", it then says, "and of course is a blatant exploitation of [Jefferson's] work without permission and compensation. Manifesting the height of hypocrisy, West advocates for artists' rights with one hand, yet has no shame in taking away rights from another artist with the other".
The lawsuit also states: "During discussions with representatives for Mr Jefferson and UIMP, West and his representatives acknowledged that 'Move Your Body' was sampled in 'Flowers', and was done so without authorisation or payment to UIMP or Marshall Jefferson. Despite this acknowledgement, West has not ceased distribution of 'Flowers'".
With all that in mind, Ultra would like an injunction banning the distribution and exploitation of 'Flowers', plus lots of lovely damages, obviously.
'Donda 2', of course, was exclusively released via West's own Stem Player device, which also allows users to remix the tracks. With that in mind the British company behind the player, Kano Computing, and its CEO, Alex Klein, are also named as defendants on the lawsuit.
But at least God's not involved in this particular Kanye sample dispute. Two previous high profile sampling lawsuits involving the rapper related to religious snippets he had included in his music: a child reciting a prayer on 'Life Of Pablo' track 'Ultralight Beam', and a sermon being delivered by preacher David Paul Moten on 'Come To Life' on the first 'Donda' album.
New Zealand recording copyright term to be extended to 70 years
Unlike the copyright in songs - which is usually linked to the creator's lifetime - the copyright in sound recordings is usually a set number of years after release.
In Europe - and other countries like Canada and Australia - that copyright protection now lasts for 70 years after release. But there are still plenty of places in the world where the copyright term for sound recordings is 50 years, as it was previously in Europe, Canada and Australia.
In Europe, the term was extended from 50 to 70 years back in 2013 on the back of a European Union directive agreed in 2011. That followed prolific lobbying from the record industry, and especially the UK record industry, which didn't want its lucrative 1960s catalogue to fall out of copyright.
And now that the EU has a 70 year copyright term, it's keen that countries with which it has free trade agreements do likewise.
Welcoming the term extension in New Zealand - or Aotearoa if you prefer - the boss of local record industry trade group Recorded Music NZ, Jo Oliver, says: "Copyright enables artists to make a living from their work and is fundamental to the sustainability and future growth of the music industry in Aotearoa".
"Extending copyright term to 70 years from the date of release puts New Zealand artists and rightsholders on a level playing field with their overseas counterparts", she adds. "This long overdue change will help preserve and protect iconic recordings from Aotearoa and support the New Zealand artists that created them".
Of course, maths fans might note that, even with a 70 year copyright term, the 1960s catalogue will start to come out of copyright in the 2030s.
Given how long it can take to change copyright law, you can expect the UK record industry to start campaigning for a further extension in the years ahead, pushing - as they did during the last copyright extension campaign in the 2000s - for parity with the US where sound recordings get 95 years of protection.
Frank Zappa family sells estate to Universal
"Ten years ago, [Zappa's late wife] Gail Zappa partnered with [Universal Music Enterprises] to bring Frank Zappa's music into the digital era and help expand the Frank Zappa business around the world, setting in motion a fruitful partnership that has resulted in exponential growth", reads a statement from the Zappa Trust.
"Together over the last decade", it adds, "we made Frank's vast catalogue of music available for streaming and download, reissued many of his pivotal albums on vinyl, created a slew of exciting archival releases and expansive box sets, including a series celebrating FZ's legendary Halloween concerts, and were nominated for a Grammy for the '200 Motels (The Suites)' orchestral album".
"UMG have more than proven their passion for Frank's art and so the entire Zappa family - Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva - is THRILLED to pass the baton to the new forever stewards for all things Frank Zappa", it goes on. "Old and new fans will get more of what they want - more Frank Zappa music for years to come".
Noting that Zappa's first ever album with The Mothers Of Invention - 1966's 'Freak Out!' - was released by Verve Records, which is now part of the Universal Music Group, the statement concludes: "So this is a very full circle moment more than five decades later and we know that his music and legacy will be in the best possible hands for generations to come".
On the major's side, Universal Music Enterprises CEO Bruce Resnikoff says: "It has been a privilege to work with the Zappa family to release Frank Zappa's music around the world, grow his audience, and protect his legacy for the past decade. Zappa was a pioneering, visionary artist who created an incredible body of work and we are incredibly proud that Gail, and now his children, have entrusted us with his important legacy".
"We will continue to develop innovative ways to celebrate his vast and influential catalogue for both longtime fans and those just discovering his genius", he goes on. "As a prolific artist well ahead of his time, Frank Zappa was constantly creating and recording and he left behind a treasure trove of extraordinary still-unreleased music and video in his vault that will help us usher in the next era of Frank Zappa fans".
Gail Zappa formed the Zappa Family Trust in 2002 to manage her late husband's music and brand nine years after his death in 1993. After her death in 2015, their son Ahmet Zappa was appointed as the new head of the organisation - a move not welcomed by his siblings Dweezil and Moon.
In-fighting amongst Zappa's children has continued over the subsequent years, particularly over Dweezil's use of the Zappa name for his Zappa Plays Zappa live shows. There was also disharmony over a Frank Zappa hologram tour.
However, it seems the four siblings have now come to an agreement regarding the big plan to just get shot of all their dad's stuff. This would be somewhat in-keeping with their late father's wishes, who urged Gail Zappa to get out of the music business entirely prior to his death.
Logic announces BMG deal, less than two weeks after releasing new major label album
The rapper returned from a short-lived retirement from music a year ago and released new album 'Vinyl Days' earlier this month. The album's final track, 'Sayonara', details his reasons for leaving the major and hints at the new label partnership in lines such as, "I rep the BMG, yeah, I'm the Big Money Getter" and "motherfuckers be so in-and-out, that's why I didn't stay with Def Jam".
"There's a lot of bullshit in the music industry", says Logic in a statement accompanying the deal announcement. "I'm just glad to move on to a place where I can be independent, and respected as an artist, and feel like I'm in control of my career".
BMG exec Thomas Scherer adds: "BMG is fast becoming the home of more and more established artists departing long-time deals, moving towards independence, and wanting control over their careers. BMG has an impeccable team helping artists achieve their goals by not only delivering the highest level of service, but the attention to detail and strategy that sophisticated artists desire".
With 'Vinyl Days' still so fresh out in the world, it's not clear when we might get to hear any music as part of the BMG deal, but you can certainly hear him get the ball rolling in terms of that new alliance on 'Sayonara' here.
Earache launches new digital distribution service
Artists who use EDD will not have to sign any long-term agreement and will keep 100% of their rights, and will also be offered career development support.
"The music industry has changed a lot since we first started [35 years ago] and change is happening ever faster", says Earache founder Digby Pearson. "We're always keen to evolve so we can continue to develop our artists. Digital distribution has democratised the industry, but there will always remain a need to support and empower artists on a tailored level".
"We've been doing this for years, and with Earache Digital Distribution, we're now doing it in a different way, and welcome all genres", he goes on. "It's a way for us to work with more bands as we only actually sign - in the traditional sense - maybe two or three bands a year now. The DIY ethic is strong here. We have been and always will be about the music".
In addition to digital distribution, he says, "over the years we've built strong relationships with award winning mix engineers, plus world-class designers and video directors, and we are experts at planning tours. By launching our distribution service we're adding to the ways artists can tap into our contacts and knowledge to hopefully reach their full potential. It's not just distribution here, we're more than happy to help their creative side too".
This is the latest evolution of Earache, the company having also added management, publishing and physical distribution services in recent years. Find out more about the new digital distribution option here.
Triller begins IPO process
The Triller company previously planned to become a publicly listed operation via a merger with another business already listed on the Nasdaq exchange, that being video advertising software provider SeaChange International Inc. However, earlier this month it confirmed that that merger was officially off.
Confirming shortly after that announcement that his company now planned to pursue an IPO, Triller CEO Mahi de Silva said at the time: "The current market demands clear and disciplined thinking. After much deliberation, Triller has determined that the best course of action is a direct listing for Triller. A Triller IPO is a cleaner transaction, allowing us greater control of our destiny".
"Today's news is a clear commitment to our effort to build the world's best platform for creators; artists, influencers, athletes, thought-leaders and brands", he added, before declaring, somewhat bombastically, "the Triller IPO will be the largest creator IPO in history".
With its core product competing with all things TikTok, you sensed that the Triller company was happiest in 2020 when it looked like then American President Donald Trump was going to ban use of the China-owner TikTok app within the US.
That didn't happen in the end, of course, although concerns remain about what access the Chinese government has to TikTok user-data, with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr calling on Apple and Google just this week to stop making the TikTok app available via their respective app stores.
Management firm Three Six Zero has announced an alliance with Japanese entertainment company LDH Japan Inc to co-manage SG5, a new J-pop outfit created in collaboration with the manga franchise 'Sailor Moon'. "SG5 is an intergalactic pop supergroup that protects the universe from evil, injustice and negativity", says the official announcement.
Utopia Music has announced a deal with Red Bee Media as part of a product that will monitor what music is being used on TV channels and radio stations, to aid with the reporting of that usage and payment of royalties. Under the deal Red Bee will provide Utopia with 24/7 audio feeds of over 9000 TV and radio channels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Cross-sector trade group UK Music has appointed Stephanie Haughton-Campbell as its new Director Of Operations. She joins from First Draft, a not-for-profit that protects communities from harmful misinformation, though she started her career at East West Records, and has worked in various music, media, skills development and PR roles.
Cardi B has released new single 'Hot Shit', featuring Kanye West and Lil Durk.
BTS's J-Hope has released new solo single 'More' from his upcoming solo album 'Jack In The Box'. That's out on 15 Jul.
Yard Act have released their new version of '100% Endurance' featuring the actual Elton John. "From the first moment I heard Yard Act, I fell in love with [frontman] James [Smith's] lyrics, and the way he's delivered the song", says John. "Their sound is such a breath of fresh air. When James called and asked if I would come into the studio I instantly loved the idea".
Tiësto has enlisted Charli XCX for new single 'Hot In It'.
Fred Again has released new track 'Jungle', co-produced by Four Tet.
Headie One continues his run of international collaborations, teaming up with Dutch rapper Frenna for new track 'Bigger Than Life'. "I always respected Headie and think he's a great artist, we linked and it just clicked in the studio", says Frenna. "We made a lot of shit happen and eventually 'Bigger Than Life' was born".
Chinese electro-pop artist Alice Longyu Gao has teamed up with Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes for new collaborative track 'Believe The Hype'. "At the end of the day I just want to make great art that lasts, that nurtures everyone, that heals me", says Longyu Gao. "However living in this capitalistic world gives me way too much anxiety, discrimination and exhaustion. 'Believe The Hype' is a temporary pill for myself to deal with all of that".
Dan Snaith will release his third album under his Daphni moniker, 'Cherry', on 7 Oct. "There isn't anything obvious that unifies it or makes it hang together", he says of the album. "I think it was good that it was made without worrying about any of that. I just made it". Here's new single 'Cloudy'.
Kero Kero Bonito's Sarah Bonito has launched solo project Cryalot with her first single 'Hell Is Here'. The track is taken from an EP called 'Icarus', which will be out on 26 Aug. "'Hell Is Here' is about defeat; it depicts the part of the Icarus story after he descends into the sea", she says. "It explores this feeling of despair and powerlessness. Our world can twist so suddenly into a place where our reasons to live bring us no joy anymore. Nothing is the same... and it won't be the same again. Hell is not below us, it's here".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kayne West fan forced to change restaurant menu following legal letter from rapper
"The brand was created to celebrate him", owner Mark Elkhouri tells 7News of his burger selling business in the Australian city of Melbourne. "But it's what he wants".
Elkhouri says he launched his restaurant in honour of West because he is a big fan. As well as being named after the rapper's debut album, 'The College Dropout', it also featured a logo based on the artwork of that record, a menu of meals named after his songs, and a mural of West inside the restaurant.
Being such a big West fan, Elkhouri was excited when the rapper began flicking through his restaurant's Instagram stories recently, thinking that maybe the admiration went both ways.
"The fact he was viewing our stories and was there had me believe he was a fan of us", he tells The Age. However, it appears that West was actually concerned that people might think the restaurant actually had something to do with him. Because obviously.
"It's pretty hard being a Kanye West fan with this situation, [but] we have to respect his wishes and move forward", says Elkhouri. "Being a Kanye West fan has led me into this position where I have to still support him … I am extremely disappointed, there's no doubt about that, but it doesn't even come close to the impact that he's had on my life".
Having announced that a Kanye-free rebrand was about to happen earlier this month, that refresh was this week unveiled. Now the restaurant's teddy bear logo is covered with a black square and a message reading "Insert logo here. OK thanks bye"; the mural has been painted over; and the menu no longer offers the Golddigger chicken burger, the Cheezus cheeseburger, or the Good Morning breakfast burger. Although, to be honest, I think he could have probably got away with that last one.
He doesn't want to get away with anything though, because he says he's still a big fan of West and so doesn't want to piss him off. Although, as part of the agreement, the restaurant has also agreed not to tell people that it takes any inspiration from the rapper.
Now, you might think that's going to be difficult, given that it's still called College Dropout Burgers. But that's only because you don't know about the clever new theme. Instead of aligning itself with West, the restaurant is now themed around other celebrities who dropped out of education.
So, if you like being confused when you order fast food, you can now get meals named after Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. What could possibly go wrong?
Elkhouri admits that being forced to make these changes could be positive for the business, as some potential customers were put off by the West association.
"Moving forward, I feel like it is a bit of a blessing in disguise", he tells The Age. "Because let's face it, not everyone is a Kanye West fan".