TODAY'S TOP STORY: Another comedian has joined the legal battle against Pandora which is testing the liabilities of streaming services that have licensed comedy recordings, but not the comedy material contained in those recordings... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Lewis Black joins the comedians suing Pandora over unlicensed jokes
LEGAL Astroworld lawyer criticises Travis Scott after rapper pauses recent show over safety concerns
DEALS Mdundo signs up Universal
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Molly Neuman moves to Chief Marketing Officer role at Downtown
MEDIA Bauer appoints new Director Of Music for its UK radio business
RELEASES The 1975 release first single from fifth album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language
ONE LINERS Aurora, Ciara, King Princess, more
AND FINALLY... One-off high quality Bob Dylan recording sells for nearly £1.5 million
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Lewis Black joins the comedians suing Pandora over unlicensed jokes
Another comedian has joined the legal battle against Pandora which is testing the liabilities of streaming services that have licensed comedy recordings, but not the comedy material contained in those recordings.

This time it's Lewis Black who has filed a lawsuit. He previously criticised Spotify for not properly licensing the comedy content on its platform, after that streaming service started removing comedy recordings last year because of a dispute with Spoken Giants, an agency which represents the rights of comedians and other spoken word performers.

He said at the time: "I in no way represent all of the comedians on Spotify, but I do believe that all of them should be paid for the writing that they have done and not just for the performance of what they wrote. It has taken a long time for comedy to be recognised as an artform. Therefore, Spotify should recognise that a joke is as powerful as a lyric of a song, which they do pay for".

The ongoing copyright dispute between the comedy community and the streaming services centres on the different rights that exist in a comedy recording - ie there is one copyright in the recording itself, and a separate district copyright in the material being performed, what in copyright terms would be a 'literary work'.

With music, the services, of course, negotiate two sets of licences. Deals with record labels and music distributors cover the copyright in recordings, while separate deals with music publishers and collecting societies cover the separate distinct song rights.

But with comedy content to date, licences have only usually been secured to cover the recordings. That licence would be provided by whichever label or distributor actually delivered the recorded content. The services would argue that until recently there was nowhere to go to license the separate rights in the material, as the labels and distributors don't control those rights, and comedians haven't traditionally had publishers or collecting societies.

Although Spotify had its run in with Black and other comedians last year, it's Pandora that is on the receiving end of the test litigation in this domain. Possibly because when the now Sirius owned-streaming platform was a standalone company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, it used to admit in its investor statements that there were concerns over elements of spoken word content not being fully licensed.

Comedians Nick Di Paolo, Andrew Dice Clay, Bill Engvall and Ron White – and the estates of Robin Williams and George Carlin - have all already sued Pandora regarding all the unlicensed comedy material it has streamed.

Responding to those lawsuits, Pandora hit out in particular at Word Collections, a rival to the aforementioned Spoken Giants which is now representing the literary work copyrights of all the comedians who have sued the streaming firm.

Pandora argued that comedians had long allowed their content to be streamed on the different digital platforms - banking the recording royalties and enjoying the promo benefits, and never quibbling about literary work royalties - until Word Collections came along to cause trouble.

"Word Collections' true business model is not that of a benign licensing agent or an advocate for comedians' intellectual property rights", Pandora said in a forthright legal response, "it is that of a cartel leader".

With Black now joining the litigation party, his lawsuit states - according to The Hollywood Reporter - "Mr Black once famously quipped in the wake of the Enron Scandal: 'You don't want another Enron? Here's your law: If a company can't explain in one sentence what it does, it's illegal'. The exact same thing is true here: If a company can't explain in one sentence how it has a licence to use copyrighted works, it's copyright infringement".

Noting how long services like Pandora have been streaming comedy content without licensing any of the literary works, Black's lawyers add: "Pandora did what most goliaths do: it decided it would infringe now to ensure it had this very valuable intellectual property on its platform to remain competitive, and deal with the consequences later. Later is now".

Pandora is yet to comment on this latest comedy lawsuit.


Astroworld lawyer criticises Travis Scott after rapper pauses recent show over safety concerns
Travis Scott has been criticised by a lawyer working for one of the victims of last year's Astroworld tragedy for pausing a show earlier this week after fans climbed up some lighting truss to get a better view of his performance.

The rapper is slowly returning to live shows following the crowd surge that killed ten people and injured hundreds more during his headline set at last year's edition of the Astroworld festival he founded.

Playing a set at an event called The Day Party at Coney Island in New York on Monday, Scott paused his performance after spotting some audience members dangerously clinging on to the lighting truss. He then told said audience members that they had to climb down before he'd continue the show, which they did.

You might think that those affected by last year's Astroworld tragedy would welcome the fact Scott now seems to be more safety conscious at his shows, given the rapper had a history of previously encouraging dangerous behaviour from his fans when performing live. However, a lawyer representing the family of the youngest of those who died at Astroworld - nine year old Ezra Blount - criticised the rapper when commenting on this week's events to TMZ.

The Blount family are involved in one of the hundreds of lawsuits that have been filed against Scott and Astroworld promoter Live Nation in relation to last year's tragedy, and they are repped in that litigation by Alex Hilliard.

Regarding what happened at The Day Party this week, Hilliard reckons it just proves that Scott has the power to control and direct his audiences when dangerous incidents occur. And not only that, the lawyer reckons, the rapper has long been aware that he has that power and yet chose not to exercise it during his Astroworld show last November.

Hillard told TMZ: "He knows exactly how to keep his fans safe during a concert, but the problem with that is, he didn't just learn about the fact that he has control over the entire crowd. There are ten people that would still be alive today, including young Ezra Blount, if Travis realised his responsibility as an artist goes further than just trying to rile up his crowds, and it reemphasises the rule of 'if you see something say something'".

Scott insists that he was not aware of the crowd surge that occurred during his Astroworld set last year and, had he been made aware of what was happening within the crowd, he would have stopped the show, instead of continuing to perform for more than half an hour after police had declared a 'mass casualty event'. His team have also pointed out that Scott did actually pause his Astroworld performance a few times when he became aware of isolated incidents within the crowd, but he remained unaware of the scale of the crowd surge as it was unfolding.

Asked about Hilliard's comments, a rep for Scott was pretty forthright in their response. They told TMZ: "This is the despicable, cynical height of hypocrisy. It's beyond disappointing to see that - in a desperate bid to influence potential jurors – plaintiffs' legal team is criticising Travis for pausing Monday's Coney Island show to ensure that fans can have fun safely. This is exactly the wrong message to send to fans - and to artists. And it completely ignores the fact that Travis also stopped his performance at Astroworld three different times".

Asked to respond to that, Hilliard remained equally forthright in his criticism of Scott, stating: "The problem Mr Scott has is, when we call him to the stand to swear him in and cross-examine him, the judge will not allow his paid spokesperson to sit in the witness chair and answer questions for him".


Mdundo signs up Universal
Universal Music has signed a licensing agreement with African streaming service Mdundo covering the use of the major's music in key territories across the continent.

"Our focus is to provide a relevant service to the hundreds of millions of potential users in Africa that are getting online", says Mdundo CEO, Martin Møller Nielsen. "In recent years, Mdundo has reported explosive growth, from five million monthly users in June 2020 to an expected 19-20 million monthly active users in June 2022 and a +225% growth in revenue for the year ending June 2022".

"As the leading music company globally", he goes on, "we are extremely pleased to work with Universal Music within Africa towards our vision of providing Africa with an easy and legal solution to accessing music that fits the local consumers".

Meanwhile, Universal's EVP for Africa, Middle East And Asia, Ulrik Cahn, adds: "Martin and his team have built an impressive platform for African artists, and we look forward to working together to expand the footprint for our African and international talent within the continent".

This deal follows Universal's recent licensing agreement with Audiomack, which also had a particular focus on artists and fans in African markets.


Molly Neuman moves to Chief Marketing Officer role at Downtown
Downtown Music Holdings has appointed Molly Neuman to the new role of Chief Marketing Officer, in which she will oversee marketing and communications initiatives across the wider Downtown group of companies.

She moves over to the group role from her previous job as President of Downtown's publishing administration service Songtrust, which she joined - originally as Global Head Of Business Development - back in 2017. The Songtrust division will now be overseen by Global Head Of Client Relations Rob Wetstone and VP Marketing Susanne Dawursk.

Confirming Neuman's new role, Downtown CEO Andrew Bergman says: "Over the past five years, Molly has led Songtrust through a period of dramatic growth, establishing the company as one of the largest and most successful independent music publishing administration services in the world".

"As we continue our global expansion through our powerful suite of services available to the music industry", he continues, "Molly's skills as a communicator, evangelist and a leading voice in our industry will serve her well in this important new role".

Meanwhile, Neuman herself adds: "My time at Songtrust developing and growing our offer of global music publishing administration services to the traditionally overlooked community of creators has been incredibly rewarding. I am grateful to Andrew and [Downtown founder and Executive Chairman] Justin [Kalifowitz] for entrusting me with this larger role as we continue to refine our offerings at Downtown".

"I have no doubt that Rob and Susanne will brilliantly carry on our work at Songtrust", she goes on. "I am equally proud of our entire group of companies at Downtown and am absolutely THRILLED to begin my next chapter making sure our excellence is well understood and recognised".


Bauer appoints new Director Of Music for its UK radio business
Bauer Media in the UK has created the new role of Director Of Music for its radio and audio operations, and hired former Sony Music exec Pete Black to do that job.

Black previously ran press and promotions for Sony's Columbia Records division, and more recently was Head Of Promotions for the major's label services business The Orchard, as well as overseeing promotions teams at Sony's joint venture labels in the UK, which include the Black Butter, Ministry Of Sound, Relentless and Insanity labels.

In his new job at Bauer he will - and I quote - "be responsible for building strategic and mutually beneficial relationships with labels, managers and artists in the UK and internationally and will lead Bauer's talented music teams to create innovative and impactful ideas and playlists".

Confirming the new role and hire, Bauer's Chief Content & Music Officer Ben Cooper says: "Pete will lead on the reinvention of Bauer Media Audio UK's relationships with record labels, artists and managers. His experience, knowledge and ideas will transform the way we create content for artists and our audiences. I'm delighted he is joining us at this exciting time of change at Bauer".

Meanwhile, Black himself adds: "I'm so excited to be joining the Bauer family and working across their iconic radio brands. There is a huge opportunity to utilise Bauer's scale not just in the UK but across Europe to deliver the best music and audio content to our audiences. We want to develop creative and mutually beneficial opportunities for labels, managers and artists in the UK and internationally. I can't wait to get started".

Music radio brands operated by Bauer include Absolute Radio, Kiss, Magic, Greatest Hits Radio, Jazz FM, Scala Radio and the local stations that make up the Hits Radio Network.


Playlist: Brand New On CMU
Every Friday we round up all the new music we've covered over the preceding week into a Spotify playlist. And this week has proven to be a bumper edition, with fresh tracks galore.

Among the artists with brand new music to check out his week are The 1975, Aurora, Ciara, King Princess, Within Temptation, Hot Chip, Bring Me The Horizon, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dave Rowntree, Killer Mike, Loyle Carner and more.

Check out the whole playlist on Spotify here.

The 1975 release first single from fifth album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language
The 1975 have released new single 'Part Of The Band', the first track from their new album 'Being Funny In A Foreign Language', which will be released later this year.

"She was part of the airforce / I was part of the band / I always used to bust into her hand", sings vocalist Matt Healy on the track. "In my imagination I was living my best life / Living with my parents / Way before the paying penance and verbal propellants / And my cancellations".

Co-produced by Jack Antonoff, the track also features some vocal contributions from Michelle Zauner, aka Japanese Breakfast, who tweeted as the track was released: "Got to sing a little on this for my fave band".

'Being Funny In A Foreign Language' - the follow-up to 2020's 'Notes On A Conditional Form' - is set for release on 14 Oct.

Watch the video for 'Part Of The Band' here.



Sony Music Publishing has signed songwriter/producer Jonas Jeberg to a worldwide publishing agreement. "Songwriting and producing songs is my passion", he says. "Besides my wife and kids, there's nothing I love more in this world! So, I'm very excited to work with the whole Sony Music Publishing team and their incredible roster of top-tier artists, songwriters, and fellow producers".



Universal Music Australia has appointed Mark Holland and Alicia Reynolds as co-MDs, replacing John O'Donnell who is retiring. Also, Yvette Cachia has joined the company as SVP People, Inclusion & Culture. Meanwhile, there have been a number of other executive promotions. At the over all Universal Music Australia business Alisa Lai becomes Head Of Commercial Growth & Innovation, Fiona Zamparutti becomes Senior Director Of Streaming, and Liam Dennis is now GM Catalogue. At the major's EMI Records Australia, Alicia Reynolds becomes GM and Mark Holland MD. And finally, at Island Records Australia, Nicole Richards becomes co-MD.



Aurora has released 'The Devil Is Human', a track previously only available on the vinyl edition of her latest album 'The Gods We Can Touch'. "We get sexualised by the world, and yet shamed for being sexual", she says. "They want to possess you and own you, and even decide what you get to do with your own body. We are not free until all of us are free. The world have tried for many years to burn women who were strong, who were brilliant, brave and free spirited. The devil is human, or apparently the devil is a woman. You can burn the skin we live in, but you cannot burn the witch away".

Following her recent signing to Universal's Republic Records, Ciara has released new single 'Jump'.

King Princess has released new Aaron Dessner-produced single 'Change The Locks'.

Within Temptation have released new single 'Don't Pray For Me'. Says Vocalist Sharon den Adel: "'Don't Pray For Me' strives against forcing beliefs and fears onto others and bears witness to being acceptive of everyone's own journey. It is an anthem about coming to terms with the fact that beliefs can be fluid, multiple or frankly: different. The song is about allowing people to pursue their own destiny".

Hot Chip are back with new single 'Eleanor'. "It's about the world smashing into you, waves crashing into you, all-encompassing pain, and how you have to walk through it", says Alexis Taylor. "The verses are about separation when families are divided against their will. It's about strong friends. It's also about Samuel Beckett giving Andre The Giant lifts to school, and about how Beckett must have learned a lot from Andre's wisdom".

The Hu have announced that they will release their second album, 'Rumble Of Thunder', on 2 Sep. New single, 'Black Thunder', is out now.

Wargasm have released new single, 'Fukstar'. "Every day the rich seem to get richer and the poor get left behind", say the duo. "Old men are flying off in rockets with celebrities while murdering our environment. 'Fukstar' is the soundtrack to Wargasm's disillusionment with the nature of the corporate billionaires, and the idiots that let them gain power, who seemingly have our world in a chokehold. You aren't gods, you're just another Fukstar".

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


T Bone Burnett's one-off high quality Bob Dylan recording sells for nearly £1.5 million
T Bone Burnett has now officially put out the first release on his new high quality analogue audio format Ionic Original - a new recording of Bob Dylan performing his 1962 song 'Blowin In The Wind'.

I know there are a lot of Dylan completists out there who will be dying to hear this new recording in all its high def glory right now. Well, bad luck, there was only one copy and it's already been sold I'm afraid, so you've officially missed out. Also, it went for nearly £1.5 million, which I'm going to guess is a little out of your budget for a single audio track.

The sole copy of the recording was shifted at London auction house Christie's yesterday for £1,482,000 - well above the upper end estimated sale price of £1 million.

Burnett announced his new audio format earlier this year, talking up all the innovations in analogue audio he had been busy working on. It was confirmed at the time that Dylan would be the first artist to release music on the new format, although details were a little sparse.

"It is archival quality", he said of the new format in April. "It is future proof. It is one of one. Not only is an Ionic Original the equivalent of a painting, it is a painting. It is lacquer painted onto an aluminium disc, with a spiral etched into it by music. This painting, however, has the additional quality of containing that music, which can be heard by putting a stylus into the spiral and spinning it".

Now, when we originally read that, we assumed that Burnett calling this new audio format "one of one" and "the equivalent of a painting" was just a weird way of saying "it's dead good, like". But no, we were sitting here reading between the lines when we should have been looking right at them. Because what he said is what he meant. There is only one copy of each release because he sees these things like paintings, ie a one-off artistic creation.

"Marshall McLuhan said that a medium surrounds a previous medium and turns the previous medium into an art form, as film did with novels, as television did with film, as the internet has done with television, and as digital has done with analogue", he said in a statement following the sale of the Dylan recording.

"With Bob Dylan's new version of 'Blowin In The Wind,' our first Ionic Original archival analogue disc, we have entered and aim to help develop a music space in the fine arts market", he went on. "I trust and hope it will mean as much to whomever acquired it today at Christie's Exceptional Sale as it does to all of us who made it, and that they will consider it and care for it as a painting or any other singular work of art".

Whether or not the buyer has enjoyed, is enjoying, or will enjoy this super high quality, super expensive audio recording is something we do not know, and may never know. Unless, of course, like Wu-Tang Clan's single-copy album 'Once Upon A Time In Shaolin', it has fallen into the hands of a controversial figure who then uses it as part of a plan to try to become a real life comic book villain.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column. (except press releases, see below)
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